Tag Archive | cycling

Tandem Living: Riding Out of Sync

tandem bike drawingHave you ever seen anyone riding a tandem bicycle where the pedals weren’t calibrated? When one person’s foot is up on one side, the other person’s is supposed to be up also. If they’re off, it looks really strange. It doesn’t feel any different, and you can still go along your merry way, but something is just not right.

David and I recently were apart for 10 days. That might not seem like very long to some people, but when you’re used to living side by side, 10 days is a long time. I felt very out of sync. I was handling all the kids’ issues, I had to attend our boys’ open houses without him, I was doing every errand, I was doing all the thinking about our days and, because of a 3-hour time difference and a busy schedule, David and I rarely got to talk.

But sometimes it doesn’t take a separation to make us feel out of sync. Sometimes it might be a disagreement that hasn’t been resolved. Sometimes, it’s just a lack of time alone.

Because our tandem bike is old, several times on the last few rides we’ve had trouble with our chain. In the midst of shifting gears, it will fall off the cog. We have to then stop wherever we are, of course, because without the chain engaged, the pedals just spin. And if we don’t pay attention when we’re fixing that chain, we don’t make sure the pedals are in the same position and therefore they have that weird look of not being in perfect alignment with each other.

In tandem life, we can apologize if an argument happens, but there’s more to getting back in sync. Sometimes it takes digging a little deeper, turning those pedals just a little bit more to fix the root of the problem. Much as we may try to hide it, when we are out of sync with our tandem partners, people notice. Something just doesn’t feel right. We may move along just fine, completing the duties of our everyday lives, but the harmony, unity and beauty of synchronicity is missing.

It’s worth it to take the time to get off the bike, take off the chain, and get those pedals back in alignment again.

Tandem Living: You Never Know So Much That You Can’t Learn From Someone Else

tandem bike drawingIt’s been a very busy season in our household as school has started for me and our three kids. David and I are restarting our weekly date nights which we had let go during the summer. I apologize for my prolonged absence as I have attempted to figure out what my normal for this school year is going to look like. So far in this series on Tandem Living, we have looked at the importance of going in the same direction, communicating, trusting, being an example, weathering the storms, working together, and getting tune ups when needed.

Today, I want to say that, even though David and I have been riding a tandem bike for nearly 20 years, we certainly have a lot still to learn, and though we’ve been married for a bit more than 22 years, we would be the first to admit that we certainly do not know everything there is to know about marriage. There are always those who have more experience than we do. The day we decide we have nothing more to learn from anybody better be the day we die.

We might know the basics about biking, but we haven’t researched tips and techniques to making our riding experience better. We haven’t taken cross-country trips or even gone more than 30 miles at a time. We’ve never crashed. We’ve never had a flat tire on the tandem. We’ve never had it stolen.

In our marriage, we’ve never had to navigate the waters of infidelity. We’ve never lost a child after it was born. We’ve never had a major, life-threatening illness. We’ve never gone through a bankruptcy.

God forbid we would ever have to go through any of those trials, but we’d sure like to know how to handle them well if we did. We may have things we can teach couples who have not been married as long as we have, but we also have so much we can learn from those who have been married longer. But when we went through counseling several years ago, our counselor was a single woman. That didn’t mean she didn’t have something to teach us; she did because she had education and life experience. We didn’t hesitate to listen to her just because she’d never had personal experience as a spouse.

Seek out those who know more than you about being married, just as we need to seek out help from experts in the field of cycling if we plan on improving our ride.

Fun or Torture?

The activity my husband most likes to participate in on any holiday is a family bike ride. He’s a big cyclist himself, so he wants everyone to enjoy his passion. That’s completely understandable. And I would enjoy it myself if it wasn’t for that pesky part of the equation: the family.

None of our kids have taken as strongly to cycling as David has. One in particular, who shall remain nameless, spends a great deal of the time complaining about one thing or another, or just basically being unhappy. Uncomfortable on a bike, this child won’t take a hand off the handle bars to scratch an itch, or adjust a helmet, or even switch gears. Therefore, whenever one of the first two activities needs to happen, we have to come to a complete stop. And because this child won’t let go even enough to change gears, little legs have to pedal twice as much as bigger ones.

It’s common knowledge that, in order to feel comfortable doing something, you have to keep doing it. You’re not going to get comfortable unless you keep at it. If you only ride once every couple of months, you’re not going to get comfortable, and every street crossing or obstacle in the path is going to throw you for a loop.

So what was supposed to be a nice family bike ride to run some errands on this holiday turned into one part of the family way up ahead while the other part of us trailed behind, keeping pace with the slow-goer.

Rather than lose my patience, I should have been more kind. We all are not the same, nor do we have the same abilities. Though the whining didn’t need to be tolerated, I think this child would have responded better to compassion and to the encouragement of the family, rather than the scorn.

“Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. . . But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. . . But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor. 12:14-26).

Thankful today for:

583. a holiday with no grading to do!

584. my daughter’s clean room

585. vacuum cleaners

586. Jasper becoming more vocal