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Daisy the Tandem – uncovered

It’s October 2nd, 28 degrees outside, I have a bikini on – this is amazing for October in England, it’s pretty amazing for anytime in England.

We’ve decided to have a clear out, our lovely shed from those fabulous shed people over at Ted’s Sheds has moved from the allotment to our garden and is about to become the bike shed.  Haven’t yet decided it will be painted as a ‘tree’ house, ie pale green with trees all over it or as a contrasting surf shack to go with the ex playhouse which is now the main surf shack.

We needed somewhere to put all the bikes as the children can’t get into the surf shack and it’s been getting a bit silly.

Daisy the tandem has been residing in the barn/warehouse much to the warehouse team’s annoyance for the past few years.  This morning Pete and I brought her out into the sunshine for the first time in ages.  Let me give you some background.

Days before Children, Pete and I used to compete in a mountain bike orienteering 2 day race called the Polaris Challenge, big girl is now 15 years old so it’s going back a while. Pete took part in this with some mates initially and I wimped out and did the summer challenge which involved staying in a lovely hotel overnight between the sessions, the serious challenges take place in October and March usually the same weekends the clocks change and involve locations such as Scotland, Exmoor, North Yorkshire Moors, The Peak District – anywhere high, remote and very cold.

After a few years of this I decided I wanted to have a go and prove that I could be as good as the boys – stupid girl! We decided to buy a tandem as the power to weight ratio was greater and it was probably fairer than me having to wait for Pete on the hills and him having to wait for me on the straight – yes, seriously.

We traipsed over to Lambourn to rent a tandem for the day with a view to buying one, while cycling past a pub on a lovely warm summer’s day someone was playing a piano, saw us on the tandem and started up with ‘Daisy, Daisy’ – the whole pub joined in so we bought the tandem and she was named Daisy.

In July we competed in the summer challenge in the North Yorks Moors, staying at my Mum’s in Guisborough.  This was around 20th July and it snowed and hailstoned on us, we ended up covered head to toe in mud and gave up early deciding that this wasn’t fun, stripped off to our underwear – we were that muddy – and drove back to Mums calling ahead to ask her to put the hot water on, her neighbours still remind her of the day the two of us ran up her drive with muddy hair in our underwear.

In the October we drove to Llanwyrtd Wells in deepest, darkest Wales to do the proper Polaris, with Daisy, our friends Pat and Lisa and all the camping gear that we had to carry on our backs.

Pete and I were doing fabulous time when hurtling down a mountain doing around 40 mph he saw a rock in the middle of the track and had the choice of hitting it or attempting to bunny jump – you can’t jump on  a tandem especially when there’s a sheer drop on one side.  We hit it, I came off the back of daisy, crushed my helmet on a rock (I always wear a helmet, it’s not worth the risk) and broke my right arm.

Pete took the skin of most of his left hand side, I didn’t realise I’d broken my arm – actually fractured it just below the elbow, it hurt so I tucked my arm inside my t-shirt, got back on the bike and cycled one handed another 4 hours to get back to the hotel.  I ran a bath for Pete, bathed his wounds, got him a curry and the next day drove him to the nearest hospital in Bluith Wells to get checked out (remember – I have a broken arm!).  Pete had to change gear for me as I couldn’t hold the steering wheel with my right hand, but he couldn’t put any pressure on his right leg so couldn’t use the brake.

Doctors examined him, he’d strained the ligaments in his right knee and had lots of cuts and bruises.  They asked me if I was OK, explained about the helmet being a right off and my right arm hurt.  Immediate panics, mobile xray unit called out, broken arm detected, concerns about concussion and I’ve been running around sorting Pete out with a bruised knee and cuts and bruises.  Yes, I am still dining out on this story around 17 years later.

Well, the point of this is that we got Daisy out of the barn, pumped up her tyres and I did have a few tears, it was like welcoming a very old, dear friend back into the family.  I feel awful that she’s been neglected for so long.  We had a child seat for big girl on her and used to go all over, but once medium sized girl came along we couldn’t get them both on so she hasn’t really been used for a long time.  She will be soon.  Medium sized girl can actually fit on the back so I think we ought to get her back into the swing of things again. It’s amazing how many memories are captured in one inanimate object, even Pete got a little teary.