Roger was just opening the doors to the side of the house as I pulled onto his drive and I was greeted with a cheery "nice and early then". We had a quick chat and we agreed Roger would take me out on one of his routes, which I recorded on my Garmin Touring Plus below.
|Rogers Route Number 1|
We followed some nice B roads out towards the back roads of Longbridge and then onto the Redditch road to the Man ON The Moon: Roger had explained that prior to the Moon landings this pub was called the Man IN the Moon and was renamed after the moon landings and was attended by a host of American dignitaries.
Just before the Man on The Moon, we threw the front chain, the bike was booked in for a service the following week and Roger explained the front chain may need some tensioning, he explained the need to synchronise the pedals on a Tandem, which I grasped fairly quickly. I refitted the chain and we were off in about a minute.
We turned right at the island headed out towards Earlswood, I was feeling much more in tune with the bike and really enjoying myself. I felt we had much more of a rhythm and I concentrated on taking it easy and not really pushing things too hard.
One of the funny things I have experienced and Roger confirms is that a few people have asked, "who steers"?? I find this amusing when I explain I am up front... What is amazining is that you don't need a Sat Nav when you have Roger, he has his entire routes committed to memory and calls out the turns and navigational instructions with an accuracy that I would love from my Garmin!
There was a small shaky moment when heading quite fast down hill that a side wind hit us and threatened to drive me to close to the Kerb and into a fissure in the road about 5 ft long that would have nicely shredded any tyre, fortunatley I steered us clear I think Roger was blissfully unaware! A little later on I described a hole in the road as a meteor strike it was about half a wheels depth and covered a 3rd of the road... I wonder how many cars that has claimed!
We stopped off for a coffee at the Manor House Tea rooms in the grounds of the Earlswood Lakes craft centre, well worth another visit at some point. I wasn't feeling hungry I had eaten a bacon sandwich earlier in the morning so Roger chomped down on a bacon and egg sandwich whilst I enjoyed my coffee.
|Roger & I leaving the little cafe|
We had a quick photo taken by the dogs owner, and then a gentleman came round the corner and introduced himself and explained he was also riding a Tandem with his wife who was partially sighted. She came wandering towards us, we shook hands and I remember thinking how amazing it was that they both still pursued their passion, there are many people who could do with their tenacity!
The whole journey was extreemely good fun, I had that wonderful feeling you get when flying along quite country roads, almost elation I must have looked a lunatic to other road users as I had a massive grin on my face at certain points. At one point on a particularly long stretch I could almost hear Toad from toad hall sitting in the middle of the road going "beep beep"...
We had a lot of banter and telling each other stories and then headed back for an enjoyable but uneventful ride home.
We were greeted by Rogers wife, who immediately supplied me with cold drinks, I had a quick tug of war with his blind dog and was pounced on by his cat who has to be the most loving fussy animal I have ever met, I am not a cat person but this one with her strange copper tinge to his tabby fur had melted my heart completely and I felt myself pulled in by her every whim to be scratched and petted on command.
Before I left I measured the exact height of my seat so that I could ensure a quick and easy fit next time 11 cm so nice and easy. We had chatted far too long "my fault entirely" I was enjoying Rogers company.
All in all a successful day and one we will repeat shortly enough, due to holidays on Rogers side and some commitments on mine it will be a month before we cycle together again but I am already looking forward to it.