How do you rate yourself as a climber? Faster than a few? Slower than most? Hoping for shorter climbs? Remembering the good old days?
I don’t consider myself a climber at all. Never have. And neither do people who pass my tandem on the slightest of inclines. I know I will be passed on group rides. I know I’m not in the best shape.
But even I was surprised to be passed by people on two specific bikes during the recent tandem rally in Columbus, Indiana.
One couple was riding a Hase Pino Allround, a half-upright, half-recumbent tandem similar to the Bilenky Viewpoint. (Imagine a front-load cargo bike where the cargo is a person pedaling the same bicycle as you but more comfortably.)
The other couple was cradled aboard a blue recumbent trike–the longest, lowest, heaviest two-seater of them all. (Image a Star Wars landspeeder without a body or repulsorlift.)
And both teams pulled away from me going uphill. On bicycles that could very well be voted “Most Improbable to Pass Anything at Any Time Unless Possibly Sandstone But Only When It’s Eroding.”
Yes, I know I’m a bit pudgy, and this is the first year in three that my stoker isn’t having a hip replaced, but come on. The only time these bikes should be able to pass me is when I’m fixing a flat tire–and taking my time.
In fact, I’d still be shaking my head over this weekend’s events if all I was considering was visual evidence of the impossible.
But my hearing is sometimes useful. And what I heard on the second pass by both machines—though alas, not the first pass–was the faint intervention of electric motors.
So, that was electric-assisted hill climbing. Well, good for them. They looked like they were having a good time.
As for myself, I was comforted by the immediate disappearance of the reality-distortion field.
Once again, we will control the horizontal.