Rich and Valerie McKay at the Golden Gate

Rich and Valerie McKay at the Golden Gate

Valerie and I started riding a tandem in 1991 and twenty-two years later we’re still pedaling our two-fers.  One bad habit we’ve acquired is taking our tandem with us whenever and wherever we travel.  We’ve found that if we can’t take the bike with us, the trip isn’t necessary!

The early days were fraught with various car carrier bike racks, be they trunk-mount, roof-racks or bumper mount.  We managed to find a way to take the bike with us, albeit exposed to the elements.  In 2009 we purchased a coupled Santana “Beyond,” giving us the capability to travel on airliners with the bike.  The final step was breaking down and buying a truck with a long bed and a shell, complete with a carpeted after-market liner (Bedrug).  When we’re driving for vacations (or just for a day ride in the general area of southwest Idaho), the bike goes inside the camper shell, completely protected from the elements.

So why this obsession of taking the bike with us everywhere we go?  Well… why not?  What better way to see the region you’re visiting than from the saddle of your tandem?  We have flown and driven to San Diego and San Francisco (having the coupled tandem really helps with travel options).  We’ve driven to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to spend a few days riding the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s, a 71-mile paved trail along a reclaimed railroad bed that offers some breathtaking views, and many miles of quiet riding away from any roads.

Got a mountain tandem?  Take it with you to experience the Route of the Hiawatha, a short drive from the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s.  The Route of the Hiawatha is another railbed, carving its way through the forests of Idaho and crossing the Idaho-Montana border while inside a 1.7 mile long tunnel!  Yes… headlights are required!  Interested in either of these routes?

Another trip that has almost become a yearly ritual is the trip to Florida in October for the Florida Tandem Rally.  This ride, hosted by the Florida PANTHERS Tandem Club, is headquartered at The Villages, Florida and fans out from there to incorporate some scenic riding through rural Florida at its finest.  We liked the ride and the effort that the organizers put into it so much that we joined the club!  This rally is a great way for northerners to cap the riding season!  Visit the Florida Tandem Club for details.

We’ve flown to San Francisco, San Diego, Tampa and Paris with the bike. We fly on Southwest Airlines whenever possible, as we’ve found their pricing and policies to be consistent.  But no matter where we go, we take the bike.  Why?  Because tandem cycling is in our blood, and it defines who we are.  Not buying that?  Okay… we take the bike with us wherever we go because it’s fun!  And that’s an underlying concept you truly understand, or you wouldn’t be reading Double Talk – would you?


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