My first passenger…

November 5, 2010 at 06:37 | Posted in bicycles | 1 Comment
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Well, I finally found a willing victim passenger. I was attending a work function in the city last Thursday evening, and went straight from work. As I was getting ready to go, a colleague came over and asked if I wanted to share a cab.
‘A cab?’ I asked. ‘I’m going on my bike. And there’s room for a passenger if you want a lift!’
He looked at the radish. ‘Alright!’ he said. ‘Lets do it!’.
So he hopped on the back. Now, I don’t have the full passenger kit for the radish (which includes foot-rests and a cushion), so he was just perched on the board on the
back. Still, he said he was reasonably comfortable, so we set off into the peak-time traffic through North Sydney.
As son as we got moving, I realised that this was a rather different proposition compared to riding with shopping, or a trombone. He was of course much heavier, the weight was much higher, and, most disconcertingly, he was moving about.
‘Just trying to get comfortable!’ he’d say, as he joggled about on the back as we sailed down Miller Street, swerving form side to side. It also made steering very difficult; as I leaned the bike into a corner he tended to shift his weight to stay upright. So I’d lean further left, he’d lean further right, and the bike would want to go straight on. This meant it was really necessary to haul the bike around corners by pulling the handlebars round – which was quite tiring.
Not as tiring, however, as going uphill. The route from North Sydney to the City is mostly downhill (which is why I offered him a lift), but each time we hit even a slight incline I found myself reflecting on the fact that I perhaps should have chosen a more lightweight passenger for my first ‘plus one’ ride, rather than a six foot tall bloke who weighs about ninety kilos. Still, pride prevented me from admitting defeat, even though for some sections we ended up crawling along in granny gear no faster than we’d have managed if we’d both got off and walked.
We did get up some impressive speed on the downhills, though – and my passenger had a real panic moment as we exited the SHB cycleway on the city side. I guess he couldn’t see what was coming up, and unexpectedly shooting into a narrow tunnel and then out onto a path that suddenly veers right is a bit disconcerting if you weren’t expecting it. I think that was the moment he started to re-think whether he’d made a wise transport choice. He was impressed with the cycle lanes through the city though – just perfect for this kind of cycling.
The most amazing thing was the reaction we got from other road users. The sight of two forty year old blokes on a stretched beach cruiser riding through the city in smart clothes just seemed to cheer everyone up. I was worried that we’d get some abuse for holding up motorists with our antics, especially given how slow we were. But instead we got a lot of cries of encouragement, laughter and cheers as we went by. It helped that my passenger was full of it, and engaged passers-by with witty comments about how little work it all was, and what a great way it was to travel, and how fresh and cool he was, whilst I sweated away, head down, gasping for breath and grinding the pedals around.
We duly arrived at our destination, safe and sound, and I reckon probably not much slower than we’d have managed in a cab at that time of night. I didn’t offer him a lift back though…

Apologies, but I don’t have any pictures of us. If anyone happened to see us at about 6pm on Thursday night in the city and took a photo, I’d love to get a copy!

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  1. […] also clonked and moved around rather as I rode along; it was all rather reminiscent of having a passenger. Still, I got home fine, and am now able to add ’20 litres of water’ to the list of […]


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