Second training weekend, Sept 2014

Second training weekend, this time Maine! (and New Hampshire)

Thunder! Lightning! Rain! Hail! Eggs! Huge ice cream!!

After the issues with getting our behemoth bike on the Amtrak train for our first training weekend, for our second training weekend we planned something simpler, “guaranteed” train space, and less ambitious distances.

We again rode early doors to Boston’s North Station. This time we were riding the Commuter Rail to Newburyport, a short one hour skip north. We got on the train with no problems, chatted with the guard, other cyclists and arrived in Newburyport without issue. We took the short bike path towards the port, on advice of a local cyclist and, also on his advice, stopped in the rather excellent Plum Island Coffee shop ( cafe for a cup of tea (obvious Englishman abroad! Heading onwards we found beautiful roads and wonderful beaches in bright sunshine. Seemingly hundreds of classic cars we saw on all the roads – GTOs, Mustangs, Beetles, Caddilacs, Pontiacs – everyone was out for a cruise that weekend.

We are waterproof
We stopped by Hampton beach for lunch and notice a couple of large clouds heading our way. The rain started and we asked ourselves the question “Ride or Hide?” – Frog, naturaly unphased by the rain, suggested to ride as the skies north looked clear. Of course the rain increased and suddenly the storm clouds came – lightning crashed, thunder rolled, and even hail slammed down on us ( – see the lightning at 1:25 in the video). We certainly enjoyed riding in hung warm rain, and the excitement of being in the storm was fantastic ( Our bags are fully waterproof (see our kit selections here Ortlieb panniers – the finest and most trusted in the land so we were interested to carry on to see how waterproof they were, and how the bike would handle in the wet.

Making friends
Rolling through Portsmouth we bumped into another touring tandem. Riding a tandem (The Smile Generator you are instantly friends of all other tandem riders – only another tandem can understand exactly what it takes to ride on a tandem, the feeling, the joy, the sacrifices and lack of comfort. Reminds me of the quote
“If you want to go fast, go alone
If you want to go far, go together”
Jeff and Louise are riding their red tandem around the world, enjoying their retirement – they are currently en route from Canada to Washington, and they did half a year in Europe last year – wonderful people. Their bike is rather special too – a custom made, one of a kind, SnS coupled tandem, with 20 inch wheels, and of course it’s red! Follow their fascinating blog here DCIM100GOPRO
And for my considerations of tandem design and which tandem to go for have a browse of my thoughts here

Our kit is waterproof
We followed the coast road through New Hampshire and into Maine. The scenery was wonderful, the classic cars followed us up the road through Ogunquit and to Wells.

photo 1 (1)  photo 1 (2)photo 2 (1) We set up efficiently, and strolled over the road to find some lobster for Frog and some non-lobster for Badger. The rain started to come down as we ate and by the time we got back to the tent it was raining hard. The tent we have is a 2 man. It is small which means it is easy to transport, but it is quite small. This time we kept the valuables inside the tent, and the non-valuables in the waterproof Ortlieb bags under the awnings. In the morning, the tent had survived the rain, and we made a cup of tea on our camp stove (again, the Englishman abroad cliche!). We packed up quickly, and marvelled at how much stuff we were able to cram onto our bikes.

photo 1 (3) photo 2 (2)

Egg is good fuel
We had spotted a place for breakfast the day before and hot footed it there – “Egg and I” in Ogunquit We ate huge special breakfasts with cups of tea and then hit the road again. photo 2

The trains back were infrequent, once every 3 hours, and we wanted to take an earlier train to brace ourselves for the reality of getting back to a working week. So we really booted it – the roads were good, weather was fine – warm, but not too warm – and we made what for us was excellent time on a fully loaded tandem – averaging over 15 mph for 50 miles. On the way we stopped for an ice cream and Badger was shocked to find that he, for the first time in his life, could not finish his ice cream – a spectacular “death by chocolate”. And it was only a “large” – thanks ‘Murica!!

photo 3


We are a little more comfortable
Since our first weekend we had made several changes to the bike set up:

1: Badger’s saddle at a better angle, lower height, closer to handlebars
2: Badger’s handlebars at a higher angle, with clip on triathlon bars
3: Frog’s saddle at a better angle, higher, further away from handlebars
4: Frog’s handlebars higher and further forward.
4: Chamois creme 🙂
This made the handling of the additional weight easier, and whilst we were not without discomfort, we were much happier at the contact points.

In summary, we found that we rode well together, the changes we had made to the bike gave us much more comfort, and really enjoyed the beautiful scenery though that area. We are glad it went well as this is the last overnight trip we have planned prior to the big one! Wish us luck!!

Days ridden: 2
Miles covered: 120

Strava links

photo (4)

About Badger and Frog

On a world tour on a tandem
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