We have been in conversation, and then getting geared up with a bike builder, Jay Borden, of Roulez Cycles, in Lynn, MA for over a year to help us obtain an adaptive tandem bike that was easier to transport, and easier to handle than the adaptive tandem bike we have had for a number of years. It has been a challenge, and a real collaborative effort to be sure the frame worked for what I need in an adaptive tandem.
Additional challenges mounted as we worked to added the e-assist to the bike, essential for us to have since between all the gear we need to carry to keep me safe in warm weather, plus the weight of the bike, and ourselves, everything adds up to nearly 400 pounds–easy when rolling on a flat trail, not so easy at all on steep inclines. My husband figured out the e-assist part, after a number of maddening programming issues, and on a warm July morning, he said, “let’s go!”
Yes, the day promised to be near 90 degrees. We headed to the coast, to the East Bay Bike Path, for that reason, knowing it would be cooler along the ocean. But we also packed my cooling vest, made by Veskimo products, that I wear in warm weather, an essential adaptive piece of equipment that makes the difference in keeping me safe, since I am unable to sweat to help me cool off.
This new bike comes apart into three pieces, joined together by ingenious S&S couplers. Piecing the bike together at the bike trail is still a work in progress, and we are working out those details, but it all worked, extra ice and bike tools were packed up, and we headed out along Narragansett Bay, starting in E. Providence.
Low tide meant we saw lots of birds along the way, hunting in the shallows of the ponds at the edge of the bay. We stopped for only a few pictures, but did capture a great blue heron taking advantage of the boardwalk that can be accessed either from the bike trail or from the Boyden Heights conservation area.
The heat provided a perfect excuse to stop at the Dari-Bee in Riverside for cups of cool ice cream. This ice cream stop is directly along the trail, which makes it perfect for peddlers of all sizes to stop and cool off in the shade next to the trail.
We are still working out the kinks for how to best situate handlebars and seats, so this was a short (ten mile) trip, but it certainly won’t be the last. It has been a lot of work to make this bike do just what we needed, but that’s part of the territory when adapting anything. For now, we are on a roll…
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.