My 11 year old daughter has been hassling me to use the Quetzal as a taxi for her various sporting activities in Galashiels, so last night I picked her up from her swimming club on ‘the beast’. I rode it down to Galashiels solo, which was my first time piloting the Quetzal without a stoker. Conclusion – the bike felt slightly more nimble and less like an (admittedly luxurious) truck, but was very hard work on even modest inclines. I averaged 14 mph on the slightly downhill route down the A7 from Stow.
Speaking of the A7, it was absolutely horrendous. Rush hour, everybody furious that this huge monster was crawling up hills at 8 mph…. I got the worst close pass I’ve ever experienced, from a Kristoffersen Carpets van heading to the Gala branch. He tried to squeeze past me when there was a car coming the other way (of course waiting 3 seconds till it was clear was unacceptable so he had to put me in serious danger). He passed so close I could literally stick my hand out and touch his van. Luckily my daughter wasn’t on the tandem at this point so I was able to scream blue murder. I’m going to start riding with a camera by default to catch idiots like this and report them.
Got to the pool just as miss mini recumbentcyclistuk was finishing so had time to cool down and eat a couple of fig rolls for the return journey. The usual line of baffled onlookers wondering what the strange contraption was parked outside the pool. Parents – what the hell is that, Kids – cool!
On the way home, I decided to take the longer and much hillier route via Clovenfords. There’s a nice roadside path you can take from the outskirts of Gala most of the way to Clovenfords, then you’re onto my more familiar back roads with barely a mechanised rage container to be seen. The hill out of Clovenfords is tough on the tandem with a pitch at around 10%, especially with an 11 year old secondary engine, but we did good and thoroughly enjoyed the ride home. Got my second fastest time ever on a downhill segment to Bowland – the Quetzal really flies when you point it downwards!
A two hour round trip and about 17 miles in all – slow but so much more fun (*) than the car.
* – Kristoffersen Carpets van driver encounters excluded