For the past couple of years we’ve done the STP (Seattle to Portland) in two days. This year we decided to up the ante and do it in one day. This means more long rides ahead of time, as well as training at a faster pace. (Last year we did the 2-days at an average of 17.7 mph.) We’ve setup to ride with some other tandems from the Evergreen Tandem Club and have been practicing pacelining together. Using this technique you take short “pulls” (about 2 minutes) in the front and then you get to draft, thereby maintaining high speed while resting.It’s a lot of fun and will enable us to “fly” to Portland together as a team. You can read about our planned rides as well as our completed rides on our training schedule.
The big news is that we purchased a new daVinci tandem (and therefore sold SweatHard). How did that happen you ask? Finding ourselves with an unexpected sum of money from the sale of our seldom-used Toyota camper, we suddenly got the urge to upgrade our tandem. Sweathard, our two year old Rodriguez, was a great bike and has served us well. But we longed for a bike we could travel with. For tandems, that means you need to have S&S couplings which allow you to break the bike down to a size which fits in airline luggage. We began to look for our next bike.
Spencer had always been drawn to daVinci tandems. In fact, we’ve actually coveted one ever since we first saw them at the 2000 Bike Expo (months after acquiring Sweathard). Made in Colorado, the daVinci is a solidly made bike with an innovative drive train, shown left. Instead of locking the captain and stoker together with a timing chain, as every other tandem does, daVinci developed a new drive set up. They built in an intermediate drive shaft to which separate captain and stoker chains apply power. Those chains are on freewheels so they can independently coast.
This system seemed to make a lot of sense for us. Spencer traditionally performs at too high a heart-rate level. Sheila has trouble getting into her training zone, Spencer’s greater strength prevents Sheila from working to her potential. With independent coasting, theoretically Sheila can work harder while Spencer can cut back as needed.
An additional design feature provides a wider range of gears on the daVinci than on our old bike. This means we could have an easier time going uphill and still have more gear than before when we head down the other side. Both sound great to us.
The nearest dealer is Gateway in Portland, so we test-rode a daVinci in Seattle that belonged to some members of our tandem club. We loved it. It seemed like it would be a perfect bike for us.
We spent a lot of time talking with Mike at Gateway and Todd at daVinci planning what we would have on our new bike. They were very helpful throughout the process. We really had the emails flying as we fine-tuned it. Todd even agreed to purchase a kind of paint he’d never used in order to give us the color we wanted. It’s Kameleon like Sweathard, but she was green/purple and the new bike is turquoise/purple. Very attractive, especially with the stainless couplings. The model daVinci we got is called the Global In2ition. The Global means it has the couplings.The photo, right, shows the S&S Couplings up closer. We’ve named the new bike Clio.