As you know 2020 has been quite the year. For us we hit 40K miles of tandeming, flew to Arizona to cycle in March for 3 weeks and while we were there the COVID lockdown happened. When we got home we continued to ride, not knowing if our planned REI bike tour to Bryce/Zion would happen in early September. Eventually that got cancelled. Riding is our happy place, and during COVID it continued to be a way to safely get outside. In late August when we decided it would be safe to head over to Vashon Island. There we visited with 3 different households of friends, all masked and outdoors. Returning home via West Seattle on Saturday, August 23, we were headed down Admiral Way in the protected bike lane, with a green light as we approached 35th. Out of nowhere a car stopped in the bike lane we were traveling down. Spencer yelled and quickly jammed on our brakes. We t-boned the front quarter of her car and Spencer ended up belly down, arms out in front like Superman on her hood. His feet caught on his handlebars keeping him from completing the fly-over! We were mostly unharmed, however the front fork was badly bent so the tandem was incapacitated.
The driver was appropriately mortified and compliant. We got her license, insurance, etc as well as witness names/contact. One witness was driving a van the other direction but eagerly offered us a ride home with our broken tandem. We were particularly grateful because the West Seattle bridge is closed to auto traffic. He happened to be a Longshoreman and had a special pass allowing him to drive over the bridge. As it turned out, the ride home was a bit scarier than the accident. We had no seat belts, Spencer on the floor holding the bike, and Sheila in a jump seat with a huge speaker blaring behind. We kept looking at each other and praying our driver would get us home safely. He ignored signs, sped and nearly nailed at least one cyclist. It was quite an adventure. But clearly we made it home in no time.
Since it was Saturday night, we had to wait until Tuesday to take it to our bike shop. They thought they could fix it and have it back to us in 1-2 weeks. Turns out, COVID had caused a huge run on bikes and parts. So when they said the repair would require a rebuild and take 3-4 months, we started talking to the insurance folks about replacement. Together we finally decided to call it totaled. It didn’t make sense to us to rebuild an 18 year old bike.
We began the research for a new tandem. We loved our da Vinci and would not even consider another make. But our old bike was steel with couplings. Did we think we’d need to be able to take the bike apart and pack in airline legal suitcases ever again? We already don’t travel much and had just come back from Tucson with the tandem in a rental van instead of flying. We’re not getting any younger and had already talked about “someday” considering an electric assist tandem. Apparently someday had arrived early. After several conversations with Todd at da Vinci we settled on buying da Vinci’s Tailwind e-bike. The weight difference between our old coupled bike with 3 cross beams and our new aluminum with motor and battery but no couplings and only 2 cross beams makes them relatively comparable.
A fun side story is that while discussing the variables with Todd he mentioned he needed help with rebuilding his WordPress website. Long story short, Sheila ended up rebuilding his website as a partial trade. So between the insurance, the salvaged old parts, and this trade, we’re not out-of-pocket any cash!
As the headline says – the Tailwind is the silver lining to crashing our old tandem! Can’t wait for the early spring weather to get out riding again.
The first question Denise asked what what’s her name! We decided to name her Tess, short for Tesla, since we will not be owning another automobile. This electric tandem is our version.