When we were new to tandeming, we discovered the joy of riding with other tandems at the NW Tandem Rally in Corvallis in 1999. After NWTR 2000 in Port Angeles, Sheila began talking with Estelle Gray @ R&E about rallies and tandem clubs. NUTS (NW Unofficial Tandem Society) was still in existence but Estelle didn’t have the energy or bandwidth to do a lot with it. Sheila talked with her about doing an NWTR and together they agreed that creating a new club to grow a support base for a large event made sense. She provided the NUTS mailing list to begin making the dream of an active tandem club that could put on a high quality NWTR into a reality.
Evergreen Tandem Club – ETC
Organizational meetings began in 2000 with Don and Carol Hayes, Dennis and Louise Fugier, Charlie Buchalter, Larry and Marischka Pilch, and Mike and Renda Murphy. We decided on a name and mission statement and recruited a local tandem rider/illustrator, Sean Kane, to design our logo, Sheila created a website and we had shirts printed up in time for the rally in Pendleton in 2001. There we started surveying about NWTR preferences and promoting our club with business cards and brochures. We printed a banner for our booth and our annual group photo. We even offered every charter team a pair of ETC t-shirts as an incentive to join. We had brochures in lucite racks at all the bike stores. With all that marketing we had 150 TEAMS that first year!
Educational & promotional activities
From the beginning we were all about promoting the joy of tandeming. We had rides from the Skagit Flats to Flaming Geyser. Our first season kickoff event was at REI. Jeff and Louise Davis spoke on packing light for credit-card camping. We still wear the Ericksen windbreakers we won that night. We even coordinated a ride to Mercer Island from our Bike Expo booth in 2001 – joined by a paralympic blind stoker team. In the winter we offered Winter Workshops with speakers. We even did a Paceline Workshop with Tamara Stephas in the rain! Annual picnics were a source of great fun including time trials and stoker races.
2004 Northwest Tandem Rally – NWTR
The goal was hosting the “best ever” NWTR in 2004. We spent a few years exploring venues, times of year, etc and had monthly planning meetings working out every tiny detail. We ended up a bit outside of Seattle, in Lacey at St. Martin’s College. We’d wanted the “village” feel with all rides starting at one place, a mass start, and nearby hotels, camping and dorms. We held it on Memorial Day so sadly we had more than our share of rain. Despite the rain, it was very successful, with 500 teams, great routes, great jerseys and tons of volunteers who felt like they’d contributed to creating a fabulous NWTR. So in reaching the goal of NWTR we’d also reached the goal of creating a viable ongoing tandem club!
Ever evolving – Another NWTR 2017
The club continued to thrive. Mike and Renda began leading wine rides in the Yakima valley early on, visiting wineries and trucking cases of wine the riders purchased. Remember the goatheads? The popular Chili, Chile, Chilly was started by Larry and Marishka from their home.
Barb and Randall Angell began a series of Tandem 101 events at Sand Point to help folks learn how to enjoy riding long bikes. Stokers and captains volunteered time and energy to introduce more people to the joy of tandeming. The Angells also organized bikes to provide ride opportunities at the annual Seabeck Deaf & Blind camp.
A new wave of leaders rose up in the 2010s, Mike and Jane Meagher, Mary Tedd Allen and Rob Scott, Curt and Lisa Leo, Ben and DeeDee Rixe and others with lots of new rides. Many of these folks led the Seattle NWTR 2017 effort. Somewhere along the way the website got replaced by Meetup.com and a Facebook Group. The club continues to be fun and to change with the times. A huge THANK YOU to all who have made the club what it is today and will continue into the future.
Early year photos – Share your memories
Please share your memories in the comments below and/or on the Facebook Group. Rollover each image for info or click on one to see in a slideshow of our early years.