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Our 2016-17 UK Voyage

Our First Tandem Bike Trip!

12 December 2016 | Mri Grout

Lifleong Vagabonds and their new tandem bike
I’m not entirely sure how, but Rob actually managed to get me on the tandem bike this morning. It arrived about a week ago, but every time he tried to do this before something would always (and conviently) come up. Things like "oh, I have to go to work in two hours" or "I'd love to, but I have to carry this cycling helmet we just bought for me instead because its carboard box is just too precious to simply leave in this here recycling bin..."

And so at 11am this morning we set off to go ride our new bike and no 'set off to go' is not a mistype. Because even though we live on the edge of a small town and will have to ride the bike through the busy streets of Las Vegas, I made us walk to a more remote, deadend street. That was in no way as remote as I would have liked as roughly three cars passed us in about half an hour.

However, once I finally stopped making Rob stop the bike completely and let me off as soon as I spotted a moving car, he had the audacity to actually suggest cycling through the middle of town (which is made up of only like one street, but still)! Obviously I said, “No way in hell” so he took me for another spin around a nearby carpark and then instead of taking yet another circuit, he turned back out onto the proper street! Ahhhhhh!

SPOILER ALERT: We actually didn’t die though so don’t get too worried.

We did however, almost run into numerous cars! Or rather, I think so; Rob says we were miles away, but what does he know? He's only the tandem captain/driver...though I guess my lack of depth perception and inability to steer is kinda the whole reason we're on a tandem...but whatever. We were still way too close to my liking. Luckily, though I found a fantastic solution to this.

You see, it turns out the stoker (aka: the person on the back of a tandem; aka: me) can easily spank the person upfront when something happens that they don't like. You can also just pedal backwards, but that's a heck of a lot scarier than letting go of the handlebars for a few seconds, as fighting the captain makes the bike REALLY wobbly. Also, if you're gonna fall off might as well make it worth it. Ahahahaha. We're totally not gonna die/get divorced next year. Probably.

Anyway, after somehow not dying through town either via a car or our complete lack of fluidity, Rob and I took off on a 12 mile loop for a mini test run. I'd tell you where we went, but all I could see was his backside as Rob would constantly get on to me for trying to see around him.

On the plus side though, I've already learned how to take photos without making him long as whatever I want to capture is directly in front of me as again, he gets on to me when I move even the slightest. So that's definitely something we still have to work on, as well many, many other things like: seat adjustment, new handlebar fittings, riding on gravel, him telling me BEFORE and not after he changes gears (it feels really jerky on the back), and me still pedaling even when I really think we should stop...

And for everyone who thinks I don't actually pedal, I totally do. I even managed to lift Rob up when he slipped on his own pedal, so there! However, as I have already told him, I am not a bloody machine (despite what you may think of me emotionally) and so I do actually get tired and if that tiredness comes on a few seconds after starting off...well, that's just being human. Haha.

Got any tips for riding tandem?

We're Going On an Expedition!

8 December 2016 | Mri Grout

As unfortunate as it is, this trip is probably going to be our last hurrah before we have to settle down to meet visa requirements so that Rob and I (a freaking married couple) can stay together in the same country. So we're not just going to go on another adventure or holiday abroad or backpacking trip. No, this time we're going to go on a proper bloody expedition.

And to me, an expedition is something that challenges you physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's not something an average Joe just goes out and does; it's something that takes serious planning because if you don't, there's a good chance you could die or worse - fail in its completion. But above all, an expedition is not something you do for the photos nor the glory; rather, you do it to discover just who and what you really are. So if you're not thinking of calling it quits at least once throughout the trip, then to me, it's not an expedition. It's just an adventure and we've already been there and done that. Many times over, in fact.

So yeah, in 2017 we're going to go on a proper bloody expedition and since Rob's already vetoed walking to a pole and back, we're instead going to be cycling around 5000 miles across the freaking North American Rockies, starting in Las Vegas and ending up somewhere in Canada.

At the wrong time of year.

On a tandem bike.

While both still being vegetarian (because for some reason people think that means we won't have enough energy to do it...).

And with a person (aka: me) who can't really ride a bike and suffers from a few medical problems like asthma, sjogren's (constantly dehydrated), and chronic pain, which increases with physical activity and the heat until I'm no longer able to move, sometimes for days at a time.

Man, this is gonna be just EPIC. :D

Lifelong Vagabonds' 2017 Rockies expedition route through the USA
So if you want to follow our 2017 Rockies Expedition (because of course you would, who wouldn't?) or meet up with us somewhere along the way (though please don't take any offense if we're just completely zombified) then just follow us on Facebook! (:

Any bets on whether we're gonna live or die? :P

2016-17 UK: November