My husband and I are celebrating 18 years of marriage this month. Last year for our anniversary, we spent a weekend near the beach and rented a tandem bike for the first time. These are the lessons learned about myself and my marriage from those few hours of Tandem bike riding.
On a rare weekend away, sans kiddos, one of the ways we celebrated was riding a tandem bike together for the first time. It was revealing and convicting. Renting bikes for our anniversary weekend wasn’t planned. We tried using Airbnb for the first time and they stated that there were bikes available for use so we didn’t bother bringing ours. Unfortunately, they turned out to be unsuitable (rusted, flat tires, and children’s bikes versus adults). We decided to rent bikes near the beach. On our way, we decided to try a tandem bike.
My husband is a very experienced bicycle rider. He’s been riding in the city as a child, adult, and bike courier. Biking is one of his strengths. When the man who rented the bike to us asked who
would sit in the front, I pointed to Gabriel without hesitation. He gave us a map and pointed in the direction of the bike path off the boardwalk.
Learning to Let Go
Initially I was riding the tandem bike similarly to how I would ride a bike by myself. I was paying attention to the road ahead of me, gripping my handlebars and pedaling. Eventually I realized that I was gripping the handlebars as if I had the capability to steer. When you’re sitting in the back, you are not in control of the bike. The handlebars are only there for balance, not for steering.
I consciously loosened my grip and reminded myself that I wasn’t in control. I didn’t have to pay attention to the road ahead of me as if I was alone. Gabriel was there. He was steering and guiding us. I could look around and enjoy the beautiful sites around us.
I let myself enjoy not being in control. I trusted my husband to take care of us, and listened to his instructions. He was very good about communicating what he was doing – when he was changing gears and how fast we should pedal. I watched his legs and would pedal to match his speed, particularly when we were going up hills.
Working together on the Tandem Bike
We took turns resting and pedaling towards the end when fatigue was setting in. We worked together and both pedaled hard on a particularly steep hill. We were amazed by how a tandem bike was heavier, but required less effort because there were two of us.
Those few hours we spent on a tandem bike reminded me in a totally different way what I knew 17 years ago – that I chose a trustworthy partner.
I was reminded that we make a good team.
I was reminded that with good communication and teamwork, the hills that we encounter in our life together don’t have to wind us.
I was reminded that my fretting for control in life off the tandem bike was a choice. Was I living life as if I was all alone? I realized that I can choose daily to loosen my grip, enjoy the scene and people around me and breathe.
Have you ever ridden a tandem bike? What was your experience? I’d love to know!
Melinda Mitchell says
Congrats on 18 years of marriage! that’s wonderful!
I rode a tandem with my little sister behind, when I was 16, and she was 8. I took her to school on it, then went back to fetch her. It’s a whole new experience to be responsible for 2 of us!
I enjoyed the fellowship, and closeness.
That’s fun Melinda! We have a tagalong on our bike for my youngest son and I’m always actually terrified to be in the front!
Christy King says
I’ve never ridden on a tandem bike, but once I sat behind my husband on a motorcycle IN A SHOWROOM (as in, just sitting there, engine off) and it totally freaked me out.
Although I’d never been on a motorcycle, I could picture learning to drive one but not being the passenger – even though I do trust my husband. Guess I have to work on letting go of my control issues.
Ha! Christy that is so funny. I actually have lots of control issues too – I think I’m getting better as the years go by, but my family would probably be a better judge! 🙂
Abby @ WinsteadWandering says
Congratulations on 18 years! What an awesome accomplishment. I’ve never been on a tandem bike, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. These lessons are great!
Thanks Abby! I would highly recommend it for any couple!
Gaye @CalmHealthySexy says
These are great thoughts and lessons, Angela.
Thanks Gaye! It’s nice how we can always be learning and appreciating in marriage.
I have always wanted to ride a tandem bike. It’s been on my bucket list for a long time, and your article made me even more excited to accomplish it. Once I finally do, I’m sure I will have some of your words in my head. Isn’t it wonderful how even a simple bike ride can have lasting lessons? Thanks for sharing.
Hi Meg – I highly recommend it! Doing something familiar in a different way definitely has the potential to teach us new things about ourselves. Let me know if you do it!
Melissa Ruddy says
Love this. Great post. It is funny how riding a bike has so much life symbolism. Really loved your interpretation. Very thought provoking.
Mary Flaherty says
Oh my, the lessons I’ve learned while driving with my husband, hiking with my husband…I love what you learned. Although it seems like you may have learned your lessons quicker than I did mine. Wonderful post. Glad I stopped by. Your neighbor at Coffee For your Heart
Hi Mary! Thanks for stopping by – I appreciate your kind words. If only I could learn lessons in the ordinary day to day stuff! I’ll have to keep my eyes and heart open even in the “ordinary”.
Sherry Nappa says
Very inspirational! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday.
Thanks Sherry! Thanks for hosting such a great party!
Deb Wolf says
Congratulations on your anniversary and thanks so much for sharing this excellent life lesson!
Thank you Deb! Thank you for reading and commenting on the post. I appreciate your positive feedback!
Wow – this sounds like something every couple should try (perhaps even before marriage?!) Happy belated anniversary to you both 🙂 and thanks for linking up at Share the Wealth Sunday!
Thank you Carly! Thank you for hosting – Share the Wealth is a great link up!
Happy anniversary! A lot of couples don’t make it to 18 years these days. It sounds like you found a wonderful man to share your life with. Cheers to the two of you and here’s to another 18+ years for you two! Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!