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From Canada to Mexico on a quad tandem bicycle

Katie Munro's picture
The Tandem Tour 2 cycling the United States Pacific Coast. Photo JMH Photography. Cycle Traveller

There we were, five new friends embarking on an adventure never done before. While the bike route along the United States' Pacific Coast from Canada to Mexico is well travelled by cyclist’s year after year, never before has it been done on a quad tandem bicycle. Yes, a quad tandem… one, two, three, four people on one bike.

With rugged Oregon coastlines and swooping California hills, it quickly became clear why this cycle route is on many cyclists' bucket list. It is the most beautiful coastline any of us have travelled, which says a lot when the majority of us on the journey are very well travelled.

However, as well travelled as we are, it must be noted that we were by no means cyclists when this began. It was the first cycle trip all but one of us has ever done, so we started this trip as virgins in the cycle touring community, with very little experience and little to no mechanical knowledge. We were destined for adventure filled with both literal and emotional highs and lows.

Four years ago this unique bike made by R & E Cycle in Seattle travelled across Canada raising money for four different charities. This time, Jeff returned to ride the quad tandem again after Hamilton inquired about dusting it off and bringing it out. Seeking an adventure with a greater purpose, Hamilton acted as the common denominator to bring the five of us together to ride for early detection lung cancer research. Ryan, Jeff, Hamilton and I (Katie) took to the bike while Simon took to the wheel being as our support driver.

The Tandem Tour 2 cycling from Canada to Mexico. JMH Photography. Cycle TravellerWobbly at first, it didn’t take too long for us to function as one rider. That being said, the bike spent just as much time upside-down as right side up. That's because while there is no shortage of things to be thankful for, and a number of advantages to being on a bike with four people, there are also a number of disadvantages. Very few days went by without mechanical issues and numerous bathroom breaks disrupted the flow! Every component on the bike broke except the frame itself. No bike part is made to have four people’s pressure, strength, weight and torque put onto it.

While these continuous breakdowns along the coast were often deflating and left little daylight, they provided us with the opportunity to be awed by the kindness of strangers. Time and again we were aided by other cyclists and strangers alike. They were helpful to us no doubt out of the goodness of their hearts, but took it upon themselves to ensure our mission to raise money and awareness for early detection lung cancer research was completed.

Prior to leaving, we had jumped through hoops and red tape to make The Tandem Tour Foundation – a recognized not-for-profit – and it didn’t take long to choose a beneficiary of this ride.

My dad had been diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago, (and thankfully due to the early detection lung cancer program, he is still here), so there was no question about what we were binding together to ride for.

And ride we did! Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico on a quad tandem!

For more about our adventure, check out our blog at www.tandemtourtwo.com or on Facebook: Tandem Tour Foundation.

Images: The team on the quad tandem. Photo by Justin M. Hill at JMH Photography.

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