By Lavern Nissley
(Personal reflections on a favorite pastime with Ronda)
Today is the 10th anniversary of our tandem recumbent bicycle maiden voyage. Since then we’ve logged 11,742 miles and 740 hours, 43 minutes on this bike that keeps us inseparable and fairly comfortable.
Incidentally, on that first ride to Urbana on the bike path at Hickory Grove we came across a fallen biker, Thomas Spurgin. We asked if he’s OK, and the people around him said that help was on the way. Later we were shocked to hear he had died of injuries after being struck by a vehicle at that intersection. He was 58 and had just retired from a career in education. A sobering reminder for us to “all clear” every intersection we cross.
Riding together on our tandem is truly one of our favorite pastimes. So many great memories and conversations. As well as a good number of arguments and disagreements. Since we're on the same bike, we can't just leave the situation. So, we've definitely honed our conflict resolution skills while pedaling furiously.
Thank you, Ronda, for being a super “stoker” (name given to person in 2nd seat) and navigator for us. My role in the front seat is “captain”. I like that designation!
A comment we've heard frequently from people is, "Hey, she's not pedaling!" Everyone thinks it's totally original and funny. It's neither!
We've found it fulfilling to put our energies together and achieve some significant challenges: 6 “century” rides of 100 miles in a day; a 5 day, 300+ mile Ride for Missions adventure in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia; experiencing about 8 flat tires, several on very long trips; climbing some steep ascents that we didn’t think were possible for us.
Here’s to another 10 years of riding our metaphor of being inseparable!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.