This article is from the Misc Bicycles FAQs, by various authors.
We are using NightSun Lights on the front, a non-flashing LED rear as
well as the flashing Vista Light. We carry a small fork-mounted Sanyo
Light that runs on c-cell batteries for emergencies and as a
flashlight. We also have a rear minder reflective triangle, sidelight
reflectors on the wheels and a little flag extending from the side of
the bike a few inches into traffic. We call this little gadget our
"WinnebagoFeeler". We found it in a bike shop in Quebec and it has
proved to be very effective in getting cars to give us plenty of room
The most important pieces of equipment on the bike though are the his
and her horns. A tandem already draws a lot of attention, but loving
the limelight as we do, we add to it by tooting our own horns as a way
of greeting well-wishers. Children really get a kick out of it!
A few weeks before the ride, John Bayley, a participant from Dublin,
Ireland, contacted me with questions about the ride and the area. We
exchanged several letters and I invited him to stay at our place prior
to the event. We met him at the airport a few days before the ride
holding up arrows from PBP, so he would recognize us.
John had injured his knee a few weeks before the ride and wasn't sure
if he would be able to ride. I encouraged him to come anyway. I
suggested that he could help crew if the knee gave out.
Unfortunately, John brought Irish weather with him, making it rain for
the next 4 days! We used this time to take John to lots of bike
shops, and visit lots of our cycling friends. We were all a little
eager to get on our bikes, but they were clean and working well, and
we just didn't want to ride in the rain again!
On Wednesday before the ride, the rain finally broke, and summer came
to New England just in time for our ride. While I really appreciated
having warm sunny weather for the ride, it was a little tough since we
had not ridden in any heat all summer. I know John had hoped to use
the days prior to the ride to get used to the heat, but he'd just have
to do it on the ride along with everyone from New England too!
We spent Wednesday afternoon finding every cycling related item in the
house and packing it in the van. We wanted to be ready for anything.
Steve's brother, David, had offered to crew for us, but did not show
up until the last minute. This helped fray some nerves, but everything
worked out fine in the end. We did start out by apologizing to David
and each other for anything we might say along the way, and thanking
David repeatedly for crewing for us.
We arrived at the start with a well tuned bike, two well trained
bodies, and a van full of parts, clothes, and food for the ride. We
saw a few familiar faces scurrying around in the dark. And then we
spied the OTHER tandem. Hauke Kite-Powell, the ride's organizer, had
told us we were the only one just a week before. We made our way over
and "casually" asked who the riders were. We then met the two MALE
tandemists. I guess I was feeling a little competitive after all.
While they had been preparing for the ride for a while, they had just
signed up 3 days before the event.
I looked around for other female riders and discovered that again the
numbers were small. Eight women appeared on the starting line. Not
bad, but I'd like to see those numbers increase.
Most of the riders had chosen the 90 hour start time of 4AM. 15 riders
would start 6 hours later at 10AM. Lots of flashes popped as crews and
riders snapped pictures in the dark. A photographer from a regional
magazine was covering the event, and a young woman from California was
taking lots of video to make a documentary. She spoke with us briefly,
but our nervous energy and last minute adjustments didn't leave us in
a good position to talk. We each poured the first of many, many
bottles of Ultra Energy down our throats, put on our jackets, vests,
helmets and glasses and aimed the bike toward Montreal.
Hauke encouraged us to be very nice to the checkpoint personnel, to
ride safely and have a good time and we were off. We stayed near
the middle of the group for a while, following a stream of red
flashing vista lights. Looking back, we saw a steady line of
headlights. We encountered very few cars on our way out of town.