When I was 11 we got our first tandem bike (we're juggling a few right now). My parents were imagining nice family bike rides with one of them leading me on the front. As kids, my sister Carmella and I were not imagining the same thing.
We were finally presented with a perfect opportunity to take it for a spin together, without parent supervision of course. However, we soon realized no matter how much we tried to lower the seat in the front, Carmella was just too short being only 8 at the time. As any brother would do, I found a way around it so we could still try it out together. I was tall enough for the front, for better or for worse, and decided it would be ok if I lead. We took a practice lap around the block with Carmella on the back yelling directions and me ducking at corners. We actually managed to not get hurt, so we obviously continued. We believed we were quite the duo.
As we were cruising through the alley an appealing challenge hit us, both physically and mentally. There was a telephone pole placed perfectly next to the corner of a neighboring garage. Why would we not try and squeeze through it on the bike? We must have become bored with the current risk of the blind leading the short on an unfamiliar bike. We tried it with success and had never felt so much pride in our lives, until we tried for a second time. This time we were not as careful. The front handle clipped the pole just enough to throw the bike sideways into the garage and us onto the alley. Who knew garages could be so hard and alleys so rocky? Anyways, we were pretty young as I said before, so we laughed through the pain. Only a couple raspberries showed on our elbows and chins. Once we figured out there was nearly no damage, we did it a few more times.
Soon, mom came out to see how it was going and was shocked by the sight. Her visually impaired son was riding the front of the new family tandem and leading his younger sister into garages. That ended pretty fast, but our laughter never did. Throughout our childhood my parents discovered that my sister and I worked really well together. We brought out the best (and worst) in each other with lots of close calls and sneakiness. To this day, my sister and I still explore the world of adventure that is far beyond our parents’ comfort zones.