Father’s Day, Family Tandeming and the Lead Sled

MG and I are taking the weekend off to host my daughter, who is here for one of her regular visits to D.C. from State College, Pa., where she lives with her mom. She’s going to enter sophomore year in high school this fall and we’re so proud of her.

MG and I don’t fully put the bikes away on these weekends. As long as the weather is fair, all three of us tool around D.C. by bike to shop and go out to lunch or dinner. (Otherwise, we walk.)

Riding in DC with DF last fall. Courtesy MG.
Riding in DC with DF last fall. Courtesy MG.

Daughter DF takes over the stoker spot on the Cannondale MTB tandem, A.K.A. The Lead Sled, and MG graciously gives up her seat to ride single bike.

DF has been riding the Sled since she was nine years old, and her progression on it has served as our version of the height marks one puts on a doorframe as their kids get taller.

We started out with no seatpost showing, crank shorteners and narrow 38 cm wide drop bars on a long extended stoker boom. I remember when we bought the smallest size SPD-compatible shoes around for her, women’s 36.

Now at 5’7″ tall, she rides a saddle height nearly as high as MG’s and likes wide riser MTB bars moved all the way forward. Her shoe size is now a women’s 41.

If she was much taller the Sled would be too small; it is the Large/Medium sizing Cannondale offered in the MTB lineup during the mid-2000’s.

Curiously, DF has zero interest in riding a single bike, and does not own a bike at home.

But when she visits it’s no big deal to get on the tandem and go out to see the sights. She said yesterday she does not think about it much because we started riding tandem years ago.

DF also is no fan of cycling clothing. Other than the bike shoes, gloves and a helmet, she’s fine to hit the streets in regular shorts or jeans and a T-shirt. Padded shorts? Um, no.

I see all the ads for Fathers Day, which I view as a barbeque grill-and-power tools holiday, and think the best gift for a dad is time spent together with family.

DF nonetheless surprised me with a small gift this year, a sweet blue ceramic bowl she made in her art class. I’m very touched; best of all it is signed and dated on the bottom by the artist.

My Fathers Day gift. Treasure!
My Fathers Day gift. Treasure!

MG, DF and I plan to go on our annual hiking vacation later this summer out West and I can’t wait. I’m glad we ride together, but more so I’m glad we have great times together.

Happy Fathers Day to all you Dads out there.


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