August 11, 2020 a Stoker’s Lament

The stoker that I refer to is not a coal shoveling worker. The stoker is the second person on a tandem bicycle. The front person is the captain. The larger, stronger or the person that has sight is the captain. The stoker adds more power especially on hills. They call breaks . My husband, John and I have been a tandem team for over 20 years. When we approach another cycler, we get different reactions. My husband is scowled at by female bikers until they see me. Then they break into a large smile and greet him as they pass. I,am peppered with comments , usually from male bikers,”She’s not working!” or ,”She has her feet up!” or”You lost her a while back!”. I have put up with these insults for 20 years. I can’t think of a snappy comeback.The truth is the pedals are connected and both persons must pedal to stay upright. If I put my feet up on the handlebars, I would fall off. I hold on to make sure that I stay with the bike.In the past two decades I have heard several nice comments, One fellow stated,” She is gaining on you!” ”You have a hitchhiker!” But the best comment I heard was spoken by an older gentleman walking. He stopped and said,”I wish that I had a beautiful woman following me!” A comment like that goes a long way. As for the other comments, I wondered where their partners are? At least I am out with my husband and we are enjoying a shared activity.
Roll on, roll ondown the road,two person power,makes the tandem go.
Comments shouted,from trail and street.Most of then,I fail to heed.
I smile and a nod,A compliment lingers,then it’s gone.
I savor it,like good wine.I wait for another,I have the time.

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