Virginia Is For Tandem Lovers

Williamsburg, Virginia is the host city of the Eastern Tandem Rally and our third consecutive ETR.  What a joy to attend a tandem rally and not worry about the weather!  In 2015 we came to Williamsburg (for a pre-tour) and  headed to Richmond, where the Southern Tandem Rally turned into a hurricane with absolutely no riding. 

The only picture of us for this entire weekend! Oops!

This Rally doesn’t officially begin until the ice cream social on Friday night.  Even though a large portion of the Rally participants are in town, the Friday rides are on your own with no posted start time.  We begin the ride with long time rally friends Susan and Jack who happen to be ready to start at the same time. 

Riding over the Chickahominy River with Jack and Susan

Two miles later we are alone, and we stay that way for the next 41.  

Alone time. No bikes or cars on the trail

After we lunch we visit the Silver Hand Meadery.  We can’t compare it to anything as it’s a first for us.  We really enjoy tasting 8 meads, which are fermented honey and pretty high in alcohol.

At the tasting bar
Meads go for $20-25 a bottle.  The pretty labels are free.

Loyal readers know that I love ice cream, and an ice cream social can be the highlight of any weekend for me. This social is more power point presentation than social event. We each enjoy 2 scoops of Baskin and Robbins mint chip, but I’m almost embarrassed to report that there is no photo because we are packed into a room where we are being briefed on every detail of the ride for Saturday and Sunday (and I am not kidding about the power point). There is no talking and I keep waiting for the meeting to end to take the picture.  Unfortunately, our ice cream is gone way before the meeting ends. 

On Saturday morning most of the rally participants gather for a group photo.  Had my stand-in photographer actually pressed the button we would have a picture of us to post here with the group behind us!

Getting ready for the group picture, Roger is on the far right!

The mass start happens at 8:30 without a word spoken to the group (I suppose everything was covered the night before). Williamsburg’s finest lead us out on a wonderful route through town which includes historic Duke of Gloucester Street.  

Riding down Duke of Gloucester

This is an awesome experience for us and probably for the colonists we passed along the way.  Over a hundred tandems parading through town is certainly a sight to behold!  Just like they did in 1684.  It’s the highlight of the day, and also allows us the opportunity to ride with other people who go our speed. Groups form and we can get a chance to be more social.  

Lunch on the Saturday ride is at York River State Park.  It’s a lovely setting under two lakeside covered pavilions.  The entire rally seems to be there at once and everyone waits in line for lunch to start. Unless you chose to ride 62 miles, you were at lunch too early!

Scenic lunch location

Most of us leave together as a group on Sunday.  It’s a smaller crowd as many participants skip the last day of riding. Our final ride takes us on The Colonial Parkway which features concrete and rock – no wonder it‘s lasted since colonial times!  It’s a rough ride, but it is scenic.

Waiting for the Sunday ride start
Sunday (smaller) mass start
Here is the rough surface of the Colonial Parkway. This would be a smooth road in west Texas.

We are on a mix of roads and bike trails for much of the ride.  After a rest stop (and shopping for many of us) at a cool shop called Spoke and Art, we speed through the last nine miles with Chris, Connie, Mike and Caren!

Making time on the bike paths

Coming up, we are off on more NEW adventures.  We’ll be doing some off-road trail riding on the Greenbrier and Virginia Creeper trails and you’ll get to read about it here soon! 

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5 thoughts on “Virginia Is For Tandem Lovers

  1. Wish we knew about it earlier. Would have loved to go to Williamsburg.
    Looks like you guys had a wonderful time. Can’t wait to hear about your next adventure. Have fun and be safe.

  2. Love the cognoscenti’s comparison of The Colonial Parkway to the chip & seal of The Lone Star State! (Oh, how you must’ve suffered on Bubba’s trip.) Have fun on the Creeper…but if you choose to ride UP to Whitetop, do be mindful of the turistas on rental cruiser bikes riding (just) down. We had a few near misses with out-for-the-summer kids and some adults flying down the trail, many with their devices being the focus of their attention. Based on our two passes at it, earlier in the day seemed safer than later.

  3. I so love riding vicariously through you, two. Last time I was in Williamsburg it was 1981. Maybe some day Kevin will be interested in being part of a larger group than 2-6. Our trip to Monterey included a beautiful tandem ride of ~38 miles along the coast. It was only 65 degrees and overcast, but we had the trail all to ourselves much of the ride. We highly recommend it.

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