Tandem Down Under

Wir über uns

Alex & Steph

Irgendwann haben wir uns angesteckt, wo, können wir nicht mehr genau sagen. Ob in unseren InterRail Trips durch Europa, Work and Travel in Australien oder beim Trekking in Hardangervidda in Norwegen. Die Diagnose stellten wir schnell fest: Chronisches Fernweh. In beunruhigender Regelmäßigkeit bricht es aus und Linderung kann nur durch Nachgeben des Gefühls geschaffen werden. Dem können wir nicht wiederstehen.

Nach sehr schönen Jahren geprägt von Schule, Ausbildung, Studium, Arbeiten und Lehren, ist nun wieder der Zeitpunkt gekommen, an dem wir alles hinter uns lassen wollen, die Segel setzen und uns in nächste Abenteuer stürzen.

„Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Wir sind Alexander und Stephanie, seit 2003 unzertrennlich. Als gebürtige Straubinger, haben wir im wunderschönen Regensburg unseren Lebensmittelpunkt angesiedelt.

Von den einst exzessiven Couch-Potatoes Alex & Steph ist in den letzten Jahren, im wahrsten Sinne, nicht mehr viel übrig geblieben. In Outdooraktivitäten jeglicher Art (Wandern, Trekking, Bergtouren, Klettern, Festivals, …) und nicht zuletzt im Radfahren, haben wir unsere gemeinsame Leidenschaft gefunden.

Nach der Diagnose Fernweh und unserer Fahrrad-Leidenschaft ist die Idee einer Fahrradreise nicht weit hergeholt…Nach einem Jahr Vorbereitung, insgesamt 50kg Gewichtsverlust, viele Stunden auf dem Fahrrad und auf dem Laufband, unzählige gelesene Reise-Blogs und Reisebücher, sind wir jetzt fit genug für unseren Traum! Nun geht es endlich los!

Um unsere Entscheidung mit dem Fahrrad zu reisen und die Abenteuer die man erleben kann vielleicht ein bisschen verständlicher zu machen, hier noch Zitate über die wir in unserer Recherche gestolpert sind:


Tandem Turners über Outback Australien:




The distances are so great out here (sometimes up to 250km between road houses) that we often have to camp in the bush. It is a strange feeling to cycle all day and then pitch your tent in the dirt, knowing that the next community (population 15?) is still another eight hours cycling away. It should be terrifying. I imagine seeing ourselves on Google Earth and then in one bowel-dropping moment zooming out to reveal our remoteness. It should haunt us and tease out deep insecurities and fears fuelled by a mental library of Hollywood horror scenes. We expect to feel the sudden terror, but it doesn’t come. In fact, with all the freedom and space all is calm and uncomplicated. Plants, rocks, dirt, creatures big and small including ourselves all have room to exist out here – and are quite happy doing so.

It was one of my day dreams before we left London to be camping out in the bush, sun setting, cooking up dinner on our stove, exotic sounds in the evening air. The reality, although hard and painful to earn, doesn’t disappoint. Night camping in the bush this time of year is often warm. We leave all the doors and windows open but netted. I wake up at about 3am from a deep sleep, the balmy air passing over us in the tent. I see stars through the door, the silhouette of a gnarled tree still and ancient against the window. As I roll over I glimpse the rear wheel of the tandem sunk slightly in the red sand. What an adventure!


Tandem Turners über Hygiene beim Radreisen:




Being so grubby and sweaty was something I was finding difficult to get used to. Any girl wants to ensure she looks her best but in the Outback there really was no chance of being able to do that. Sometimes when we would camp in the bush with no promise of a shower, I would sneak into the tent just to have a sniff of my travel-size Pantene bottle to remember how it felt to be clean. When I would wonder why some people gave me strange looks, Steve would remind me it was because I looked so feral and that they probably wanted to poke me with a stick to see if I would bite.


Aus dem Buch: “Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook: Worldwide Cycling Route & Planning Guide” Tim Mulliner über die Nullarbour Road (Outback) in Australien:


The Nullarbor crossses a vast limestone plateau strechting 1200 km across the southern Australian outback. […] A major misconception about this road crossing
is that it´s nothing but an empty desert that strechtes as far as the eye can see. While this may be true of the plateau further to the north, the scenery and landscapes viewed from the road are spectacular and the sealed section is far from tree-less, despite the Latin origins of its name. Eucalyptus forests give way to scrub land where saltbush, spinifex and bluebush dominate and for several hundred kilometres the raod parallels the high cliffs of the Southern Ocean before heading inland.
Besides the superb scenery the Nullarbour is full of wildlife. Flocks of parakeets move from tree to tree with much commotion, their flashes of bright feathers and loud chattering a lovely alarm call after the silence of a quiet night´s camp. In the distance a couple of kangaroos are gently gliding over the ground and you watch them in amazement before being startled by a violent shaking of bushes on the opposite side of the road: an emu´s wobbling backside is all you can see as it crashes through the bushes.
As the day warms up, the aptly named “blue-tongue” lizard stands its ground in the middle of the road poking its tongue at you. It´s one of the many weird and wonderful reptiles to be seen on the Nullarbour. Giant wedge-tailed eagles are acommon sight too, circilng around waiting to swoop on the latest truck-mashed roadkill. At night by the campfire, the noise of those trucks muffled by the trees and shrubs around you, the howl of a distant dingo sends a shiver down your spine, compelling you to edge slightly closer to the flames.


Von der Seite „Travellingtwo: Bike Touring Inspiration“ 10 Tips für Tandemfahrer




Here are our 10 Tips for successful tandem touring:

1. Practice Makes Perfect
Riding a tandem isn’t really a fine art, more a messy sketchbook of wobbles and
wavy lines before you get the hang of it, especially fully loaded. The important
thing is to synchronize at all times. When stationary, pushing off with a chant of
’3, 2, 1′ helps takes the strain off the knees

2. Keep The Peace
A harmonious relationship between Pilot (at the front of the tandem) and the
Stoker (in the rear) is crucial to successful tandem riding. Below are some of the
things we learned not to do on the road:
Pilot – Do not spit.
Stoker – Do not tell the Pilot right at the beginning of a 4,500 mile cycle
tour that your mother will never forgive him/her if you have an accident.
Wait until the tour is over to share this information.
Pilot – Do not question the Stoker’s pedaling efforts.
Stoker – Do not be a backseat driver.
Pilot – Communicate – do not expect the Stoker to be a mind reader.
Stoker – Do not lean.
Pilot – Do not walk away from the tandem and assume that the stoker is holding
it upright.
Stoker– Do not suddenly stop pedaling.

3. Look Your Best
You’ll gets lots of attention, or at least the tandem will, so make sure both you
and the tandem are looking smart. The top 3 Tandem loving countries in Europe
are Italy, Germany and England.

4. Don’t Off-Road On A Fully Loaded Tandem
Whilst riding the Canal du Midi in France might seem like a good idea, much of it
is off-road, often on muddy tracks, with the murky waters of the canal right
beside you. Taking a tandem with two riders, four panniers, 1 bar bag, a 25 litre
dry sack and semi-slick tyres down such a path is just not sensible.

5. Do The Math
According to Green Trust, a human produces about 1/10th of a horsepower when
cycling. This gives the Pilot and Stoker together about 1/5 of a horse to get the
tandem and all its baggage up those mountains. That’s not much of a horse, so
choose your gradients well….

6. Know Your Brakes
A normal bike with one rider and two heavy panniers stops slowly when you apply
the brakes. Now multiply riders and luggage by 2 but still ride with standard
V-brakes. Finally, add a mountain pass to the equation and ride down it. This
means you need to go very, very slowly and cautiously. Better yet, you can fit an
additional coaster brake. We would have benefited from one.

7. Learn To Laugh At The Same Joke Over and Over Again

……and the joke is… (pointing at the Stoker) ‘she’s not pedaling!!’
We heard this joke in 12 languages – 10 of which we don’t speak. But we still
understood the joke and we still laughed. Oh, how we laughed!

8. Stoker: Learn To Love The Grass By The Roadside
The view isn’t great from the back. You’re going to see a lot of grass on this tour.

9. Learn To Love Your Back Wheel
It carries a lot of weight and you’ll spend a lot of time tending to its needs:
dishing it, replacing spokes, re-tensioning spokes, checking bearings, cursing it,
threatening it, etc… We think our problems were made worse by the badly
tensioned, machine-built rear wheel that came with the tandem. If you can,
invest in strong, hand-built wheels.

10. Love Your Tandem
One day at some unspecified moment you’ll look at that beast of burden and be
amazed just how much weight a simple machine can carry. And you’ll feel a glow
of warmth and respect for it.