Riding Tandem: Partnership & The Power of the Plus (+) Sign.

The notion of partnership is amazingly powerful.

I have to hand it to my parents. They offered me an adventurous life full of possibility staring right in the eye of adversity.

I have to hand it to my parents. They offered me an adventurous life full of possibility staring right in the eye of adversity.

So it wasn’t coincidental when contemplating  WhenTwo as a partnership to think of them. At the end of 2016, they will celebrate 50 years of marriage. Yes, fifty. Everyone knows that fifty years of any “one” or any “thing” isn’t easy. Fifty united years of the good and bad, up’s and down’s, high’s and lows equals a true partnership.

And thus I arrive at a perfect illustration of how a partnership or how two people (when partnered in common goals) can add extreme momentum or make the impossible, possible. In other words, the power of the plus (+) sign in the equation that starts with 1 +. Or WhenTwo… (or more).

Growing up as one of five in a middle class American family meant a lot of low-cost amusement and discovery. So I have to hand it to my parents when activities like family bike rides became an activity. A family implies a lot of bicycles. In our case there were my parents + five children which meant some pre-adventure maintenance generally had to occur. At any given day, the bikes had to be free of the common flat or leaking tire, an operative gear shift, and (if handle brakes), a connection with enough WD-40 on the handle grip for a small child to pull to an effective stop. Dad’s job.

Family | WhenTwo
Three of the five kids.
Top Row: Me in my lovely 70’s attire and glasses (Author), my sister, my brother.
Bottom Row: Dad & Mom

Mom’s job, on the other hand, was to make sure we were fed, properly attired, and had used the bathroom.

Just writing about this feels like a lot of work for both, yet they did it many a day. Happy. Smiling. Excited. So you might be surprised to know, that my mother can’t even ride a bike. She can’t physically. At least not alone. So for her to embark on a long ride adventure, with kids, requires she have a partner. My dad.

Mom was one of the many American children to contract the polio disease growing up just prior to the release of the Polio Vaccine in 1955. She contracted poliomyelitis (polio) as a small child. The implications of the highly infectious disease caused one leg to be slightly shorter and one foot to be slightly smaller, so her natural gait presents a limp. Pedaling or running alone is near impossible and surgeries throughout her childhood to improve and strengthen her leg were numerous. A handicap to be sure.

So when she met and married my dad at a young age, a partnership began. Dad was full of determination, filled with empathy, magically inventive and amazingly mechanical. He brought the “Yang” to her “Yin” of physical disabilities. (See Yin and Yang.) Mom would do many things with his help and he with her acute mental acumen and strength. Not that Dad wasn’t smart either, but Mom was a force of equal strength. I don’t remember when Dad brought home the tandem bike that he and Mom rode on our family bike rides with my baby brother in his child seat on the back. I don’t know how much harder he had to pedal to make us ride at a gliding pace one behind the other in line formation. I don’t recall Mom bringing up the idea of riding or ever protesting to ride. I only remember the possibility and the action. Mom couldn’t ride without Dad. Dad wanted Mom along for the ride. Both working together to make the family team move forward… in this challenge, a bike ride.

We rode a lot! All over the place. Into “town” from our country home for ice-cream or dinner. Over to my aunts or a friend’s home. Near and far. Fun and more fun.

We rode a lot! All over the place. Into “town” from our country home for ice-cream or dinner. Over to my aunts or a friend’s home. Near and far. Fun and more fun.

I do remember pedaling my heart out keeping up Partridge Family style behind that tandem. My hair pushed back with the breeze moving swiftly forward feeling incredibly free and at ease as I followed the lead of my parents. Unhindered. Handicap what? Nothing can stop us. What a partnership! What a marriage. 50 years… magic.

Teal Tandem Bike
Photo of a random tandem bike on the side of the road. Because tandem bikes make me happy.

And now, I love tandem bikes! Love them. Just the sight of them. Powerfully striking for me and very freeing. Everyone should own one. They exemplify the power of the plus (+) sign. Mom + Dad. Dad + Tandem Bike. Our family. The marriage. The dynamic duo. The partnership.

The beginning of 2016 is the perfect month to showcase the tandem bike in our WhenTwo social imagery. For me it signals new adventures, an open rode, a hint of fresh air and someone to ride with, in unison. I’m really excited about the possibilities ahead wherever we go, whatever we ‘ride’ into. We’re off! Pushing past any hinderances we might have.

We’re off! Pushing past any hinderances we might have.

Never fear what holds you back and seek it out. What or who could be added to the equation to make your goal happen? What is your Yin? Who or what is your Yang in that equation? Find them fast and work on that! I hope through stories and articles, concepts, people and product ideas here at WhenTwo, over time, Beth and I provide that!

If you have a story you’d like to tell, contact us here

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Kim LaFleur

Co-Founder & Global Editor-in-Chief

Kim LaFleur is the Co-Founder & Global Editor-in-Chief for WhenTwo. She is also a wife, mother of three, business woman and entrepreneur. During her career she has launched and managed over fifty ecommerce and media websites in consumer electronics, automotive, and fashion & apparel for many small and large brands. She loves fine art, illustrating, technology, social media, and spending time with her husband, children and dogs.

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