Nevertheless, we were made doubly-happy at our reception when they presented us with an unexpected "shop gift" which they had all chipped-in together to purchase for us: a brand new Specialized Deja Tu tandem mountain bike frame.
In my opinion it remains, without a doubt, the most satisfying and enduring gift we got that day, rivaled, of course, only by our abiding love for one another.
My wife agrees.
And we have spent hundreds of hours together on our tandem (occasionally with our kid attached by Trail-a-Bike, too), all over the southwest, during the past 16+ years, reaffirming both of these facts.
Thanks, again, Absolute Bikes-friends!
Thanks, as well, to our friend Chris, who "sold" us his old crank-reducers (I've yet to pay him for them... for like four years), these days it's pretty much my daughter and I who ride the tandem together. It's kinda become "our thing" and a wonderful means for spending time together, just the two of us, doing something we both enjoy.
She's become a great little stoker and already knows the local trail system like a native (which she is). Her endurance continues to impress me as well. We can turn around a 15-mile loop without complaint or fatigue in a little over an hour together, talking the entire time, motoring up hills, and descending like fiends, whooping at the top of our lungs!
Fact: I've never once returned from any tandem ride, ever, either with my wife or my kid, unsatisfied or wishing that I'd ridden by myself.
I read or heard somewhere, once-upon-a-time, that Specialized's tandems were fabricated by American Bicycle Manufacturing in the early 1990s. The Deja Tu's big, beautiful welds and the unique derailleur hanger certainly support this contention.
Our tandem's basic build has changed very little over the years, since I initially put it together shortly after our wedding.
For the record: our tandem's staying in the family. There's no other bike in the garage that we would be less inclined to sell, no matter how much we might need the money. It's a part of our family, like a good dog or a cherished heirloom. In fact, our daughter's already asked us to promise to give her our tandem when she has kids of her own so that she can take them riding when they're big enough to stoke for her.
That's pretty high-praise, I think.
And, one thing's for certain: we will.