Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Mic Wic Delta

My friend Jim bought this Mic Wic Delta back to back tandem on Ebay a few weeks ago. I wasn't aware until recently that anyone made a bike like this commercially. It immediately caught my interest. According to "Encycleopedia: For the Love of Bikes":

Stokers find it a very relaxing ride - just sit back, unwind, and enjoy the panoramic views. Conversation between the riding partners is easy: no shouting is needed with your heads just inches apart. After a few miles, the unusual feeling of travelling backwards becomes quite pleasant: you're freed from the stress of watching the road ahead, and can savour the scenery through which you travel. The captain has a feeling of complete control: the handling is very stable, and the Hope hydraulic disk brakes authoritative in their stopping power. With the stoker to warn of traffic approaching from behind -and to make eye contact -it's a safe vehicle in traffic, and certainly catches the eye of drivers, who give it plenty of room. The Delta is a quick machine, thanks to the aerodynamic layout: air flows smoothly over the two riders. The wheel base is short for a recumbent tandem, and it has a tight turning circle. Climbing performance is also good for a recumbent, helped by the very stiff frame of 2" and I 1/8"aerospace grade 4130 tubing. The Delta frame and forks are made of 4130 Cro-Moly, with hammock style seats and 20" wheels. Originally designed for racing, MIC WIC designer and builder Bob Tennant decided it was just too nice to limit it to the track and has added a lot of refinements. The Delta can be used for racing, touring ( MIC WIC has designed panniers to fit between the riders for storage ) or just enjoyable day rides. It is a superb all-round tandem. The captain has full control using Hope hydraulic disk brakes (which can be personalised), top of the line gearing and direct steering. The Delta is easy to control at low speed as well as flying around corners at amusement-park-ride speeds. It hugs the road due to its low center of gravity right in the middle of the wheels.

The bike and the company are the product of Bob Tennant. As told in the "Encycleopedia..." article, Tennant was a math teacher and an avid cyclist who disocvered recumbents and decided to spend all his time designing and building bents. According to a couple of people I've talked to, the company may now be out of business. What a pity. It seems a shame that such an innovative and unconventional design is no longer being produced (if the rumors are true).

Angletech Cycles still lists the bike on it's product list and I'm advised that there is still one frame in stock.
Probably the most notable Mic Wic was owned by Dustin Anderson , aka the Purple Pirate in Vancouver. Dustin and his wife Farah pioneered and rode the "5000forhealth" across Canada this year on a Mic Wic. They've since sold the bike, but Dustin is working on a new and improved back to back recumbent tandem design that should debut next year.