Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The New Back to Back

Hurricane Ike has made me count my blessings lately. I and my family and friends have come through the storm without any injury or significant inconvenience. We don't have power yet, but the gas lines are getting a little shorter and the weather has been unseasonably cool. I've slept with the windows open every night. The other bright spot on the horizon is my new back to back tandem.

I'm buying Bill Cook's back to back prototype racing bike. It wasn't actually for sale, but Danny gave him a ring and asked if he would be interested in letting it go. Bill is one of the founders of Barcroft Cycles and has designed and built some really elegant, fast and comfortable bikes. Bill's tandem racing partner, Chris Burkhardt, designed the Barcroft Columbia tandem. It seems that Bill and Chris Burkhardt were planning on building a new tandem anyway and decided that this might a good time to get the project started. So, I am the happy and excited buyer of Bill's one of a kind, prototype back to back. Bill's getting it repainted for me and doing some other tweaking and I can't wait till it arrives. I'm also delighted by the fact that my stoker is just as excited as I am about our new arrival.

The bike sits significantly lower than the Flevo and should be easier to mount and dismount. That's going to add to the confidence factor of my stoker. My healing right leg will like it too. The bike is also shorter and lighter than the Flevo. Twenty pounds lighter. That will make for easier starts, especially on uphills. Since the bike is lower, I expect it to be faster than the Flevo. In addition, as Bill says, "Low bikes look cool."

That's Bill in the yellow wind breaker in the stoker seat. The bike rides on 20" wheels.

Here's the bike in the foreground with Ray Brick's carbon back to back right along side.

I'm not sure how much shorter this bike is than the Flevo, but I always have the Flevo trailor if I need it. Like the Flevo, this amazing bike comes apart for transport if necessary.
By the way, my friend David had told me what a pleasure it was to do business with Bill. Now I have first hand experience and I couldn't agree more. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be in the market for a Barcroft Columbia.