Don't want to try riding a tandem bicycle.
October 17, 2020 1:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm an avid cyclist. Cycling buddy keeps urging me to ride his tandem with him.

I am not at all interested in riding a tandem, and I keep saying no thank you. He is relentless ... says things like, "How will you know whether you like it unless you try it?" I am happy to do rides with him with him on his own bicycle and me on my own, which we do quite often. I have no desire whatsoever to ride a tandem. I want to do more than just blah-blah pedal. I'm also an equestrian and I hate riding double on the back of a horse ... no fun at all having my view blocked, and boring just sitting there and not being able to guide the horse. Advice?
posted by SageTrail to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Try Ms. Manners' broken record technique: "No thanks, it's not my thing." Just repeat the exact same wording until the guy stops pestering you about this.

If he refuses to stop, try this: "My dude, this is your last chance. I have zero interest in riding a tandem with anyone. You are relentless; cut it the fuck out. Raise this issue one more time, and I will find another cycling buddy." And then do so, if needed.

You are not the problem here. This guy is being a total asshole. As Captain Awkward notes, sometimes you have to be loud and emphatic if someone refuses to hear your polite yet completely clear response. Good luck!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:18 PM on October 17 [20 favorites]


Sounds like you need to be really blunt. "No means no. Stop asking me. I don't want to ride tandem now or ever. You're being really rude to keep asking and it's affecting our friendship. Don't ask me again. Thanks."
posted by shoesietart at 1:20 PM on October 17 [9 favorites]


The problem is that he keeps bringing it up, and he doesn't know how much of a burden that is. Tell him.
posted by amtho at 1:26 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


straight answer: "dude not only do I not want to ride tandem, I also NEVER WANT TO BE ASKED AGAIN ABOUT RIDING TANDEM. Seriously, cut it out. No means no."

offbeat answer that might work even better: answer in loud song. I used to do this to my children every so often, and it would shock and horrify them. They REALLY did not want to hear my loud horrible singing, and would stop whatever it was I wanted them to stop immediately out of a combination of embarrassment and aesthetic protest.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:32 PM on October 17 [6 favorites]


Why does he even have a tandem? Who has a tandem bike?

NYC has a tandem riding club that pairs experienced riders with people who would otherwise be unable to cycle at all, such as blind people. Tandems aren’t just for laughable hipsters.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:42 PM on October 17 [14 favorites]


I'm also an equestrian and I hate riding double on the back of a horse ... no fun at all having my view blocked, and boring just sitting there and not being able to guide the horse.

As good a reason as this is, the act of presenting a reason for something like this buys into the whole notion that one's preference to ride or not ride a tandem bicycle is something that's up for debate. Which, if it were, then great, but it's clearly not.

"No" is a complete answer, as they say. It's not a municipal ordinance, it's a personal preference.
posted by billjings at 1:47 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


I'm going to offer an alternate perspective although I agree w/ the above advice to just tell him once more, hey i know you mean well, but I'm really really not interested, please don't ask again. I don't understand the appeal of horseback riding despite having done it a bit (solo and partnered, dressage and trail). I love solo biking and dislike tandem biking.

My mother in law is an avid equestrian because she has said she loves being a partner with the horse, working as a team together- it makes her feel deeply personally satisfied and connected to the horse. I see an inkling of that in your question when you discuss why you like horse riding. She is often suggesting horse riding as an activity for everyone all the time because it makes her feel great to feel this partnership so of course it will make others feel great. Tandem bike riding isn't like riding second on a horse, where the horse and main rider are partners and you're just hanging on. Tandem biking is actually even more difficult than single riding- it's more about working as a team of three (person, person, bike) all of whom have equality to synchronize your motions and intentions and balance. Tandem riders often love this feeling and think it will make everyone feel great and want to make this an activity for everyone! Is it possible that your bike friend is trying to say, hey I want to connect with you as friends more deeply and tandem is one way I could do this? Or, I see you get happy when you connect and partner with a horse, I see you happy connecting with a bike, I think you will enjoy this similar kind of partnership?

If it seems like this might be the root of your friend's suggestion, you might be able to come up with a more successful "no" answer that will end the asking, or offer changes that might allow them to get this partnership or feeling of connectedness elsewhere: Let's start a tradition of getting together for coffee a few times a year so we can talk off the bikes; I don't need more partner sports in my life; I like partnering with the horse and I like riding my bicycle alone-- they fill different niches for my recreational needs; maybe we can ask another friend to ride tandem with you and we can have a group of three people to bike; etc.
posted by holyrood at 2:07 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]


NYC has a tandem riding club that pairs experienced riders with people who would otherwise be unable to cycle at all
That is great to know. I apologize for my ignoramus comment.
posted by Don Pepino at 2:12 PM on October 17 [2 favorites]


There is a reason they are called Divorce Bikes.

"No, and you really need to drop this."
posted by bondcliff at 2:13 PM on October 17 [8 favorites]


There's a pandemic on. Are the seats 6' apart?
posted by aniola at 2:41 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


You might like being the pilot (the person in front), instead of the stoker (in back). But yeah he needs to drop it.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 2:46 PM on October 17 [3 favorites]


This isn't a cycling problem, this is an etiquette problem. Tell him that you do not want to and to stop asking. You do not need to say "please" when telling him to stop.
posted by ardgedee at 4:17 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


I tried tandem biking once because an enthusiastic friend recommended it. So pretty much I am you but with worse boundaries. It was horrible! Therefore you have my official Gorgon blessing not to do it.
posted by medusa at 7:12 PM on October 17 [5 favorites]


Try it once to be a good sport and the next time just say "thanks, it was fun the first time but I'd rather not."
posted by rmmcclay at 7:22 PM on October 17 [1 favorite]


There is no need to be a good sport with someone who won't respect your "no," and no reason to think he'd respect it any more after he'd worn you down into trying it once. "No, and I need you to stop asking. We will not be riding together at all if you ask again" is the approach I'd take.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:51 PM on October 17 [16 favorites]


"Sure, so long as I can be in front all the time, every time." He'll stop asking.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:59 PM on October 18 [1 favorite]


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