|Tandems East 2012 Catalog Highlights
Farewell to New
Zealand by Barbara Kornbluh
Traveling to New Zealand has become a bi-annual
winter event. After all the planning, organizing and selling the idea of
spending almost three glorious weeks traipsing half way around the world
in search of sunshine and incredible cycling, once again we rippled
across steep mountain passes with swirling winds. Tandems were made for
roaring down fast mountain descents. Mel and I love the mysterious and
furious Tasman Sea and crystal clear blue and turquoise waters found in
this magical country. New Zealand is a land of diversity and offers more
than one can witness in a single vacation.
Our love affair with New
Zealand started twelve years ago when dear friends Neville Frost and
Tricia Anderson suggested we join them at the turn of the century on a
bike ride titled ‘First to the Sun Two-Thousand’.
This event was
everything we had hoped. Each day was filled with new adventures,
friendship and mental and physical challenges. Our hunger for
experiences beyond our comprehension in a place of extremes was
satisfied but not for long.
This December Mel and I began our
journey back to New Zealand with a short training week along the coast
in San Diego County shared with Canadian friends Ann West and Bill
Moriarty. It was our sixth trip to the southern hemisphere.
previous TEASE (Tandems East Adventure South Experience) cycling
adventures, the group met at LAX in time for our thirteen hour flight to
Auckland, New Zealand in the heart of the North Island. After a smooth
transfer we were greeted in Queenstown by our guides Bas Kruisselbrink
(Sebastian) and Craig Murdock who are more like old friends to Mel and
me as they guided us up and around the South Island on previous TEASE
They are not novices. Bas, a native of Holland spent six
years traveling on a single bike around the world. His humor is
contagious but his knowledge and patience is even more powerful. Craig,
a native Kiwi is an all around adventurer who cycles, hikes, surfs,
mountain climbs and willingly shares his knowledge when it comes to
nature, wildlife and the history of New Zealand and her people.
first few days as in past tours were spent climbing steep passages.
We've pedaled such passes as the Crown Range, Arthur's Pass, Fox Glaxier
and Dryer’s Pass in the Port Hills overlooking Christ Church. This time
we zipped up and around the coastline en-route to Glenorchy before
heading to the rolling plains of the Southland. It would not be a TEASE
adventure without an overnight on either Doubtful or Milford Sound. This
time we boarded the luxurious Milford Mariner for a mystical evening of
sailing. Although the terrain has been quite dry this summer, nature
provided her wonders with a gentle rainfall providing dozens of
waterfalls and spectacular scenery.
Cycling south along the edges of
Fiordland National Park our group boarded a small ferryboat for an
overnight in Stewart Island where some chose kayaking and hiking through
unspoiled thick forests where a variety of native bird life thrive.
An early morning jaunt to the Cathedral Caves was magnificent as was the
one sea lion who lounged along the ocean edge. The day was packed with
more cycling, hiking and viewing Yellow Eyed Penguins in their natural
home and hundreds of furry seals who played like children in the water.
Tandems zipped along the Pacific coast with several extreme climbs and
dozens of breathtaking views of crystal clear sea water.
Dunedin, a large city full of historic buildings similar to those found
in European cities with a rich Scottish background. Everyone appreciated
trading a day off the bikes for site-seeing which included the local
Speight’s Brewery, Cadbury Chocolate factory and Larnach Castle.
to Oamaru our tandem swirled along the Moeraki coastline before cycling
to Lake Ohau past more rivers and lush lakes ending the day at the base
of the mountains.
Mel and I love riding along the glacial blue waters
of Lake Pukaki on the way to Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain
and the Tasman Glacier. Depending on the winds you either push like
crazy or allow extreme winds to whirl you to the end.
Unlike our last
tour to Mt. Cook, TEASE12 experienced rain, cold weather and heavy
clouded skies making it impossible to view the spectacular peaks of New
Zealand’s most magnificent mountain.
Final days were spent cycling
through farmlands of Fairlie and the Canterbury plains where winds
pushed us up and down rolling passages. Recent earthquakes and endless
tremors made it impossible to ride the traditional Port Hills and
experience familiar amazing views of Christ Church. Instead we enjoyed
zipping up the rolling hillsides outside of the city along the banks of
a caldera that took place thousands of years ago.
Our love for New
Zealand has taken us to her Northeastern villages, to areas where we
boarded trains and tiny air planes and into the homes of her people in
both the north and the south.
We’ve tasted cuisine fresh from the
sea, dairy products, lamb and vegetables from farm to table and extreme
weather changes. Cities and villages such as Dunedin, Queenstown, Christ
Church, Auckland, Rotorua, Franz Josef, Hokitika, Oamaru, Otautau, Kaka
Point and Invercargill will forever be in our memory. Mt. Cook, Haast
Pass and the Crown Range taught us that Mel and I are forever a team
filled with drive and perseverance.
But now it is time to say
farewell dear friend. Our hearts belong to you New Zealand as though you
are a best friend. You’ve taught us compassion and reason and shown us
that our appetite for excitement is insatiable. We’ve learned that
strength is not in muscle power but found deep inside our inner souls.
That people with tattooed faces are not only proud of their heritage but
kind and gentle and that lasting friendships can be found and nurtured
on the other side of the earth far away from where we live.
this, we say so long to a wonderful land that has changed our lives and
fed our souls.
TEASE12 is our Farewell tour to New Zealand and those
who have joined us shared New Zealand’s most special secrets of what
makes this country and her people one of the most special places on
earth….at least to us.
DC to Pittsburgh
by Barbara Kornbluh
It's five-thirty in the morning on a Thursday, one week before
Thanksgiving. Mel's cycling in Arizona training for the El Tour de
Tucson 111 miler. He'll be stoking for Brian Davis on a da Vinci tandem.
Since I'm up before the sun and it's too early for my gym session, I'm
inspired to write the back cover of our latest edition of the Tandems
Sears Christmas book of our childhood, the Tandems East tabloid arrives
yearly loaded with pages overflowing with goodies that entice cyclists
of all ages. It's alright to wonder why we continue to mail something
that could be found online. So many other businesses stopped their print
presses to participate in "e" commerce. After serious consideration we
agree that folks around the globe enjoy the anticipation of flipping
through pages filled with photos and short stories pertaining to their
favorite sport. Many of you have told us that. So, get your crayon ready
and start circling all your favorite items for your very own personal
tandem wish list. The Tandems East catalog has arrived.
Before dawn is my favorite reflecting time.
Surrounded by woods, our street is extremely dark and peacefully quiet.
Leaves smack the screens on my second floor office window in a steady
syncopated tempo accompanied by a quiet whoosh of soft wind that breaks
the early morning silence... a reminder that winter is just around the
Life at Tandems
East has been rewarding and fun. In a time when many are forced to cut
back we are very thankful as tandems continue to be a rewarding vehicle
for couples and families. With the addition of our house brand, Hokitika
tandems offer a well made American option fitting most budgets.
Thankfully our family is
thriving. Natalie continues to amaze us with her creativity both in the
design world and kitchen. Her husband Roy's business continues to grow
with a recent move to a beautiful state-of-the art facility.
Jed and Sara juggle three kids and full time
careers with family responsibilities while still maintaining a serious
interest in cycling and managing the Philadelphia Cyclo-Cross School.
Evie started kindergarten, Ben is now in
pre-school and Nate is home with Emilie from France, growing into a
wonderful little person. His big sister and brother love riding their
brand new triple Hokitika that Pop Pop made. Funny, the crank shorteners
that make it possible for their riding experience are the very item that
launched us into business when Jed (their dad) was stoking for Mel and
me. We've come full circle! Although Nate is still too small, he'll most
likely be trailing behind at the first sign of spring.
Mel and I experienced a first ever this past
summer...We took a July cycling vacation in celebration of his milestone
birthday and spent six days riding a Hokitika tandem on the C&O Canal
and Great Allegheny Passage from Washington, DC to Pittsburgh with three
other couples. We didn't do the planning or organizing and certainly
enjoyed the adventure.
Let me introduce you to three great couples who met at this event. Each
share a special bond with us, they love tandems and all enjoy a good
Nan and Scott
Steketee of Philadelphia have been our friends close to thirty years,
when we introduced our young children to the world of tandeming. Along
with a few other couples, we founded the Family Cycling Tour. This
annual ride continues today as a means for families to mingle and share
road riding with their children as stokers. As adults our children
maintain many of these friendships today.
Like sturdy oak trees Scott and Nan stand tall and
strong. She often rides the front of their tandem and he stokes. We used
their 1980's eight passenger van as the chase vehicle.
Todd and Sue Shusterman, part owners of da Vinci
Tandems live in Colorado. They were eager to cycle the trail from the
nation's capitol to what used to be known as Steeltown and home to my
Dave Heilman of Reading started out as customers when they purchased
their first tandem several years ago. We ride and socialize with them on
a regular basis. They did all the planning making sure every detail was
in place before we headed out on that early Saturday evening in late
Starting at the
Key Bridge on the shores of the Potomac, we maneuvered the DC trail
through a muddy path shared by many en-route to Harper's Ferry. Along
the way we experienced grueling summer heat that was thankfully shaded
by the thick forest . We traveled along flat dirt packed winding trails
beside the same waters that were known to mules that once hauled
America's goods from city to city. Spectacular scenery and quaint towns
filled our eyes like candy as we passed through Hancock, Md. and then to
the Cumberland Gap. Loose dirt trails became hard packed chip limestone
when the trail turned west and uphill towards Pittsburgh. After a day of
climbing a slight incline we spent the night at a lovely B&B in
Rockwood, moved forward to Smithton and finally to the finish.
This group of tandem enthusiasts started the ride
as strangers only knowing Mel and me. By the time we reached the end
plans were being made for another adventure next summer and email
addresses and phone numbers were exchanged.
We have a lot to be thankful for not just during
this wonderful holiday season, but all year long regardless of the time
of year. Our lives are filled with a rewarding sport, friends like you
and an amazing family.