Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Iowa Bike Expo: Two Seats Are Better Than One

While reading this blog might give one the impression that I am a lone curmudgeonly hermit living under a bridge, I do in fact have a (lovely and talented) spouse who shows even more poor judgment by trusting me to pilot us safely down the road on a tandem bicycle. As a result, many of the bicycles that caught my eye at the recent Iowa Bike Expo happened to have extra seats, handlebars, and pedals between their two wheels. 

Boo Bicycles brought this part-panda-bear-food, part-crabon-fribre creation. They don't show any tandems on their website, so maybe it's a one-off/custom. (Late-breaking news: Intrepid reporter Steve F. reports in the comments that yes, this Boo for Two was commissioned by a local couple, and it even made an appearance at last year's NAHBS show. Thanks, Steve!)

A smooth, Campy-equipped, S&S-coupled custom from Christopher. Christopher who? Dunno. And I can't find a web presence. I suck at this journalism thing. (Later-breaking news: Intrepid reporter Steve K. tells me in the comments that Christopher is the marque of framebuilder Dave Huff, whose family tree of torchwork traces back to Iowa framebuilder Gordon Borthwick. Thanks, Steve!)

Nothing terribly exciting to see here if you know tandems, just an off-the-shelf Co-Motion Periscope. But dang, those Co-Mo folks know how to bring together a nice-looking twofer. When my ship comes in and this whole blogging thing goes huge (it'll happen! just you wait!), I fully intend to drop some coin on their lustworthy Java 29er/adventure tandem before I do anything silly like pay off the mortgage.

I couldn't figure out who was responsible for this Softride-equipped beauty as it was logo-free and sitting in an aisle, not clearly associated with any particular booth. (I told you I suck at journalism.) Sure, the carbon fiber diving board is a little incongruous on an otherwise classic-looking machine, but as any good tandem captain will tell you, do NOT argue with the stoker over matters of comfort... or anything else for that matter.

This one made me so happy, I think I actually laughed out loud. It's the product of student designers (like the fresh-faced youth in the yellow t-shirt) from my alma mater, the University of Iowa. If the proportions look odd to you, it's because those are 36-inch wheels. 29ers are SO over, man. (I'm bracing myself for the day that someone comes up with 36-inch fatbikes. You know it will happen.)

So, some good diversity in the two-seater world at the Expo... bamboo, steel, swoopy frames, wagon wheels, you name it. (I vaguely remember seeing a Cannondale too, but I didn't photograph it because I'm a snob/purist who thinks if it ain't welded in Bedford, Pennsylvania, it ain't a Cannondale.) There was certainly enough tandem content at the show to get me excited about the upcoming riding season with the aforementioned spouse, which bodes well for both our physical and marital fitness in 2015.


S.Fuller said...

I almost asked what it was going to take to bring that 36er home.

S.Fuller said...

Forgot to add, the Boo tandem belongs to a couple here in town. Commissioned build. It was at NAHBS last year.

Anonymous said...

"Christopher" is the badge name of frames built by Dave Huff. Dave more or less picked up the frame building business from Gordon Borthwick (formerly of Marshalltown).
Did I ever mention that Gordon Borthwick built a frame for me in 1989?? Dave Huff repainted it and tweaked it a bit around 2006 or so.

I think Dave Huff uses the name Christopher because it is the name of a family member and because his own name has certain similarities to some other bike company...

Steve in Peoria, the master of Iowa bike trivia. :-)