Archive for July, 2014


Bulls, Barrels, Bikes, and Brews!

July 21, 2014


Pendleton, OR is known for two things: woolen mills and riding bulls.  This past 4th of July weekend, it was also the host city for the Northwest Tandem Rally (NWTR).  Here are the top five reasons this tandem rally was extra awesome:

1.  This was the first year we have ridden our bright green Paketa at the tandem rally!  It proved to be the perfect machine for the “Cabbage Hill Climb” on day one (only attempted by a small percentage of attendees because, as you know, tandems can’t go uphill.  Not!)

2. Our rally was entitled “Bulls, Barrels, Bikes, and Brews.”  Don’t always pair those first two words with the last two, right?  Unless you get to camp on the grounds of the Pendleton Round Up!  Yep, we had the PBR series (that’s Professional Bull Riding to y’all) just next door for our first two nights.  It was loud and obnoxious and wonderful!  Much like the all girl punk band we found playing downtown on Saturday night.  Who’d have thunk?

3. Because the first day of the rally was the Fourth of July, a holiday near and dear to the residents of this small town, they included us in their annual parade.  The NWTR got spot #21 which was, luckily, right behind the horse manure clean-up crew!  Approximately 200 tandems draped their bikes and their bodies in red, white, and blue and cruised through downtown Pendleton.  The kind spectators (which included every resident of the city) encouraged us with smiles, cheers, and waves.  Henry and I both later admitted that we teared up at least once and had the time of our lives.



4. I don’t mean to imply that the Pendleton Tandem Rally was perfect.  For one thing, it was HOT.  But the organizers know this about their little piece of paradise, and so they devised the “perfect” ride for our last day.  After following a small road along a beautiful river through rolling hills, we arrived at a private ranch for lunch.  And folks, this ranch had a POOL (volunteers kindly shuttled our towels and suits for us).  Aaaaaaaahhhh!  We headed back to our camp refreshed and exhilarated.

5. Despite all of these memorable events, the NWTR is really all about friends.  Year after year we greet old pals, watch doubles turn into triples (she’s finally old enough to ride with us!) and triples back into doubles (she’s gone off to college!), and meet amazing people from all over the country.  But two of our favorite tandem riders have accompanied us to the last three tandem rallies, and their presence makes it extra fun.  Here is a picture of Mark, Melanie, and their sweet dog Dizzy (he’s in the canopied basket on the back) riding through lovely Pendleton, OR.  Ain’t life grand?

Amy Mitchell & Henry Abel
Bend, Oregon



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