Friday, 19 August 2011

The Bike Aquatic

Single Speed Aquatic Tandem Recumbent (aka Pedal Boat)
Our latest trip along the coast was of the epically off-road variety.

Single Speed Aquatic Tandem Recumbent (aka Pedal Boat)
Behold the single speed aquatic tandem recumbent, a.k.a. pedal boat! Isn't she a beauty? When I was growing up, we used to pedal these things around small lakes, but I had no idea they could be taken out into the ocean. Turns out there is a whole culture out there of self-propelled ocean travel, including transatlantic voyages. The boats used for those are a tad more sophisticated, but this one is just fine for pedaling leisurely along the coast.

Bike/Swim Duathlon
The local rental place assured us that these boats are marvelously stable and virtually impossible to flip over. We experimented, and are pleased to confirm this. Very safe and reliable, even in turbulent water.

Single Speed Aquatic Tandem Recumbent (aka Pedal Boat)
Operating the pedal boat was much more effortful than we expected! Ocean water is rougher than lake water, and pedaling this thing felt like riding a single speed bicycle that is geared way too high.

Single Speed Aquatic Tandem Recumbent (aka Pedal Boat)
Feeling as if we were treading through thick mud as we rode the waves and tried to stay on course, we soon longed for gears and foot retention. At least the adjustable seats allowed for full leg extension.

Pedaling Along the Coast
Despite our slow progress along the coast, the whole thing was ridiculously fun. It took me some time just to calm down from the excitement of being out in the ocean on a pedal boat.

Pedaling with the Sailboats
We went as far out as we dared, pedaling among the sailboats and lobster boats and imagining what it would be like to cross the Atlantic on one of these things.

Single Speed Aquatic Tandem Recumbent (aka Pedal Boat)
We pedaled into some of the tiny harbors and beaches that line this part of the coast and took photos from angles that would have been impossible from the shore. We docked outside a cafe and I jumped out to buy us some coffee - just for the fun of having done this. And for the first time in maybe 10 years I wore boat shoes on an actual boat.

Bike/Swim Duathlon
We are both pretty comfortable in the water, and at some point we took turns swimming next to the boat. I wish I had the nerve to do this way out in the ocean - but after having seen sharks on Cape Cod for the past two summers I am cautious about that stuff, so this was fairly close to shore.

Single Speed Aquatic Tandem Recumbent (aka Pedal Boat)
After three hours we returned the boat, utterly exhausted. Pedaling it felt very much like cycling - though so strenuous that you'd have to be in pretty good shape to do any serious touring along the coast. I cannot help now but wonder what the "serious" pedal boats feel like to operate - I imagine not very different from a recumbent bicycle, not that I have any experience with those either. I am happy to have found a way to combine my love of the ocean with cycling. Pedal boat, we will meet again!


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