This excursion to Normandy was to be the first extended riding on the new tandem we recently bought from Thorn Cycles. I’ve reviewed this machine over five articles elsewhere on this website (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5). Since buying this tandem The Stoker has found flat bars not to be to her liking, so they’ve been replaced with an old set of Thorn tandem bars from one of our other tandems. The only other significant alteration was to replace The Stoker’s seat pin with a Cane Creek Thudbuster ST to deaden road bump induce backside pain. I do wonder whether this should really be Cane Creak, since we’ve had a bit of creaking from the tandem since fitting this. But according to The Stoker, it is very, very good at smoothing out the effect of bumpy road surfaces. And for that I’d be happy with a small amount of creaking.

One of the significant features of our new tandem was that the frame is equipped with S&S couplings which enable the the frame to be split just in front of the front seat tube, the intention being to be able to transport the tandem inside the car rather than on a roof rack. Pretty soon after delivery of the tandem, we did ascertain that it would fit in the back of our Ford Focus (with the rear seats down). For this holiday, we were able to fit two suitcases, the tandem and a time trial bike in the car, along with various other bags (food, shoes), bike helmets, handle bar bag, saddle bag etc. We removed the tandem’s pedals and (on the outward journey only) the stoker bars.

Having a high roof load increases the ferry price – when we reached Portsmouth ferry port, the very nice young man at the Brittany Ferries check-in booth amended our ticket and said we may receive a refund.

These holidays in Normandy always give me an opportunity to catch up on sleep. Normally I only sleep until 4 or 5am: out in rural Normandy I generally sleep 9-11 hours each night, which is one reason my daily mileage suffers.