Two Tandems and a Rice Paddy

Tommy! Which way?Two tandems ply along a rice paddy path, splashing mud and water, and carving a line in the saturated “path” beneath them. Bang! The front wheel hits and the bike bounces through a rocky patch before plunging into knee deep water across the trail…

Heavy rain over the last week has seen rivers rise and flow through rice paddies and becoming impassable at the normal crossing points. Tomorrow a large group will be arriving to climb at Twin Gate climbing area, one of the crags left isolated by the flooding. Today, four keen souls have been sent out on a scouting expedition to find a way of getting the 12 corporate CEO’s across the swollen Dragon River… For over an hour, the two bikes raced head to head along the river, jostling and competing as climbers do. Eventually, the solution presented itself via a bridge out the back of the famous Moon-hill, and a track that doubles back to the crag.

It was then that the boys’ adventure began; looking for a route upstream along the river to another bridge, which would lead back to town, the ‘scenic’ way. Things soon started looking rough, with the already difficult trail Oh right, that way...disappearing below a flowing river through the surrounding fields. The bikes are small city-cruising tandems, not prepared in any way for the current beating that they are barely holding up to;the rear cog is slipping past its 4 teeth. Back on dry ground the trail soon winds into a small village, where a small commotion of pointing in different directions and motions of paddling a boat soon let us know that this is no trade route we are on! Shortly afterward the trail completely petered out; leaving bikes stranded on 20 cm wide raised ribs dissecting rice fields. The situation has us laughing, but keen to move on and see if we can find a trail to continue on. The field flattens out to grass which is ride-able. Several startled buffalo and amused farmers watch on as we bounce and rattle through the rough terrain, off small drop-offs, across a stream and past a couple of fighting cows, before stopping at a large boulder for a rest and to scout any potential lines on the beast.

The rock is sharp and slippery, but makes for some entertainment and an opportunity to rest our tired saddles. One more paddock, several small stream crossings and we are soon on a good track that leads to the narrow bridge across the raging river and the road back to civilization…

…so that is what people mean when they talk about biking with Tommy!

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