Project Grandmas

By Alpkit

Continuing journeys of the original Sonder Cahoot. After Tom Seipp had outgrown it and with many, many miles under its wheels, the responsibility to keep it going fell to Daisy and her dad David. Last year aged 6, she completed a 8 mile bike packing trip, but following a school talk about bikepacking she planted the seed from which she couldn't back down, could they ride to Grandma's?


‘Can we ride to Grandmas?’ Daisy said one day earlier this year. Instinctively I assumed she meant Grandma Yvonne (10 miles away) not Grandma June (75 miles away). As ever, my assumption was wrong and so began project Grandmas.

As our longest previous ride on the tandem was around 20 miles we had some work to do. There is only one way to prepare for hours in the saddle, and that is spend hours in the saddle. My concerns for Daisy were saddle sore, tiredness and concentration.Daisy had applied her own self pressure by announcing her intention to do the ride during her school talk about bike packing. As she doesn’t like to quit, the concentration to complete the ride was taken care of.

During the spring months we stepped up the rides on the tandem to increase her stamina. The ride lengths didn’t increase but I felt her fitness was improving so an attempt in the summer was definitely a possibility.

The day finally arrived and after a quick dash around the kitchen grabbing breakfast we were ready to set off at 7.15am. The forecast was a bit mixed with rain forecast for 2pm onwards so the chances were we would get wet at some point. I figured if this was late on in the ride we’d be okay. If we got a soaking too early this may be a bit demoralising.

To avoid the main roads on the first leg to join the Trans Pennine Trail we plotted a longer quiet route on minor roads with a few ups and downs, so the initial miles were fairly slow.

The climbs to avoid the dreaded Woodhead Pass are short but brutal in places with a big bike and a small companion so a little hike-a-bike was required. As we cruised down the hill to pick up the Upper Don Trail we knew the hardest section was completed and we could settle in to eating up the miles ahead.

Punctuated with regular stops for snacks we made good progress arriving in time for lunch at Wigfield Farm Cafe. Filling our bodies with a hot meal, hot drink and ice cream always raises our moral so we soon felt the desire to get on and ride.

Counting the miles to go with regular checks on the Garmin helped to focus Daisy to keep going. A few more stops were required along the way to ease Daisy’s aching bum and apart from a few lights showers the weather was kind to us.

Just under 10 hours after setting off from Hayfield, Derbyshire we arrived in West Butterwick, North Lincolnshire completing the 75 mile trip. Grandma and Grandad were there to congratulate Daisy on her effort and serve up a huge portion of lasagne and garlic bread.

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