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One afternoon in Yangshuo, Joe and I decided it was time to rent a tandem bicycle. We had been looking at them for a week and joked about taking one out, but now it was time to try something new. And I am so glad we did!
Now, these tandem bikes aren’t your average rentals. Imagine the bike you used to ride when you were ten, with no recent maintenance done on in it, covered in blue and pink paint with a cute little basket on the back. Yup, that was our bicycle built for two! From the moment we sat down on the seats we were on an adventure, and not just any adventure…this bike was the hardest thing either of us had ever tried to control. Any little movement from the person in the back would cause the front of the bike to veer off in different directions. And if the back person stopped pedaling and the forward person didn’t know it, the bike almost instantaneously lost its forward momentum. We really had to work together to keep the bike from crashing. We decided it was probably a good idea to wear our climbing helmets while riding. 🙂 By the time we got to the edge of town, my sides were hurting from laughing so much. Joe and I were so close to crashing the bike multiple times as we tried to get used to the touchiness of the bike and working together as a team.
My favorite stop that afternoon was in a beautiful field of yellow flowers called rape flowers (thanks for finding out the name, Aunt Betty!). Because spring was just approaching southern China, there weren’t many colors in the landscape yet, besides the shades of green and brown. The flowers were so brilliant that Joe and I were compelled to put down the kickstand and go for a walk. The flowers seemed to go forever and stood out so brightly against the jagged mountains and blue grey sky. We took a lovely walk and snapped a few photos.
Navigating a tandem bike in a completely new world like China is an experience that is akin to us tying the knot. Being married is analogous to riding a tandem bicycle. We have learned a lot in the last ten months but we still feel like pigs on roller skates. Getting married was the easy part; the hard part is learning to work alongside Joe. I need to lean into the turns with him and balance my weight with his. He needs to do the same for me. Whenever we don’t pedal together we find ourselves in the ditch not going anywhere. I can tell that as we get more in rhythm with one another we will go faster and farther to so many new places.
On our way back to the hotel that evening we stopped for dinner along West Street, a popular walking street for tourists because of the mix of Chinese and Western culture. Joe and I finished off our day with some delicious Chinese pizza and some great conversation.