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Europe by Tandem

From Castellon (Spain) to Northern Cape (Norway) by Tandem supporting the fight against cancer.

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Archive for Marzo, 2010

Europe by tandem. We are adding support!

Posted by admin On Marzo - 25 - 2010

Hello everyone,

Without a doubt, today is an important day for Europe by Tandem.

A few weeks ago, we obtained the support of the AECC (Spanish Association Against Cancer), who have opened a bank account dedicated exclusively to this event. Just a few days ago, the UICC (International Union Against Cancer) confirmed their participation in this project. The agreement with both associations is as follows: 50% of the money raised will be for the AECC and the remaining 50% for the UICC.

As far as the help we’ve received until now, our company’s coworkers have been helping us in various ways: the English translations for were done by the Call Center department, the IT department and the designers prepared the blog, other colleagues have accompanied us to film videos and take pictures, a van was loaned to us for one of our training trips…and, of course, we cannot forget to thank all of you, our followers, for the strength and energy we receive through your words of support and cheers.

And today we formally announce that we have an official sponsor: Record Go, the company we work in, has joined us in our excitement about this project and has made our vision their vision. Record Go not only will provide the necessary funds for the project but they will also make donations according to a set of rules that are being defined at this moment. You will be the first to be informed about how this will work.

Europe by Tandem has evolved from a particular initiative to a project backed by the support and participation of important partners.

Of course, we would love to receive the support of other companies or institutions who want to help with the material, grant logistic support, presence in the media, or any other type of participation that can help turn this project into something even bigger.

All of this proves that illusion is an invisible force that makes groups work better. There is nothing like people who are proud of what they do and of the organization they are part of. If magic exists, it is illusion.

Thank you all!!

By the way, if you’d like to know more about Record Go, here are the websites:

What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger:

Posted by admin On Marzo - 20 - 2010

Ivan: that’s right, R!, what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger—and another one, the one who trips but doesn’t fall, still moves forward—which is pretty much what I decided to do.
Just like my partner JL conveyed in a previous post, we knew the difficulties this project involved, both for the short notice deadlines and preparation goals we set; as well as injuries and accidents—sometimes it’s our fault, sometime it’s not. That being said, it’s no surprise that I’m feeling angry towards this setback due to the bad luck.
As a matter of fact, writing with my left hand has two clear purposes: first and foremost, I would like to thank everybody for all the support showed, either through the blog or Facebook. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.
Secondly, I would like to also let you know that I do have a first degree fracture in the neck of the ulna by the elbow. According to my bone specialist, I might have some injuries in my joints, but I’ll find out next Tuesday when I get the magnetic resonance imaging.
Today’s training was based on crunches and couple of hours of boring exercise bicycle—I will definitely not fall from that.
Kind regards.

Safety and cycling. A Decalogue against accidents.

Posted by admin On Marzo - 19 - 2010

Hi everybody!,

To start off, I’d say that Ivan is feeling much better after the accident. His whole body is still aching, specially his left arm—the plaster is annoying. Hopefully, the plaster will be removed in two weeks, although it’s too early to confirm it.
His bone fracture is slight and it is located half way his arm, therefore, both wrists and elbow joints have not been damaged. We’ll keep you posted on that…

This post about safety and cycling was ready awhile back but there is no other better moment to submit it, after what happened to Ivan last Sunday. From this communication platform, we’d like to do something in order to avoid as many accidents as possible. Some of them stem from ignoring some dangerous behaviors, some other, unfortunately, from the irresponsibility of few who share the public roadway.

Safety is essential when riding a bike. We ride a large number of miles on top of the tandem throughout the Spanish roads (also throughout the rest of Europe very soon) and we sometimes face huge difficulties, specially descending. We can reach up to 60 km/h with a bodywork-free vehicle with a maximum length (including the bobjack) of 360 cms.

Keeping safety in mind implies taking into account the terrain we ride on: safety regulations in a city will vary from the ones climbing down a mountain or even the roads we ride on.

Whatever the case, no matter the terrain we ride on, following 10 pieces of advices will be essential: a Decalogue for our safety:

1.    Helmet is mandatory. It is an indispensable passive safety element. It contributes to minimize cranioencephalic trauma intensity. Other protection measures are: leather gloves, knee pads or elbow pads—these are less important than the helmet though.
2.    Always keep the bike and the rest of the equipment in good condition. Mechanics is also essential: brakes adjusted, components properly set up, well inflated tires and well aligned steering.
3.    Ride with no distractions and in a predictable way, follow the same path as vehicles and do not zigzag.
4.    In rainy days, be careful with puddles, since we could fall with holes underneath. Watch out for the curves, paint and oil stains are like black ice.
5.    Be careful with children, unleashed dogs, drivers’ arms sticking out of the window, etc…these are all unpredictable elements.
6.    Indicate before moving or pulling over. Indications with your hands will enable others to know what you are about to do.
7.    Look behind you: learn how to do it without moving the handlebar and losing balance. Rear view mirrors might come in handy. Be careful when approaching intersections; just be sure to pay attention to pedestrians and other vehicles.
8.    Follow traffic signs (lights, signs and lanes). Cyclists must follow safety regulations like any other vehicle, and follow well-marked lanes. Do not turn left from the right lane. Do not move forward on a turn-right lane.
9.    Be sure to use shoulders or special lanes, if possible, otherwise stay on the right part of your lane traffic direction-wise. Watch out for the parked vehicles that decide to open the doors all of a sudden with no sort of warning or anticipation.
10.    Riding through the city, try to avoid busy avenues or main streets, as well as sidewalks.

Besides, it is very important to get to know the regulations of the places you are going to, since there is not a common one as there is with other vehicles.

We really hope this has been useful and interesting for you all. Try to spread the information as much as you can for the sake of everybody’s safety: cars, motorbikes, bikes—we all share the public roads. Also make certain to share the blog on Facebook, e-mail, Twitter—there are lots of ways on the blog’s top.

Thank you everybody for following us!.


Posted by admin On Marzo - 15 - 2010

JL: Today, my partner had an accident while he was training on his bike. As a result, he has a fracture on his right arm, as well as some other damage. Fortunately, it turned out to be better than it could have been. His bike is seriously damaged, though.

What happened?.  A car made him fall without touching him. He was descending–a car was right behind him and, all of a sudden, the driver blew the horn so hard it scared the hell out of him. Consequently, he lost control and went off the road.

Why did the driver blow the horn?, was he trying to warn him?, was he being impatient?, was just a road rage situation or a combination of all the above?. I don’t know…

I’m guessing the driver should feel saddened by the accident. Most likely, he won’t ever do that from now on—sometimes we learn the hard.

There are lots of ways in which vehicles put cyclists in danger. First of all, they just do not see them; they just feel inconvenienced with the bike that’s in front of them. From this point onwards, an endless series of madness can befall: passing maneuvers and braking only inches away from the bikes, sudden maneuvers, passing maneuvers when there’s actually no space to do so, even with incoming traffic vehicles, also horn blowing, screams, jokes, bad taste comments, etc…

We are living in a society where respect is in our speech rather than in our acts. It is in our speech because wishing it becomes politically correct. It is just a well-selling concept that enables people to tailor a good electoral suit.
Shallowness of the concept is vastly showed in the classrooms, in the streets, in the companies—on the other hand, it is just the cheap price paid by those who don’t practice it.

Maybe this hypocrisy was the reason why Perico Delgado quit his long-time collaboration with the DGT (Spanish Traffic Authority) with regard to road safety. He became aware of the fact that the DGT wanted to take advantage of his public image rather than implementing his knowledge and experience on cyclists’ safety issues.
I suggest you to take a sneak peek at the video Perico Delgado posted on his website–you don’t want to miss it!.

This accident will most likely force us to postpone our Camino de Santiago trip. I don’t really know, it’s too early to confirm it. We will figure it out within the next 20 days. This will also force my partner to train at home with his exercise bike—with a plastered arm.
We both know that our challenge is not an easy one; accidents and injuries are well-known risks. I am sure that his optimism is high because I know him; he won’t give up easily. One of his favorite quotes is “you can do it, anything’s possible!”.

Cheer up, Ivan!.

How to donate to help against cancer?

Posted by admin On Marzo - 10 - 2010

Donate by Bank Transfer

Bank: Banesto

Account No. 0030 2145 63 0000414271

IBAN: IBAN ES20 0030 2145 6300 0041 4271


Europe by Tandem and the AECC (Asociación Española contra el Cáncer) have opened this account to raise funds to support the fight against cancer. The amount you’re going to donate goes directly to this cause. 50% of the proceeds will go to the AECC (Spanish Association Against Cancer) and 50% to the UICC (International Union Against Cancer). Both are going to use the funds for their projects against cancer in progress.

Europe by Tandem supports the implementation of the Declaration of Rights of Donors, whose text was developed by the American Association of Fundraising Counsel (AAFRC), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), Council for Advancement and Support Education (CASE) and the National Society of Fundraising Executives (NSFRE).

To view the annual reports of both organizations and to know their active fight, you can visit their web pages.

AECC in figures:

UICC finance:

against cancer

Via verde Ojos Negros

Posted by admin On Marzo - 1 - 2010

Iván: In the summer of 2009 we decided to start with our training on the “Vía Verde de Ojos Negros”. Our intention was to take the train and go the “easy way”, from Castellón to Sagunto and from Sagunto to Barracas, to take the route going down (I recommend this to all of you, especially those who aren’t necessarily the fittest). But, at the end, we weren’t so jolly as we found out that the train we intended to board (a Mid Distance) didn’t allow bicycles!!!! I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened with our tandem bicycle…

After this incident, we gathered extensive information about travelling by train throughout Spain with our bicycle. There are specific rules, depending on the train and journey, and on the RENFE website you can look them up. About this particular case, the MD trains (Mid distance) do allow to travel with bicycles, but only 2 per coach. If there are more, a express authorization from RENFE is needed and it has to be issued 48 hours before the trip at any train station (too much bureaucracy, isn’t it?). Maybe that day there was a squad of cyclists heading to Teruel and Zaragoza…who knows?!

The issue of the trip organization is basic, so, if you travel by train and take your bike, don’t forget to get the appropriate information.

Here is the website where RENFE publishes their regulations to travel by train with a bike. There is a link on the right hand side that reads “travel by bicycle”

But, in addition, here’s more information learned from our experience:

- Not very precise: it doesn’t specify how to file for an authorization, also, there’s open margin for the transport to be denied using the argument of “too many passengers”, no matter whether you are carrying the permit or not.

- Incomplete: we’ve never been able to obtain information on “short distance” trains as we always get an error on the website, and, on the other hand, it gives no information on the TRDs, on which, bicycles are not allowed on the train. (as per the information provided on the RENFE helpline).

This fact makes us wonder about how environmentally conscious these people are, as, only two bicycles per coach is an extremely low number for a means of transportation as important as the train. This forces the citizen to make the journey using another motorized vehicle…and then we get so alarmed when we hear about global warming!

Anyway…in this calling that leads me to share information, we promise to write a post where we will give more detailed information about travelling by train with a bicycle (and we will compare this with other European countries).

Going back to that journey last summer: after the trials and tribulations with the RENFE employees, and once we realized the impossibility of our intention, without further delay and leaving aside our anger, we decided to enjoy the road from top to bottom, which, as expected was a long way and relatively hard. However, it was very very gratifying: it is always a pleasure to ride along a Via Verde.

Let’s talk a bit about this green path…

A Little bit of history: The “Vía Verde de Ojos Negros” was in the past a railroad linking point between the provinces of Castellón, Valencia and Teruel for the mining trains of Sierra Menera. It started to work on July 27th, 1907, carrying iron from the rich deposit located in the mines of  “Ojos Negros (Teruel)” going towards the “Puerto de Sagunto”.

It was a Project that started as a “disagreement” between the people managing the exploitation of the Ojos Negros mine and the company “Ferrocarril Central de Aragón”. In order to save a few cents on transportation, the mining company decided to build their own way to Sagunto and that way avoid payment to the compañía ferroviaria aragonesa: nothing less than a 200 km road with several bridges, viaducts and tunnels. A great work of engineering.

In 1972 this rail was closed down, and, it wasn’t until 2002 when its rehabilitation began as a green way, having finished the last part in the spring of 2008. The projects, already in place, promised to broaden the road all the way to Sagunto and their connection with the city of Valencia.

General map of Via verde Ojos Negros:

Profile of Via verde Ojos Negros:

We also loaded a video of back when we didn’t have a tandem bicycle yet. The butt we follow in the video is J.L’s, and, as you can see, that far into the road, we were really working hard : ) We hope you like it!


Regards and until the next post!

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