Baltic Madness Biking Journeying

When three isn’t better than two: triplet touring

Riding a triplet is a bit of an attention getter...
Written by Stuart Wickes
Touring on a bicycle for three

Riding a triplet is a bit of an attention getter…

Three isn’t better than two..

Stuart Profile Small“Why do people find this bike funny?” asks a little voice at the back of the triplet (a bicycle for three in case you don’t know). At speed with the wind on our nose it’s hard to hear Hannah from the front of the bike, especially if middle-man Cameron has his mp3 on and doesn’t relay her messages.

Three may be better than two in a tandem vs triplet sprint challenge but there are downsides to this bike; like communicating up and down the drive-train, trying to turn on anything less than a dual carriageway, and dealing with the instability when a fight breaks out between stokers. It’s also a big attention magnet.

What are they looking at?

I thought I’d got used to stoppers and starers while touring on tandems pulling trailers but we’ve moved into another league now, attracting attention where we once passed relatively quietly, even in Scando-European countries where everyone rides and unusual bikes are an everyday sight.

Pointing out to sea

Why do people stop, point and stare? At us?

What are they smiling at?

“Why do people always smile when we cycle past?” Hannah raises her voice, honking her horn to try and get my attention, generating the very effect that intrigues her so.

It’s not just the bike that attracts attention;  she’s part of the effect too, hand on horn, flaxen hair  trailing in the slipstream, rising up and out of the saddle, her little legs doing their bit to power us along.

First to pass onlookers I’m first to see the smiles start to break as this image of a family in motion unfolds before them. Father, son and daughter, going somewhere together, legs turning in perfect synchronicity. It’s a potent image of family harmony, even when we’re sulking or fighting.

Family biking harmony

Tandem and triplet riding is a potent image of family harmony

A family adventure machine: a bicycle for three

But they’re not just looking at us, there’s something magic about the bike that makes looks linger. Bright red frame, and shiny gears, fat panniers and rucksacks on racks, water bottles, flasks, pumps and saddle bags filling in the frame.

And then behind this cycling behemoth, a bright yellow trailer with rainbow flag bursting with tent, food, sleeping bags and dolly. It’s not a funny bike; it’s a cycling juggernaut, our family adventure machine.

BIkes on a beach in Denmark

These bikes are attention magnets where-ever we take them

What are they saying?

“What is it are they are saying Dad?” shouts Hannah, ringing on her bell, answering back anyway, as if she understood. From the front it can be hard to make out, for by the time onlookers speak I’m already way up the road, while Hannah is just passing by.

But while Hannah cannot understand, the team of two following tell me, that whatever the country, whatever the language, the gist of it is always the same; “Eins…, Zvei.., Drei!”

Triplet on Cycling Route in Denmark

A bicycle made for 1,2,3. Wow!



About the author

Stuart Wickes

Stuart's the adventure addict half of the team, always trying to persuade the family to get out, do more, go further. As co-founder and co-director he handles the business, creative, design, technical and publishing aspects of the project. He is our chief photographer and videographer. With training as a professional learning and development consultant. an engineer and musician, his contribution is eclectic and unpredictable!

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We're Kirstie & Stuart. We share an adventurous spirit, a passion for indie travel and 3 kids. The Family Adventure Project is our long term experiment in doing active, adventurous things together. Find out more...


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