Monday, May 9, 2011


"Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do,
I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage -
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'd look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two."
Ahhh bicycles built for two. Or tandem bicycles, whatever you prefer to call them. Can you think of anything more darling than a long ride along a scenic river on a beautiful spring day surrounded by blossoming azaleas on a two person bicycle? Yep, neither can I...

This tandem bicycle ride has some extra sentimental value for Zooms and I though, thanks to the good old days at Miami University...

So once upon a time, we were RA's. The job was great actually, we got our own single rooms, we were paid to live with and watch over Freshies, we got to make super awesome RA videos, and we were exposed to a boatload of fun ResLife quotes, the most infamous being the Tandem Bicycle Metaphor. In case it's not immediately apparent, the Tandem Bicycle Metaphor goes a little something like this:

"Advising at Miami University is similar to riding a tandem bicycle: advisors sit on the back and guide while the student steers from the front seat. This approach allows students to take ownership of their educations. At times advisors are faced with resistance from students, and sometimes parents, but they work through the resistance by asking questions and getting to know the individuals better".
Sounds pretty good, right? Why not test it all out on a REAL tandem bicycle? Taking the advising position on our literal tandem bicycling adventure, (although I should probably admit we had our roles confused during our ride...) I just had to sit back, guide, and provide emotional support while Zooms, our metaphorical resident steered us along from the front...

Now in case you've forgotten, I have a terrible fear of falling, especially so for bikes, off of which I've been known to fall repeatedly during, say, 24-hour scavenger hunts. Like face planting off the front of them. Multiple times. I'm always a bit of a control freak anyways, so when it comes so bicycles, go ahead and multiply my general control freak-ness by at least 400. Yeah, it's that bad. And somewhere along our journey, I came to the realization that tandem bicycling can be downright terrifying!

To start off with, directing/guiding/providing emotional support from the back seat was a challenge. Now Resident Zooms has a number of wonderful, wonderful qualities, but directions are maybe kinda sorta not one of them... Zooms, Zooms! We need to turn left here! Oh left? WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!.... Oh wait, now we're not in the bike lane anymore! Oh really? WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

(*Insert nervous twitch here)

Successful in terms of Resident Zooms taking ownership of the situation, but turns out I'm the one in need of emotional support.

Additionally, our ride took place not in some remote riverside park with just us and nature, but in the Han River Park. On a Sunday afternoon where half of Seoul was out there riding with us. And I thought driving in Chicago was bad...

Weaving in and out of cyclists and roller bladers, our metaphorical resistance if you will, I found myself asking many questions to get to know Resident Zooms better. WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO PASS THIS GUY?!?! Oh, don't worry about it. DO YOU SEE THE ROLLER BLADER COMING STRAIGHT FOR US?!?!?!?! You need to calm down. WHY ARE YOU STILL PEDALING, WE'RE ALREADY GOING FAST ENOUGH!?!?!?! Oh look a puppy. AAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHH!!!!!!

I suppose in my final assessment of the Tandem Bicycle Metaphor, it only works if the person filling the advisor role is not afraid of flipping off a bicycle. Or something like that. For the record, it was actually awesome and I would do it again in a second <3

- Christine -

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