International Tandem Triskaidekaphobia Challenge

This was the 13th annual beer bet with Bob Brandt so we went with a triskaidekaphobia (“fear of the number 13”) theme. I suggested doing a ride with riders from 13 countries but Bob doubled it to 26. A rider could represent a country if (a) born in that country, (b) lived there 13 years, or (c) currently lives there. Each ride had to be at least 13 kilometers (8 miles).

Good thing Bob doubled it to 26 tandem riders because it increased the challenge, introduced me to new friends, and produced great memories. Every ride was memorable. Here are a few examples:

1. Arranging a last-minute ride with Garbine Guruciaga (Spain), who was riding across the country on a tandem bike with her husband. I rode one-way on old Route 66 with her until a couple miles past Towanda, while her husband rode solo on their tandem. I rode solo back home.

2. Riding with Keith Marshall and hearing of the dangers of growing up on a dairy farm during the revolution in Zimbabwe. That makes my growing up on a dairy farm in Minnesota look super safe.

3. Meeting Gig Supanichrattana while I was volunteering at Light the Night in Normal and, after learning she’s from Thailand, asking if she would happen to like going on a tandem bike ride.


4. Contacting Sheheryar Muftee after seeing he was a candidate for Bloomington City Council, then asking him if he was from another country (he was – Pakistan) and convincing him to ride.


5. Learning it’s a small world after all when I asked Marcelo Prado (Brazil) how he ended up here. He met his wife, Jennifer Vericella, while working at the UN in Switzerland. Jennifer is a friend’s niece, and Meg had Jennifer as a student back when Meg taught pre-school.

This may have been the toughest challenge yet, but the concept of “six degrees of separation” and the magic of social media helped fill the year with great, enriching experiences with 39 riders from 37 different countries. Six continents were represented by those 37 countries (anybody know of someone born in Antarctica?). In total, 53 people rode on the tandem this year, 38 of them were new riders bringing the all-time total to 285 riders. Thanks so much to everyone for all the great rides, the referrals, and great memories! Here are the riders, listed by country:
Australia: Dennis Gilmore
Barbados: Bryan Best
Brazil: Marcelo Prado, Edneuza Hermes
Canada: Frances Connolly
China: Ricardo Yinzhe Lu
Colombia: Vince Espejo
Dominican Republic: Melin de la Cruz
Egypt: Noha Shawki
England : Nigel Keen, Leon Borsukiewicz
France: JC Le Mentec
Germany: Pat Sheridan
Ghana: Precious Baah
Honduras: Frank Herrada
Hungary: Zsuzsanna Fagyal-LeMentec
India: Balraj Rajamanickam
Iran: Sadegheh Haghshenas
Libya: Mohammed Al-marimi
Japan: Chris Stiles
Malaysia: Jennifer Ho
Mexico: Sophia Melina Monroy
Morocco: Kenza Soufiane
Nepal: Aashish Shrestha
Netherlands: Brigit Molony
Nigeria: Aderinsola Adelekan
Pakistan: Sheheryar Muftee
Philippines: Jenny Sun
Poland: Aleks Ola Wolan
Portugal: Beth Sennett
Russia: Kristina Furler
South Africa: Ironette Marshall
South Korea: Briana Paris
Spain: Garbine Guruceaga
Thailand: Gig Supanichrattana
United States: Meg Anderson
Vietnam: Bick Tran
Venezuela: Mirriam Valero
Zimbabwe: Keith Marshall


The 2018 challenge is sticking with the goal of 26 riders but the tough part is that it has to be 26 riders that have done the Boston Marathon. The minimum ride is 26.2 miles and each rider must complete the 26 miles in one ride. Because this is the 14th year of the bet, 14 of the 26 riders have to be people that have never been on the tandem before. This is going to be great!

This entry was posted in Lake Runner Blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.