Along-time RAGBRAI particpant, Mike Moller has ridden the same Specialized aluminum bike, outfitted with rear rack and sound system for more than seven years. Recently, his trusty RAGBRAI steed has had an addition to keep it company in his Ankeny garage — a Trek T900 tandem.
Moller and his partner, Tammi Marsh, enjoy riding the area trails, often heading to the High Trestle bridge or taking the new connection to the Neal Smith Trail and heading to downtown Des Moines for the Saturday morning Farmers’ Market or a stop at one of the many pubs near the trails.
“I’ve known a lot of people who really enjoy riding tandem,” says Moller, owner of DSM Financial in Urbandale. “Tammy and I wanted to give one a try and found this on sale at Bike World. I couldn’t resist, so I bought it.”
While Moller and Marsh have enjoyed taking the bike out on the trails, Marsh, and her daughter Brittany Steffes, have discovered the fun of tandeming together.
“We took it for a day on RAGBRAI and had a blast,” says Marsh. “Mike rode his road bike, and we just had a blast on the tandem. It was farther than we’ve ridden together before, but with all the stops on the route, we were fine and really enjoyed it.”
The Specialized, which Moller rode in his first Hy-Vee Triathlon in 2006, has spent more time in the garage, while there is no moss growing on the tandem. On most weekends it’s used by either Moller and Marsh or Marsh and her daughter.
“One of our favorite jaunts is to take the trail to the Saylorville Marina,” says Moller. “We enjoy riding to the bar on the lake for some food, beers and a game (on TV). We’ll often get a group together and head up to the marina and ride home with our lights, in the dark. The tandem is the perfect bike to ride in the dark, because we only need one set of lights, and we can’t get split up on the twisty trail.”
New, the Trek T900 retails for about $1,200. A fairly heavy bike, it is designed for short jaunts on trails or through town. Moller has made some adaptations to lighten it as well as make it more comfortable on longer rides.
New seats, handlebars and tires made the Moller tandem move quicker on the paved trails around Ankeny and lighter on the climb up the backside of the Saylorville dam. With 26-inch wheels, the bike is adaptable for wider, knobby tires making it perfect for some of the numerous gravel roads north of town.