Charles and Heidi are both semi-retired and first started tandem cycling in the fall of 2013. Shortly after having gotten back into cycling on their single road bikes during the summer, they began to consider planning a cycling tour. After reading a number of blogs and articles on bicycle touring, they thought that they should consider trying out a tandem.They figured that they would rent one for an afternoon ride to see if tandem cycling was for them.
Like other couples or tandem teams, they thought that they should give tandem cycling a try as a way to facilitate their cycling tours. On long distance rides on their single bikes, Charles, being the stronger cyclist of the two, would usually end up quite a bit ahead of Heidi. On a tandem, this is no longer an issue plus they can also truly experience the ride together and easily be able to converse during the ride. Other advantages include being able to pass water bottles to one another and having two people keeping an eye on their surroundings.
After that first ride on a rental, they both knew that tandem cycling could work for them. They then started looking for a good second-hand tandem and were fortunate to find one within a couple of weeks that happened to be in their area - what luck! It was a Santana Arriva (XL Frame). They met with the owner and tried out the tandem. They knew that they would have to make changes to the bike, but that it would work for them plus the price was right. It was a great opportunity to get into tandem cycling.
So that’s how it started. About six weeks later they went on their first overnight tour and cycled from Kanata in Ottawa’s west end to Perth, Ontario. Kanata to Perth is approximately a 65-kilometre ride with about half of the route being on the Canada Trail. They stayed overnight and then cycled back to Kanata the next day.
Not long after their 2 day tour to Perth and back, they began thinking about planning a longer tour - a multi-day tour from Kanata to Magog, Quebec and back. This tour which they decided to call "Tandem Tour 2014" would take them through part of eastern Ontario, Montreal, Quebec’s Montérégie, and the Eastern Townships regions. On there ride back to Kanata they took a more southern route which took them from Magog through Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Saint-Timothée, Cornwall, Morrisburg, and then back to Kanata. They completed this tour in July 2014. The tour covered a total distance of 770 kilometers over 10 days which included 2 rest days spent in Magog, QC. This resulted in an average of 96 km/day (i.e. during the 8 days of actual cycling).
In July of 2016 they undertook a longer tour from their home in Kanata, ON to Fredericton, NB. Unfortunately the tour ended on Day 1 due to an accident so they decided to defer the tour to the following year. In July 2017 they completed their "Tandem Tour 2017". The tour covered a distance of 1,158 kilometers over 11 straight days of cycling and took them from Kanata, ON to Fredericton, NB resulting in an average of 105 km/day. The tour took them through Eastern Ontario, Montreal, Granby, Warwick, Quebec City, Rivière du Loup, Grand Falls, Woodstock before arriving in Fredericton NB.
If you'd like learn more about Charles and Heidi's Tandem Tour experiences they have put together online journals of their tours which you can access at this link: Tandem Tour Journals
Charles is originally from Sherbooke, Quebec, and after graduating from Alexander Galt Regional High School, attended Champlain CEGEP in Lennoxville for two years. He then moved on to the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Soon afterwards, he was hired by a high-tech firm in the Ottawa area and enjoyed a career in electrical engineering/management for approximately 22 years.
Charles has been semi-retired for over ten years and is now a professional musician. He sings and plays guitar as part of a duo with his wife, Heidi, and they entertain in seniors’ residences and nursing homes, mainly in the Ottawa/Gatineau area. Their shows include a wide variety of musical genres, including many international selections. Other interests include vegetarianism, alternative health, refugee sponsorship and travel.
Heidi is originally from Granby, Quebec, and after graduating from Massey Vanier Regional High School, attended Champlain CEGEP in Lennoxville and also took courses at Bishop’s University. She then worked in Magog for several years prior to moving to the Ottawa area, where she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She began working in the library field and simultaneously completed a Library and Information Technician Diploma at Algonquin College.
After working at Algonquin College, Export Development Corporation and Nortel, Heidi spent approximately two years doing freelance work as an online Italian language course developer and instructor. She then worked for the federal government, first at Library and Archives Canada followed by Finance Canada.
Heidi began singing on a part-time basis with Charles towards the end of 2005. Her linguistic and musical interests have helped them expand their repertoire to include more international selections. Since having left the federal government in 2011, she has been entertaining with Charles in seniors’ residences and nursing homes as part of a mix of activities during their semi-retirement. Her other interests include vegetarianism, alternative health, sewing, knitting, refugee sponsorship and travel.
Charles and Heidi reside in Ottawa/Kanata, Ontario.
© Copyright Charles B. Gregoire 2016