Recently, my hubby and I started riding a tandem bicycle as part of a training program for a race that we have entered. As with many things, I tried to see the parallels between life and leadership from pedaling away on this amazing machine. For me riding in tandem means synchronicity, team work and one goal. I was quite interested to see that the machine is so well set up for two people to move “as one”.
However, my first ride was filled with anxiety to “pull my weight”, the fear of falling and the desire to “get up those hills”. Once I had overcome that, I guess, it kind of fell into place for me, giving me time to reflect and get on with it.
TRUST THE LEADER
I guess my initial trepidation was relatively easy to overcome. My hubby is an experienced rider, having many stage races and thousands of kilometres under his belt. Trust is easy to give if the leader in streetwise, competent and behaves in an easy and confident manner. It’s therefore a case that trust is actually respect that is earned. Once you have that, people don’t have to second guess and wonder if they are in the right hands. Then, it’s easier to push up those never ending hills and energise the team with “burn, baby burn!”
CHOOSE THE RIGHT “FOLLOWERS”
Of course, as a couple we are aligned to completing this race, especially considering that I am novice rider, having myself, not yet completed any races. The right followers are the ones that see the goal WITH the leader, looking to the leader for guidance and direction. In many ways, this leader should also be helping the “followers” to achieve their OWN goals. You simply cannot choose followers that DON”T want to ride, CAN’T see the finishing line, or don’t know WHY they are riding!
Being at the back, means you have one thing that you can really use. Your voice! As much as the leader sets the pace, he needs to be cognisant of the team in order to correct discomfort, shift gears and keep the balance. In return, the follower needs to also be able to act quickly in some instances, to adjust and keep the momentum, and know that the leader is acting in the team’s best interest.
HAVE FUN and ENJOY your role.
Each person on the tandem has certain things he should worry about and some things that he need not. Being at the back on the bike means that you can go “handsoff”, look at the scenery and enjoy the ride. DO IT! Don’t spend energy worrying about that which is already taken care off. On the other hand, being the leader means that you can set the pace, challenge the team, knowing that you “know how” and also enjoy the teamwork.
So, thus far, we have done 3 long rides together. With many more on the horizon, I look forward to more kilometers of reflection, enjoyment and most importantly for me, completing my first race.
Wish me luck!