Meeting up with our (mostly) German tandem friends and spending a festive weekend riding out from Bad Salzuflen into the surrounding countryside and to the nearby towns of Herford, Bielefeld, Detmold and Bad Oeyenhausen.
Tandemtreffen attendance is usually by way of invitation, as previous participants, or through introduction by regular participants. The meetings take place over the weekend of the Ascension (and ‘Father’s Day, or Vatertag’) in Germany which falls in May. I dare say some folk go to church on Ascension Day but most seem to celebrate Vatertag by loading up a small trolly with beer and a music system and wandering off into the countryside to dance to the tunes and empty the trolly – which can then be employed to transport the most inebriated back home.
The Tandemtreffen organisers (volunteers from within the group) start planning early and once a location for ‘base’ is decided will arrange with a hotel to host the group. The majority will take a room and half-board while one of two may use camper vans and join the group at breakfast in the hotel. Routes are divided into short, medium and long to cater for the varying abilities of the tandem teams but the rides usually meet up at lunchtime or at a coffee-stop during the day.
After the day’s ride, in the evening the group will meet in the bar or usually, an area set aside, to socialise ahead of dinner. After dinner we transfer to a meeting room or community area where the following day’s rides are discussed and then one or two presentations from individual teams about a previous tour they may have undertaken.
The rides always take in local places of interest and by the end of the weekend you’ll come away with a very good impression of what the area has to offer. On the final day – Sunday – those that have further to travel may set off for home but there’s usually a ride organised to a local attraction for those who want to tag along.
These weekend aren’t cheap by any means, as we travel from home in the UK. Ferry fares and intermediate overnight stays plus the cost of the weekend stay at the hotel and bar bills etc. all add up, but the enjoyment factor is huge and its great to meet up with teams that we have got to know over the years.