The History of the Tarantino
Five years ago, on a country lane in western Argentina, the seeds were planted that would eventually give birth to the legend that is the Tarantino. After deciding to conduct a simple winery tour on bikes, Woody and Tom were hynoptically drawn to a old and battered tandem sitting lonelily at the back of a bike rental shop. There was to be no going back. Three wineries into the tour their imagination were sufficiently lubricated to dare to believe they could travel with one of those two seated machines across the UK. Neither expected it would really happen. The fate of the Tarantino was seeled. Fast forward almost one year, a pratical month or so before the planned departure date, and the same two are standing in a back street bike shop in sunny Bolton, north west England, eying up a silver queen of a bike with the name printed in black across it. “Tarantino”.
Tarantino wasn’t going to come easily. Foolishly (bravely) the original duo decided to cycle on some pretty busy roads through Manchester to Woody’s family home where the new silver beauty would rest until the day of departure. Everything went smoothly for about 10km until Tom (on lead) suddenly found himself peddaling air. As the screaming from the rear seat (Woody) quickly revealed, the front peddals had mysteriously disconnected and spun off down a traffic heavy main road. As far as reasuring starts go, this was hard to beat. They walked to a nearby garage and got the necessary tools to fix the peddal, then took the train back to Stockport.
In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best of preparation. One wine infused fun cycle, one failed trip with a loose peddal. With all that tandem experience, Woody and Tom set off from Penzance on the planned 17 day trip to the north of Scotland. They quickly discovered, after Woody wobbled his way down another busy road, that Tom made a better front man and Woody a better navigator and that was the way it stayed. They also swiftly found out that the Tarantino doesn’t like hills, most of her gears are useless and Cornwall is the hilliest place in the world. The first incline nearly broke the chain and they sat on the side of the road, dispondently thinking they had yet to reach the start line, wrenching it back into place. Safe to say, their relationship with the Tarantino was not always a loving one. Anger and frustration played a huge role in getting her to the finish line.
Things did smooth themselves out. They started to understand one another, to treat her gears with care, the understand her limits and push her, baggage and all, up some ridiculous Cornwall slopes. They shared moments of terror (screaming down an A road outside Exeter at hair raising speeds with a panier strap flapping dangerously between the spokes) and times of tranquility (propped up against a bench in a beautiful beer garden). They came through some hard times. In the depths of Scotland, the Tarantino’s spokes gave out. A hidden pot hole at the bottom of an endless downhill put pay to four or five of them as they pinged out of the wheel. The first mechanic didn’t do a good enough job and Tom was forced to cycle solo through Scotland villages at 4.30pm on a Friday, while Woody hitchhiked around with a very obliging Irish fellow, desperately searching for a bike repair shop. In the end it was an ancient bloke in a dirty back yard shed who fixed her up for the final stretch.
Right to the end there were moments when the Tarantino nearly didn’t make it. Hurling down the coast of northern Scotland, Tom suddenly spied a hidden cattle grid approaching at great speed. One shout to the navigator was all it took. Those dodgy spokes were on the back wheel and the weight of the rider over a cattle grid would surely have spelled the end. With the same disturbing lack of regard for his own safety that Woody demonstrated frequently on night’s out in Leeds, he leapt from the saddle and rolled into a cow muck covered field, while Tom and the Tarantino sailed harmlessly over the grid.
Tom, Woody and the Tarantino all made it to John O’ Groats (and back, in the truck of a football hooligan from Stoke) and now they, along with their new American addition, are ready for the next adventure. It’s been a long, rusty hibernation in the Woodsmith house in Stockport, but the Tarantino has been on some day trips with Woody’s folks. I’m sure it’ll throw up some dramtic moments again but with a bit of determination and luck we’ll get her to the finish line again (and then probably throw the battered scrap into the Black Sea…).
49 days to go…