BY LIZ GROMOFSKY
Whether you have seen them downtown or dressed up spreading holiday cheer, the tandem biking couple is very popular within the city of Wadsworth. Sue and Patrick Wemmer are the faces who ride tandem throughout the community and often can be found spreading joy and kindness to kids and adults alike.
“It briefly started last Halloween,” said the Wemmer’s. “But that got so much attention that people started telling us to come back as Santa.”
The Wemmer’s love to see the joy it brings to everyone when they dress up and bike around town.
“One person asked us to come visit their quarantined kids and we put on a little show for the kids,” said Patrick. “That hit Facebook and people started contacting us to come and see their families. We took advantage of all those requests and we visited many places and neighborhoods.”
Visiting these people took lots of logistical work in order to figure out when and where the Wemmer’s needed to be and on what day.
The Wemmer’s have been biking together since they first started dating.
“We started biking together on individual bikes when we met 27 years ago,” said the Wemmers. “We enjoyed that but it is not conducive to carrying on a conversation.”
Before purchasing a tandem bike, the Wemmer’s had never tried tandem biking.
“We both retired in 2015 on the same day from separate places,” said the Wemmers. “The next day we woke up and said ‘Let’s go buy a tandem bike’. We ironically went down to Pete’s in Massillon and told the people at the store that we wanted to buy the tandem bike.”
When telling the salespeople that they wanted to purchase the bike, the people in the store laughed.
“They said we can’t sell you one until you ride one,” said the Wemmers. “They told us that buying this bike was either going to make our marriage stronger or weaker. We have come to find out that when riding a tandem we must communicate.”
Patrick is the captain, because he sits in the front and steers the bike. Sue is the stoker because she sits in the back.
“I can’t see in front of me,” said Sue. “I can only see side to side or his back so we must communicate when he is turning or when there is a bump because otherwise I will go flying off the bike.”
The Wemmer’s have travelled many miles on their bike. Their most recent trip, however, was nothing like they had ever done before.
“We have done lots of 50 and 60 mile trips on our bikes,” said Patrick. “We will ride to Cleveland and back but we had never strung two or three of these trips together in a row. We were curious to see how our endurance was.”
The couple packed up their tandem bike and drove to Pittsburgh, where they then rode from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. This trip was a total of 400 miles on the tandem bike.
“These two trails are marked as some of the best in the world,” said the Wemmer’s. “We were both so sad when it ended because we were with nature and with the one we loved.”
The couple stayed in bed and breakfasts along the way.
“We have found that touring cities like Washington D.C. is much more convenient on two wheels,” said Sue.
The Wemmer’s are pretty safe while riding, always wearing their helmets. However, last year on Christmas Eve the couple almost had an accident.
“While dressed in our santa and frosty costumes, we were peddling by the open field on Johnson road when several deer almost ran us over as they crossed the street,” said the Wemmers. “It was super dark so we did not see them.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the couple has biked close to 6,000 miles.
“We want to thank our fine neighbors of Wadsworth for responding so well to our antics,” said the Wemmer’s. “We often find when we ride through different neighborhoods we are met with warm greetings, frantic waves and well wishes.”
The main purpose of the tandem biking couple is to spread cheer throughout the community, and everyday the Wemmer’s strive to achieve their goal.