Granite Tandem Design

degrees of freedom

A storied account of custom built tandem bicycles and the places they take us.

What does it feel like to complete Race Across America? “3,067 miles, 180,000 feet of climbing over 7+ days,” was the response of Kyle Coon, a rider on Team Sea to See. We all kind of chuckled at the very literal response to the race announcer’s question, because there truly aren’t words to describe the grueling experience. Especially, moments after finishing this event. Words like “hard” and “exhausting” are about the best one can muster up.

transition

David and I woke up at 4 A.M. that morning in order to drive into Annapolis, MD to see Team Sea to See finish this monumental journey. Watching the sunrise as we drove over the Bay Bridge, I felt exhausted just from my early wake up call, but I had to keep telling myself not to say anything about that around the RAAM team and crew. I can usually feel the effects of one night’s interrupted sleep, but it’s nothing compared to the sleep deprivation accrued over a 7-day trans-America crossing.

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When Andy and Kami White sent a note in the middle of the winter, curious whether Granite Tandem Design could build them a custom gravel tandem for an upcoming bikepacking adventure, we didn’t hesitate getting started on this project.

Unpaved touring isn’t new, but the equipment used to traverse such terrain has evolved over the past 10 years. Particularly the luggage set up has gone from backpacks or rack and panniers to frame bags incorporated into the bicycle’s frame. The tire selection and gearing resembles a mountain bike, the position and handling is closer to a road bike. It’s a pleasant evolution in bicycle design. Depending on what you’re looking for, stock options may not hit all the items on one’s wish list. Andy and Kami’s wish list didn’t seem extraordinary to us, but we can say with some certainty the gravel bikepacking tandem that was born from that list, isn’t available at your local bike shop.

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Tall saguaro cacti, dry treeless landscapes and rugged peaks make Southern Arizona feel like a foreign land, especially when you’re used to the dense forests and rolling hills of the northeast. It was a welcomed contrast from home.

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Sometimes it’s easy to find your next bike that will take your further, faster, and climb higher effortlessly, but as we shopped around over the course of 3 years (we’re overly analytical) we just weren’t finding what we wanted. We wanted our travel bike to be our favorite bike AND our fast bike. We wanted to ride in tire eating mud AND fast tarmac. We wanted our bike to fit us perfectly AND accommodate our growing family. We looked at our options and we just weren’t satisfied, so we built our bike from scratch. We loved it so much, we built this company to offer the same experience to others. 

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