Built for two

A few months ago, I was thinking of two different “built for two” objects, one of which was particularly salient during that day, and another which came to mind.

The first item, which was salient to me, was the canoe. When you are in a canoe, it usually contains two people in it, a “front” and a “rear.”

Both the front and the rear have to paddle in order to propel the canoe. However, the front is mostly used for powering, and the rear is mostly used for steering. When I have been in a canoe, I have always been in the front, supplying the power.

Maybe, for this reason, I struggled so much in the kayak when I went out on the water again! I am so used to paddling for power, and not for steering. Somehow I managed to kayak in a loop without going for Tyler too (i.e., Tipakayak). Nevertheless, I think I prefer canoeing to kayaking.

I want to compare the two-person canoe to the two-person bike (i.e., the tandem). When you ride a tandem, there is again a front and a rear person, and both people have roles. The front person is in control of the main handlebars, and therefore steers the tandem. The chain is controlled by both the front and the rear pedals. Interestingly, however, the rear cyclist is the person to control the power! Though the front person can pedal, the strength of the rear controls the power.

Just as I have never controlled the rear of a canoe, I have not controlled the front of a tandem yet. I think I prefer two people on two bikes in a single-file (or better yet, double-file) line to a tandem, though the tandem certainly has its advantages for efficiency.

And then, of course, there are canoe-style cars (front-wheel drive) and tandem-style cars (rear-wheel drive).

This brings up an interesting question: What kind of mechanical propulsion might be analogous to a four-wheel-drive car as I describe it here? Or, is my analogy completely inept in the first place? Let me know!



Day 1: 21 days.

NU/NU: 38 days.

High Holidays: 47 days.

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