Cyclists of the Month: Charles & Rose Ann Finkel, Tandem Talkers

The Finkels, a double vision in orange, talk about mixing biking and brews, why ‘liquid bread’ is the perfect accompaniment for a day of riding, and how tandem riding improves your love life.

Charles: 63
Rose Ann: 60

Co-owners, Pike Brewing Company

Charles: Marketing, University of Oklahoma
Rose Ann: Dental Hygiene, University of Texas
Charles: Broken Arrow, OK
Rose Ann: Houston, TX

8 miles daily from Windermere to downtown Seattle

Custom Rodriguez Eightball tandem, Rodriguez tandem, and a Rodriguez single; ’78 Alex Moulton, Motobecane racing bike, 1895 Columbia, 1895 Imperial

What was your childhood riding like?
Rose Ann: When I was seven, I inherited my sister’s beat-up blue Schwinn. I stopped riding for awhile after my teens; you could obtain your driver’s license in Texas when you were 13 years old! It makes you realize why our current administration does not value alternative transportation. Plus, Houston’s climate does not exactly encourage outdoor recreational activities.

Charles: A Schwinn got me pedaling too, but I’ve never stopped. I actually preferred the heat outdoors to stale air-conditioning.

When did you become bike masters?
Charles: Biking freed me from my rural existence to explore nature and my surroundings. I’ve always been an enthusiast. Our main interest is in bike commuting; we joined Cascade in the late ‘70s to support the advocacy efforts and did our first STP in 1981.

At the time, I was part owner of another business. My partner bought out my shares by giving me a custom-made Rodriguez tandem – my dream bike.

Rose Ann: I picked up biking again quickly when I met Charles. I became an enthusiast in the mid-1970s after moving to Seattle’s temperate climate.

How do you mix brews and biking?
Charles: We sold the brewery in the late ‘90s, and we bought back the business in May 2006. We wanted to introduce something new, so we developed our Tandem Ale – a double ale in the monastic tradition. The double entendre is fun and the orange label is inspired by our bright orange Rodriguez tandem.

We’ve also got a new t-shirt, ‘Bike to Pike,’ to replace our ‘I Like Pike’ shirts. Cyclists love them.

Care to comment on cyclists’ fascination with malt?
Rose Ann: Beer is simply liquid bread; a beer like Pike Street Stout, which is made with 100% malt, is an excellent source of carbohydrates for cyclists! Many beers have more carbs than energy bars.

Charles: In Germany, wheat beers are popular to drink after sports. Biking is wholesome and healthy. The pleasure in riding is that you don’t count a few extra calories.

Any other favorite cycling accessories besides beer?
Charles: We’ve got dual air horns that I love; they are environmentally friendly. I also purchased a custom-handlebar rack for my Night Rider light system.

Rose Ann: We also love our Tandem Topper bike rack.

Any favorite cycling activities?
Charles: We bike to the local farmers’ markets in the U. District [Saturdays, year-round], Columbia City [Wednesdays, May through October] and Lake City [Thursdays, May through October]. Interlaken is also a beautiful ride. We love going to Bike Expo every winter.

We particularly enjoy taking the Victoria Clipper to BC, and riding the Galloping Goose Trail 55km from Victoria to Sooke Harbor.

Rose Ann: We love circling around the city – seeing boats, planes and trains. With the opening of the new Sculpture Park, we really look forward to biking through Myrtle Edwards Park. We’ve enjoyed RSVP several times.

Ed note: The Galloping Goose and Peninsula Trails are part of the Trans Canada Trail. The multi-use trails link 100 km of green space stretching from Sooke to Sidney and are open to cyclists, hikers, and equestrians.

Does your commute inspire others?
Charles: We’re not 25 years old anymore; people see that we’re not exhausted after riding. We encourage brewpub employees to ride in; we provide bike racks and showers. On our tandem, we answer questions, like directions, from many interested car drivers.

Rose Ann: Most people are very encouraging.

Tell us more about your tandem.
Rose Ann: We love our Eightball tandem that breaks down, and our Tandem Talker – [open-air style mono-headphones] that allow us to talk to each other safely.

Charles: Some couples don’t ride together due to different riding strengths; tandems eliminate that issue. We love each other and we get to communicate more while riding a tandem.

The Pike Brewing Company serves six regular microbrews, plus seasonal drafts from its downtown Seattle brewpub. Its ‘Seattle Microbrewery Museum’ celebrates its grand opening at the end of May 2007. Bike to Pike this spring and double your fun.

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