Susan Czynszak and John Auer, avid tandem bike riders,

Wreaking Tandemonium

They’ve logged 32,000 miles collectively, with John leading the way and Susan close behind. Susan Czynszak and John Auer, avid bike riders, have partnered on their pedaling for more than a decade on a veritable bicycle built for two.

“We met years ago,” said Susan. “I’ve walked at Bayshore Mall for more than 30 years. It’s really served me well. I get a lot of exercise, walking between two and six hours a day, and I’ve gotten to know people in the process. In 1991, I met John there. He’d been a marathon runner and his leg had given out from an earlier injury. He couldn’t run again, so he was walking at Bayshore too.” They gradually became good friends.

John had been a long-time biker and encouraged Susan to give it a try. “I’d had a tandem a long time ago and had a feeling that Susan would like it. It makes it easier to visit when you’re riding a tandem than when you’re riding a single bike,” John said.

Susan added, “Some people have trouble giving up control. I had no problem. I don’t want to have to decide where we’re going. With a tandem, he goes in one direction, and I follow him.”

For years, the couple has ridden every Saturday and Sunday during the summer, racking up approximately 1,000 miles each summer. Much of their riding was done around the lakefront, but they’ve also varied their route.

“We got to ride 794 before traffic was allowed on it. It was like our own private bike path, said Susan. “We’ve done a lot of exploring.” They are occasionally recognized around town as being the frequent tandem riders.

One of their favorite recollections from over the years was when John Norquist was the mayor of Milwaukee. “We were riding on the South Side of the city and someone on the second floor of a building looked down and shouted ‘hi John and Susan’ to us thinking we were John Norquist and Susan Mudd, who were bikers too,” said John.

One of their best discoveries over the years was that some of their favorite cafeterias are in unlikely venues. “Hospitals have great dining rooms, and they’re reasonably priced,” said Susan. “We’ve eaten at a lot of hospitals.”

When John’s not riding their tandem in front of Susan, they’re often in the fitness center at Eastcastle Place riding exercise bikes side by side. “For a long time, I kept moving closer and closer to where Susan was living, so when she decided to move into Eastcastle Place retirement community, I decided to get an apartment here too,” he said. “It’s been a great move for both of us!”