This father-daughter duo travelled from Illinois for first day at U of T — on a tandem bike

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Carlin Henikoff has a lot to get used to this week — a new country, new city, a brand new school, and the soreness that comes with cycling almost 900 kilometres in just under a week.

The new University of Toronto student took an unusual route campus. While some students might drive or fly, the 18-year-old made the trip with her dad, Troy, on a tandem bike.

The pair left the city of Evanston, Illinois, which is just north of Chicago, on Aug. 25, and got to Toronto last Saturday.

“It was a challenge, for sure,” Henikoff told CBC News.

“There were some bumps in the road, but they were relatively minor.”

This was Henikoff’s vantage point through most of the trip. (Submitted by Carlin Henikoff)

Henikoff says she grew up in a very “bike-centric” family, where there were twice as many miles on their bikes as on the family car.

It was a family friend who suggested making the trip, and after mulling it over and doing some research, the pair decided to go for it. Their path took them through Milwaukee, where they took a ferry to Michigan before hitting Ontario.  

Riding a tandem bike is an extra challenge, Henikoff said. There are two sets of pedals linked by a chain, and the person at the front of the bike steers. Both riders have to work together to balance the bike and set its speed.

Henikoff and her dad rode just under 900 kilometres for the trip. Her mom, Kristin, made the trip with more of her belongings in the family car. (Submitted by Carlin Henikoff)

This kind of riding tests communication, teamwork and compromise, she said.

“My dad says getting on a tandem bike with someone will accelerate their relationship — however it might be going,” Henikoff said with a smile.

Fortunately, there were no major issues for the two.

“We had a goal, we set the goal, and we worked together to achieve it,” she said.

The pair were joined by family friend Sam Harris, right, for a portion of the trip. (Submitted by Carlin Henikoff)

Henikoff says she was drawn to U of T for the ability to study both arts and sciences. She’s planning to study cognitive science, as well as the history and philosophy of science and technology.

She also just joined the university’s mountain bike team.

“Toronto is just such a cool place culturally,” she said.

Starting your first year of university is challenging enough, but one new U of T student decided to take a particularly intense road to campus. She cycled to university all the way from a town near Chicago. And get this: she rode on a tandem bike with her dad. She joined us in studio to talk about the week-long journey. 6:49