Tandem Cycling - Getting in trouble for going to far....
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11-14-05, 07:52 AM
I have a bad habit....
If it's a nice day I just don't want to head home! The last two tandem rides, I have gotten in a spot of trouble with my stoker for wondering too far afield. A few weeks ago, I got lost (just a little) and added about 10 miles onto your planned ride.
Yesterday, the weather was just astounding. On the way in, I took the flatter way which added a few miles, but subtracted some steep climbs. My navigating was called into question by my stoker. Then, I got the 'quiet' treatment which I know from experience is a bad sign. When I suggested a rest stop at an upcoming store, the reply was 'no, I just want to get back to the car'. I could detect a distinct drop-off in effort from the back seat. After the ride, my stoker was pretty whipped and in need of food, fluids and a massage, all of which I provided!
I think part of the problem may be not being able to ride mid-week.....she has lost a little fitness
Well, can't she just sit there and let you do all the work then?
The fact that she rejected a rest stop, to me, is an indication that she really needed one very much. She probably was close to bonking; I know I do not think rationally at that point. Since I'm diabetic and very out of shape at the moment, I check my sugar early and often during a ride. Alertness prevents emergencies.
Get another stoker, or turn around when she's ready. Personally, if stoker effort begins to noticeably reduce I pull over and call for a "rest"... or just stop and let the steam vent. You're kidding about teh massage, right? If you need to bribe your stoker in this manner, buy a single. As far as I can tell, you did all the work on the bike then got home and had to do more. I got a good divorce lawyer I can hook you with, and Match.com is loaded with new prospects (insert laughter here for those of you with absolutely no sense of humor).
11-16-05, 12:17 AM
First rule of tandem:
"The stoker is never wrong"
We just have to live with it.
The last person I knew who was always right was my Mother, not my wife or girlfriend. I was 8 at the time....
Wow! you really want to lose your stocker - it has to be enjoyable for both of you.
Yeah, one must always use caution and discretion--It's not like losing a riding partner on 1/2 bikes... Without a stoker your tandem becomes useless, unless you're OK with looking really pathetic as you ride. So even if she's not always right, you don't want to piss her off, lest you be left with an enormous (and really expensive) doorstop.
It's a shame that so many of you have to haul a stoker aorund so they can talk on the cellphone or take pictures while you chauffer. Is this really what tandeming should be about? I think not. If there's no teamwork, park the damned thing and walk. My single costs a lot more than my tandem. It sits while I ride the tandem. I like the tandem because we ride as a team and we both like that sense of teamwork. It brings us closer. She's right sometimes and calls some shots. I'm right sometimes and then I call the shot. Most times we just agree. I'm willing to bet that most all of the folks here who go with the "stoker is always right" notion only get to ride when their stoker says so. Personally, we ride whenever we can possibly ride. Somedays she's not feeling 100% up to it, somedays I'm not. But we get out anyway because a day in teh saddle is better than a day watching TV or whatever.
11-17-05, 05:26 AM
First rule of tandem:
"The stoker is never wrong"
We just have to live with it.
No, stokers are wrong just about as often as their captains.
However, what is true is that if the tandem crashes, falls over, gets a flat, or gets lost, fault lies with the captain because, as the saying goes... "the stoker makes no mistakes".
Whether or not you or anyone else agrees with the correctly stated first rule of tandeming is not as important as making sure you have at least read the explanation of the rule as outlined by the author so that you understand what it implies and so that you don't perpetuate the mis-stated and clearly invalid notion that a stoker is never wrong, on or off the bike.
To read it in its original form, visit any of the following URLs.
Once you read it and understand the premise put forward by the author -- noting that you don't have to agree to understand -- you'll be better equipped to pass the advise along or to debate the merits of the premises.
11-17-05, 06:45 AM
I have a bad habit.... [snip] Then, I got the 'quiet' treatment which I know from experience is a bad sign. [snip] After the ride, my stoker was pretty whipped and in need of food, fluids and a massage, all of which I provided!
Well, this all looks like good news....
1. Assuming this is still Nancy, you've remained together for a pretty good while now.
2. Again, if this is Nancy, she is still sharing your enjoyment of cycling on the tandem.
3. You're in tune with and take note of your stoker's performance and behavior on the tandem.
4. You're aware of your stoker's current state of fitness and possible limitations.
5. You're concerned enough about your relationship to be attentive to certain aspects of the tandeming experience that extend beyond the bike that are often times pretty important to the stoker.
6. Based on all the above, I must assume you are deriving some type of reciprocal benefit from the relationship.
I'm with ya. My stoker is definitely all about the teamwork, and she often prods me for getting lazy on rides and keeps us moving along. She actually makes fun of the cell phone, sitting-up-in-back stokers all the time :) But there are still things that she's not comfortable with being a newbie, so I listen if she wants to slow down, take a break, etc.
I knew I got engaged to the right woman...
Without a stoker your tandem becomes useless, unless you're OK with looking really pathetic as you ride.
Gee, thanks a bunch. ;) (Half of my daily commute is stokerless.)
Also, I sometimes ride the tandem solo on weekend rides, as it's simply a nicer bike than my single.
-Greg, looking pathetic, and loving it, in Berkeley. :D
I could get on my tandem solo, ride to a Princeton bike club's organized ride myself, and have a cute stoker in 5 minutes. And I wouldn't care if she pedalled or not. The first time....
11-18-05, 05:09 AM
I ride my tandem by myself through Towson over to Nancy's house to pick her up now and then. Why use a car to go a mile and a half? If it's mid-week during the summer, I often get solicitations for rides from office workers I pass out on the street.
If things don't come together, I may have to respond to those requests.....!!!
11-18-05, 07:02 AM
I think it's fair to say that people who ride tandems come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and dispositions. A small percentage of teams are fully committed to cycling and ride like the wind, some teams have incorporated it into their lives as a transportation mode, other former committed cyclists have taken a hiatus from training due to family and work commitments and don't always look as "trim" or "speedy" as they once did, while others who have been recreational cyclists at some point in their lives decide to pursue tandeming for fitness, adventure, fun, social interaction, or as a family activity. Balancing these life commitments and an interest in cycling can require all kinds of compromises.
Bottom Line: we recognize that there are teams who will always be faster than us, those who we consider our peers, and others who are either doing their best or who have a different motivation for getting out together on a tandem... but in the end it is the latter, the mere fact they have made the investment in equipment and time to get out and ride together that earns them my thumbs-up.
So, if anyone is curious what people who ride tandems look like, feel free to peruse some of the following links:
Some elite teams at the Co-Motion Classic along with a few strong teams doing their best:
A less skewed collection of teams at the '05 Georgia Tandem Rally '05 (~70 teams):
Americana on tandem at the '03 Midwest Tandem Rally (~520 teams):
Northwest Tandem Rally photo galleries (>250 teams at most events):
11-18-05, 07:35 AM
and I saw our team!
Nice pics... I can only hope that when we hit age 60s-70s we're still on the bike and Mollie's still asking if we can go faster :)
11-19-05, 05:10 AM
I think that, relative to your overall lifestyle, you're always better off if you quit before she stops having fun.
11-20-05, 07:17 AM
i just have to respond to this suggestion of working on the bike and then the massage being work afterward. In my personal experience, my wife is very appreciative that I respond to her physical need. If I end up pushing her beyond her limit, like the story above, it is only appropriate that I give her a massage afterward. Of course, the better course of action would have been to ask her if it was OK to ride the alternate route. Don't give up the tandem! just take it easy, keep it fun.
11-20-05, 11:52 AM
Riding tandem in your 60s and 70s???
Been there, done that too! At ages 73/70 we are doing just fine. Our idols are friends of ours in their (GASP!) 80s, who bought a new Co-Motion tandem from us for her 80th birthday; then went and did the 60 miler on the next club ride. BTW when they hit 80 they finally quit riding their Burley mountain bike tandem off road! She said she was tired of wiping out and hitting the cactus!
There is hope for all of us!
Riding in tandem is a co-operative effort; most of the time things go great, a very few times not as great. After 30+ years of tandeming and 50+ years of happy marriage do we always agree? No, but we respect each other opinions and compromise is not an I win/you win scednario, is it?
OK, we step off our soap box (for now!) . . .
Let's go out and Pedal TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
I wasn't implying that there was an age cutoff... I was just eyeballing some of the older teams in the photo galleries...
Let me rephrase... "I hope that many years from now we're still riding."
11-21-05, 06:32 AM
Things went much better yesterday. First, the weather just phenomenal! High of upper 50's, bright sun and blue sky...nary a cloud! Still, crisp air.
We discussed our ride options before deciding what to do. There was a BBC ride leaving at 10 AM from one of our usual starting points in North Baltimore County. The ride was 15-17 MPH pace and slated for 61 miles (a little long). Another club ride left a half an hour earlier but was only 35 miles with a slower pace rating. None of the club rides where tandem-specific. But, I figured we had a better chance of bumping into folks we knew on the faster-paced ride. We could have also done our own ride. We decided to hook up with the longer ride and just turn back when we felt like it. We arrived at the starting point and were surprised to find only 4 other cyclists. The route out was one we were very familiar with and the ride leader had already cut it down to 51 miles. We worked hard to stay with the group but on a long, gradual climb out of the Gunpowder Valley on Shepard Rd., we got gapped. But, once up on top of the ridge, I told Nancy I wanted to chase and she agreed, so we went after them. We had closed most of the gap when they saw us coming and eased up.
So, talking to the ride leader, we settled into a rhythm of us coasting away on the downhills and them catching us and passing us on the climbs. We would rejoin on the flats and re-pass them and so it went of 20-some miles to the rest stop. We did some hard climbing and Nancy found a new technique for climbing in a bigger gear up short, steep hills - she will 'half stand' while I remain seated. She keeps her hands in the drops to keep her center of gravity lower and has her butt just off the seat. This way, her upper-body motion does not effect the steering as much, though I 'wag' the bike in time to her pedal strokes while remaining in the saddle.
This style worked very well, especially when transitioning from a screaming descent to a short, steep climb, keeping us out of the granny once or twice.
After the break, we looked at the route and we both agreed it might be a little much, so we bid our 4 ride mates adieu and proceeded back on our own. We took a detour on a beautiful gravel road that bisects farmer's fields, horse and cattle farms and crosses a small stream. I managed to hit a large rock and pinch-flatted the front tire right at the bottom of a gradual descent. Coasting to a stop at the bridge over the small stream, you could not have painted a prettier picture of a serene country landscape or a better time and place to fix a flat! I took my time fixing the flat as Nancy looked for fish in the stream, soaked up the sun and picked out possible future home sites!
Once underway, we noodled along some of the best country lanes in Baltimore County, passing several cyclists and another tandem going the other way. When we got back to the car, we had been out 3 hours and 10 minutes with about 2 hours and 40 minutes of actual riding, so I would guess we did about 40 miles. We were both tired, but not to the point that we could not get a bite to eat and go shopping!
It was a perfect day and a perfect ride....
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