Tandem Cycling - 1st tandem tour
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So i completed the Zoo de Mackinac tour on saturday with my girlfriend on Big Blue, my early 90's new-to-me burley duet.This was alot of fun! the ride was in Emmett county, northern lower peninsula of michigan, and i had ridden that area a lot on single bikes. for our state, it's quite hilly. the ride was 51 miles, and included great parties on mackinac island. my girlfriend was pretty nervous, but enjoyed herself.
These things are fast! it seemed pretty easy to cruise over 20mph, and lots of other riders asked "what'll that thing do" like i was revving at a stoplight on woodward avenue!
i was unprepared for my stoker's fear of descents. she kept hollering at me to slow down, and i don't think we went more than 38 mph. to me, the downhill is the dessert for the broccoli of climbing hills!
i hope she'll get used to that sensation. my 9 yr old loves the speed on the back of that bike.
this was my girlfriend's 2nd cycling experience, and debut on the tandem. i think the key was leaving her options. my parents offered to pick her up at the halfway point, and i assured her that i would continue on my single bike, and enjoy myself. i was proud when she said it was fun and didn't want to quit after lunch!
next ride for big blue: GOBA in Ohio with my daughter on the back!
Don't ignore her high-speed fears. She will probably get used to it, but give her plenty of scope. It is scary back there.
show her how quickly you can stop if you have to.
I spent some time reassuring her, and the bike is really stable at speed, not nearly as twitchy as my single.
05-19-08, 10:34 AM
Sounds like you had a pretty cool ride and you were real smart to provide her 'outs' along the way if she needed them. The best tandem decisions we can make is to really listen to the stoker's fears particularly in the speed arena. 'Fear' for some folks is a rush we just have to have some days...but to many, particularly those with no control of the situation - like stokers, it is pure hell and will be avoided at all costs like not getting on a tandem again. I'm with you in that I love the stability of our tandem at speed and the down hill speed opportunity is the only good reason to ever pedal up a dang hill in the first place.... but go real easy for a while coming down until she tells you it is FUN for HER.
Pat in SLO
05-19-08, 04:57 PM
I agree with Bill....go real easy with the speed until she gets more used to sitting in the back with no brakes, no steering, no control at all..... I tried imagining how I would like that.
My wife didn't enjoy speed at all initially. She is now fine at up to about 40 mph...beyond that she grits her teeth and lets me have fun once in a while...but she isn't really comfortable up close to 45 or 50.... This is after several thousand miles together
maybe i should get her out on my motorcycle, ease her into it! that's alright, my daughter will holler "faster daddy, faster!" my need for speed gets enough fill.
btw, the previous owner of my burley put a really small granny gear on it! i climbed in the middle chainring, and it was fine. i wonder what kind of hills the thing used to scale!
on another note, i put bags on the bike from wayne at the touring store, and they were really helpful. from a change of clothes to a six-pack for the ferry ride, i had plenty of room!
05-19-08, 07:06 PM
Had a roommate once that wanted to try road biking so I lent them a spare road bike I had and took them for a ride. Before the ride I warned them that it wasn't like any bike they had ridden before and that they could easily get going faster than they wanted to go in situations where they didn't think that possible. I also told her that I might want to go fast now and then and that she should take her own pace and I would wait. The first downhill, I took off, intending to wait at the bottom. She tried to follow at my speed in spite of my warning and got going so fast that she was afraid to hit the brakes. She had stopped pedaling but the bike kept going faster the rest of the way down the hill.
There was much yelling following this, however I told her that I had warned her about the speed and that she should take it easier on the downhills until she was comfortable with faster speeds. Eventually we ended up riding a tandem together for about a year and then she went back to riding a single bike when the tandem was no longer available. She eventually became as comfortable riding downhill if not more comfortable than me. The entire time on the tandem though, I never pushed to go faster than she wanted to go. It takes time to get comfortable with riding fast on the back of a tandem. You might want to try sitting in the stoker seat for a ride just to get an idea of what it's like to be back there.
05-19-08, 08:35 PM
show her how quickly you can stop if you have to.
...and then start looking for another stoker!
One thing that i perhaps did not make clear enough, is this: I AM NOT COMPLAINING! This woman had a list of things she'd rather do in Northern Michigan, and she chose to ride the back of big blue for 51 miles. And let's not forget that the view from that stoker seat never changes!
I am proud that she accomplished the ride, and cheered by the fact that she (mostly) enjoyed it. heck, Tour de Cure is only 3 weeks away. maybe my single bike will get dusty in the garage this summer!
05-20-08, 08:10 AM
We have a drum brake set up with a brake lever for the stoker. As a captain I would prefer to have the drum brake controlled with a friction lever on my handlebars, but giving the stoker some control on the speed of the descent helps with her fear.
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