Tandem Cycling - Stocker in or out ?
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06-06-04, 08:49 PM
Right now as the stoker I stayed clicked in at stop signs/lights. Is there any advantage to unclipping with the captain. We haven't tried having me clip out yet, I'm afraid when we start out I will throw us off balance trying to get back on the saddle and both of us clipping back in at about the same time. I'm 5'3 and my husband is 6'. Usually on my single I would stop pedaling at the bottom of the stroke to get clipped in, but that's pretty much impossible on the tandem, at least we don't do it now when we first start out. I guess the only thing we can do is find a quiet street and have me try it. It sure would help as a butt break. Right now I feel a little guilty having to tell my husband that I need to stop so often to get off the saddle, but he doesn't seem to mind. :rolleyes:
06-06-04, 11:19 PM
Debbie clips in both feet at the start of our rides and doesn't unclip until we get to the next destination, e.g., store stop, lunch stop, mid-ride destination, or the end of the ride. I would hazard a guess that this is what most of the folks whom we ride with do.
Butt breaks... no need to stop the tandem, just make a habit of standing and coasting every 10 - 15 minutes for a 100' or so. If you can master riding out of the saddles, that works just as well. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel if you make butt breaks a regular part of your riding routine; similar to making sure you take a drink every 10 - 15 minutes or so.
P.S. Good to know your hubby is very accommodating; that's a big help I'm sure.
Leaving the utility of starting off two feet v. one foot for another time, good directions for starting off two feet:
1. Starting, with one captain foot and one stoker foot on the ground (same side of course) in a medium gear (like, middle ring, middle cog), at beginning of power stroke (2:00) for other two feet that are already clipped in,
2. Half stroke with feet that are already clipped in, putting pedals for unclipped feet at top of stroke, COAST......
3. LINE UP cleats on pedals, HALF STROKE to take unclipped feet to bottom of pedal stroke, CLIP IN, I'm in, you're in, GO.
You used a medium gear to get enough speed up so that you would have time to line up the other cleats before you took the half stroke to the bottom.
This doesn't really work unless both you and your captain can comfortably reach the ground at the same time. Leaning the tandem and then steering under the lean when starting helps. The common 10.75" bottom bracket height is a greater fraction of the height of a small stoker.
I start the way my stokers want to start, though I believe two feet on the ground starting/stopping is safer than one, particularly in slippery-soled racing shoes. It's less of an issue in rubber-soled touring shoes. If you can't reach it's not an issue and not a problem, because in that size range you probably won't weigh very much either.
06-07-04, 10:01 AM
We have always used the capt./radm. foot down for starts and stops. She, the stoker, is 5'3" and I'm 5'6" on a Co-motion SkyCapp. I have absolute minimum stand over clearance due to my short inseam length and I have no feeling in my right foot, which is our down foot for starting and stopping. So we use this method mainly for our own safety. We,ve been using this method for 10 years and prefer it to the "stoker always up" method.
06-07-04, 03:31 PM
My wife likes to stay clipped in unless we're crossing a street. We still unclip & dismount to cross the major streets. If we happen to stop to shoot the breeze or cross small intersections she stays clipped in, frothing at the mouth, ready for me to say "hit it".... :D
We did 46mi yesterday in 97 degrees. It was more comfortable to keep going 20mph for the breeze alone. What a great ride.
Having reread your question after getting home from work,
1) I wonder if you have considered driving a stake through the heart of your saddle at a crossroads by the light of a full moon? It could be that a large part of the problem is that you are using a saddle that is doing you no favors. May I recommend the Selle Italia Lady Gelflow / Trans Am? It's not clear to me exactly what the name of that saddle is, but you will know it by it's wider and shorter skeleton (260 X 160 mm) and the hole through the center. Practically every moderate and high mileage woman around here uses that saddle (regardless of height), with nothing but glowing references. Nothing better ever, they say. If you are on the vile factory specification Serfas saddle, that is a problem.
2. You may have noticed that men, on average, not only come equipped with a smaller brain but also with stronger legs (the better to run away from problems that are too hard....). Fact is, if they want to, they can stand up going uphill on a single for miles. If you want to keep the ol' forward momentum going on a tandem whilst keeping your butt off the seat, practice standing up on a single for greater and greater distances, using a fairly low gear and a moderate/high cadence and not much effort, which hopefully will keep you from trashing your knees. Back on the tandem keep the cadence high and practice standing up, together and separately. Together or stoker only is fairly easy, but you have to be careful with captain-only so he doesn't whop you in the face with his back/butt standing up, if the stoker top tube is short. Once you can stand up well and easily, you will find lots of excuses to do so. And that will save your butt.
One more thing: just for fun, and not for utility, have you tried a curb stop? Curbside pedal up, ride right next to the curb very slow, stop the bike like a regular stop, tipping to the curb, unclip the curbside shoe, and put captain/stoker feet down on the curb, which seems amazingly high in comparison with the ground. It could be that after you have done that, you will find it fun from time to time, and it is a boon to the short-legged.
06-08-04, 10:57 AM
Right now as the stoker I stayed clicked in at stop signs/lights. Is there any advantage to unclipping with the captain. ...
Short answer: No.
Long answer: I already had lots of experience with the single bike and trailercycle. When we switched to a real tandem, we adapted very easily to "The Proper Method" as proposed/explained/whatever by Bill McCready, Sheldon Brown and a few others. See http://gtgtandems.com/techtips.html and http://gtgtandems.com/tech/propmethod.html
Basically, the only gray zone I found with it is what you do after a stop. I'd suggest that you, the stoker, keep loose feet so that the captain may place the pedals at a proper starting position. I our case, if I put the left foot down, I generally find myself stopping with the right pedal down. Once stopped, I backpedal 1/2 turn slowly to place the right pedal in proper starting position.
As a stoker, your input will be much more valuable if you push hard for the first few crank turns, then stop or slow down a half second when the pilot is ready to click in. Within a very short time, your pilot will learn that he will have to start in a lower gear on the tandem than he does on his single.
Finally, the only occasion I see for a pilot to unclip is if you were in a situation with a 5' pilot and a 6' 5" football-player-type stoker.
06-08-04, 12:56 PM
Finally, the only occasion I see for a pilot to unclip is if you were in a situation with a 5' pilot and a 6' 5" football-player-type stoker. Hmm, I dunno about a 5' pilot holding up a football-player-type stoker.
06-09-04, 01:07 PM
I'm the stoker & 5'4", the captain is 6'. When we have to stop we both unclip our right foot, then once that foot is on the ground the left foot comes to the top of the pedal rotation, when we start up again we both push off & hop up onto seat, clip in, say "I'm in", get going. When we are returning home I (stoker) unclip both feet & just rest them on the pedals & he "takes us in" to the garage, then I'm ready to get a foot on the ground quickly. This has helped in times when he hasn't unclipped yet, I've been able to steady the bike until he's out. I think the "right" way is the way that works best for you as a team. It doesn't really matter what everyone else does, it's what works for you. For example, we don't use a lot of voice commands - gear up, gear down, braking, etc. Captain has to make a lot of split second decisions (especially in heavy traffic areas) & doesn't have time to communicate all of his actions, so I just have to feel what's going on & respond accordingly. I get a quick "butt break" when we're coasting to a stop sign, that I do have to let him know so he knows I'm not ready to go yet. We've never tried stopping when I don't unclip. It seems easier to steady the bike when we're both in sync.
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