This afternoon it was 85 degrees so Mrs. Mono and I had our first real ride on the new (to us) tandem. Its a 2002 Burely Rock-N-Roll Softride. Other than one short trip around the block this was the first time either of us had ridden a tandem. We did 10 miles, including one climb of about a half mile with 200 feet or so of climbing. I don't have a computer on the bike just yet, but I tried to keep the speed below about 20 mph to minimize the stoker's terror factor.
We had been wanting to buy a tandem for some time, but finding a used tandem in a size that would fit us proved to be a challenge inasmuch as she is taller than I with a longer inseam. The Burley seemed to fit our needs. It has 26 inch wheels with Vederstein 26x1.3 tires, mountain type bars, and the beam gives us a wide range of saddle height for her. We changed the stoker's saddle to a foam cushion cruiser type until she gets used to the ride. It is still a little close to the pedals and probably needs to be raised a little more and/or moved back a touch. Now we have approximate numbers so the next order is a new stoker stem and bar as the drop is far too much for her. I changed the front saddle to an almost new Terry Liberator Y that I had on hand. The 105 front DR is linked to a SRAM micro-indexed twist shifter, which is how the mountain bars work with the road DR. The rear DR is XT. Brakes are LX V-brakes. Rear cassette is 11-30, but I have a new 13-32 that will be installed in the near future. I'm thinking of changing the front DR and putting a set of XT rapid fire shifters on the bike. I also installed a double legged kickstand that I use for touring, and it has proven very convenient for a couple of newbies like us.
I ride several thousand miles a year, mostly on a touring bike, and she rides a few hundred miles on a comfort/hybrid as well as walking or jogging almost every day. So we each have a few adjustments to make.
No bones were broken nor blood let on this first trip. We practiced getting on, getting off, and starting and stopping several times in the back yard on the grass before we hit the asphalt.
We don't climb very fast.
We go downhill real fast. The tandem coasts downhill like a bat-out-of-you-know-where. And it just keeps going and going.
If we keep it up I'll be adding a drum brake with barcon. The rims heated up much quicker than I expected.
We could also use some travel agents on the V-brakes.
Little kids and grown-ups smile and point a lot.
It takes a lot of effort to steer. I wore a blister on my left thumb. I'm glad we didn't try to start with a drop bar road tandem.
The micro-index shifter is akin to friction shifting for the front DR. It seemed like I had to work a lot to keep the front DR from rubbing, and you can't just look down and check it.
A little wider set of tires wouldn't hurt. The Vedersteins are in pretty good shape, but I think a set of 26x1.5 Schwalbe Marathon Racers would give us a little more cushion.
The biggest problem with the current set up are the low stoker bars. This short ride caused Mrs. Mono to have swelling in her left arm due to lymphedema. We knew this would be a problem. Her usual ride is a Giant Cypress DX with the bars several inches above the saddle. Several years ago she had Stage II invasive ductal carcinoma which involved a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. This was followed by a second surgery to remove additional cancerous lymph nodes. So stress or strain on the affected arm can really cause it to swell. Hopefully we can fix this and get the bars up to seat height or higher. I've already talked with a couple of tandem shops about an extended stoker stem and a raised mountain type bar. We don't want to race, we just want to ride together. She also asked if I would post to see if any of the other ladies here have had a similar problem. I'll make a separate post but if anyone knows of someone who cycles and struggles with lympedema we would like to hear from them.