Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-19-11, 10:52 PM   #1
HawkOwl
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2008
Bikes:
Posts: 2,635
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Why is the woman in the back?

On my ride today before the wind really came up there were a bunch of tandem bikes on the trail. All of them were couples, man in front and woman in the back. When couples were traveling together the same seemed to be true, man in front and woman behind. Seems odd the woman should always be behind.


Any ideas why?
HawkOwl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-11, 11:02 PM   #2
Shimagnolo
Senior Member
 
Shimagnolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Zang's Spur, CO
Bikes:
Posts: 7,503
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 134 Post(s)
The guy looks better with bugs in his teeth than the woman?
Shimagnolo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-11, 11:57 PM   #3
TheHen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 790
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It is MUCH easier to engineer a tandem to have the stoker be low and light. That would usually be the woman. I didn't fancy the idea of riding cheek-by-jowl all day, so my tandem can go both ways. That is, it is rigid enough for my 6'2" 200# hubby to be stoker while I'm captain. There is a weight penalty for this flexibility but it is well worth paying. I can't imagine not being able to see where I am going most of the time.
TheHen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 12:08 AM   #4
stapfam
Time for a change.
 
stapfam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.
Posts: 19,915
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
The way Tandems are made- unless you get a custom made frame- The rear compartment has a shorter cockpit than the front- hence the shorter rider is on the back. I have seen Females in the pilot position but that is exceptional. On top of that it does take a lot of upper body strength to control a Tandem so it is normally the Bigger- heavier rider that will be in charge of steering.

As to females always being towards the rear in solo group riding- I would put it down to politeness. The Macho man will always try to shield the female rider from the wind and traffic-----------Providing he can catch and overtake her.
__________________
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


Spike Milligan
stapfam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 12:16 AM   #5
TheHen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 790
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
The way Tandems are made- unless you get a custom made frame- The rear compartment has a shorter cockpit than the front- hence the shorter rider is on the back. I have seen Females in the pilot position but that is exceptional. On top of that it does take a lot of upper body strength to control a Tandem so it is normally the Bigger- heavier rider that will be in charge of steering.

As to females always being towards the rear in solo group riding- I would put it down to politeness. The Macho man will always try to shield the female rider from the wind and traffic-----------Providing he can catch and overtake her.
As someone who's stoker outweighs me by 70#, if the stoker is a skilled, steady cyclist who trusts his captain, steering a tandem is no more difficult than controlling a half-bike (it does help if the stoker keeps his hands largely unloaded and towards the center). However, if the stoker is a bit of a wild-child (like my 215# son), it's a bit more trying. One real advantage of having a stoker who can see over the captain is the ability of both riders to work together to control the bike's direction. That really reduces the effort involved in otherwise difficult maneuvers.
TheHen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 03:52 AM   #6
Rowan
Has opinion, will express
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Bikes:
Posts: 14,759
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 137 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
On my ride today before the wind really came up there were a bunch of tandem bikes on the trail. All of them were couples, man in front and woman in the back. When couples were traveling together the same seemed to be true, man in front and woman behind. Seems odd the woman should always be behind.


Any ideas why?
In relation to the singles, what you saw may have been just a snapshot. There are times when I am out in front of Machka, and there are times when she is in front of me. At the moment, I am generally the faster rider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHen View Post
As someone who's stoker outweighs me by 70#, if the stoker is a skilled, steady cyclist who trusts his captain, steering a tandem is no more difficult than controlling a half-bike (it does help if the stoker keeps his hands largely unloaded and towards the center). However, if the stoker is a bit of a wild-child (like my 215# son), it's a bit more trying. One real advantage of having a stoker who can see over the captain is the ability of both riders to work together to control the bike's direction. That really reduces the effort involved in otherwise difficult maneuvers.
Often (but not always) the stoker is the pilot's partner who may not be as fortunate as you to have developed the riding skills. Because often (but not always) they have rarely ridden a single any significant distance to develop those skills. Often (but not always) they are happy to accede the demands of bike control as well as observation responsibilities to the male. Often (but not always) the difference in size, fitness and riding skill mean the handling of the bike goes to the person with greater strength.

One solution to the OP's questions is to stop and talk to the participants on both observations.
Rowan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 04:56 AM   #7
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Bikes: Rans Rockst (Retro rocket) Rans Enduro Sport (Retro racket) Catrike 559, Merin Bear Valley (beater bike).
Posts: 26,614
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 89 Post(s)
Mrs. Grouch and I have ridden tandems together since 1976 so we've got a lot of years experience. During that time I could probably count on one hand the number of tandem teams we've seen with the woman in front. (My daughter and her husband are one, by the way, he's legally blind.)

In most cases the reason a couple buys a tandem is because they want to ride together but aren't evenly matched physically. Consequently, whichever rider has the better bike skills takes the captain position. Among the tandem teams that we've personally known, the male partner either has the better bike skills or the female partner makes him feel like he has better skills.
Retro Grouch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 06:00 AM   #8
cranky old dude
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Bikes:
Posts: 4,259
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post
On my ride today before the wind really came up there were a bunch of tandem bikes on the trail. All of them were couples, man in front and woman in the back. When couples were traveling together the same seemed to be true, man in front and woman behind. Seems odd the woman should always be behind.


Any ideas why?
Because....behind every successful man is a strong woman.

Last edited by cranky old dude; 03-20-11 at 06:43 AM.
cranky old dude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 07:33 AM   #9
Looigi
Senior Member
 
Looigi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 8,951
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Genetic predisposition. If you say women are generally smaller, that's genetic predisposition. There are behavioral genetic predispositions that figure in as well. There are cultural influences of course, but these are often just stereotypifications of genetic predisposition.

Vive la difference!
Looigi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 08:09 AM   #10
wobblyoldgeezer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Brighton, UK
Bikes: Rocky Mountain Solo, Specialised Sirrus Triple (quick road tourer), Santana Arriva Tandem
Posts: 1,551
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Latitude65 View Post

Any ideas why?
So she can do her nails without having to hold the bars, of course.



Ohh. No. Not the face. Oww, that hurt. No, enough now. Owww. Put down the mallet. Owww I was just .... Owww OOOf
wobblyoldgeezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 08:47 AM   #11
cyclinfool
gone ride'n
 
cyclinfool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Bikes: Simoncini, Gary Fisher, Specialized Tarmac
Posts: 4,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Does this have anything to do with the thread DF started?
cyclinfool is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 10:43 AM   #12
ncbikers
Senior Member
 
ncbikers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: NC
Bikes: Schwinn Suburban (35 years old, the bikes not us), 2 Trek 7000, T900 (Tandem), 2 EZ Sports
Posts: 169
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Maybe for the same reason that when I see a couple in a car the male is usually driving.
ncbikers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 11:38 AM   #13
VaultGuru
Senior Member
 
VaultGuru's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Fair Oaks,CA
Bikes: Kestrel RT1000 & Calfee Tandem
Posts: 733
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Pretty simple for us. We love to ride together plus, my wife doesn't like the mechanical aspects of riding - shifting, braking, etc. She can get a great workout plus enjoy the scenery. She points out things I would never see. Great combination.
VaultGuru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 12:28 PM   #14
rdtompki
Senior Member
 
rdtompki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Hollister, CA
Bikes: Volagi, daVinci Joint Venture
Posts: 3,962
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There are a number of valid and plausible reasons for the dominant configuration in the posts, above: easier to design, males unwilling to give up power, males usually more experienced, women more trusting (or braver!), better aerodynamics(?), but I do think that the greater the difference in size, the more it makes sense to have the physically stronger individual up front. The tandem is no more work than a single in the flat, downhill, at moderate effort levels, but when we're climbing slowly at our physical limit I'm getting quite an upper body workout and I think a 100 lb. captain might have a problem with a 200 lb. stoker climbing at lower speeds. Also, when turning I don't need help from the stoker, just someone (i.e., my DW), who stays balanced. I also find there are a number of circumstances where I'm applying "make-up power": cresting a hill, in a paceline, etc. Might be harder for a small captain to do this, but this is more a defect in my riding style than a requirement for the captain.
rdtompki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 03:38 PM   #15
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts unknown
Bikes:
Posts: 4,697
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)


On the tandems of old,
The gentlemen I'm told
Followed where good manners led.

For when they went for a ride,
They sat side-by-side,
Or put the lady ahead.

But they were men, too,
Right through and through,
And I doubt they cut us slack;

For why, do you suppose,
Once we got 'em in tight clothes,
We put the ladies in the back?
tcs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 08:29 PM   #16
lhbernhardt
Dharma Dog
 
lhbernhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Bikes: Rodriguez Shiftless street fixie with S&S couplers, Kuwahara tandem, Trek carbon, Dolan track
Posts: 2,073
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The heavier rider goes in the front to optimize weight distribution. The front position is closer to the tandem's center of mass, so putting the heavier rider in front improves the bike's handling. Men are usually heavier than women; tandem couples are usually pretty fit. So in a population of tandem couples, the number of tandems with women in front probably reflects the percentage of women in this fit population who are heavier than their male partners.

On a track tandem, the guy with the most experience always goes in front! Amongst tandem couples, the guy usually has more riding experience, and almost always more racing/close quarters bike handling experience. The driver has to be very difficult to initimidate, since situations will arise where decisive action has to be taken, and the driver has ALL the responsibility for what happens (Rule #1 - the stoker never makes mistakes).

L.
lhbernhardt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 08:45 PM   #17
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.
Posts: 16,451
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 90 Post(s)
If you were a woman on a tandem, would you want a guy slobbering down your back for the whole ride?
JohnDThompson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-11, 09:23 PM   #18
jaywbee3 
jaywbee3
 
jaywbee3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Southern New Hampshire
Bikes: Surly LTH, Burley Duet, Trek 7300
Posts: 62
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When we ride our tandem the female captain is in the back and the male pilot is in the front. I may steer the thing but I know who is in charge.
jaywbee3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-11, 12:47 AM   #19
xizangstan
Senior Member
 
xizangstan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Colorado-California-Florida-(hopefully soon): Panama
Bikes: Vintage GT Xizang (titanium mountain bike)
Posts: 1,061
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Because men drive without stopping to ask for directions. Women are natural back-seat drivers.
xizangstan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-11, 09:52 AM   #20
bjjoondo 
Old, SLOW bike rider! ;)
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Colorado Springs, CO.
Bikes: 1993 Mongoose Switchback MTB
Posts: 1,856
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If we had a R-tandem, (someday), I'd be in the front cause, I weigh 100lbs. more than my wife. Now riding separate bikes, "SHE's" usually in front as I "Ride Her Pace", when we ride together! If I left her in the dust all time, since I'm the faster rider, she'd probably give up bicycling. That and to be honest, I kind enjoy her pace, you get to actually "SEE" the world your riding in. The only time I pass her is going up steep hills, then I wait at the top of the hill and she takes the lead again. May seem strange but it works for us!
__________________
Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
B.J. Ondo
1993 Mongoose Switchback Ridged MTB, converted to a "Rail Trail Bike"! :)
bjjoondo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-11, 10:03 AM   #21
CACycling
Senior Member
 
CACycling's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Oxnard, CA
Bikes: '08 Fuji Roubaix RC; '07 Schwinn Le Tour GS; '92 Diamond Back Ascent EX
Posts: 4,565
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjjoondo View Post
If we had a R-tandem, (someday), I'd be in the front cause, I weigh 100lbs. more than my wife. Now riding separate bikes, "SHE's" usually in front as I "Ride Her Pace", when we ride together! If I left her in the dust all time, since I'm the faster rider, she'd probably give up bicycling. That and to be honest, I kind enjoy her pace, you get to actually "SEE" the world your riding in. The only time I pass her is going up steep hills, then I wait at the top of the hill and she takes the lead again. May seem strange but it works for us!
+1 on all counts - even the "passing on hills part".
CACycling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-11, 10:17 AM   #22
bjjoondo 
Old, SLOW bike rider! ;)
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Colorado Springs, CO.
Bikes: 1993 Mongoose Switchback MTB
Posts: 1,856
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
+1 on all counts - even the "passing on hills part".
The only reason I "pass her" on steep hills, is that I have this "mental thing" about NOT using the "small chain wheel" (30T), unless I'm either pulling a full load in the "utility trailer" or packed heavy for "touring"! I run a 53/42/30, my wife is set up with a 42/32/22 and can "SPIN" up hills in her "Middle chain wheel", where I'm having to the "MASH", even with a 32T rear cog or "run over her". FYI.
__________________
Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
B.J. Ondo
1993 Mongoose Switchback Ridged MTB, converted to a "Rail Trail Bike"! :)
bjjoondo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-11, 10:47 AM   #23
DnvrFox
Banned.
 
DnvrFox's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Bikes:
Posts: 20,916
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjjoondo View Post
The only reason I "pass her" on steep hills, is that I have this "mental thing" about NOT using the "small chain wheel" (30T)
Sounds like you are a "Traditional 50+ male" to me.
DnvrFox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-11, 12:43 PM   #24
AzTallRider 
I need speed
 
AzTallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Bikes: Giant Propel, Cervelo P2
Posts: 5,550
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The women in the groups I ride with are definitely -not- likely to be seen towards the back. In fact, I think there is a certain "feminine machismo", that causes some women cyclists to make darn sure they aren't following the men around.
__________________
"If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."
AzTallRider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-11, 01:13 PM   #25
Phil_gretz
Bike Commuter in training
 
Phil_gretz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Bikes: '88 Fuji Saratoga, '12 Jamis Sputnik, '13 Motobecane Fantom29 HT, '16 Motobecane Turino Pro Disc, '16 Motobecane Gran Premio Elite
Posts: 3,807
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 49 Post(s)
No Tandem Yet

Quote:
Originally Posted by ncbikers View Post
Maybe for the same reason that when I see a couple in a car the male is usually driving.
My wife and I don't have a tandem [yet], and usually "ride her pace" when together. It's nicer for her, and I don't mind taking TWICE as long to cover the same distance I'd usually cover.

Interestingly, my wife prefers that I drive - simply because she believes it's my role to do so. She doesn't like the appearance of a male in the passenger seat - having his wife drive him around...thinks he's shirking in some way.

If I want to ride in the passenger seat (say, to eat an apple while we leave on errands), I'll ask if she minds driving. She'll always agree to do so, but expects me to drive otherwise.

It's just a custom we've developed. May not work for anyone else.

PG
Phil_gretz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:13 AM.