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Old 01-11-14, 04:04 PM   #1
stapfam
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Preparation counts.

Haven't been riding much for a long while and if I have it has been on the Pinnie. BUT tomorrow looks as though we may have a break from the high winds and rain so a chance to get out and ride with my Son-in-Law Ross. His work mates want a ride so we will be escorting them on what should be a gentle flat ride of about 25 to 30 miles. Problem is that it will be over the marshes and that area holds flood water. Don't want to chance any of the road bikes so looks like MTB's. Problem is that my MTB's haven't been ridden for well over a year.

So this afternoon it was pull out the MTB's and check them over. They were serviced before being laid up and it was only a matter of pumping up the tyres and lubing the chain. Then came the phone call. The MD of his firm has broken his bike and wants to borrow one. Ross said that I have a couple spare so he came round to get fitted and then his eyes popped out of his head. There at the back of the shed is the Tandem. He has never ridden a Tandem and reckons it could be fun so tomorrow he is going to find out how hard they are to propel forward without using too much effort and hopefully without finding out how gravel rash stings.

Now this tandem is a Full Off Road beastie and as such is fitted with parts that will take anything that offroad trails can throw at it. Wheels are built to downhill spec and the brakes are 4 pot hydraulic discs with 200 mm discs. Front suspension is taken care of with 6" of Rockshocks Boxers and the stoker has a Thudbuster with 4" of boing under the saddle. Problem is that with all these heavy duty parts on it it weighs in at 55lbs. That is a lot of weight to get up hills and with the knobblies that are fitted it is not going to be easy to get up them. Mind you- get it on the flat and once up to speed it is effortless to pedal and if gravity goes the right way- Downhills are rather rapid.

So checked the bike over and pump up the tyres and take for a test ride. Rear derailler was a bit sluggish at the start but as it hasn't moved for well over a year that could be expected. Steering felt a bit odd at first but I soon adjusted to it and the brakes with only one up are a bit vicious. But 5 miles on it to check it out and clear the cobwebs off it and it rides beautifully. So looks like a decent ride tomorrow And I am prepared- but I have already decided that my old Bianchi is my ride for tomorrow. New teams on Tandems do not work and as this is Ross's MD----Ross can show him that a Tandem is not the easiest bike to ride.
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Old 01-11-14, 07:14 PM   #2
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Hope the day goes well Stap, have fun and try not to damage the MD too much. Good directors are so hard to come by.

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Old 01-12-14, 05:22 AM   #3
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At least it's not a road tandem, where he'd have a great view of your son-in-law's backside. Could ruin any promotion prospects.

Have a good ride.

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Old 01-12-14, 11:16 AM   #4
MikeWMass
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So how did it go?
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Old 01-12-14, 02:53 PM   #5
stapfam
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Ride went well but the MD could not get on with the Tandem. As Pilot he could not control the thing and as Stoker he was not happy and could not get used to the bike on corners as he had no control over what was happening. Luckily he fitted the Pinnie so at least he finished the ride. But when up against 6 fit young roadies the Tandem struggled. Didn't help by having knobblies fitted and we were running out of gears. 48/12 and cadence of 110 could not keep up with 52/11 and younger legs.

Just worked it out that the last time I rode was at the end of October so you can guess how unfit I felt. Used the 25 miles as a "Find out" if the legs worked and how congested the lungs were. First 5 miles of Me and Ross were across the marshes and although the other riders were young-They had old wise heads attached and sat behind us all the way till the headwind changed to a side wind. Only about 20 mph wind but the upright stance of the Tandem did add another disadvantage to our riding. Coming into Bexhill and they lost us and we continued on down to the cafe for a well earned breakfast and coffee. No sign of them and we thought they had gone to another cafe but just as we were getting ready to go--they turned up. Sweaty and cold as they had forgotten the first rule of bike rides-Know where the cafe is. They had missed the turning down to the front and done an extra 5 miles in a hilly area before deciding they had gone wrong.

Ross was beginning to feel the ride on the way back but I managed to persuade him to do a couple of 200 yard intervals to clear the lungs and I can tell you that mine do need a bit of clearing. My legs were fine but I had to alter the seat height. I started to get a groin pull so lowered the saddle by 1/2" and it cured it. May be that I have to get the legs used to exercise but think it is the different position compared to a road bike.

It was great to be back on the Tandem but in the current setup it is not suitable for the road. Well it would be but not for a fast ride with others that are younger and fitter than you. Only problem we found was that both Ross and I are used to road bikes and the pilots cockpit seems to have shrunk. So before its next outing a bit of adjustment will be needed to fit a longer stem and take those bars down a couple of inches.
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Old 01-13-14, 07:23 AM   #6
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You really are a tough ol' git aren't you Stap!
The fact that the younger guys missed a turn smacks of the tortoise and the hare!
Happy, Healthy and Safe New year!
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Old 01-14-14, 04:11 PM   #7
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I have probably gotten a few more miles on the bike than you but not much more. First, I caught flu, then the weather got rainy so I've been riding no more than a few local rides around town. This schedule persisted for over a month. So yesterday finally dawned warmish and sunny and I rode 30 miles. It is surprising how far 30 miles can be when not so fit. I can see already it will be a long, painful road getting back summer trim.
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Old 01-14-14, 10:07 PM   #8
billydonn
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Hi Stap.
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