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  1. #1
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    I'm new to this forum, normally I hang in the touring forum. I need some tandem advice.

    My wife has never learned how to cycle despite several adult learn-to-bike classes. Almost 30 years ago I bought a tandem so we could ride together. Normally I tour solo, but Sunday afternoon jaunts on the tandem with my wife have been fun.

    We are now nearing retirement and talking about some alternatives. One was trying some tandem touring. Here lies the problem: Our heavy, 3 decade old 3-speed CCM just won't cut it. If we were going to tour we would need a new bike. The bike cost $600 when new. That was quite a bit of money for me back then. For a reasonable touring tandem how much might I expect to pay. Please indicate if prices are in$US.

    Also, I just pop my touring bike in a plastic bag at the airport and fly. When I arrive I tear off the plastic and ride. Are there any extra hassles taking a tandem on a plane? Will I absolutely need a box. (I don't want a box--been there, done that, moved on).

    The third question has to do with hills: I'm a fairly confident climber on my own 21 speed. The 3 speed tandem is just terrible on even the slightest grade. I also suspect my partner is not pushing as hard as I am. Is this an issue on a good touring tandem?
    Last edited by stokell; 04-17-05 at 08:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Ride em all Gtscottie's Avatar
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    My wife and I did a tour last summer about 820kms on a Santana Arriva pulling a BOB trailer and using rear panniers. It worked very well for us. We bought it as a demo in Calgary for $4000.00 CND. You can go to http://www.santanainc.com/thebikes.html to get an idea of what it is set up like. However there are many bikes out there that will work great for touring.
    As far as hills go it is generally harder to climb on a tandem but the newer tandems are definately easier to ride than your 3 speed.
    As a team you start ot work together fairly quickly or you die on the road one of the two.

    Have fun
    If you can't learn to do something well...Learn to enjoy doing it poorly

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    CCM . . . ah yes!
    Best bet sell the CCM; then buy a USED tandem with at least 18 to 27 gears (yes that many gears available nowadays on tandems!). Your pocketbook will dictate how much to spend. But I have seen pretty nice used Burley tandems for under a $1,000 (US).
    Looks like you are used to upright bars on the CCM. There are mountain bike tandems (upright bars) and road tandems (drop 'racing' bars). Your choice.
    But if you'll be touring, definitely at least 18 gears . . . as you say the CCM 3-speed doesn't cut it. These later model tandems can be half the heft of the CCM.
    Putting a tandem on plane is whole other issue. All airlines, that we know of, mandate that the bike will be in a box. Go to your bike shop and see if they have tandem box . . . if they do not, see if they'll give you TWO regular bike boxes. Those can be spliced together. Some airlines will supply a box for a single bike only . . . ask for 2 boxes and do the splicing thing. This will entail partially disassembling the bike (take off pedals, maybe one wheel, turn the bars, take of the stoker's bars, etc.). And some airlines will charge you quite a bit extra to fly the tandem! There is a specific maximum length of box that the airline allows, check with them.
    Climbing: With a minumum of 18 gears you will be able to climb; yes, both of you will have to work, but that's part of TWOgetherness!
    Hope this is of some help! Retirement is great . . . enjoy!

    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/Zonatandem

  4. #4
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    By saying "eighteen" gears or more, posters have meant to say be sure to get a triple chainring. This is absolutely a necessity for touring. My old bike shop boss gave me a bad time for ordering a triple crankset on my road tandem. Even without the added load of bags & panniers and/or trailer, we've used the small chainring lots!
    I agree with another poster that a Bob trailer is a great way to go. If you have to keep the budget down, a trailer will lessen the weight that will burden the components when loaded. However, be sure to include either a drag brake or disc brakes in the equation. Unloaded tandems overhead rims very quickly on descents - touring much more so.
    Now the flying question..... I once received a call from a frantic woman when I worked at a bike shop. She was flying to France in a few days and couldn't find a box anywhere. Now this may have changed, but you definitely want to be prepared for travel with a box obtained well beforehand. And even then, boxing a tandem is not a simple task.
    If you're travelling by plane frequently with it and you can take out a second mortgage on the house, consider a tandem with S&S couplers. This allows you to carry the tandem apart in suitcase-sized cases. Best protection without the added cost and hassle of a tandem box. But be sure you're sitting down when you see the prices of S&S-equipped tandems PLUS the prices of the cases!
    I hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    I'm writing from Buckhorn, Ontario, north of Peterborough. I would strongly suggest that you get in touch with Brenda and Dave at MBS Tandems (Meadowvale Bicycle Service) in Mississaugua. (Not far from the 407 and Britannia) They are excellent tandem dealers with entry level bikes, some used, right up to Burley's and higher end Santana's, Co-Motions. (We bought our Rans "Screamer", which is a tandem recumbent from them.) They may also allow you something for your CCM as a trade, but..... This couple has toured by tandem extensively in Canada and the five members of the family have even completed a crossing of Newfoundland on two bikes; a tandem and a triplet! They are hosting the Canadian Tandem Rally in Guelph the last weekend in May. They might "loan" you something to test ride if you sign up for the tour, who knows. Definately give them a call; they will answer all of your questions.

  6. #6
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mchell
    I'm writing from Buckhorn, Ontario, north of Peterborough. I would strongly suggest that you get in touch with Brenda and Dave at MBS Tandems (Meadowvale Bicycle Service) in Mississaugua. (Not far from the 407 and Britannia) They are excellent tandem dealers with entry level bikes, some used, right up to Burley's and higher end Santana's, Co-Motions. (We bought our Rans "Screamer", which is a tandem recumbent from them.) They may also allow you something for your CCM as a trade, but..... This couple has toured by tandem extensively in Canada and the five members of the family have even completed a crossing of Newfoundland on two bikes; a tandem and a triplet! They are hosting the Canadian Tandem Rally in Guelph the last weekend in May. They might "loan" you something to test ride if you sign up for the tour, who knows. Definately give them a call; they will answer all of your questions.
    That sounds great!

    I just Googled and Canada411'd Meadowvale Bicycle Services and came up empty. Can you give me a phone number or a URL?

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Sorry, I meant to include that info in my initial post.

    www.mbstandems.com

    905 824 9364

    email info@mbstandems.com

    Good luck,

    Mike Chellew

  8. #8
    Year-round cyclist
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    As a Montréaler who bought a tandem from them, I will second that recommendation.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  9. #9
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Met the VandeVeldes at Tandem Canada (the 1st Canadian tandem rally) in 1987 . . . also held in Guelph. A great couple!

    Rudy and Kay/Zonatandem
    Tucson, Arizona

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