I'll try asking this here and see how the responses go. What are things to watch out for while riding alongside tandems that might not be obvious to someone who doesn't ride a tandem or ride with anyone on one regularly?
I ask because I was involved in an event over the weekend that apparently specifically had registration for tandems and I noticed possibly a few more than usual for the types of events that I participate in. The biggest issue that I actually encountered was a couple on a tandem who were in front of me for a while and the wife was sitting upright with her hands off the bars just sort of along for the ride and taking pictures of the scenery and what else I have no idea. I was possibly a little annoyed by it and did probably the last thing I should have done.
There was a big downhill section with a right turn at the bottom of the hill. It worked out that I wound up coming to the corner with the tandem and I gave what I believed to be a really wide berth passing around them. Well, I gave such a wide berth that I was in the oncoming traffic lane probably halfway and there was a police vehicle up the road in that oncoming traffic lane that was generally holding traffic off the ride. I braked a bit to try to start slowing down to just get back over the centerline after we were pretty far through the corner and got yelled at by the tandem rider to not cut him off and about how wide the turning radius is on a tandem. I realize he was trying not to run into me and it was a mutual concern. I have a new carbon bike and I think he knew this and it was probably a close call. I responded instantly to his warning and there was no contact. I was appreciative of the warning. I would not want a brand new broken bike frame.
They were still *****ing about it a few miles down the road and the wife ended up running her mouth about how much of an '*******' I ride like and her husband finally told her to not escalate it any further and I'm glad he did because I was getting tired of hearing about it. There were other riders that made sure it was known that she cursed me, etc. and I appreciated the community policing of the incident This is somewhat typical of my life for any incident to get blown out of proportion, but that is another story.
Now, it might be generally a bad idea to pass anyone in a corner in what is supposed to be a noncompetitive ride much less a tandem, but I do wonder if perhaps tandem riders might extend a courtesy themselves to take corners at a speed that they can make a turn within a more reasonable radius? I couldn't say in this instance if there was fault on the part of the tandem rider because I wasn't in a position to observe how they executed the corner, but I suspect from observing the wife on the back prior to this incident seeming to be totally detached from participation in operating the bike that there might be reason to question if they pulled off the corner on their part as well as they should have. Again, all the more reason I should never have chosen to pass them in the corner and it's something I will try not to do in the future.
Are there perhaps other instances where riding alongside a tandem might introduce issues to be on the lookout for?