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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 08-14-05, 08:04 PM   #1
R900
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We been playing with a Fuji Tandem this year and like it, but may "upgrade" next year as the upright seating position just seems to relaxed. Anyway, we've only had a few outings, but we pulled a Burley trailer with two kids and I really felt it in my legs. Now my wife is a great stoker, but I took a little ride with my Dad the other day - WOW! It was like we were going to fly, tons of power and felt like we could really go, climb, or pull whatever. Any ideas on riding with my wife, will she develop more power, or do I need to lighten up and go slower, or is this just how it is? I solo about 2-3 times a long (distance) as shes does, and average 4-5 mph more. The tandem is for fun, so not a big deal, but riding with the whole familly really works me, and we are thinking of trying the Hilly Hundred in Indiana (50 Hilly miles each day) next year on a tandem. So before we upgrade for the Hilly, I want to make sure we really like this tandem thing. Any thoughts?

John
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Last edited by R900; 08-15-05 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 08-15-05, 08:33 AM   #2
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I've determined that I, as captain, cannot control the speed of the tandem, I'm merely along for the ride. If I try to dictate a higher pace, I burn out.

My advice is to turn the computer to something other than speed and enjoy the ride; youíre not going to set any speed records anyway.

-murray

p.s. Itís stoker, not stroker.
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Old 08-15-05, 09:46 AM   #3
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To answer your question -- I have NO idea when (or IF) your wife will develop more power. I have experienced simliar things on my new tandem as well ... as a new tandem rider/captain myself.

Riding with a buddy of mine ... we can average 18 to 19.5. My GF as stoker -- we average 16 to 17. I work HARD ... and I mean HARD regardless of who my stoker is. For some reason, being capatain on a tandem is simply HARD work.

However, I have ONLY ridden my new tandem 3 times ever ... so that is a lifetime number of 3 times on a tandem for me. I have MANY more years to go on it.

I can only assume, and from reading, that if you ride with the same stoker(s) consistently, over time things fall into place pretty well ... as long as there is good communication. That is what I look forward to.

I'm enjoying it as well! Have fun!
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Old 08-15-05, 09:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrays
p.s. Itís stoker, not stroker.
Could be both.....

But really, Unless you have 2 super-fit cyclist, chances are you are not going to be real fast. Your speed will most likely fall somewhere between the two rider's individual averages.
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Old 08-15-05, 10:15 AM   #5
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I've just come over from a pretty good racing career, and certainly agree that it's more work pushing the tandem than a single. MY stoker/stroker is an accomplished marathon runner but she's all of 115#; there's no way she's going to get close to me in power output. BUt she brings other things to the table. I like the fact that it's a real workout: that's why I ride.
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Old 08-15-05, 10:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
I've just come over from a pretty good racing career
You're not from Austin, are you??



-murray
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Old 08-15-05, 12:55 PM   #7
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There is a vast difference in power output between me and my pilot. I say there is because although we are both fit cyclists, I am 58 and he is 41. I am 155 lbs he is 180. No way can we put out the same power. On top of that, if we go out on the solos- he disappears into the distance. However on the "T" we work. It is that team bit that makes the difference. Time will be needed to build that team and the way you work. Cadence is an example. I have slowed fractionally and he has had to speed up- but when going uphill- the gear changes fall exactly right for both of us. The cadence is exactly right for both of us. This did not happen overnight but there is no way that just one of us is comfortable when putting in power. Either both of us feel we are very comfortable or both of us are working to our limits.

Now on the difference in power output. Look at it that both of you can put in equal power, you can't and taken to the extreme, one will put in say 50% of the other. If you both put in 75% of your own power, the "T" will work. If more effort is required then both put in 100%. The problem lies in that you already state that you are the strong rider, and I would not mind betting that you feel you have to carry the other rider. It doesn't work. Your cadence will be wrong for the stoker and you will get very tired very quickly.
Take a step backwards. Let the stoker set the cadence and when to change gear. Power output will come from the stoker, but at their level. For a few rides you may feel awkward, cadence wrong. gear changes wrong, but gradually you will come to the stokers cadence.The stoker will be putting in the power they want, and if you keep up your level, gearchanges will suit the stoker and you will still be putting in power. Gradually you will come to a compromise. That compromise will not be the best for either of you for a while, but suddenly it will work for both of you. That is when the tandem starts to work. Ok get a stronger rider and blast away if you want. You will go faster, but once that "Team " gets working, you and your GF will not be far behind. How do I know that? My pilot has on occasions taken out another very fit and fast rider. They blast it for 10 miles or so, and then it becomes hard work. The team is not there. They are still individuals riding the same bike, and I can hear that with the gear changes.
As far as me and my pilot are concerned, we realise the power difference between us, we realise that both of us could go faster with stronger co-riders, we also realise that with the pair of us on that tandem, the damn thing works,.

Tandems are hard work, and as I ride offroad, I never get to ride with other tandems to compare our speed, but within our group of solos, I know the progress we have made over the past few years. 4 years ago we were always the last up the hills, gradually we got faster and got to the front of the group, and now the only ones that can beat us up the hills are the super fit riders. Mind you, on the course of a ride, it is surprising how many times the Tandem has to slow down or stop to let ALL the others riders catch up.

Last edited by stapfam; 08-15-05 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 08-15-05, 03:12 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone, great info, we will keep it up, and I'll work on balancing our power. Also sorry for the wrong term - everything is sort of new to us in the tandem world, and like many don't really have any other local tandem to compare.

Thanks again - John
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Old 08-15-05, 04:07 PM   #9
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Have done a tandem tour in the Hilly Hundred area a few years ago. It would be nice if you had something easier to pedal than than the Fuji. Perhaps a used Burley, Satana, Trek, Co-Motion would be easier for both of you. Your spouse will get better as time goes by; ease up on pilot pushing the pedals to see if stoker is giving it a good go. Have ridden with some novice stokers that just like to keep their feet going 'round and round', but do not put any real 'oomph' into the pedaling. This could be your problem. Either way, enjoy the ride!
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 08-15-05, 04:12 PM   #10
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Wearing a heart monitor helps me hold back. Without it I put out to much effort. Get a computer for the stoker and let her control the speed.
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Old 08-17-05, 05:54 AM   #11
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NO, not Austin: New Jersey. Multisport racing all over the world. Had a few good days. Can still ride the crap out of a bike, but my serious running days are over. Was not interested in bike racing in and of itself; am really enjoyed the tandem thing. Takes a stoker you get along with, to be sure. I sort of feel like Faninni leading out Mario Cipolini. Not sure she and I will ever race, but going fast along the road is good enough for me.
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