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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 10-09-05, 07:02 PM   #1
mandovoodoo
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Double tandem ride with the kids

Finally got my Fisher mountain tandem set up with the kiddie bottom bracket for my 6 year old son to ride with me. And picked up a used Santana rode tandem for the women (12 year old stoker). Managed to cram 2 tandems into a single vehicle (tight) and 2 teams. Went to the Maryville TN bike paths for a test.

The little guy had never been on a tandem or on a bike without training wheels. He was really excited. New gloves & helmet. The girl was almost as excited about the road tandem. She's been a stoker since she was about 5. Never had a tandem on this path system. Or ridden double tandems before.

The little guy caught on immediately. Amazing to have the girls pull up along side, a whole family on 2 bikes. Just a blast. Didn't go too far, but rode the whole path system. It is rather flat, follows streams.

On the way out things were fine. Just loafing along. The path isn't user friendly really. Right angle turns across bridges with posts blocking the middle. Roots bulging things up. Uphill stop signs. The usual poor design by well meaning engineers. Had lunch at Atlanta Bread. A nice lugged team Fuji and a newer Fufi Sagre in the rack already. Then the day cleared up and people got out on the path. I can see why so many good riders avoid paths. Very poor level of coherence and politeness. Several families taking up the entire path. I carefully passed one group with coaching to ride to the right. Then a little girl turned right in front of me without warning. I stopped in a track stand while she got off to the side. These people were totally out of control, no idea how to behave. Several other instances like that. One kid just kept riding at me on the left side of the path while pointed to the right side (his right). The mom just stared at us. People sitting in the path. Loose dogs. Groups of walkers completely blocking it. A real minefield of human and canine hazards!

But having 2 tandems out was a complete blast. We couldn't really get up any speed, of course, but a nice shakedown cruise. I think the 26 tooth inside chainring is too little for the Santana's rear to wrap. At least with a 54 outside ring. The jockey wheel rides on the cogs no matter what I do. Pulled a link out, will see what that does. But I'll probably end up with a 30 on there. And did some other adjustments. But overall, really nice. Will take them up to Cades Cove in the Smokies for further shakedown. Maybe the little guy can learn to push hard and long enough for us to hit some rallys. I know the girls are good for it already!
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Old 10-09-05, 07:52 PM   #2
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There are definitely "problems" with that bike path there in Alcoa. A couple whom we ride with all the time who have been tandeming for some 12 years or so discovered some interesting "slime" on that particular bike path while we were all out for a "fun ride" the day before the Tennessee Tandem Rally to get the kinks out of legs from the drive up. Four of the five tandem teams -- yours truly included -- happened to have both off-road and road tandems with them having spent the past week in North Carolina doing both road and off-road riding in and around Brevard. Our knobbies allowed us to motor on through what we thought was just some discolored asphalt on the short stretch of road that runs from the main drag that goes by the Atlanta Bread Company and the bridge just before the pet cemetery on the way to / from ABC. However, our friends who do not have any interest in off-road riding discovered that their 28mm slicks were about as useful as loafers on ice and they crashed hard: hard enough to crack her helmet, split open her forehead, and earn her an ambulance ride to the ER where she got it closed again with some 30+ stiches.

Fortunately for us, the road riding around Alcoa, the foothills of the Smokeys, etc... is so darn nice that the Tennessee Tandem Rally will once again return to Aloca in '06. However, next year we'll definitely be skipping any fun rides on the bike path.
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Old 10-09-05, 09:09 PM   #3
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Bike paths are less safe than 'most' roads, we avoid them like the plague! Cyclists, walkers, bladers, dogs on l-o-n-g leashes or no leashes, inattentive users of the MUPs are just an accident waiting to happen.
BTW Mark what was the slime stuff that caused your roadie friends to crash? Hope stoker will mend soon; prefer stitches to broken bones.
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Old 10-10-05, 07:44 AM   #4
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We took the paths in part to test current path safety. Were very impressed at how marginal design & construction, minimal maintenance, and complete obliviousness on the part of users combined to make this as dangerous as drunk BASE jumping! Thank goodness I can track stand a tandem and have great brakes.
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Old 10-10-05, 09:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
BTW Mark what was the slime stuff that caused your roadie friends to crash?
The grade of the path in this particular, perpetually shade-covered corner is such that standing water had apparently covered the path and as it receded it left a fine layer of silt. Given the lack of sun and recent prolonged periods of rain and overcast conditions, some type of algae was growing on top of the silt. This stuff was so slippery that the fire fighter and EMT first responders had a hard time with their footing and nearly fell several times.
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Old 10-10-05, 11:03 AM   #6
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I know where this is now. It was dry and safe looking, so my son & I went along that area. The girls didn't trust the road tandem on it so they picked their way around another route.

Heading up to Cades Cove in the Smokies right now for some additional shakedown cruising. The Santana road has Pasela? 700x32 that seem to be working OK. I've got fat boys on the mountain tandem at 100 psi. Surprisingly fast, but I'm pretty strong. The fat boys are starting to craze a little and have wear, but look like they'll be good for a few hundred before throwing out. Not sure what I'll put on then.

I might pop onto the road tandem and drop down from Cades Cove into townsend if my daughter will stoke. She's pretty good about closing her eyes and hanging on.
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Old 10-10-05, 06:07 PM   #7
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Well the Cades Cove 11 mile loop was fun. Near as I can tell we were the only bikes on it today. We could run the 2 tandems side by side without much trouble, although I found myself ahead most of the time. The girls had shifting problems. I think the derailleurs are shot. I know the return spring is weak on the rear and both are pretty sloppy. I'll get new ones.

The cars on the loop were much less trouble to deal with than the folks on the bike path. Most moved over when we used the bells. This loop is well known for folks driving at a walking pace and stopping in the middle of the road. Beautiful day, beautiful views. Saw 2 coyote, bunch of deer, one buck with a nice rack. I only got passed by one car.

The bikes handled great, too. Think we're getting this system worked out nicely. Need to get better stoker bars & stems, too
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Old 10-11-05, 02:39 PM   #8
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http://www.giannaviolins.com/CCtandem.html shows the cades cove ride.
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Old 10-12-05, 07:39 PM   #9
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My family also has two tandems. The wife and boy on one (an old Raleigh) and me and the girl on the co-motion. We love it. We've put thousands of miles on with the kids.
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Old 10-13-05, 06:09 PM   #10
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Mark:
Thanx for the info on the slippery green stuff. Algae is not something we have to contend with in Arizona, but can see where it would create a problem.
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