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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 11-09-05, 09:23 AM   #1
JKfromPBurgh
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Tandeming in Sarasota?

We will be in Sarasota for 9 or 10 days later this month. Can anyone recommend a place to rent a nicer quality tandem.

We cycle on regular bikes up north; we thought our Sarasota vacation might be an opportunity to test out the tandem option.

We do not pose technical dangers to a bicycle: we are strong peddlers, understand gearing, are safe in traffic, and have never had a disagreement on direction or speed (which I assume is VERY important for tandeming)!

I am assuming that the tandems rented by the beach places are as clunky and under-maintained as their regular bikes. I think we want to rent from a good LBS. Suggestions will be appreeciated.
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Old 11-09-05, 11:20 AM   #2
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While not living in Florida, speaking in general, it is quite difficult to find a tandem (let alone a quality tandem) for rent anywhere.
While you may be accomplished single cyclists, riding a tandem together is a whole other ballgame.
It'll take lotsa patience and communication and very likely be a bit of a shakey start but if you persevere, it is well worth the effort!
Good luck in your tandem search!

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 11-09-05, 01:00 PM   #3
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Yah, took us over 300 miles and countless bike adjustments before we got ourselves 'dialed in'. We are, however, still working on the stokers attitude.
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Old 11-09-05, 02:47 PM   #4
JKfromPBurgh
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You have to start somewhere! Florida has the benefit of being flat; and we have wide cycle-friendly berms and some short spans of bike trail out on the key. Best of all, since we are on vacation, we can work on it every day for a whole week.

Is there someone out there who wants to be encouraging?
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Old 11-09-05, 03:10 PM   #5
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If you don't get any replies from Sarasotans on this discussion board, you might try this list and start phoning:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=bike%7...,+fl&f=l&hl=en

Google around, also, for "the proper method". It will at least give you and your stoker something to think about before you have a go at your first tandem ride.

Good luck!

-Greg
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Old 11-09-05, 03:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKfromPBurgh
We will be in Sarasota for 9 or 10 days later this month. Can anyone recommend a place to rent a nicer quality tandem.

We cycle on regular bikes up north; we thought our Sarasota vacation might be an opportunity to test out the tandem option.

We do not pose technical dangers to a bicycle: we are strong peddlers, understand gearing, are safe in traffic, and have never had a disagreement on direction or speed (which I assume is VERY important for tandeming)!

I am assuming that the tandems rented by the beach places are as clunky and under-maintained as their regular bikes. I think we want to rent from a good LBS. Suggestions will be appreeciated.
I think you both will enjoy it as long as you set your expectations accordingly because it is a totaly different experience than riding a single.

I found this online -- hope it helps -- let us know: Sarasota Manatee Bicycle Club
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06' Cannondale Prophet 3 "Lefty"
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Old 11-09-05, 04:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKfromPBurgh
Is there someone out there who wants to be encouraging?
Interesting.

Zonatandem comments it will be hard to find one to rent. I wholly agree as we could barely find a shop to let us ride them when we were willing to drop a few grand on a purchase.

He then points out a key in tandeming - perserverance of which I added further comments. And that's your response? Let me add a further point...tandemites tend to be friendlier folks, try to do the same.

Last edited by Doggus; 11-09-05 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 11-11-05, 09:09 AM   #8
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The only place on the west coast that even has any tandems in stock is Chainwheel Drive in Clearwater. They have a website. I was there when we were tandem shopping. They had several Comotion bikes, a few Santanas, and a Trek. I don't know if they rent, but they are super friendly and respect people that walk in with knowledge of what they are looking for. Clearwater is about 1 hour north of Sarasota, but it's your only shot. There's a place called Suncoast Bicycles in Inverness that rents bikes and advertises that they sell tandems, but the place is the size of a Mcdonalds bathroom and has nothing in stock as far as tandems go. But again, a really nice guy and if you call him he might point you in the right direction. Unless of course you find a private person willing to accomodate. I would suggest calling both of these shops and posting a message on the Tandem @ hobbes list, you might get lucky.
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Old 11-11-05, 10:45 PM   #9
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Thank you!!! We have acquaintenances who vacation in St Pete; we understand that they regularly rent a tandem when they go down there. It's safe to guess that Clearwater is where they rent. While Clearwater is only an hour north of Sarasota, the distance is a bit of a problem as far as daily rides. There is a bit of an issue with tandoms as far as throwing them in your rental car trunk and taking them to where you want to ride!!!!

The challenge of trialing a tandem has to be one of the big obstacles of gettting into the sport (Yes, yes, yes, that is in in addition to the long learning curve!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
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Old 11-12-05, 09:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKfromPBurgh
The challenge of trialing a tandem has to be one of the big obstacles of gettting into the sport
I think this is one of the reasons that folks often suggest that a first tandem be lower-end or used. The cost isn't quite as high, the resale value is pretty good, and, if tandeming is good for you, you'll be much better informed if you decide to commit to a more expensive model.

After several years of riding a trailer cycle, my daughter and I rented a really cheap tandem. It was a pretty awful bike, but it did give us the taste of that sync chain, which is unlike anything else.

Then, actually, shopping for used tandems, we got to ride several. These were all less than one mile rides, but even this was very informative.

Good luck!

-Greg
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Old 11-12-05, 01:43 PM   #11
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So maybe the beach rental clunker may be the right thing to get a feel for the coordination of "twogether" riding.

I'm sensing from some of the posted comments that the basics of balance and coordinated pedaling are the steep part of the learning curve and take the longest to master --- and these don't involve gearing or lightweight frames.

Is it fair to say that a quality bike makes being proficient more fun; but, it doesn't make you proficient faster?
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Old 11-12-05, 06:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKfromPBurgh
I'm sensing from some of the posted comments that the basics of balance and coordinated pedaling are the steep part of the learning curve and take the longest to master --- and these don't involve gearing or lightweight frames. Is it fair to say that a quality bike makes being proficient more fun; but, it doesn't make you proficient faster?
IMHO, the steepness of the learning curve is incredibly variable from team-to-team: some click right away, some must work at it, and some never make it over the top. Much of it has to do with the individual personalities involved and, frankly, I would be more inclined to suggest that the ability to communicate openly, to recognize that each rider brings strengths and weaknesses to the team, and to appreciate how important the ability to compromise are the keys to a successful team.

As for the quality of a tandem, the frame and components need to be "good enough" to keep from being an impediment to relatively problem free and enjoyable rides; but, what is more important is making sure it fits properly. Even the most expensive tandem won't assure you and your stoker a good first experience if the tandem isn't comfortable. So, make sure you find a tandem that will fit and started off life as what others would have called a "good tandem" in it's day. Also, while low-end cruisers and older Town & Country tandems are a blast to ride and will allow you to develop your skills as a team, you'll still want to test ride a few 700c skinny tire bikes before deciding which one to buy: but, by all means scratch the itch at get yourselves on a tandem as soon as you can.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-13-05 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 11-13-05, 10:18 PM   #13
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Thank you for your nice response. I think your humble opinion is probably a good opinion.

Am I correct in assuming that "fit" has mostly to do with the aggressiveness (or lack thereof) in the seating position. Seats obviously can be personalized and leg extension can be easily adjusted ... so it seems that the distance between the seat and the bars has a potential to be a big issue. As I think about any rental tandems that I have seen - ther were like big "comfort" bikes with two seats!
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