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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 11-29-05, 08:57 AM   #1
clayface
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New to tandems: advice needed

I have decided to get a Thorn Voyager as our first tandem since our experience as tandemists is nil (well my wife rode a BMX one as a teen for a short time but I guess this doesn’t count) We’d like to know what would be the likely issues we may encounter as newcomers. All kinds of tips and suggestions are welcome.
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Old 11-29-05, 09:37 AM   #2
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Roberto,

Welcome to the wonderful world of tandems. I'd suggest you peruse this forum a bit. It's full of great advice for both the newbie and well-seasoned tandem rider. This question comes up quite often and is well addressed in numerous places. Have fun on your double bike... OHB
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Old 11-29-05, 10:24 AM   #3
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This search string may yield some previous posts of interest:
http://www.bikeforums.net/search.php?searchid=1815054

Again, the seach engine will yield all kinds of useful information (as well as a lot of useless but sometimes interesting banter).

Just click on the Search the Forums at the top of the page. Then, fill in some of the search criteria, minimally....

Key Word(s):Punch a few words that relate to what you're interested in, e.g., buying first tandem, or how to start and stop

Search in Forum(s): Scroll down until you see Tandem Cycling and select it such that it is highlighed with a darker colord background.

Click on Search Now.

You'll be amazed at what you find. If you'd like to limit your results to posts by a certain list member, just enter their user name at the Search by User Name field. The results will be filtered to threads that include posts by that user where your key search words were used. In most cases, the key words are highlighted in bold RED typeface, making it easy to find the specific references that match your search criteria.

Mastering the search features will greatly enhance your ability to get the most out of this forum given the wealth of information that resides in the archives.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 11-29-05 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 11-29-05, 11:26 AM   #4
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If you haven't found it already by using the search function TandemGeek runs an excellent site with a lot of useful information for the new and / or experienced tandem cyclists. It can be found here www.thetandemlink.com
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Old 11-29-05, 01:00 PM   #5
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Roberto and stoker:

Welcome to the world of TWOgetherness!
Key to tandem riding is proper communication. Pilot (steersman, captain) MUST communicate out loud what he is going to do.
Pedal, coasting, shifting, braking . . . are all voiced out loud as the the stoker (rear admiral) has no idea what is happening. Must also call out the bumps as stoker cannot see them from her position.
Pilot must call out left turn. right turn, slowing, stopping; but does not do any of the hand signals (he/she) keeps hands on the bars) while the stoker does the hand signals for those commands.
Starting up on a tandem the first few times can be a bit frustrating.
Usual startin' up is as follows:
Captain mounts the bike; keeps both feet FLAT on the ground, butt sort of resting on the top tube and backed up to (but not on) the saddle. Captain holds both brakes.
Stoker mounts the bike, sits on saddle and clips in.
Then if start off foot for captain is in the correct position, pilot clips in with that foot. If captain's pedal is not in the correct start off position, stoker rotates her pedals backward 'til captain's pedal is in correct postion. Captain clips in one foot and on the count of 3 (1-2-3) pushes off. Do a few pedal strokes to get up to speed and then captain, (after giving proper voice command) clips in. Off you go . . .
Stopping: stop bike, captain puts feet on ground while holding both brakes. Stoker dismounts, walks away from the bike and says: off. Only then does captain dismount thereby avoiding giving the stoker a karate kick.
Hope this helps, and enjoy!

Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 11-29-05, 01:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem
. Only then does captain dismount thereby avoiding giving the stoker a karate kick.
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

+1 on communicating, particularly until it becomes second nature. It's really the root answer to 90% of the issues you'll face. As for avoiding the karate kick, it helps if the captain brings his leg in front of the seat, instead of behind it.
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Old 11-29-05, 01:32 PM   #7
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A big Thank you all! I really appreciate your interest. I'm so new to this that I don't know where things may go wrong.

Zona, that's good instruction for a team of starters. And "communication"...yes, it's logically the key word.
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Old 11-29-05, 02:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
As for avoiding the karate kick, it helps if the captain brings his leg in front of the seat, instead of behind it.
I think I'd been tandeming daily for over a year before I finally figured out how the hell to bring my leg over the top tube in front of the seat.

See, our system is that captain would mount & dismount only when stoker was clear of the bike. I would just face the front of the bike, hold the hoods, swing my leg over the back, and then give the stoker the "ready" signal to mount.

When I read about swinging a leg in front of the seat, oh boy did I ever try. Hm, cramming my knee up against my chest, trying to get that foot over... it was quite a production, and a big hassle.

Then... one day... I finally tried it by facing the side of the bike, with a forward hand on the bars, and a rearward hand on the seat. Oooh, lookee there! I can put my foot right up over the top tube, no problem.

I still mount/dismount 95+% of the time by swinging over the back of the seat when the stoker is clear. I now know, however, that I can swing my leg forward of the seat, so long as both hands are not on the front handlebars. (I know, I know, rocket science and all... I guess some of us are just slow. )

This has become useful for brief stops when riding with an adult stoker, as the stoker can unclip and balance the bike while I get off for a moment, if needed. My daughter, however, can't straddle and reach the ground, so she has to be off of the bike when I mount & dismount no matter what.

-Greg
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Old 11-29-05, 02:03 PM   #9
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All the usual advice on communication, starting stopping etc, but the best advice I was given was to take the Tandem out for a solo ride. These things handle differently to an ordinary bike, so before riding as a pair, take the Tandem out for a 10 minute ride to get used to the length, the steering, the brakes and changing gear. Remember that it will still handle differently with the Turbo on the back, but far better to get used to the handling before you negotiate the tight corner and dump the damn thing.
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Old 11-29-05, 10:31 PM   #10
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We agree 100 per cent with stapfam's suggestion of taking tandem out for a solo spin first, to learn how to handle a bike with an extra l-o-n-g wheelbase
Some (not many) tandem pilots prefer/are able to throw their leg over the front handlebar rather than throwing leg over pilot seat (and stoker's handlebars) when first mounting that multi-seater.
As with any suggestions, these things can be modified to suit the individuals.
Main thing is: have fun!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 11-30-05, 04:19 PM   #11
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clayface, welcome also to the world of tandeming!! It's a blast!!.....Another peice of advice from me is this, once you've gotten the rides in and the things talked about in these posts about technique and whatnot, I'd encourge you to go/come to tandem rallies!! They are just a blast!..I got my tandem in august of 2001 and by october of that same year I was at the southern tandem rally (STR) and just had a blast at it!!...

There are many of them all around the USA and elsewhere, so check them out, they really are good for many reasons!!

Enjoy the new ride!!

Benjamin
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Old 12-05-05, 06:34 PM   #12
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If your stoker is standing clear enough to allow a leg over the seat they are also standing clear enough for you to lean the tandem over any amount neccessary to allow a comfortable (and graceful) leg over. I am so spoiled by the step through nature of my folder that I hate getting my leg up high enough to even go in front of the seat. My stoker is blind and hates getting clear enough of the bike so I can lean it. We are working on this. Ironically the frame tubes dip low enough in the stoker compartment so as to make it virtually step through but my GF is only learning after months that she does not need to bring her leg up over the seat. The tandems she was used to riding never had step through stoker compartments. Conditioning is a heck of a thing.

H
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Old 12-06-05, 09:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clayface
I have decided to get a Thorn Voyager as our first tandem since our experience as tandemists is nil (well my wife rode a BMX one as a teen for a short time but I guess this doesn’t count) We’d like to know what would be the likely issues we may encounter as newcomers. All kinds of tips and suggestions are welcome.
Clayface,
Just curious about how you decided to purchase the Thorn tandem. I'm trying to gather information about their cranksets before I purchase and they are one of 3-4 who make small sets (150 mm). Buying from an overseas distributer makes me a little nervous to.
Thanks,
rlong
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Old 12-07-05, 04:55 AM   #14
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rlong,
If you're concerned about buying from overseas, you can run some checks yourself.
1. Use google to check the firm's website is referenced by others. New or unknown sites won't be referenced. You will also see what others say about the firm and whether they are happy with their purchases. In this case use google.co.uk's 'pages from the uk' option will give more relevant matches than google.com
2. Check on the firm's website or better still on other indirect sources found using google that the firm has a physical address, have been trading for a while, are of reasonable scale e.g. have employees, and are experienced in mail order, including sending items overseas
3. Pick up the phone and make sure you can talk to a human being that answers the phone professionally and knows what they are talking about
4. Use a credit card with Internet purchase protection
I think you will find that SJSC will pass these simple tests. If you're really keen, you can also check the UK company filings online to see that accounts have been filed on time (this may be difficult as the trading name may not match the company name), and pay £1 to get a couple of their recent filings. Alternatively if you are a business you can pay a credit reference agency to do a less thorough check.

You will see here that SJSC is up to date. http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/a6...2//compdetails

As a last resort, buy some cheap 175mm cranks and get your local machine shop to drill and tap another hole at 150mm for you. You can then use a hacksaw and hand file to remove the extra length. It's not a difficult job.
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Old 12-07-05, 09:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfish
rlong,
If you're concerned about buying from overseas, you can run some checks yourself.
1. Use google to check the firm's website is referenced by others. New or unknown sites won't be referenced. You will also see what others say about the firm and whether they are happy with their purchases. In this case use google.co.uk's 'pages from the uk' option will give more relevant matches than google.com
2. Check on the firm's website or better still on other indirect sources found using google that the firm has a physical address, have been trading for a while, are of reasonable scale e.g. have employees, and are experienced in mail order, including sending items overseas
3. Pick up the phone and make sure you can talk to a human being that answers the phone professionally and knows what they are talking about
4. Use a credit card with Internet purchase protection
I think you will find that SJSC will pass these simple tests. If you're really keen, you can also check the UK company filings online to see that accounts have been filed on time (this may be difficult as the trading name may not match the company name), and pay £1 to get a couple of their recent filings. Alternatively if you are a business you can pay a credit reference agency to do a less thorough check.

You will see here that SJSC is up to date. http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/a6...2//compdetails

As a last resort, buy some cheap 175mm cranks and get your local machine shop to drill and tap another hole at 150mm for you. You can then use a hacksaw and hand file to remove the extra length. It's not a difficult job.
mrfish:
Thanks for the info, and yes I have been talking to a machinest about redrilling an existing crankset. It's surprising how many cranks are not suitable for this for a variety of reasons, all of which center on not enough metal left around the new pedal eye.
Thanks again,
rlong
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