Sarasota Tandem Rental Redux
We want to thank the members who gave us encouragement on our quest to try out tandeming on our vacation in Sarasota.
The two bike rental shops within walking distance of our hotel each had at least one tandem for rent. Admittedly, they were big hulking models; but, they did have gears (7 and 21), decent brakes, and were reasonably well maintained.
The first bike shop gave us a bike for a test ride to make sure that it would “fit” my stumpy legs and to see if me and my stoker could “team” well enough to have fun. We made three very successful circuits around the shopping center (probably the most dangerous route of the entire week!!!). The shop’s mechanic pronounced us “capable”. I took this as very high praise in that it indicated that he believed that we would not engender extensive bike repairs.
The next day we took the bike (Fugi?) out for a ‘real’ ride on streets and trails. We learned several interesting things: 1. I put my left foot down when I stop, my wife puts her right foot down! 2. I start pedaling with the pedal in the 10:30 position; my wife starts in the 8:00 position! And 3, the most important thing to communicate when tandeming is imminent bumps in the road!!!
We were pretty careful on that first real foray: avoiding sharp turns, converting to “pedestrian status” at intersections, avoiding gear changes, yielding to all wheeled and biped traffic, practicing loooonnnng slow stops, and communicating lots of unnecessary information. The trip ended abruptly in the seventh mile when, during a pedestrian phase of our tour, the chain came off and lodged itself between the sprocket and the frame. It would have been a quick fix with a chain tool … another cyclist, a biped, and a local policeman tried to get us going again, but ultimately the shop had to send out its sag wagon.
We went to the other shop the next day. It turned out they are a dealer and have been selling them at a pretty good clip. They were very nice, but I didn’t think they were very knowledgeable on the principle aspect of tandeming – specifically ‘butt on the leather’. We went out in what I think was a better quality bike (Sun?), or maybe we were just more confident. We covered a little over 15 miles. By the time we were finished, we were doing nifty u-turns, asserting ourselves in traffic, and picking up enough speed to outpace the pedestrians. It was a very nice ride and we were both quite pleased.
Our only issue was that we are both accustomed to a more aggressive postures; and these bikes had us in comfort-bike postures with big platform saddles. If you’re not accustomed to a comfort-seat, it really isn’t comfortable!!!
Now we would like to ride something with a little less weight and a bit more zip!!! Thanks again to those of you who provided encouragement and information.