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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!

View Poll Results: What is the configuation of the tandem couple?
My better half and I only own a tandem bicycle 1 2.27%
We have our own individual bicycles and the tandem as well 34 77.27%
I own my own individual bicycle and the other half only rides when we tandem 5 11.36%
Other - Hey, I own a tandem bicycle and ...(Another type of cycle) 6 13.64%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 44. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-03-05, 09:21 PM   #1
georgiaboy
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Presently, I am do not own a tandem bicycle. Well, you see I am still single and a loner. I was just considering what tandem life is like and how owning/riding a tandem is viewed.

This is somewhat an awkard poll. Just trying to find out where tandem riding fits in.
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Old 12-03-05, 11:11 PM   #2
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I guess I would start with a couple questions, but I'll give you some "universal" answers, regardless of exactly what you're interested in discovering.

A little history: I'm 58 going on 26. My wife (of 38 years) and I have ridden, off and on, since the early 80s. But that was on 1/2 bikes. About 1.5 years ago we really got back into cycling and purchased some new Trek 2100s. We were both amazed at how much improved they were over the old iron. During some of our club rides and century rides we noticed a few tandems. It seemed like the tandem teams were really having a good time.

When we rode together on our half bikes, I was always worrying about her because she just couldn't keep up and soon she would be out of view. I'd pull over and wait. It got to be a drag...

This, combined with a general curiosity encouraged us to stop by the LBS and see if they had a tandem for a test ride. As it turned out, only a small percentage of the shops had a tandem in stock, and only one had a regular demonstrator. It was a heavy old Cannondale mountain tandem with really wide tires. But, we gave it a try and were surprised that we took to it fairly easily. We certainly felt a bit unstable and not too coordinated, but there seemed to be hope.

After a lot of research, I decided upon a Cannondal Road machine. I went to the shop that supplied the demo unit and was told it would take about 4 weeks. Surprisingly, they didn't ask for a deposit and also agreed to my offer without flintching. Not only did they discount the unit nicely, they threw in some nice pedals, cages, and 2 spare tubes. They also helped quite a bit getting us comfortably fit to this new monster. As it turned out, the blue baby showed up in only 2 weeks.

Now I needed to do all the little customizing for our riding style. I acquired a Flight Deck computer and had to install it. We also needed storage. I am amazed how much junk we have added to the bike, but it's nice having it. I think you will find that many teams load their tandems up quite a bit. It's been said that tandems are the semi trucks of the bicycle set. When we load up for a long ride, or the temperature is variable, we have lots of room for clothes, and we bring half the closet.

My stoker and I have developed sort of a new persepctive towards eachother, a better perspective. I think we have developed a higher degree of compassion for one another and we find eachother questioning when we can sneak away for another ride. In short, it's been good for our relationship and our physical fitness.

Since we got the tandem, back on 8/15/05, we have put just a little over 1,000 miles on it. We did 3 century rides and several club rides. It's fun and can be really fast under the right circumstances. We are now more comfortable on the tandem than our halfs. It's smoother and more stable and we very seldom complain, but often rave about the experience. Even during cold wet times we've had wonderful experiences.

We're looking forward to a full riding season on it and hope to do several more centuries next year. Hopefully we will also make the N.W. Tandem ralley in July. So, that's about it and I hope you enjoyed my little story. It's snowing today, so I'm stuck looking over (and responding to) the submissions on this forum. OHB
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Old 12-04-05, 08:34 AM   #3
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Great story Hammer!

Our story has some similarities. I took up cycling by accident when rehabbing from a running injury 20 years ago. As luck would have it, it turned out that I was pretty good at cycling right off the bat. I joined a USCF club and began racing. After a few years, I devoted more and more time to my growing family. I pretty much quit cycling for a few years. Five years ago I decided I needed to get back in shape and got back on my old bike. I had gained 30 lbs since quitting. My kids were older and needed less of my time. I was also having marital issues.

It took me 3 years to get back into shape. Over that period of time, my wife and I split up. I was lucky enough to find someone new, someone who was interested in health and fitness. In October of 2004 we decided to check out tandems at a really good shop located in Mt. Airy, MD. This shop is the tandem Mecca of MD - they have 15-20 tandems set up and ready to ride at all times. My girlfriend and I tested several different brands - Cannondale, Longbikes, Trek, Santana and KHS. We were tandem newbies but we really could not tell that much difference between the bikes. A month or so later I purchased the KHS. We have been riding together on the KHS about once a week (twice a week in the warmer months) since then. My girlfriend also has a single, and we try to get out once a week on singles too.

We participated in our first tandem rally - The Georgia Tandem Rally in May of this year.

Like Hammer says, a tandem is the only way a couple can ride together, stay together and both parties get a workout. The longest ride we have done is a metric century. But, Utah may be flatter than Maryland. Like Hammer says, there is a tendency to load the tandem down with stuff. I do my best to keep it minimized but in the stoker’s handlebar bag usually contains at least the following items: food, eye drops, chapstick, cleanex, feminine needs. Plus, she has too small plush stuffed animals on her bar that ride with us. Any more stuff and I will have to switch out my 13-26 cassette for one of these pie-plate cassettes….

The tandem has been good for our relationship. We get to see the sights, hang out with other couples, get some exercise all at the same time! My girlfriend sometimes gets tired of not being able to see around me….
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Old 12-04-05, 08:48 AM   #4
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Me: Mid-40's and an avid cyclist from youth through age 16 when a driver's license, school activities, work, and then 6 years of military service and other pursuits -- motorsports, motorcycles, racing sailboats, alpine ski racing -- got in the way. Resumed at 24 as a fast recreational road cyclist and then off-road starting in '89.

She: Mid-40's and a coaster brake rider like all kids in the 50's and early 60's. Didn't ride a bicycle again until '91 when I bought her an all-terrain bikes so that we could ride trails together which we did several times. Married in '93, I bought a 2nd trail bike for my 14 year old step-son who then joined us for leisurely trail rides but that was the extent of it.

Us: Towards late '96 Debbie was selling real estate I was spending most of my evenings and weekends off cycling alone and we decided we needed to find something we could do together. Sailing and some of my other previous interests were cost prohibitive and we started to look at motorcycles noting that both of the "kids" were now grown and pretty much out of the house. While contemplating the purchase of a '97 Kawasaki Z11 I turned and asked Debbie if she'd like to go look at tandem bicycles instead... she said yes.

We went to a tandem speciality dealer in August '97 to "look" and test ride a few tandems and ended up writing a check for $3,200 before we left with our new Santana Arriva stuffed in the back of her 4Runner. We have since rearranged our social lives around tandem cycling, own three tandems, and ride tandems both on and off-road. We ride with other local tandem teams 2 - 3 weekends a month, take vacations structured around the tandems, and regularly attend 3 - 5 tandem rallies each year.

A few years back Debbie expressed an interest in learning how to ride a single bike. I purchased one for her, put her on a wind trainer to develop her shifting skills and pedal stroke, and then mentored her on the road. She has since gone on to become a very strong rider who this last July - Sept began logging about 100 miles a week when daylight permited. We will occasionally go out together on our single bikes. Debbie has no problems hanging with me on the flats & rollers, but does not climb or descend as fast.

We log around 2,500 - 3,000 miles on the road tandems each year as well as a few thousand miles on our single road bikes (she has one & I have two + a fixed gear bike). We characterize ourselves as comfortable "B riders" who would need to spend a lot more time training to keep up with the "A riders" who hit the gym, do spin classes, and ride hard with hammerheads during the week and weekends. The mountain tandem sees perhaps a few hundred miles of use each year... we do it for "fun" during the winter to add variety to our cycling regime. I have a solo F/S mountain bike that hasn't been ridden since 2002... a crying shame given that it's a really nice, high-end Ventana.

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Old 12-04-05, 09:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgiaboy
Presently, I am do not own a tandem bicycle. Well, you see I am still single and a loner. I was just considering what tandem life is like and how owning/riding a tandem is viewed.

This is somewhat an awkard poll. Just trying to find out where tandem riding fits in.
The poll doesn't describe out situation very well. While my wife does own her own bikes, she very seldom rides them. Easily 98% of her riding is on the back of our tandem with me.

Ours is kind of an interesting story. Years ago we had a lot of kids and not much money. My recreation was bicycling every Saturday with my neighbor but my wife seldom bicycled. When my wife and I attempted an organized group ride she was nearly killed when she fell down in front of a truck. Bicycling, for us, wasn't looking like a very promising shared activity.

One day an acquaintance offered to give me a tandem bicycle. It turned out to be a Schwinn Twinn coaster brake bike that had been left in the rain. Most of the components were rusted so badly as to be useless. My first stop was to a local bike shop to price wheels. The mechanic said he had exactly what I needed. His parents had a Schwinn Twinn 5-speed that had been converted to all alloy components. He sold me both wheels, both cranks and all of the other parts that had been removed for a total of $30.00. By the time that I bought all of the little bits and pieces that I needed to make it a bike again I had a useable 5-speed tandem bicycle for under $70.00. At the time that was the absolute outer limit of what I felt I could afford.

Owning that bike was a life changing event for us. We rode it together frequently, gradually building up to some quite hilly 50 mile rides. We met some other tandem couples, some of whom we've now ridden and socialized with for over 25 years. Eventually we found ourselves with an extra car which we sold and used the money to buy an entry level Santana tandem. The cost was at the absolute outer limit of what we thought we could afford. Our kids and parents thought we were crazy, but we were bicycling the roads together and we were having fun.

When my job petered out, we started our own bike shop. Our two sons, who had been getting away from us, became serious about mountain biking and returned to the clan. We bought a couple of progressively more upscale tandems for our personal use. Each cost us the absolute outer limit of what we thought we could afford at the time.

The bike shop's gone now, but we're still riding together and we have a very nice bike. Our sons come over to service their bikes in my basement. We have several sets of friends who ride tandems. We sometimes vacation thgether and we often get together for dinner or to watch football games. Life is good and I give at least part of the credit to that rusty old Schwinn tandem that was given to me so many years ago.

Oh yeah. I'm a fervent believer in intelligent design. What are the chances that all of this could have happened by mere coincidence?
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Old 12-04-05, 10:29 AM   #6
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We live a cycle lifestyle, both motorcycle and bicycle. We went to Laguna Seca, California in 2000 to watch World Superbike racing. We decided to head north of San Francisco and do a 1 day bicycle tour of Sonoma valley while we were in the area. When we called around looking for bikes to rent, one of the shops mentioned they had a tandem if we would like to try something different. I never realized how much that one day tandem rental was going to cost us.

After returning from vacation we went to Tandems East, a great tandem specific shop run by Mel and Barbara Kornblugh in southern New Jersey. We purchased a Cannondale RT1000 tandem and quickly noticed our motorcycle miles dwindling and our bicycle miles going up. A year later we purchased a second tandem, a coupled Co-motion tandem for travelling.

We still ride singles occasionally on road but the majority of our road riding is on the tandem. We mountain bike on singles once or twice a week as well. We now plan vacation time to include at least one or two tandem rallies a year. We have met some really nice people and made some great friends in the tandem community that we look forward to seeing each year in different parts of the country.
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Old 12-04-05, 10:46 AM   #7
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My wife and I are both in our early 50s. In the 1980's we did some day touring...she had done some overnight tours and longer rides before we'd met. I completely bonked on our first long ride and she had to revive me with candy bars in the park at the end of our ride. But I kept on riding.

When kids came along, most of my bicycling was a commute to work. Now they're teenagers and we have more time and more options. We tried some trail rides on our hybrids in town, but I got tired of coasting while she slowly caught up. No fun! I'm not a fast rider, either

A small book royalty check showed up and I put it into a Raleigh Companion...a hybrid tandem. I expected that we'd do some rides into town and along the trails, but suddenly, we were on the open roads in the countryside and even a day at RAGBRAI last year. She might not have been any faster on the bike, but at least she couldn't get behind...we'd do that together.

That led to the quest for a road tandem...we got a '98 Burley Rumba Softride this spring. We're still not all that fast, but the tandem has become a way for us to do something outside together. She usually is riding no hands while shooting pics with a digital camera...we're having fun! We did another day of RAGBRAI...and the kids came along on their bikes. And another fun tour in the SE part of Iowa, too, plus some regular day rides. I did a 30+ mile ride with my son and my daughter this year, too...a great way to do something together and get along at the same time

Today, though, there's 4" of new snow on the ground and temperatures in the teen...all I can do is look at the tandem in the garage and dream of spring.

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Old 12-04-05, 11:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galen_52657
Great story Hammer!

Our story has some similarities. I took up cycling by accident when rehabbing from a running injury 20 years ago. As luck would have it, it turned out that I was pretty good at cycling right off the bat. I joined a USCF club and began racing. After a few years, I devoted more and more time to my growing family. I pretty much quit cycling for a few years. Five years ago I decided I needed to get back in shape and got back on my old bike. I had gained 30 lbs since quitting. My kids were older and needed less of my time. I was also having marital issues.

It took me 3 years to get back into shape. Over that period of time, my wife and I split up. I was lucky enough to find someone new, someone who was interested in health and fitness. In October of 2004 we decided to check out tandems at a really good shop located in Mt. Airy, MD. This shop is the tandem Mecca of MD - they have 15-20 tandems set up and ready to ride at all times. My girlfriend and I tested several different brands - Cannondale, Longbikes, Trek, Santana and KHS. We were tandem newbies but we really could not tell that much difference between the bikes. A month or so later I purchased the KHS. We have been riding together on the KHS about once a week (twice a week in the warmer months) since then. My girlfriend also has a single, and we try to get out once a week on singles too.

We participated in our first tandem rally - The Georgia Tandem Rally in May of this year.

Like Hammer says, a tandem is the only way a couple can ride together, stay together and both parties get a workout. The longest ride we have done is a metric century. But, Utah may be flatter than Maryland. Like Hammer says, there is a tendency to load the tandem down with stuff. I do my best to keep it minimized but in the stoker’s handlebar bag usually contains at least the following items: food, eye drops, chapstick, cleanex, feminine needs. Plus, she has too small plush stuffed animals on her bar that ride with us. Any more stuff and I will have to switch out my 13-26 cassette for one of these pie-plate cassettes….

The tandem has been good for our relationship. We get to see the sights, hang out with other couples, get some exercise all at the same time! My girlfriend sometimes gets tired of not being able to see around me….
Where is the Georgia Tandem Ralley held at?
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Old 12-04-05, 11:20 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the good posts. I enjoyed reading all of them. Sorry If my poll was confusing or misleading. It only goes to show how uninformed I am about tandem riding. Tandem riding has a beauty to it. Persons who do it really show why they are devoted to it so much. In reading your posts I see the importance of two person working as one. That's a whole new dimension in cycling to me.
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Old 12-04-05, 11:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by georgiaboy
Where is the Georgia Tandem Ralley held at?
Last year's was held in Madison, Georgia. In 2006 the event will be held in Americus.

You can find out more at: http://www.georgiatandemrally.com

For a complete list of the major tandem rallies in North America and the Southeast visit our Web site:
http://thetandemlink.com.hosting.dom...RallyInfo.html

Recommend using View/Text Size/Smallest
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Old 12-04-05, 11:33 AM   #11
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The Georgia Tandem Rally moves to a different location each year. This year it is located in Americus on May 19-21. You can read more about it at this location. Hope to see you there.

http://www.georgiatandemrally.com/
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Old 12-04-05, 02:49 PM   #12
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I commute on the tandem daily with my daughter. We save time and money vs. driving (parking permits at my work are $80/month, and they don't guarantee you a spot), get daily exercise, look completely cool as we roll past other kids walking or in cars, and we generally have a good time.

I do weekend/longer rides on the tandem with a friend. Tandems are fun and fast, and my tandem is my favorite/newest/best-component bicycle. (Er, and it's a 1993ish Trek, so go figure.)

My wife has stoked two or three times, just up and down the block... for a grand total of probably three minutes and one tenth of a mile.

All mentioned persons have at least one single bicycle of his/her own.

Tandems are ultimately just bikes, and the folks riding them are cyclists... I'm sure you'll find many different scenarios. Give one a try if you can!

-Greg
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Old 12-04-05, 05:17 PM   #13
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I first started riding a tandem so I could cycle with my kid, and do more than jnust 3-5 miles. My wife and I used to frequently cycle together on our half bikes and I, like others, spent a lot of time waiting around for her to catch up. Then one day we took out the tandem together and it was fantastic. I loved not waiting, loved the good workout and loved the relatively fast pace. I ride my single bike 2 days per week and I tandem with her or the kids about one day per week.
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Old 12-04-05, 08:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by transam
The Georgia Tandem Rally moves to a different location each year.
Sort of...

'99 Madison, GA
'00 Madison, GA
'01 Athens, GA
'02 Athens, GA
'03 Statesboro, GA
'04 Statesboro, GA
'05 Madison, GA
'06 Americus, GA

It remains to be seen if the new pattern will be a new site every year or if it will revert to the earlier format. That Roger & Eve continue to host the rally each year is somewhat amazing. Most major rallies are hosted by a different set of organizers each year, with some folks "left holding" when no one else steps up to host the event, such was the case with George & Judy Bacon and the Alabama Tandem Weekend up and until last year when Hal & Judy Yarbrough hosted at Enterprise, AL. It will return to Enterprise in '06: http://www.thetandemlink.com/ATW.html. Another regional rally -- the Tennessee Tandem Rally -- follows the GTR model in that Tim & Sharon Patterson created the event and have organized all three editions at Alcoa, TN and are poised to continue what has been an excellent event (think GTR with more challenging routes along the foothills of the Smokey Mountains) in '06.
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Old 12-05-05, 11:01 AM   #15
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Now ages 73/70.
Had been doing centuries on singles and only saw each other at start/lunchstop/finish line; knew there had to be a better way!
For our 20th wedding anniversary, Jan. 29, 1975, suprised Kay with a shiny new Follis 10 speed tandem . . .
Miles and years later, still happily married, still riding TWOgether!

Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 12-05-05, 04:30 PM   #16
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I ride a mountain bike(s) and as such, my Tandem is a Dale MT2000, with greatly uprated Parts to make it suitable for offroad. Not that a Dale MT is unsuitable, but it can be bettered. I got the Tandem so that it could go offroad and be ridden in the same manner as I ride my solo. Hate to say it but my wife will never ride the tandem. She knows the way I ride, so has never even sat on it. My regular co-rider is Stuart. 180lbs of muscle, stamina and strength. He is the pilot and we are a team. It works, but occasionally take a different rider out but then I am the pilot. Prefer riding with Stuart as the team works.

Ages- Iam 58 and stuart 42, so it is a century ride whenever go out. Prefer XC rides and train for a 100mile offroad event all year round. Do a lot of gym work to keep in trim, and the latest is night riding. 30 miles offroad at night on a Tandem is great fun, but we do that on our own. Incidentally, Although there are other tandems about in our area, we have never ridden with them. so do not understand the thrill of Group Tandem rides. Just enjoy showing our tail to the solos that we go out with. We do occasionally do road 65 and 100 milers, but we would rather get out on the hills and enjoy ourselves. The mud is softer than tarmac when you fall off.
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Old 12-05-05, 04:33 PM   #17
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Hmm--am I the only single male in this poll? Is there even an option for single tandem owners (I know of at least 2 others, just in this city).

My ex-wife & I bought a Burley Samba as a wedding present. She gave it the college try, but was just not into the biking thing. I recall one ride, where I heard her say, "I don't understand the point of this . . . ".

So I upgraded this year. I sold the Burley, which I had been riding with my daughter (we even used it to commute to summer camp & work). I bought the Spicer ti disc frame, built it up, & posted the picture a while back. I installed a women's saddle in the stoker's position; that should give an idea of who I want to ride with.

When I rolled her out of the building for one of her inaugural rides with no visible stoker in sight, one of my neighbors asked why I had built a tandem, but had no partner to ride with. I said, "If you build it, they will come." I offered her a little ride, but she politely declined. And I've had NO problem whatsoever finding athletic, nice women stokers to ride with me. I ride with a visually impaired runner from the Achilles Track Club; fellow club members. One woman, after riding with me just once, asked me to race the new rig in a Brevet series! How could I turn down an offer like that? And there's always my daughter who named our new rig "Iris" after an ancient goddess of rainbows. So I have no shortage of outstanding women stokers for tandeming dates.

Oh, I also own a carbon road bike & a ti cyclocross bike.
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