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  1. #1
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Why is the guy always on front?

    Hello,

    I don't ride a tandem so maybe you can enlighten me a bit. Every time I see a duo, the man is always riding on the front and the woman is on the rear seat.

    Why?

    Isn't this a bit unfair? The guy gets all the fun of steering and the nice view while the woman is condemned to stare at her spouse's butt. Shouldn't the shorter person (usually the woman) be in the front seat?

    Well, it does make sense... I know I wouldn't trust a woman with the steering wheel but still, I don't get it

    Why?

    Thank you
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  2. #2
    Oh God, He's back! 1oldRoadie's Avatar
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    1.) upper body strength is needed for controlling the mass, so usually the stronger of the two goes up front.

    2.) If he is up front the guy "thinks" he's in control.

    3.) the person in the rear has only one duty, to pedal when she is caught just enjoying the scenery.
    I can't ride and Frown!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Triker's Avatar
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    Usually, the male of the duo is larger, and tandem frames are commonly built with the captain's portion a larger size than the stoker's, so it makes sense for the larger person to ride in front.
    Trike builder, self-contained tourist, educator, sea kayaker

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    Well, in our case, I'm up front because I'm stronger and have years more saddle time than my wife/stoker. My handling skills are farther along than her's so as Quint said, "I steer the boat chief".

    I have seen quite a few pic's of track racing teams with a female captain and a male stoker.

  5. #5
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    From Bill McCready - President and founder of Santana - came this interesting discussion many years ago: http://www.gtgtandems.com/tech/femcaptain.html

  6. #6
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Thanks.

    Interesting link, livngood. While the strength issue sounds good, it seems to me the real answer are point number 2 and 3 by 1oldRoadie.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  7. #7
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Actually, to be fair and in practice my personal observation has been that:

    1) The more skilled cyclist (real or perceived) is the one who usually drives the tandem, or
    2) If the skills are equal, the larger of the two riders will drive the tandem, or
    3) If the skills and size are equal, the one who bought the tandem will decide who drives the tandem, unless there are extenuating circumstances:
    a) The tandem is a second tandem in a household with two adults and two children where both parents drive their respective tandems with children stoking, or
    b) The stoker is sight impaired and enlists the assistance of a pilot to drive their tandem and/or is invited to stoke, or
    c) It's a track tandem, in which case the stoker with the strongest legs stokes.

    There you have it and that's why you'll find that when you have a mixed adult team on a tandem (that would be a man and woman), 99 times out of a hundred you'll find the man driving.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bentbaggerlen's Avatar
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    MY $.02
    "upper body strength is needed for controlling the mass" This used to be true, with older tandems, flexable frames and single bike frame angles and fork rake. A well built tandem will handle as well as a single. With the wrong rake even a single bike will handle like a truck.

    Have to side with Mark on the more skilled rider should pilot.

    I know a few teams that have the woman as the pilot. For one team I cut down an older Trek tandem, lowering and shortening the pilot compartment. ending up with a 16"x18" tandem. Also swithed from 700 wheels to 26" to help with the tow-over lap.
    Bentbaggerlen
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." - Arthur Conan Doyle

  9. #9
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    The reason the guy is usually on front is because of upper body strength for controlling the bike.

    My husband and I can both ride the captain position, but I prefer to be stoker. The stoker can have a lot of fun and really relax. The captain has to control the bike meaning he can't take his hands off the bike, as stoker, I can do whatever I please with my hands, serve refreshments, talk on our 2 meter radio, or call and make arrangements for lunch on the cellphone.

    On long rides we do switch, but it is not as comfortable for either of us, this prevents physical pressure problems.

    I regularly ride the tandem solo to meet my husband at his office and he rides home with me.

    He is a more cautious rider than I am taking roads, while I take sidewalks, and alleys as well as jump curbs.

    Before we purchased our tandem we looked for over 10 years until we found the KHS tandemania, which was perfect in all respects for both of us. Later we replaced the saddles and handlebars.

    So it is not unfair for the male to apparently always ride the front, plus the captain has to take the blame for hitting bumps and cutting corners to sharpe for the stoker. All the stoker has to do is not wiggle without letting the captain know in advance.

    Diane

  10. #10
    Addicted to Tinkering NuTz4BiKeZ's Avatar
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    I believe the male is always up front because it makes it easier for the woman to give directions... cos we all know a guy aint gonna ask.
    A friend would bail you out of jail... A good friend sits there beside you and says "Damn that was fun"

    Backyard Bents
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  11. #11
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    I can tell that you don't ride a tandem because you think the captain has the better view. Actually, the opposite is true.

    As captain I view a strip of road about two feet wide looking for pot holes, broken glass and the like that I need to avoid. My wife, on the other hand, is free to enjoy the scenery from side to side. She frequently alerts me to beautiful vistas that I would have missed otherwise.

  12. #12
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    I like being up front, and I'm a girl. My husband and I are similar sizes, but I always captain (he's blind). As Bill McCready mentions in one of his essays, you can hold up the tandem with your legs and let go of the bars, if you hold the frame against your leg and back your behind into the end of the seat. Like all things, it probably just depends on the person ... I don't feel it's taxing, upper-body strength-wise.

  13. #13
    Addicted to Tinkering NuTz4BiKeZ's Avatar
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    Original post by Spoke Wrench:
    I can tell that you don't ride a tandem because you think the captain has the better view. Actually, the opposite is true.
    Who were you referring to with your comment?

    It would seem that all the posts here are by people that have experience riding and in most cases piloting a tandem
    A friend would bail you out of jail... A good friend sits there beside you and says "Damn that was fun"

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