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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 12-19-06, 04:46 PM   #1
bschoen
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You All Are a Great Source of First Ride Advice

I posted a few weeks ago about the NOS Burley we were picking up near Chicago. We got it back and took a brief spin around the neighborhood then hung it in the garage. We had fun. This past Friday my Stoker/Wife said that since it was supposed to be nice out (60s) she'd like to go for a ride the next day. I hadn't brought it up - wanting it to be her thing not mine and trying to avoid pressuring her. It is, after all, December here; and like a lot of ladies, she's a bit cold blooded. I figure we'll start riding more frequently in the spring - though I ride thru the winter.

We first headed up to a big parking lot near KSU stadium to practice some starts/stops/turns. Then she says - "Let's go somewhere". Once we settled on a route (she's a planner) off we went. When she suggested the route, I reminded her that there was a good sized hill there. Her response - "Well. its all down hill after that." I'm game!

About half way up the hill she says, "You seem to be breathing pretty hard." Keeping your collective wisdon in mind I asked her if she felt she was working as hard as she does on her stationary bike in the morning - she tries to get her HR up to 75/85% then. After contemplating the possibilities for a bit, she concluded that she didn't believe she was working that hard. I politely suggested that if she were inclined to attempt to reach her 75/85% target at any point on the ride, now would be the time. Well, she kicked in like a trooper and we spun up the hill rather easily (in my estimation) after that.

The down hill portion was a bit unnerving to her - a self professed control freak - who isn't into speed. So when she asked, I hit the brakes and we quit pedaling. Most notable to her in the post ride discussion was the fact that when I got down on the drops on the decent (her first exposure to it), there was a lot of wind. Really? I was shocked! I believe she later put it this way - "I'm not sure I like that too much. Where did all that wind come from? I had no idea it was that windy." Welcome to my world - I just smiled. She's great. I think this is going to work out fine and I'm really grateful to have her along for the ride - and I don't mean the tandem. We're working on our 27th year together.

So - thanks for all your advice ahead of time. I know that the reading I did and the tips I picked up here have made our first two tandem forays enjoyable, thus ensuring that more will follow.

Brad
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Old 12-19-06, 05:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bschoen
About half way up the hill she says, "You seem to be breathing pretty hard." Keeping your collective wisdon in mind I asked her if she felt she was working as hard as she does on her stationary bike in the morning - she tries to get her HR up to 75/85% then. After contemplating the possibilities for a bit, she concluded that she didn't believe she was working that hard. I politely suggested that if she were inclined to attempt to reach her 75/85% target at any point on the ride, now would be the time. Well, she kicked in like a trooper and we spun up the hill rather easily (in my estimation) after that.

Sounds fun! Definitely cool that she tuned in to the effort differences and turned on the turbo.

And, remember, unless you're already on your lowest gear, or late for something, captain always has the option of downshifting some more and also reducing effort. The bike just adds up whatever each puts in, whether low or high effort, matched or different.

Keep ridin'!!!

-Greg
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Old 12-19-06, 07:55 PM   #3
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Congrats on a great first ride and I hope many more follow!
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Old 12-19-06, 08:32 PM   #4
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Congratulations, it sounds like you're both just about hooked on the "tandem experience".

Once you're on board there's no turning back.

Welcome to the asylum.
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Old 12-19-06, 09:42 PM   #5
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What a stoker! . . . and a pretty good/considerate captain too!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 12-19-06, 10:07 PM   #6
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Someone here has to say it, the prime directive of tandem riding: "the stoker makes......NO mistakes".
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Old 12-20-06, 09:48 AM   #7
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Ah yes - the Prime Directive

I know of this prime directive Obiwan. The force was strong with me that day.
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Old 12-20-06, 01:35 PM   #8
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Although I am a fast Downhiller- The speed on a descent- when you have no controll and no brakes is a bit unnerving. I can remember one of the early rides when the pilot decided to see what he could get out of the Tandem when gravity takes over. Luckily we were coasting and I could take the weight off the saddle as it was bit lumpy. I normally take the downhill at 30mph on the solo but this felt like Mach 3. We only got to 35mph but as I say- with no controll and no brakes----

4 years later and If we don't get 45mph on that hill- it must be because it is extra muddy, Or he is feeling cautious.
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Old 12-20-06, 03:58 PM   #9
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I know of this prime directive Obiwan. The force was strong with me that day.
Congrats on your new bike and first ride. Preparation always pays off. Remember, young Jedi knight, do not be seduced by the dark side of the force when things smoothly go not they.
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