Tandem Track Riding?
I'm brand spankin' new to bf and I come with a question regarding tandem track racing. Does it still exist? Where? I came across a bike last summer and have only used it once for Chicago's bike the drive and I'd like to play with it a little more. Cheers.
From the archives:
Have ridden track on tandems twice.
Kenosha, WI and Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis, IN.
Last we heard, Trexler still allows tandems. Organized track tandem races? Don't really know.
Double Secret Probation
We had ours on the Major Taylor Velodrome once, it was a blast. I'm not sure if they race, but you might give the track a call or email.
Contact the USCF. Back in the 80s there was a tiny, tiny bit of official track tandem racing limited to a few track Cat ones and twos. It was considered very dangerous. But then they were being used in that event where the two tandems might end up doing track stands next to each other 'way up on the steep banking.
Just checked. Tandem track Sprints are still in the rules. Tandems must be under 3 meters long. Four tandems max on tracks over 333 meters, 3 on shorter tracks. Time trails to establish seeding.
Find another track tandem team and the nearest Velodrome might love to have the two teams show up and race for the crowd.
Last edited by ken cummings; 01-24-07 at 10:00 PM.
Northbrook is your closest velodrome. When I raced there (way back in the '70s and early 80's) the banking was considered too shallow for tandem racing. Of course, hand-sling madison exchanges were also forbidden as unsafe back then, so things could well have changed. Check out their web site -- http://www.northbrookvelodrome.org/ -- for the latest. It seems that you are welcome to ride on the track anytime there are no other events scheduled for the track or infield, so you and your stoker can probably check it out as soon as the weather breaks.
Kenosha -- Washington Park, http://www.333m.com/ -- and Indianapolis -- http://www.majortaylor.info/ -- are also within striking distance of Chicagoland.
I once talked my wife into riding our tandem (slowly) around the steep Alpenrose Velodrome in Portland, OR. I think it gave her a new appreciation for how crazy we track racers were/are.
Thanks for the info everyone. I'll have to head to Northbrook when it gets a little nicer out.
Track tandem racing still exists (to a small extent) in the UK. There are a few events each year, although these are aimed mainly at visually impaired riders as training/racing opportunites for paralympic riders. To boost entries these events are also generally open to mixed male/female teams aswell as visually impaired riders. These events typically consist of a mix of sprints, time trials and pursuits. The only event (currently on the race calendar) which is open to all is the national tandem sprint championships. This is a link to British Cycling website with a report, and loads of photos, of the 2005 championships. http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/web...ampionship.asp
Teams included elite male teams, visually impaired stokers and mixed male/female teams (including, for the first time at the championships, a female pilot and male stoker combination). Riders included paralympic champions and medallists, a senior elite world champion (Craig McLean) and a triple world junior champion.
I'm in some of the photos, I'm wearing a black skinsuit, riding an old (1970s), red Bob Jackson track tandem with a female stoker friend of mine (wearing white/red)
Track tandems are great fun, and the cameraderie in what is (let's face it) a slightly mad aspect of the sport, is second to none. Give it a go if you can, and enjoy it.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't most tracks require riders to be on fixed gear bikes. I noticed that all the tandems in Richard Kennedy's link were fixed gear. I ride a fixed gear single and I think it would be awesome to have a fixed gear tandem. If dqucciardi or anyone else were to ride a tandem on the track, would we first need to convert it or could we ride with our gears and brakes? Perhaps the above rule is only for actual events. Thanks.
We live about 500 metres from Hearne Hill velodrome in London. On weeknights in the summer they do road bike track training, which a) avoids traffic and b) gives those less fit than racers a chance to stretch themselves and get dropped repeatedly. For safety reasons fixed gear and bikes with brakes are never mixed. Hearne Hill is something like 550m round, so there isn't a huge danger of grounding cranks if you use modern pedals. At least my Colnago with 172.5mm cranks and time pedals was fine.
We did think about using the tandem on one of these training sessions last year but didn't since I rarely get home from work in time and my wife was pregnant at the time, meaning we weren't keen to mix with the racers to avoid any chance of falling off.
Second option to get a tandem on the track is to do the 'Ride of the falling leaves' which is in October each year. This always starts with a lap of the velodrome, kind of like the classics but in reverse. That was fun on the road bike.
Third option would be to build up a track tandem. It would be reasonably simple I think using an old frame and standard road double crankests, thus avoiding the majority of the expensive tandem bits (wheels, cranksets). Some fiddling with gear and sprocket sizes would be needed to match the chainstay length on a modern tandem with vertical dropouts. It can be done though - there are various calculators on the Internet showing exactly how.
Where would one go about buying a track tandem frame (horiz dropouts, etc), or is that mostly a custom-frame-builder kind of thing?
As far as I know, they're all custom made. My track tandem is an old Bob Jackson from the 1970s flexes a bit, but still great to ride. Your best chance of getting a new track tandem is to contact your FUJI rep as fuji built a couple of track tandems for a team in the UK who were going for the paralympics (they won gold as it happens)
Originally Posted by M1SandMan
As for converting a road tandem, could be done I suppose, but road and track tandems are very different beasts. My road tandem is longer and more stable than my track tandem. A road tandem is a far more comfortable ride. To be frank, the track tandem is an absolute nightmare to handle until you get over 15 mph then its short wheelbase and tight angles come into their own and it reacts far faster than a road tandem would in the same situation. The 2 machines are built for very different uses, and it shows.
PS. MrFish, Herne Hill track is 450m round, and I wish I lived as close as you do. It's a 3 hr drive for me, great track though.
Usually a custom job, although Ravello markets something it classifies as a Road/Track tandem that comes fitted with a horizontal drop-out that also accepts a derailleur. Don Walker is reknown for his track tandems, Dennis Bushnell can build just about anything and has done a few track and time-trial tandems, Ravello I've already mentioned, and Co-Motion has built a few.
Originally Posted by M1SandMan
Don Walker: http://www.donwalkercycles.com/
Dennis Bushnell: http://www.bushnelltandems.com/
Co-Motion Cycles: http://www.co-motion.com
If you "google" the web you'll probably find a few used ones built by other recognizable names, some classics, and the like.
I spend a lot of time in the winter training and racing on the indoor 200-meter board track in Burnaby, BC. We've got a couple of blind sports tandems training every now and then - both have been to the paralympics, one men's team and one women's. The tandems are fun to draft behind. Back in the early days of track racing, they had tandems with four or more riders instead of motors to pace the single riders in various events.
Now, having said that, track tandems have - by far - the most spectacular crashes in all of bike racing. No track racing video from the 90's and before is complete without some good video of track tandem carnage. Usually a chain will come off and the rear wheel will lock up because the sprocket is attached with a lock ring (I have never, ever used a lock ring - too dangerous), and tandem will start fishtailing wildly before it finally falls over and the riders are sliding all over the track.
You really have to trust the driver.