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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 01-22-07, 09:08 PM   #1
moonwalker
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climbing hills on tandems

We rode the MS 150 from Houston to Austin on our Trek T-1000. Since we live in Beaumont and the only hills we have are overpasses we do not get to practice climbing. When we both tried to stand it seemed very wobbly and my stoker (my wife) made it clear she did not like it. The rest of the way we just gutted it out on the saddle.

Advice is welcomed!
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Old 01-22-07, 09:54 PM   #2
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Moonwalker:
Takes a bit of practice for both pilot and stoker to stand.
Next time try to have the 'stoker only' to stand. Then the pilot only. After you get used to that, then try it together. Practice like that at home for that brief 'up' over the overpass, then for longer climbs.
FYI: we seldom stand and have done lots of hills/mountains. We utilize our gears + we pedal 90 degrees out of phase (OOP) . . . easier climbing for us.
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Old 01-22-07, 11:14 PM   #3
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My wife likes to stand on a single, but has never been interested in standing on the tandem in 9 years of tandeming. A couple years ago I teamed up with a friend and we did 1000 miles preparing for and doing a double century on our tandem. She's stronger than my wife and likes to stand even more. We stood on our first tandem ride and it went well, but she didn't want to do it any more, I think because the side-to-side sway-feel is much differnt. We did rides with many thousands of feet of climbing, even up 15-20% grades, but just spun (or pushed) up the hills. One of my tandems has a 17-inch low! So, you can do a lot w/o standing.
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Old 01-23-07, 12:47 AM   #4
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My stoker did not like me to stand when we first started tandeming... that was several years ago. Now we stand togheter and climb or sprint out of phase with no problems. Standing for us is an important skill that we use every 5 to 10 minutes to acelerate, climb or just to get a butt brake. Do not give up on trying to master it! Switching to a tall gear makes standing easier. First learn to stand individually without rocking the bike too much. Ask you stoker for feedback. You do not need a hill to try it. Go to an empty parking lot, switch the gears to one that you can only do about 60 rpm while siting. Take turns standing asking for feedback. Understand that you will never be able to keep as perfect a straight line while pedaling standing as compared to sitting.
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Old 01-23-07, 05:32 AM   #5
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It took my wife and I a few weeks to get competent at it. As a possible assist, try letting the saddle nose touch your thigh as the bike oscillates: that will give a guide for maintaining balance.
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Old 01-23-07, 06:26 AM   #6
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You gotta stand sometimes, I think. What finally worked for us was for the stoker to stand first. When she tells me she's up, then I get up, and away we go. My job is to keep the machine on the straight and narrow. I tell her when we're done and we end on a downstroke.
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Old 01-23-07, 08:05 AM   #7
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Some of my previous ramblings on the subjects of standing and climbing that live in cyberspace:

The Art of Standing: http://www.precisiontandems.com/artstanding.htm

Tandems & Climbing: http://www.thetandemlink.com/articles/climbing.html
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Old 01-23-07, 08:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
It took my wife ....
Is this a historical reference or have you and your S.O. taken the big step?
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Old 01-23-07, 08:11 AM   #9
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Practice, practice, practice. My wife and I wove all over the place when we first tried standing. Now we and our daughter can ride a straight line out of the saddle on our Bike Friday triple. As cornucopia72 suggests, shift to a big gear and practice on flat terrain. It's a valuable skill, useful not only for climbing but also for accelerating, occasional butt-breaks, and relief on rough sections of road.

You CAN do it... enjoy!
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Old 01-23-07, 08:37 AM   #10
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4th time's the charm.....
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Old 01-23-07, 08:46 AM   #11
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Only thing I'd add is relax, loose upper body. The bike's supposed to sway. If you both let it move back and forth in harmony its actually a cool feeling. If either of you fight it, things tend to break down.
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Old 01-23-07, 09:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
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4th time's the charm.....
Congrats... really!
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Old 01-23-07, 09:10 AM   #13
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My wife stays seated and I stand - but I have to be careful. I have broken two chains standing. With her on the back, I can just get too much traction I think. (Honest, good chains on a Cannondale)

Besides, the purpose of my wife is to get me back home when I am shot - and to spend time together. Of course, she gets embarrassed when someone yells that she isn't pedalling...
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Old 01-23-07, 09:15 AM   #14
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Well written and very useful info. Thanks much!
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Old 01-23-07, 02:09 PM   #15
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Congrats... really!
+1
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Old 01-23-07, 11:17 PM   #16
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Like crtreetude I too stand while my wife sits. We have a daVinci so it may be a little easier. Just for kicks at times she will pedal backward while I go forwards, we get some interesting comments then.
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Old 01-24-07, 11:19 AM   #17
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Like crtreetude I too stand while my wife sits. We have a daVinci so it may be a little easier. Just for kicks at times she will pedal backward while I go forwards, we get some interesting comments then.
We don't stand often but when we first started it was a bit hairy. For us- just having one rider stand unbalances the other rider so we don't do it. Once again, you have to practice and that is what we did. Pilot calls out when we are going to stand and 1-2 3- and we stand. The 1-2-3- is on cadence and initially we started for 5 or 6 revolutions only. Now it is no problem- except you must try and keep the bike upright and limit its movement. Too much throwing sideways and the suspension fork starts going up and down like a yo-yo.

As to she's not pedalling- Our reply is "If he starts steering the damn thing- I'll start pedalling"- As you steer towards the person that made the comment.
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Old 01-24-07, 12:01 PM   #18
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I have one little addtion... from something I read years ago. A choice is made ahead of time, on whether the team will stand with the left foot forward or the right. We generally stand starting on the left leg. I will say stand and the two of us will stand when the left pedal comes around the next time.

After years of riding she generally has an Idea when I will be standing. Them my "command" gives her about a 1 revolution warning.. then there she is... it works perfect for us.... most of the time.

glenn
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Old 01-24-07, 01:54 PM   #19
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...we just take turns standing at this point. We've had our tandem about 2 months.
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Old 01-24-07, 05:32 PM   #20
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Question from a "single" bike rider:

What's the lowest practical gear for a tandem to be ridden by two cyclists of average, or above, ability?
Another way of asking that is "how slow can you go uphill before you simply tip over?"
(I'll do the math for connecting gear size, cadence, and speed)
thanks
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Old 01-24-07, 06:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moleman76
Question from a "single" bike rider:

What's the lowest practical gear for a tandem to be ridden by two cyclists of average, or above, ability?
Another way of asking that is "how slow can you go uphill before you simply tip over?"
(I'll do the math for connecting gear size, cadence, and speed)
thanks
This thread is about providing hill climbing technique and standing suggestions to the OP. I suggest you start a new thread and get focused responses that pertain to the substance of your question. We will be happy to respond.
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Old 01-24-07, 07:05 PM   #22
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To me the lowest practical gear is 19 gear-inches the one I have on my touring bike. I start to wobble about 3 MPH. My exotic tandem needs to be going about 5 MPH to be stable.

EDIT: Are your cranks in-phase?

Last edited by ken cummings; 01-24-07 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 01-24-07, 09:38 PM   #23
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Climbing at 9,200 ft. elevation on about a 7% grade at about 4 mph in a 26x28 combo.
Yeah, but the downhill was f-a-s-t!
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Old 01-24-07, 10:55 PM   #24
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We've had our tandem since Oct. We're still learning but the skills are coming more easily with practice.

At first I found standing on climbs gnarly -- I'm the stoker & a roadie, hubby is less experienced (but certainly not less enthusiastic). So the first few big hills we tackled we did little standing together -- we alternated, or I let him stand & I stayed seated.

Since then we've taken on bigger & longer hills, where standing is unavoidable, even preferable. I let him control the bike & I stay loose and relaxed. Yeah, the bike sways & I miss being in control of the bike, but aside from that it's good. We both like how much stronger we are, as well as how much easier it is to climb.

Bottom line: Patience & practice. Have fun!
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Old 08-13-07, 08:51 PM   #25
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Great write ups Tandemgeek!!

Lots of good stuff in these forums.
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