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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 02-27-07, 07:44 PM   #1
Litespeed
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Taking breaks

If your stoker remains seated during the entire ride, how often do you stop to give your stoker a break? I feel kind of guilty each time I ask my husband to stop so I can get off the saddle. So far I just haven't mastered the technique of getting off the saddle and back on at stop lights and stop signs. My biggest problem is getting clipped back in at the start. One of these days we will start really practicing, must admit we have only tried it a couple of times. My husband thinks it's better if I remain seated, then I can help with the push off to get across intersections quicker.
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Old 02-27-07, 07:55 PM   #2
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My better half, the stoker, doesn't like to stand while we pedal. I do try to coast at least every 10 minutes and ask her to stand for a quick butt break.
Seems to work for her
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Old 02-27-07, 08:04 PM   #3
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Stoker/wife stays clipped in at all stops. No coasting, but we alternately stand to pedal every 10-15 minutes to give the butt a break. Of course hills give us a great chance to relieve the numb butts.
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Old 02-27-07, 08:23 PM   #4
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I have a da Vinci tandem with ICS my stoker can lift her butt any time she pleases.....I know I know not everyone has the wisdom to buy a bike by Todd but this is one small benifit of having ICS.

I do love my stoker and am so happy we can ride together but it used to kill me to wait while she fooled around with the cleats, it seemed to take forever and the more I offered verbal assistance the harder, slower it was. She now can take all day to clip in what do I care, I can pedal away.
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Old 02-27-07, 09:33 PM   #5
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Easy enough: butt breaks! Coast and stoker and/or pilot can lift buns and get re-situated. Stoker can do the same at a traffic light stop but do inform your nice captain . . . stay clipped-in lean into the bars and lift your butt. Just don't do the hula back there!
Need a longer break off the saddle . . . suggest a cofee break/pit stop/photo op etc.
Stoker Kay seldom asks for a butt break.
No ifs, ands or butts! Keep the stoker happy!
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Old 02-27-07, 09:43 PM   #6
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My wife/stoker (4" taller and 15 lbs heavier than me) asks ocassionally for butt breaks, but not too often. Confession... she'd probably like more breaks but I'm often pushing really hard so she shows restraint. Another stoker (female friend stronger than my wife and smaller than me) almost never asks for breaks. I think the butt-break-request-interval is linked to biking experience and bike fit, but I'm certainly not the stoker expert... I've only stoked a half-dozen times, up to a couple hours at a time.
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Old 02-27-07, 09:55 PM   #7
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Pilot'shave the most comfy seat position in the house on an upright tandem.
Stokers ride the harsh part . . . over the rear wheel, while the pilot's seated in the middle of the frame. Proper fit/saddle/riding experience also makes a big difference and some stokers demand a suspension seatpost . . . who can blame them?
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Old 02-28-07, 10:47 AM   #8
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Offroad and we don't have many traffic lights or junctions so if we are up to speed on the flat- we will coast for about 10 seconds and just lift the butt. Downhill we are in the horizontal pedal position once we are up to speed and Butt lifting time again. Big problem is on the big uphills but by agreement- We will stand and pedal on the less loose ground- just to give a break.

We only ever stop whilst waiting for the rest of the group to collect- if we are out with others, but as most of our rides are just one Tandem- We only stop when a cafe is near- Normally after a couple of hours.

Even with a Thudbuster and a comfy saddle- I do need those butt breaks.
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Old 02-28-07, 12:39 PM   #9
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I'm the stoker, and on our regular ride (about 22 miles round trip - about an hour+), I'll get 1 butt break. On the return trip, coasting to a stop, I can stand up for a few seconds, then sit back down before the stop (don't stop the bike, don't clip out, just get a brief break off the saddle). Occassionally I get 1 more opportunity. The captain hardly ever takes a butt break. For longer rides, we'll ride an hour or so & actually get off the bike for a 15 minute break (quick lunch, etc.) then back on again. I've found the most comfortable saddle for me (tipping the nose down a bit can help too), and think the biggest difference is the right shorts.
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Old 02-28-07, 01:36 PM   #10
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If we were to ride for an hour or less and we knew it, we could stay seated, down on the drops, and not worrying about hydration, butt breaks, etc. like in a flat time trial. For any longer rides we stand alternatively or together every 5 to 10 minutes or more often if climbing or doing rollers. While ridding with new / non-cycling stokers on the triple, we found that the key for an inexperienced stoker to stand without feeling uneasy is to shift gears to the point at which the pedals feel really hard and you can only do a max. of 50-60 rpm. As the team gains experience and confidence you can stand at higher rpm's. The standing comfort limit for my wife is 85 rpm and for me it is 80 rpm. Now, if we were sprinting out of the saddle ... then the limit usually is our team lactate threshold...

If we are not climbing and my wife wants a butt brake, she just runs her hand up my lower back, I check the cadence, depending on how fast we are spinning, I go down one or two gears, she gets up and usually not only takes a butt brake but speeds up the rig. If the rpm's get close to 80 I shift down one more gear. This process continues until the rpm are relatively constant or she sits down. At that point I can get up my self or shift up to our cruising cadence: 85 rpm.
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Old 02-28-07, 02:05 PM   #11
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My stoker is cleated in at all times but gets whatever she wants when she wants it, as I do. Comfort is key to any event that is supposed to be fun. If one is uncomfortable, it is not fun.

Bottom line...ask for breaks when you need them.
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Old 02-28-07, 05:40 PM   #12
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"Butt breaks" are allowed at any time for stoker and captain, and are more frequent on rougher roads and near the end of longer rides. Even on the flats we'll coast and stand for just a couple of seconds without losing too much speed. If we are in a group with riders behind us, we'll signal or call out "slowing", take a quick break and then close any gap that might have occured.

Rest stops are at 20-25 mile intervals on club rides or riding on our own.

We enjoy going to lots of local and regional event rides / rallies put on by various charities, bike clubs and other groups . On these rides we usually try visit every rest stop, even if it's only for a minute. The rest stops are all manned by volunteers, and without them, most of these events could not take place. We do these rides for fun, to meet new friends and for the opportunity to ride in places that we don't get to see every week. It's not a race, so we have no problem sparing an extra minute or two to top off a water bottle and say thank you to the folks that make it all happen.
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Old 02-28-07, 10:28 PM   #13
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On our usual dead-flat 40 mile route, we generally stop at the 10 mile point and stand for a couple minutes. Both of us seem to need this break while on the tandem, for both of our tushes, and for my numbing hands. (Dear, we really don't need to use the brakes, do we?") On our singles we usually ride 20 miles before dismounting. On long group rides like Ragbrai, the stops seem to come often enough that we don't need to take these breaks.

Either of us may stand for 5-20 seconds along the way, most generally nearing the end of a harder ride.
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