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  1. #1
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    150 miles on a tandem

    Hi everyone,

    I am a fairly fit rider who can ride 150 miles in a day without much trouble. My wife is a full time student and she can ride over 50 miles by herself but under no circumstances could she ride 150.

    We are car free now (by choice) and our family lives about 150 miles away. We have the perfect opportunity to travel there by bike because the katy trail (missouri) can get us 100 miles of the way there.

    How fit would my wife have to get before we could ride that distance on a tandem and it not end our marriage? Should I expect her to ride a century by herself before we do this?

    I could carry quite a bit of the load but I cant pedal both us all the entire 150 I'm sure.

    Any guesses? If it helps I am 5'9 and 155# and the wife is 5'1 and 105#.

    I realize that we would need to practice on the tandem quite a bit first.

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Whoaaaa! '. . . under no circumstances can she ride 150' . . .
    Give your wife/stoker some credit!
    What's wrong with riding 150 miles over a 2-day period?
    Think back a bit! How long did it take you to work up to 150 miles in one day?
    Bet there's a few things you can do better than you . . .
    Patience/practice/partnership is what tandeming/marriage is all about!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    Whoaaaa! '. . . under no circumstances can she ride 150' . . .
    Give your wife/stoker some credit!
    What's wrong with riding 150 miles over a 2-day period?
    Think back a bit! How long did it take you to work up to 150 miles in one day?
    Bet there's a few things you can do better than you . . .
    Patience/practice/partnership is what tandeming/marriage is all about!
    I guess I was hoping we could ride there to visit and two days would take too long.

    Your right though.

  4. #4
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    You don't say how much tandem experience you have, but I can think of two things you might want to consider:
    1) A sore butt is more likely on a tandem than on your single until you learn to stand about as much as you do on your single. It will affect both of you.
    2) In general, when compared to cycling alone, riding a tandem is more difficult for the stronger rider and easier for his or her teammate. The effect seems to be especially true for new teams and diminishes with experience. Although you are confident in your ability to ride 150 miles on your single, riding 100 on a tandem may be harder than you imagine.

    Yes, practice on the tandem quite a bit. As you gain experience together you can decide together whether a ride to see your family is a good idea... or not.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jinker's Avatar
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    Combining the bike trip with a family visit might be worth taking an extra day or two off.

    It's sort of like how commuting by bike is actually more 'efficient' time wise even if it's slower than driving/busing because you're combining your fun/exercise time with necessary travel time.

    See it as getting to accomplish two goals at once.

    Traveling that kind of distance is also awesome from a bike advocacy point of view, if you're into that.

    So +1 on the take two days thing. If your wife can handle 50 miles solo, she can almost certainly handle 75 on the tandem. Just pick a nice place to stop for the night.

    I'm at a much lower point on the practicality curve. My wife just started commuting a few kilometers to work this year, her longest ride has been in the 35km range. I'm hoping to do 100k or so in a day with her by the end of the year (easy pace with lots of stops).

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    Couple replys:

    She is a Vet student and so taking more then one day will be impossible as far as I can tell.

    Why would your butt get sore on a tandem? Would a sprung saddle relieve some of this?

    I ride over 100 fairly often in just plain shorts (no padding) on my brooks champion flyer with no saddle sores. Im 27 and most of my friends make fun of my sprung saddle but I LOVE it so I dont care.

    The more I think about this the more I think Im dreaming a bit. I would love to make that trip with her but I think we are left to making it on 4 wheels until she gets out of school and has more time to ride.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by gosmsgo
    Why would your butt get sore on a tandem? Would a sprung saddle relieve some of this?
    You are not as free to stand on a tandem as on a single. All those little ups and downs you do without thinking on the single just are not there on the tandem (unless you are a really experienced team). You'll be working alot to plan out when to pedal, when not to, when to power, etc. Add in planning butt breaks and it can be very aggravating to lose so much control that you don't take as many butt breaks as you should. A sprung saddle could aggravate or help. Some people like the extra bounce some do not. Time in the saddle would tell. You can search through here on suspension seat post and see the variety of replies.

    Ya, definitely get a few miles under your belt together on a tandem before putting yourselfs in a must do situation. Maybe bike part of the way there and have your ride meet you along the way? One key question to the plan, is she as excited about the trip via singles/tandem as you? No reply necessary to that question, I was just pointing out that I don't see anywhere in your write ups where you say she is as into riding as you are. I had a few instances where interest, capability and expectations did not match. Not pretty .

    It sounds like you would do the trip one way there and get a ride back? Hmmm, silly question, you are car free, so that must be it.
    Last edited by masiman; 06-08-07 at 07:09 PM.

  8. #8
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    Maybe I am missing something, but do you even have a tandem yet?

    Some of the questions you are asking are a bit premature. It sounds like you need a lot more two-gether saddle time before you broach the subject of marathon butt bustin'.

    How do you do on a ten mile ride on a tandem? A 50 mile tandem jaunt?

    The answer to your question is... If the two of you believe you can ride 150 miles in one day on a tandem, and you two are both willing to work towards that goal, and you have some time in which to do this training, I am sure you will be able to.

    Slow down, get comfortable with your stoker. You might decide yourself that you don't want to go through with the tandem ride after you ride together for a while. Remember, being on a tandem is about a shared experience. Make sure that shared experience is enjoyable, not drudgery.
    NewbieIATandem
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  9. #9
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    First: test ride a tandem.
    Prices on tandems vary from Wallmart (not recommended @ $175) to $13,000+ (yes, that's 3 zeroes after that number 13.
    As with singles there are choices between road/off-road/hybrid/recumbent . . . and 2 and 3-wheeled tandems. There is steel, aluminum, titanium, bamboo (!) and carbon fiber (or combinations there off).
    Is your wife even interested in going on a tandem . . .
    There is a learning curve to riding/handling a tandem.
    A sprung Brooks saddle works for you on a single. Does she ride a sprung saddle also?
    Everbody's butt/sitbones cannot handle riding for hours on end.
    As the old IBM slogan said: THINK!

  10. #10
    Down 10# and 11 inches Ginny's Avatar
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    THINK! tHNK ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE TRYIN' TO DO TO ME!
    Sorry, kinda had to be done.

    I can ride 75 miles on my single but it would take me about 7 hours with stops. Are you really thinking of doing 150 in one day? In order to do it in one day and stay in the light, if you rode on the one day of the year that there is 12 hours of daylight you would have to average 12.5mph. Not saying that is a lot, but that's the one day with 12 hours of light.
    To do it in 10 hours, with no stops, you'd have to average 15mph. Again not saying that's fast, but that is with no stops.
    I'm thinking that this might be a bit much to do in one day and be able to walk the next.
    I know some people who can do 150 miles in a day in 8 hours but they average 20 mph and are able to stop along the way. They're racers.

    Good luck in whatever you decide.
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  11. #11
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    Come to think of it, 150 miles I think was how many miles we racked up on our tandem the first year we owned it. Neither one of us was a cyclist to begin with, but we were testing the waters, getting familiar with each other's style. Working together to enjoy the ride. We've been trying to up our mileage each year.

    If you ain't havin' fun while riding a tandem, you must be racing. If you ain't racing and you ain't havin' fun what the heck ya ridin' a tandem for?
    NewbieIATandem
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  12. #12
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    If the 150 is too much and a train can take you part way why not try that? Not sure if you can store a tandem on a bus but if you can then that would be a second option. Or maybe your family can meet you part way.

    One other thought is have her ride as far as she is comfortable and then catch the bus the rest of the way and you can solo the tandem the last bit. I have, and know of others who solo a tandem sometimes.

    Sometimes you just have to adapt if you really want to do something.

  13. #13
    Senior Member djembob02's Avatar
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    I love your enthusiasm and dreams. Quite honestly, I often think the same way. I think, hey, I can go everywhere on my bike, who needs a car? Answer ... My wife.

    Needless to say, there is no way my wife can go 50 miles on her own, yet we have successfully done an 89 mile day on our triplet tandem, followed by another 60 miles the next day. I would argue that given the right equipment (a decent bike, food, tools, etc.) the primary predictor would be motivation. If your wife is like "Yeah, lets go for it," then do it. It will be an adventure for the two of you. On the other hand, if she thinks more like "I don't know, this is not going to be fun," then I would certainly think again. Do remember you will have to ride back the same distance. Also consider the wind. Perhaps consider going the full distance but also have a back up plan. I would argue that trying something once is not a bad idea. I would do lots of training but then decide on a time and do it. If its too hard, its not like you've made a commitment to do 150/day every weekend.

    By the way, you mention going by way of the Katy Trail. I live in Kansas City and it sounds like you might be traveling either to or from KC. If this is the case, I would be happy to ride with you or possibly give you a ride part way or something.

    As mentioned earlier, you could also easily camp half way. While there isn't any camping actually on the trail, there are a number of towns you can camp in for very low cost or free.

    Most importantly, Listen and be sensitive! Good luck, and please let me know if you are in my area
    Last edited by djembob02; 06-10-07 at 12:27 PM.
    Bobby

  14. #14
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    No we dont have a tandem. The only reason I can think of having a tandem is so we can go longer distances then we could ride on two singles.

    My dream was to ride to my folks house which is about 50 miles south of Clinton Mo so that would be 150 total. I could ride it by myself but there is no way she could.

    We are car free (by choice) and I just thought it would be really awesome if we could ride that together.

    Maybe after she gets more time to train and can get up to a century by herself then we will test ride some tandems and start to think a little more seriously about it.

    There are some other times when I would really like to have a tandem. For example, earlier this year they had a dinner for the vet school in another town that is 20 miles away right on the trail. I had forgetten how little she had ridden that winter and we had a *time* getting there and back. On a tandem I could pull a little bit more of the weight and I think it would make those situations much easier.

    Sometimes I forget how little she rides until I look at her odometer and look back at our maitance records. She just does not get 1/6th of the miles that I do. Mostly from a lack of time and partly due to a lack to ever seriously try to become very fit.

    She is fairly fit though and can ride 50 without any trouble.

    Thank you guys for all of your thoughts. You may of saved me $2000.00 and possibly a lot of a grumpy wife.

  15. #15
    Down 10# and 11 inches Ginny's Avatar
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    For those who say the 'wife couldn't do 50 miles on her own' are you refering to the distance on the bike or trying to ride 50 miles all by herself, solo, no one to talk to, no one to be there if some cager uses her for spitball practice?
    I can ride 50 miles on my bike but there is no way I'd do it solo. I'm not a HUGE fan of biking in the first place. I enjoy it only when the hubby and I do it together. I'm having more fun now that we are riding TWOgether.
    There is a difference between riding 50 miles on the bike and riding 50 miles SOLO on the bike.

    So, which is it really?
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  16. #16
    Senior Member djembob02's Avatar
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    Thank you for your clarification question. In my case, a group of women riders who often ride on our groups rides were going on a women only trip on the Katy Trail. My wife considered going along. So I cleaned up her bike and got it in working order. Its not a very good bike. Anyway, she rode 20 feet, got off, and said she would stick to the tandem. She said she felt wobbly, etc. Given the right motivation and time I'm sure she could get comfortable...If she ever got comfortable, I would suspect the truth is that she would never want to go 50 miles. She really really struggles uphill (when she used to ride a single and now on the tandem).

    Needless to say she is exercising a lot recently on a treadmill as well as some in the weight room, so it is very likely that her strength and stamina will increase. Even if it does, however, I don't think she would ever want to ride 50 miles on a single bike. Who knows, maybe she will prove me wrong. Really, it doesn't matter to me if she rides on a single bike or not, just as long as she will ride with me every once in a while.

    I will go back to write earlier, and I think it most of it has to do with motivation and desire.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ginny
    For those who say the 'wife couldn't do 50 miles on her own' are you refering to the distance on the bike or trying to ride 50 miles all by herself, solo, no one to talk to, no one to be there if some cager uses her for spitball practice?
    I can ride 50 miles on my bike but there is no way I'd do it solo. I'm not a HUGE fan of biking in the first place. I enjoy it only when the hubby and I do it together. I'm having more fun now that we are riding TWOgether.
    There is a difference between riding 50 miles on the bike and riding 50 miles SOLO on the bike.

    So, which is it really?
    Bobby

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