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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 06-09-07, 02:38 PM   #1
andydreisch
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First ride feedback

Hi y'all, back on BikeForums after a long absence. I used to hang around the Commuting forum a whole bunch. Still commute a ton (more than 10 years now) and ride a zillion miles overall.

The Missus has been picking up the biking miles this year, too. And with our two daughters now at college age we're considering a tandem to spend the time bonus we find ourselves with.

What better way to test out the theory than to rent a tandem? Never an easy thing, I managed to find an LBS that rents a KHS Milano -- brand new, and never been rented!!

At first I was worried about our disparity in skills and experience (and so was she) but she instantly fit into the stoker role and, together, we quickly found a cadence that worked. Within just a mile or two we were working as a cohesive team. It was if she had done this before! And me too.

Though there was no speedometer on the bike we were going very close to speeds I typically do solo (about 18-19 MPH on flats). We could have gone faster still because the tandem can really fly but we held back as this was a test drive. She was open to going to Los Gatos (15 miles away) which was a terrific sign.

We stopped a few times on the way and very much enjoyed the experience. As I had hoped, we took advantage of the time to talk about important things, like affording college ... HAHAHAHA. The Missus really enjoyed not having to focus on "driving" the bike and called out all the sights I was missing along the way. As for me, I think that captaining the tandem is about a third more effort than going solo. I'm a little more tired than I would otherwise be, especially in the shoulders and arms. For the Missus, she was able to knock off 30 miles probably a third easier than had she gone solo.

It got a little warmer on the way back and we were both happy we didn't go farther in our first test ride. I was intent on not pushing any limits and I'm happy that the Missus finished strong.

So, as a first test, we're very happy. We'll hopefully do a ride of equal length tomorrow before I have to return the bike.

BTW, I realize the KHS is towards the low end of tandems but I'm really impressed with it. I'm thinking it'd be an ideal first tandem.

Andy
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Old 06-09-07, 06:10 PM   #2
Ginny
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Very cool!
My husband and I are brand new to the tandem scene too and we've done two pretty good rides.
We found a nice bike for sale at a bike shop in UT, we are in Denver. We had them ship it. We got a $3K bike for $2K shipped. It's a brand new Co-Motion Primera from 2005. I'm in love with it already.

Check out craigslist for Santana, Cannondale, CoMotion and Trek.
Bet there are many in the SAn Fran area.
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Old 06-09-07, 08:38 PM   #3
zonatandem
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Welcome to the tandem lifestyle!
Milano is a reasonably priced intro-tandem. But as Ginny says, check around a bit before investing. Your neck-of-the-woods has quite a few tandemers, so look for a good deal on a used one maybe . . . like a C'dale, Burley, Co-Motion, Bushnell, Trek, etc
Now that the kids are 'gone off', time to ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 06-09-07, 09:03 PM   #4
Red Rider
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Sounds like you two had a great first experience! Congrats!

Whatever you do, do NOT buy a Raleigh Coupe. We've had more issues than Carter's has pills (think I just came up with another qualifying question for the <50 folks). We weighed it today and were shocked to discover that it weighs 41 lbs. Holy cr*p! It's not a tandem, it's a tank!

However, it's been instrumental in helping us hone our skills at tandeming, and we're having a great time with it. We now know that it wasn't made for the uses to which we've applied it -- centuries, massive hill climbing, time trialing -- and since we're pretty good on it now, we can take our time finding our upgrade.

Someone wiser than I said it best: Wherever your marriage is going, the tandem will get you there faster. I hope you have many happy miles two-gether (TM Rudy & Kay).
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Old 06-10-07, 11:37 AM   #5
Ginny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Rider
Wherever your marriage is going, the tandem will get you there faster.
That is the funniest thing I've heard of late!
And I'm so glad my marriage is going strong! We're a good tandem team and the man
seems to like it too. I knew he was getting it to appease me but he seems to also like
it. Few men will spend $2K just to see if we like tandeming!

I checked CL in San Fran and there are many many decent looking, good quality tandems there.
Funnier though is now that we have ours there are 4-5 small sized tandems in the Denver CL!
A Burley Rumba for $900!!!, A CoMo Supremo ($5500, out of my range, but still), a C'Dale, all for
under $1000.
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Old 06-10-07, 03:33 PM   #6
andydreisch
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Thanks for the info about the CL listings, Ginny. And to all, thanks for the feedback.

Today was Day #2 of the Great Tandem Test Drive, and what a success it was. We had originally planned to go to Gilroy (one-way) for 25 miles (and I'd ride back solo on my bike) but instead went to Morgan Hill and back for 27 miles. This put the Missus and me smack into a gale-force headwind on the way back.

So this means that the Missus, knowing that we'd be into the headwind on the way back (always a factor in these parts) decided to go nonetheless.

Lessons learned:
  • Never underestimate The Missus
  • A tandem is much more efficient into the wind
  • The tandem experience allowed us to find a nice new restaurant in Morgan Hill!!

At the end of the ride the Missus was all grins and somewhere during the ride even asked about rentals for a week!!

As a tandem team we did remarkably well without even the hint of a mishap. Our balance and technique was spot on, safe, and sure -- as if we'd been riding a tandem for quite some time. The Missus really enjoyed the ease in which she could attain speeds she could enjoy on her own only with huge efforts in training and time. For me, I didn't feel crimped at all. I enjoyed the speed and, frankly, the responsibility of keeping us pointed straight and true. I particularly enjoyed the relative ease of punching through the notorious headwinds heading north on Santa Teresa Blvd. And we both enjoyed the time spent together.

But in the end, the Red Rider axiom "Wherever your marriage is going, the tandem will get you there faster" turned out to be a good thing for me and the Missus.

Andy
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Old 06-10-07, 06:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andydreisch
But in the end, the Red Rider axiom "Wherever your marriage is going, the tandem will get you there faster" turned out to be a good thing for me and the Missus.

Andy
Glad day 2 was as fun as the first. 'Cause you know, if it isn't fun, it won't be done.

While I appreciate your crediting me with that axiom, I can't take credit for it...someone wiser than I here on this very forum first posted it, and I apologize for not remembering who that sage tandemista is.

My strengths are stoking up hills like nobody's business and turning a colorful phrase. Keep reading my posts and you'll see what I mean.

So, what tandem are you buying?
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Old 06-10-07, 08:17 PM   #8
andydreisch
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Rider
So, what tandem are you buying?
OK, I'll bite. The short answer is ... not sure yet. I think I'll go to the next phase of the Great Tandem Tryout Plan which is to book a multi-day event, probably in Napa. This is probably the best way to fully appreciate all that a tandem has to offer. Given our schedules it may also be best to sign up for a one-day event and rent the same bike for that.

In any event, I'll be looking closely at CL and eBay and KHS. The Milano is apparently only $1500 and, yes, it's got some less-than-ideal components but, heck, with two kids in college it's looking pretty nice right about now!!

I think it's safe to say in the interim that the tandem world is very near the point of growing by two participants. It's great fun and a very practical way to stay healthy and stay close.

Andy
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Old 06-10-07, 10:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andydreisch
OK, I'll bite. The short answer is ... not sure yet. I think I'll go to the next phase of the Great Tandem Tryout Plan which is to book a multi-day event, probably in Napa. This is probably the best way to fully appreciate all that a tandem has to offer. Given our schedules it may also be best to sign up for a one-day event and rent the same bike for that.Andy
Send me or cgallagh a PM; we're close to Napa & we'd love to meet up for a ride.
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Old 06-11-07, 09:00 AM   #10
Xanti Andia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andydreisch

In any event, I'll be looking closely at CL and eBay and KHS. The Milano is apparently only $1500 and, yes, it's got some less-than-ideal components but, heck, with two kids in college it's looking pretty nice right about now!!
Andy
$1500 will get you a better bike than a KHS Milano in the used market, and it should not take you all that long to find it as long as your size requirements are fairly standard. Components can be upgraded over time, but you will be stuck with the frame. If you are planning on putting a zillion miles on the the tandem, you have 1500 for it, and you have ample bike knowledge to discriminate what you are buying, I suggest you go the used route. Trek or Cannondale will probably show up most often for that price. I say this w/o having ridden a KHS, so I might be biased, but there are posts on this list regarding the KHS that you might want to look up.
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