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.