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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 06-10-07, 08:14 PM   #1
TandemGeek
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Doh!


Whilst at a recent tandem rally I noticed a couple of dents on the top tube of an otherwise handsome road tandem. You know, the kind of dents that make you wince a little because they clearly were the kind of dents that occur when a tandem is parked and not in the heat of battle on a criterium course during the Co-Motion Classic or some other stage race with a tandem class.

The owner shared the story of how the dents came to be and, sure enough, it was "just one of those things" that can happen when you have a couple of bikes stabled side-by-side and/or leaning up against something. We talked a bit about the pros and cons of repair, bondo vs. pulling dents, and I even offered a possible camoflauge solution ostensibly as an homage to a track-rat background.

Anyway, as I was cleaning up one of our road tandems today and making sure both my and Debbie's riding positions were the same as the one we'd been riding for the past three months I took note of a few really minor paint nicks that I'd collected on the top tube over the years and thought to myself, "You know, I've really been lucky in that neither of our tandems had ever been dinged. Sure, there are some nicks in the paint -- even a few on the '98's left rear chainstay that I eventually felt compelled to camoflauge with a decal -- but all-in-all, I guess I should feel fortunate given all the loading, unloading, etc. Perhaps we had satisfied the bike gods by putting more than our fair share of dents and scratches in our off-road tandems?"

About 5 minutes later -- really, not even five minutes later including the two minutes of unquotable self-deprecating commentary -- I found myself wondering how best to camoflauge my first dent in either of our road tandems. Of course, as "fate" would have it, it was right there on the top tube just below the nose of my saddle. I could explain what happened but it doesn't really matter, other than to note that it was something I had done 100 times, nay 1000 times before without any problem.

Oh well, as a wise teacher once said to me... "it's just one of those things". So, in that light I'm over it and movin' on and will somehow grow to not mind my new decals.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-10-07 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 06-10-07, 10:42 PM   #2
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$%#@!!!

Too bad you didn't have any wood to knock on following your comentary.

That stinks. I recently did that to my car
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Old 06-11-07, 08:31 AM   #3
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A while back I did a dumbsh*t thing with our bike that required some repainting. I got the paint code from Co-Motion & went to a local Sherwin-Williams auto paint store. They mixed up 4 spray cans (the minimum) of the paint & I went to work. I'm not a paint professional but it came out pretty well.

I later tried wet sanding the area with 1500 grit paper & plenty of water. I followed this up with rubbing compound & wax. Now it looks almost good as new.
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Old 06-11-07, 07:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TandemGeek
The owner shared the story of how the dents came to be and, sure enough, it was "just one of those things" that can happen when you have a couple of bikes stabled side-by-side and/or leaning up against something.
I'll identify myself as the owner of the dented tandem whom TandemGeek was talking to at the Tennessee Tandem Rally. I'm so sorry to hear about the dent. Those things are very frustrating... All I was trying to do was to look at my wife's single bike and I didn't even notice that the rear wheel of the tandem was touching the front wheel of the single and over it went and fell into an immovable object (an old Schwinn Airdyne trainer). I think I handled it better than I would have when I was younger. My stoker said, "I'm glad you did it and not me!"

That reminded me of an accident some years back when we had a 1985 minivan with side mirrors that didn't fold back if hit. My wife was the primary driver of this van. When it was backed out of the garage it had to be turned to stay on a curved driveway and the side mirror would come dangerously close to the side of the garage. I often commented to her that she was going to tear that mirror off one day (you can see where this is going). She didn't tear it off but I did one day. I wished she had done it and not me!

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Old 06-11-07, 08:33 PM   #5
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TG: adds 'character' to the bike . . . don't sweat it!
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Old 06-11-07, 08:57 PM   #6
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D'oh

AAAGGRHHHH! The platitudes help, but only a little when it comes to hurting the one we love, even if it is only metal tubes sitting on metal and rubber. Sorry Tandem Geek that you had to experience that misfortune as you have clearly loved them.

After having just taken a small nick out of my Calfee last night, I can feel your pain, along with the requisite five minutes of self deprecation, cussing and "if onlys."

However, be careful. What I have found from previous accidents is that these accidents allow the very slow intrusion of thoughts about, alas, a new Tandem. Guard against it TandemGeek - you will never know when it strikes as it is extremely insidious and as slow moving as elderly drivers in Fort Myers.
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Old 06-11-07, 09:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldacura
A while back I did a dumbsh*t thing with our bike that required some repainting. I got the paint code from Co-Motion & went to a local Sherwin-Williams auto paint store. They mixed up 4 spray cans (the minimum) of the paint & I went to work. I'm not a paint professional but it came out pretty well.

I later tried wet sanding the area with 1500 grit paper & plenty of water. I followed this up with rubbing compound & wax. Now it looks almost good as new.
My little bottle of co-motion midnight blue just arrived in the mail yesterday. I'll tend to my wounds one of these weekends too.
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Old 06-12-07, 07:09 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by zonatandem
adds 'character' to the bike
Not exactly, unless character = significantly diminished value or an expensive repaint job that essentially adds zero-value to the frame "as was" before the thing rolled-backward and fell against the repair stand it was resting against whilst my back was turned for just a moment. As you could imagine, it was one of those things where you heard-it, didn't see it, knew exactly what it was, and didn't want to turn around to face reality.

Unlike the average tandem or even our '02 Erickson with a primer, color coat, and one layer of clear, an Erickson Signature like our '98 with its now dented ovalized top tube has a 7-layer finish: primer, color coat, and five layers of hand-sanded clear coat. The dent sits 4 inches in front of the captain's seat post mast and just above the chine of the pearl-white ovalized top tube.

So, while it can easily be filled-in and prepped for paint, the "touch-up paint job" is the tough nut to crack in this scenario, hence the short-term cover-up with decals. Although, in recognition of our recent ride on the Tail of the Dragon the Thursday before the Tennessee Tandem Rally, I'm now thinking that a US129 decal might be more appropriate (and less obvious) than the Sidi decals.

Long term, it may go back for some re-work of the rear disc mounts so that the '80s model Hope mechanical disc w/160mm rotor can be replaced by an Avid BB Road caliper & 203mm rotor. Given that the left rear chainstay is already buggered up, perhaps we'll "refresh" the entire bike with a repaint. Time will tell. That's a lot of coin to invest in what is almost a 10-year old steel frame but, then again, it works just fine and any potential equivalent replacement (custom Calfee, Seven, or ???) would require a small fortune.

Anyway, as I said, I'm over it and have pretty good grasp of what's required to fix it. Given that my builder also leads tours in Europe from May - October, I'll have lots of time to mull-over and become accustomed to my decal fix so I suspect it may just stay "as is" with all of its new-found character.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-12-07 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 06-12-07, 07:25 AM   #9
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D'oh

FWIW - I just purchased a tandem cover from Jack at Tandems Limited in Birmingham. It is white and is made from a type of sail cloth that is very durable. Even with our longer Calfee and rack, it covers the entire tandem and goes to the floor. I think I paid $70.00

The other night I was reaching for my tool kit on a shelf and while doing so a small can rolled off and hit the bike. Thankfully the cover was on so it just rolled off the cover without doing any damage.
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Old 06-12-07, 07:39 AM   #10
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I appreciate and respect people's aesthetic concerns and the care that goes into their bikes, but bottom line bikes are for riding. I draw the line where worrying about the bike gets in the way of riding it.

My bikes in the end always get nicked and scratched, there are only so many times you can lock a bike to a post, load it on a bus, lean it against a tree, slip on a wet spot, let your kids ride it, etc, before **** happens, even to TG, and I won't quit doing any of these moves. Other people's bikes might end up in museums, mine will not.

I did cry though when my old Olmo Columbus tubing frame split into two!
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Old 06-12-07, 07:42 AM   #11
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"However, be careful. What I have found from previous accidents is that these accidents allow the very slow intrusion of thoughts about, alas, a new Tandem. Guard against it TandemGeek - you will never know when it strikes as it is extremely insidious and as slow moving as elderly drivers in Fort Myers"

I agree w/counselguy. I ascribe to the "broken windows theory" in almost every aspect of my life: If you allow your stuff (your bike, your car, your house, etc) to start to get beat up, pretty soon you will no longer "love it" like you did when you 1st acquired it. You then start to treat it badly and it goes downhill fast. You then find yourself drawn to the new shiny (expensive) thing. It's much better to fix things as they get dinged than to trash something & replace it with new.

I have never met TandemGeek but based on reading his posts, I doubt he trashes his stuff.
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Old 06-12-07, 09:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
I draw the line where worrying about the bike gets in the way of riding it.
... just be careful that you don't step over the other line where the lack of care and attention can create a problem that gets in the way of riding, brings a ride to an abrubtly inconvenient conclusion, or worse.

Seriously though, I can appreciate your sentiment. Our off-road tandem remains dirty and is otherwise in rough-looking shape but mechanically it is well-maintained. Conversely, through prudence and good luck we have been able to keep our road tandems in fairly "good" shape over the years despite 10's of thousands of miles, hundreds of loadings and unloadings from cars, and nearly 50 tandem rallies.

Now, as with all things, we all go through phases. Our '98 tandem and it's smaller sibling, my '99 Erickson Signature single bike, were acquired at the zenith of my infatuation with hand-crafted bikes. Since that time my bike acquisitions have tended to be a bit more forward-looking in terms of cutting back on the finish and bling: hence, our Erickson travel tandem is not a Signature model.

My Bottom Line: Everyone needs to strike a balance that serves their riding needs, desires, or interests in their cycling sport / hobby / transportation mode when it comes to the amount of time and energy they invest in the care and maintenance of their bicycle(s) and tandem(s).

Last edited by TandemGeek; 06-09-08 at 05:35 PM.
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Old 06-12-07, 01:04 PM   #13
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**** happens
I was wondering how my sh## happens would fare in this forum, now I know! it gets replaced by asterisks. Wonders of technology, no asterisks on my original post.
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Old 06-12-07, 01:19 PM   #14
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D'oh

Re: OldAcura post:

Actually, I was being tongue in cheek in my comments that TandemGeek watch out for the increasing urge to buy a new bike. He is very fastidious about the care of his bikes so there is no risk that a dent will make him care any less. For some I am sure it does, but for my friend's Team Niobium, My Calfee, and TG's, there will be no let up.
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Old 06-19-07, 03:10 AM   #15
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I feel your pain.

I've only had 2 dents so far, both on single bikes. The first was caused by one of those down tube clamping car racks. After that I needed a new down tube. Due to many wranglings with the framebuilder I went to pick up the frame after having it repaired rather than having it posted to me as the builder somehow spent 2 months without getting round to posting it. Unfortunately as a student I went by bus. On the way home the bus driver made me put the bubble wrapped frame into the trunk. Sure enough it somehow got bashed onto something hard and sharp and received a 2" long small indent on the top tube. My guess is that someone put a suitcase on top of it, despite asking the driver to be careful with it. It was one of those times when you have a deep sinking feeling. Not a good day.
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Old 06-20-07, 12:23 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xanti Andia
I appreciate and respect people's aesthetic concerns and the care that goes into their bikes, but bottom line bikes are for riding. I draw the line where worrying about the bike gets in the way of riding it.
Absolutely right! If the bike isn't a little beat up, it hasn't been ridden enough. I've always been amused by people who treat their bike as if it were some sacred object. Hogwash! A bike is a tool. It's meant to get beaten up. Every dent tells a story.

Now a carbon fiber frame, that's a different story. Put a scratch in one of them, and the whole thang will start to unravel! Old school steel still has some advantages.

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Old 06-20-07, 08:01 AM   #17
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"Absolutely right! If the bike isn't a little beat up, it hasn't been ridden enough. I've always been amused by people who treat their bike as if it were some sacred object. Hogwash! A bike is a tool. It's meant to get beaten up. Every dent tells a story."

To each his own. A mountian bike gets dirty & dinged just using it as intended. If you want a pretty mountian bike, hang it on your wall & don't ride it. However, there is really no reason that a road bike needs to look beat up. Our tandem has over 8,000 miles on it along with 3 airline trips and it still looks pretty good. I have a car that is 18 years old with 200,000+ miles on it & it still looks pretty good. Yes, tools are meant to be used but not necessarily abused. Use your tools your way & I'll use mine my way.
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Old 06-20-07, 08:38 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldacura
To each his own. A mountian bike gets dirty & dinged just using it as intended. If you want a pretty mountian bike, hang it on your wall & don't ride it. However, there is really no reason that a road bike needs to look beat up. Our tandem has over 8,000 miles on it along with 3 airline trips and it still looks pretty good. I have a car that is 18 years old with 200,000+ miles on it & it still looks pretty good. Yes, tools are meant to be used but not necessarily abused. Use your tools your way & I'll use mine my way.
Agree entirely!!

All my bicycles are pretty, my motorcycle too but that does not mean I don't use them. I just wash them from time to time, coat of wax once or twice a year. If I have an accident and that leads to a dent, scratch or whatever than that is just the nature of the game. Many cyclist take horrendous care of there bicycles as any mechanic would tell you. Sometimes there seems to be a feeling that a bike must look abused to show others that it is actually used.

I wonder if these same people take their BF-SUV and thrash the heck out of it off road (I doubt it

If one shows pride in there favorite possessions there is nothing wrong with that.

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