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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 06-28-07, 11:01 AM   #1
mortimer74
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Sharing Tandems -- Coop or Timeshare?

I want two tandems so that my whole family can ride together, but can't afford it. Ideally, I would like two Co-Motion Periscope Co-Pilot 700s at $9,000+ with luggage. I was thinking of recruiting other families to start a tandem coop with joint ownership. Has anyone tried this before?

Here is my idea:

Initial capital contribution
Web-based reservation system
Quarterly fees for:
*storage locker
*maintenance
*wear & tear

This would be in the Seattle area. Does anyone have any thoughts or other ideas?
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Old 06-28-07, 11:51 AM   #2
zonatandem
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Not likely to happen . . .
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Old 06-28-07, 05:16 PM   #3
mortimer74
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Not likely to happen . . .
I was hoping for something constructive... Are you saying that I won't be able to find 4 others with similar interests? Do you see problems in implementation?
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Old 06-28-07, 08:34 PM   #4
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If we lived in the Seatle area, or any other large metroplolitan area, we would like to belong to something like that. If fact we own two tandems and a triple that convertes to a tandem. We offer friends and aquintances to try them out to see if they like tandeming. Sometimes for an extended period of time. That, and a CO-OP shop would be very nice to have access to.
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Old 06-28-07, 08:39 PM   #5
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A coop would be nice. Keep advertising and keep to keepin. Can't give you any advice though, srry.
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Old 06-28-07, 10:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mortimer74
I was hoping for something constructive... Are you saying that I won't be able to find 4 others with similar interests? Do you see problems in implementation?
When I read "not likely to happen" I interpreted it as extending to who takes care of the bike when maintenance is needed, how to make sure everyone has equal access (everyone may want to use it on Saturday mornings, for example), willingness to invest that kind of money for a share of a bike, and a number of other nuts-and-bolts details that would have to be worked out. I'm not taking a position myself on your idea, but suggest you think through all the things you have to do with your own bike and think about how to manage that if you shared the bike equally with a few other friends. That process will reveal the challenges. One particular challenge I can think of is if someone no longer wants to participate -- for any number of reasons. Can they sell that share to others, is there an automatic buy-back program from other shareholders, etc.?

Might work, but suggest you talk these and other issues through thoroughly with prospective shareholders before writing that big check. Good luck.
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Old 06-28-07, 10:42 PM   #7
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There was an LBS on South Santa Fe in Denver that had a couple of tandems for rental. If you find a few interested people you might then find a tandem dealer who will work some kind of time-share deal with you.
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Old 06-28-07, 10:48 PM   #8
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I agree it is possible but not likely to come about. You are saying that there is some other family/group out there that knows they want to tandem but can't afford it. They are willing to enter into a couple thousand dollar partnership with an unknown group. Who gets holidays and major events (STP, Chilly Hilly, etc.)? Who gets the advantage in terms of distance to storage? With the periscope you'll have good coverage of fit. You all will have to deal with the hassle of setting the bike to fit each time. How do you dissolve the relationship?

If I were going to spend that much money to ride a bike, I'd expect to use it when I wanted and more conveniently than the partnership would allow. If I couldn't I would start to think I'd be better off renting. Almost the same benefits with much less upfront. However with the right party it could be a really good solution, I just don't think the chances are good to fall into that situation.

Good luck with it. I hope you prove me wrong .
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Old 06-29-07, 05:58 AM   #9
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Agree with points above. Plus the idea of travelling across town by bus / car to pick up a bike isn't what I would want to do. Experienced cyclists are also unlikely to be happy riding someone else's fit. Dealing with someone else's wear and tear / unknown accident damage would also be a hassle.

IMO you can do this for much less than $9000. Do you really need handbuilt nice tandems for family outings? A Trek T900 or similar sub $1000 tandem is probably more than adequate IMO if you are planning trips to the playground / pub for lunch. If you're really into it after a year you can always upgrade a bike since not everyone will be an enthusiast. And get the dealer to throw in a rack and panniers since you are buying 2 bikes!

Last edited by mrfish; 06-29-07 at 06:05 AM.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:12 AM   #10
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I think one problem with your business model is that most folks would rather own a mid priced tandem for $1,000-$2,000, than pay the sum that would be necessary to support the Co-op, and only have limited access to a Tandem that they had to drive to, even if the Co-op tandem was nicer.
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Old 06-29-07, 01:50 PM   #11
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There are many pitfalls . . .
Sold a tandem to 3 single women (all good cyclists) who were going to share the cost and the riding . . . told them that I did not care who paid what part, as long as it was paid for.
Problems started after they bought it . . . "hey , I want to ride that day/weekend/event!" . . . and so on.
The 3-way partnership dissolved and the tandem was put up for sale.
Asides from other mentioned pittfalls: who will be doing maintenance? Take it to your LBS @ $35 per hour + parts? Do it yourself without compensation? In case of an accident, who is responsible? Who will buy in$urance policy for theft/accident? How do you handle flat/equipment repairs like . . . 'somehow it overshifted and chain ended up ripping out 6 spokes and snapped the rear derailleur, also kinking up the chain!' 'Chain dropped and jammed between granny inner chainring and the BB . . . chipping out a hunk of paint.' 'Hit this big pothole going around the corner and bent rear rim!' Who will be 'the decider' if disagreements develop? How many different saddles will it take to satisfy each rider . . . and who pays for them? Etc, etc!
As suggested, invest is a less pricey tandem(s) for your family.
Buy what you can afford . . .
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 07-04-07, 08:57 PM   #12
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My vote would be to meet your needs for two tandems. Buy what you can afford and have them available to you and your family. I would agree with all the statements above, the problems would outweigh the benefits. (As one of my business professors put it, "If this was a good idea, someone would already be doing it.")
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Old 07-05-07, 02:56 AM   #13
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Talk to some folks from the boating community. I'm sure there is more than one sailboat in the Seattle area owned by a partnership, and that they have figured out all sorts of ways to share the time, sign up for time, distribute the costs, etc.

Having said that, in many ways a bicycle is much more flexible than a 30 foot sailboat, and the urge to go ride the thing, when you want to, may thwart the whole idea of sharing. For instance, let's say your group uses some sort of lottery to assign when you get to ride, and you draw the STP weekend; how much on-the-tandem training time would you get ahead of the big ride? And, if it is raining that weekend, will you ride anyway, in order to get in the miles?

Might check with the local tandem club -- over on the east side of Lake Washington somewhere -- for some ideas.
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