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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 07-03-07, 10:01 PM   #1
andydreisch
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Single ride after a tandem ride

I've recently posted about a few test tandem rides my wife and I have done. Most recently, last weekend, we did a couple rides. She's hooked and I love it and we're looking for a tandem now. All goodness.

But today I rode my roadie for the first time since The Great Tandem Rental Experience. And -- wow!! -- what a difference!! I had settled in to the tandem routine and had almost forgotten the differences between a tandem and a single. I felt almost as if my bike was broken. I mean, why was it so jittery? So ... responsive? So fast off the blocks? So lightweight?

Oh yeah! It was half as long as the bike I rode last weekend. And about 1/4 the weight. And it moved easily from side-to-side underneath me. I mean ... I couldn't do that last weekend. And I flew up the hills today but only went so-so fast down the same hills.

Oh yes, there is a difference. Not good nor bad. Just a difference.

Andy
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Old 07-03-07, 10:32 PM   #2
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Yeah, after riding tandem for two weeks, the 5200 felt really weird. The other thing I noticed was that my pedaling on the single was a mess. I was wiggling my front wheel and moving my upper body. It took me 5 miles to get it all settled back down. I don't know what that means. I feel like I'm pedaling properly on the tandem and it is very steady, but obviously there's something different about pedaling the single. Anybody have any advice about that? Maybe there's something different I need to be doing on the tandem, but can't feel because of the extra weight and stability?
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Old 07-04-07, 06:41 AM   #3
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Both myself and my stoker look like drunks after we get off the tandem and get onto our singles - we bob and weave like a boxer for a few miles. Then it settles in. I think the exaggerated movements necessary to compensate for a long/heavy bike translate to overcompensating for the same movements on a single bike. This is true even if a few days have elapsed between the tandem and single bike rides.

I only feel uncomfortable with this is a tandem ride is followed (even by a day or two) by a (single bike) race. So on the few occasions where we ride the tandem the day before a race, I ride my single after to get back into "single bike" mode.

On a very nice metric century ride for tandems in VT, we were comparing stories. One stoker admitted that after a year of riding only the tandem, she got on her single and promptly rode right off the road - she didn't even attempt to brake or steer as she was trusting the "captain" to do that.

Personally when on the tandem I miss the ability to instantly go on the single - like leaping after a truck after thinking about it for half a second. But then we coast down a hill and it seems the tandem never stops rolling. And going 45 mph on a flat road with my fiance pedaling furiously with me is a hard experience to beat.

cdr
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Old 07-04-07, 08:08 AM   #4
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I guess this is the reason my stoker doesn't care to ride a single any longer, other than on the fluid trainer. it's probably been years since she has ridden one on the road now.
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Old 07-04-07, 09:46 AM   #5
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I have gone several years without getting on a single. It was quite an adjustment. The hardest... was standing on hills.. I was all over the road.
It seems to be much harder on the stoker. I just recently started mountain biking on 1/2 bikes again. and My wife is having a hard time.. hmm she now has to steer and shift..and brake again.

I do not think it is anything "wrong" with anyone pedalling tech. it is just the nature of the differences in the two bikes. A tandem with a much longer wheel base.... and mass. vs a that of a half bike.

glenn
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Old 07-04-07, 12:34 PM   #6
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I think what happens is that, because you need much more steering input on a tandem, you get used to leaning into the bars more than you would on a single. When you get back on the single, it translates to a lot of squirrelly steering until you get it back together.

That's the way it works for me anyhow.

Rick
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Old 07-04-07, 12:58 PM   #7
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I'm glad to hear I'm not the only stoker who forgets to pay attention when I switch back to my little bike.
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Old 07-09-07, 04:08 PM   #8
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The only difference is when I switch to my 1/2-bike is that I sometimes 'communicate' with my stoker . . . 'shifting', 'braking' . . .
Our last 4 tandems have all been custom with rather quick steering, so getting on single is not an issue.
If you really want a different experience, ride your tandem solo . . . usually takes me a hundred feet or so to get adjusted to the 'weightlessness' in the back.
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Old 07-10-07, 04:41 PM   #9
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I rode around 30 miles on our Santana Visa without my stoker, a few days ago. Now there's the worst of both worlds. Still, the Santana is such a fine bike that I didn't mind. I was a little slower, of course, but doing this really shows the diff. betw. a finely-made bike weighing 42lbs. and some hunkajunk from a dept. store that weighs the same.

A few years ago I did a 2,300ft. climb up an 8% grade with my Visa solo. Don't ask me why. The only problem I noticed was a tendency for the rear wheel to lock up on hard braking. Otherwise it was OK. Kind of a sneak preview of what my solo bike would feel like if I gained 20 lbs. or so.

--Lee
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Old 07-10-07, 10:19 PM   #10
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We got our tandem in late Oct. It was easily a month later that I rode my 1/2 bike for the first time since we started our tandem rides. I was cruising down the street, just warming up for my ride, and came to a T intersection. OMG! The bike wasn't turning! The curb loomed! Ack!

Then I pulled hard to the right, remembering that I had to steer now.

My face turned red, even though nobody saw me almost crash. Geez.
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Old 07-15-07, 09:00 PM   #11
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The wife and I ride our tandem mostly off road. Afterward, when I jump on the single it feels like I'm riding a rocket powered butterfly on the trails. Threading the tandem through trees, steering through ruts, loose gravel and horse hoof chop is great conditioning. Vive La Differance.
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Old 07-16-07, 03:46 AM   #12
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I noticed the same thing myself - after a tandem ride, I had to go back home on my single (BTW, it's also a singlespeed), and felt surprisingly uneasy the first kilometer. The steering and balance just didn't feel right. In some strange kind of way, it felt like the first time on a tandem...
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Old 07-17-07, 03:38 AM   #13
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We don't ride the tandem every week, but when we do it's long and hard, like six hours with hard hills around the SF bay area, sometimes two days over the weekend if we go to Santa Cruz and back. Then the work week starts and I bike commute on my old, trusty, carbon frame Trek down the mellow Foothill Parkway (Menlo Park to Mountain View)... what I love when I get back on the single is the extra POWER I feel on the rollies, especially the backs of my legs... awesome sensation.
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Old 07-29-07, 02:41 PM   #14
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Yesterday after a nice tandem ride we made several adjustments to my little bike. New saddle, new tires, new shoes.

First off I did one of those stuck in the clipless moments and fell right over, and shortly after, I about plowed into a parked car while looking over my shoulder.

Oh, right! I have to pay attention and do everything!
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