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  1. #1
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    Coast to Coast on a Tandem. (SAG supported)

    My wife and I are planning to go coast to coast on our Tandem with a fully supported (SAG) tour.
    I did the America by Bicycle Fast South Tour on a Road Bike in 2006. My wife and I are reasonably fit. Our exercise Limestone and bumpy trail is 46 miles and we usually do it well under 3:00 hrs. (many cross roads)
    I have many questions but to begin:
    Did anyone on this Forum do this kind of Tandem tour?
    Any tips on tires?
    Any tips on straight Vs drop bars?
    Any comments about tour operators? (I know ABB and I know of PAC)

    BTW, I normally hang out in the 50+ BF.

  2. #2
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Never ridden across the US but have done several week-long tours by tandem.
    What kind of tandem do you have?
    Tire choices will depend on tandem's tire size 24" (Bike Friday), 26" (mt. tandem), 700c (road tandem) and what your tandem team weight adds up to.
    Personally we prefer (and use) drop bars front/rear. Reason: more hand position choices/comfort.
    Have never used any tour operators, so no comment. Do know PAC tour gurus, Lon/Sue Haldeman, but that is a FAST tour across the country with 100 mile days and great service.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
    My wife and I are planning to go coast to coast on our Tandem with a fully supported (SAG) tour.
    I did the America by Bicycle Fast South Tour on a Road Bike in 2006. My wife and I are reasonably fit. Our exercise Limestone and bumpy trail is 46 miles and we usually do it well under 3:00 hrs. (many cross roads)
    I have many questions but to begin:
    Did anyone on this Forum do this kind of Tandem tour?
    Any tips on tires?
    Any tips on straight Vs drop bars?
    Any comments about tour operators? (I know ABB and I know of PAC)

    BTW, I normally hang out in the 50+ BF.

    Hi Will,

    As you know, I did the Southern Tier earlier this year. I had way too many problems with flats, and that is the only area of preparation where I feel I fell short. In Biloxi I purchased a set of Bontrager hard case, 28c tires. They held up well all the way to St. Augustine, and now I'm using them on our tandem, and they look like new without a single flat in about 1500 miles. This is the tire Trek puts on their tandems.

    However, I rode with 6 others the last 3 days of my tour, and all 6 rode on Schwalbe Marathon plus tires. Amoung all 6, they had only 2 flats. That's about 1 flat every 9,500 miles. Not too shabby.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hammer Boy View Post
    Hi Will,

    As you know, I did the Southern Tier earlier this year. I had way too many problems with flats, and that is the only area of preparation where I feel I fell short. In Biloxi I purchased a set of Bontrager hard case, 28c tires. They held up well all the way to St. Augustine, and now I'm using them on our tandem, and they look like new without a single flat in about 1500 miles. This is the tire Trek puts on their tandems.

    However, I rode with 6 others the last 3 days of my tour, and all 6 rode on Schwalbe Marathon plus tires. Amoung all 6, they had only 2 flats. That's about 1 flat every 9,500 miles. Not too shabby.
    Hi OHB.
    Thank you for this information. Presently we have Bontrager 38 mm, 80 PSI tires (I got to check the diameter, I seem to think it is 26"). I like to change to 120 PSI and as narrow as reasonable and proven.
    Are the 28c high pressure, 120 PSI? My LBS carries Bontrager and Trek. I could buy over the Internet if there is a big advantage.
    I recently changed from Armadillo's 45 mm, 50 PSI to these 38 mm, 80 PSI. The difference in rolling resistance was significant. I am hoping for another improvement by doing smaller and harder tires.

  5. #5
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Here are a couple of journals from tandem teams doing cross country tours as we read this:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=2260&v=MJ

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=2374&v=Kz

    And here is an index of Tandem teams that are or have done a cross country tour:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/c...octype=journal

    Enjoy the reading! I keep track of their progress everyday. When we take off on our triplet we will post our daily progress/experience here too!
    2012 TransAm Tour journal link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Threeisacharm

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Never ridden across the US but have done several week-long tours by tandem.
    What kind of tandem do you have?
    Tire choices will depend on tandem's tire size 24" (Bike Friday), 26" (mt. tandem), 700c (road tandem) and what your tandem team weight adds up to.
    Personally we prefer (and use) drop bars front/rear. Reason: more hand position choices/comfort.
    Have never used any tour operators, so no comment. Do know PAC tour gurus, Lon/Sue Haldeman, but that is a FAST tour across the country with 100 mile days and great service.
    I have a Aluminum Frame Cannondale. Hydraulic brakes and Shimano XT gear shifter. I have to check the wheel diameter. My memory says 26". We changed from 45 mm, 50 PSI to 38 mm, 80 PSI with very good results. I want to go as narrow as safe and as high pressure as safe.
    There will be 325# total weight on the bike. I have to check the weight of the bike (guessing 50#).
    We will do 80 miles/day and want to do sight seeing. I have done the Fast Tour and that is not the right tour for my wife. We will be looking for a more scenic route.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
    Here are a couple of journals from tandem teams doing cross country tours as we read this:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=2260&v=MJ

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=2374&v=Kz

    And here is an index of Tandem teams that are or have done a cross country tour:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/c...octype=journal

    Enjoy the reading! I keep track of their progress everyday. When we take off on our triplet we will post our daily progress/experience here too!
    Hey Gus.
    Good stuff. I will study these links ASAP.
    Thanks.

  8. #8
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    As, long as your stoker has a suspension seatpost (most C'dales do) for 26" tire width I'd go as narrow as 1 1/4"; for 700cwheels as low as 28mm. BTW: Tire size is printed on the tire . . . 700x?? or 26x?? as is the pressure ratings.
    A narrower/higher presssure tire means less rolling resistance which translates into a bit better/faster /easier result for you pedaling efforts.
    If you are into flat protection, OHBs suggestions are on the money.
    Get in some hill riding practice with stoker as you will not just encounter 'hills', but real mountains and long grades (up and down). While you've done it solo, make sure stoker is up to the task.
    Enjoy the trip!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  9. #9
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
    Hi OHB.
    Thank you for this information. Presently we have Bontrager 38 mm, 80 PSI tires (I got to check the diameter, I seem to think it is 26"). I like to change to 120 PSI and as narrow as reasonable and proven.
    Are the 28c high pressure, 120 PSI? My LBS carries Bontrager and Trek. I could buy over the Internet if there is a big advantage.
    I recently changed from Armadillo's 45 mm, 50 PSI to these 38 mm, 80 PSI. The difference in rolling resistance was significant. I am hoping for another improvement by doing smaller and harder tires.
    These Bontrager 28s are just fine for a tandem, provided the rim is correct. They are 120 PSI tires and roll pretty easily. Another team we ride with often uses the Bontragers and likes them a lot, too. I ran the same tire in a 25c on my single Trek 2100 for over 5,000 miles and finally wore it out. Conti Gator skins seem to be a pretty good tire, too, and I already told you about the Schwalbe Marathons. I think 28-30c is a good width provided you aren't loading things down too much. Sounds like fun--wish I could join you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    As, long as your stoker has a suspension seatpost (most C'dales do) for 26" tire width I'd go as narrow as 1 1/4"; for 700cwheels as low as 28mm. BTW: Tire size is printed on the tire . . . 700x?? or 26x?? as is the pressure ratings.
    A narrower/higher presssure tire means less rolling resistance which translates into a bit better/faster /easier result for you pedaling efforts.
    If you are into flat protection, OHBs suggestions are on the money.
    Get in some hill riding practice with stoker as you will not just encounter 'hills', but real mountains and long grades (up and down). While you've done it solo, make sure stoker is up to the task.
    Enjoy the trip!
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
    OK, I did some checking.
    The stoker has a suspension seatpost.
    The wheels are 26". The front wheel says "Weinmann ZAC 26 x 1.75 Alloy Heat treated, machined sidewall". My LBS decided to put a Bontrager "Select" Invert 26 x 1.5 tire good for 85 PSI on both wheels. The Rear wheel is a "Rhyno Lite by Sun wheels". Lots of spokes!

    I do not know if these wheels can do 120 PSI 28 mm. Do you guys know? I can ask my LBS I suppose.

    I have had good luck with Continentals and will consider that if they do not bust the wheel.

    I know about the mountains. I went up and down Mingus and Flagstaff and a few more like that. My stoker will do what she can do and I have to do the rest. That is how we have been married for 45 years.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hammer Boy View Post
    These Bontrager 28s are just fine for a tandem, provided the rim is correct. They are 120 PSI tires and roll pretty easily. Another team we ride with often uses the Bontragers and likes them a lot, too. I ran the same tire in a 25c on my single Trek 2100 for over 5,000 miles and finally wore it out. Conti Gator skins seem to be a pretty good tire, too, and I already told you about the Schwalbe Marathons. I think 28-30c is a good width provided you aren't loading things down too much. Sounds like fun--wish I could join you.
    Yeah, I do not know if the rim is suitable for 120 PSI and 28 mm. We will let the LBS decide. Purchase new wheels if I have to.
    I think I will also get drop bars as suggested.
    Other than that we are ready to go. We will have a year to get in best shape possible. I am optimistic at this point but keeping our health is never a sure thing as we all know.

  12. #12
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
    ...Other than that we are ready to go. We will have a year to get in best shape possible. I am optimistic at this point but keeping our health is never a sure thing as we all know.
    Will, what route are you planning and from which direction?

    If things go differently in the next year we may be starting our journey. We're planning Yorktown, VA to Florence, OR. We figure cooler and less muggy on the east coast in May and Mackenzie Pass being open in August when we approach it (barring any forest fires up there) When we start it will be mid May. Looks like we may be sagged as well. Question is: what year?
    Last edited by Gus Riley; 07-25-07 at 09:34 PM.
    2012 TransAm Tour journal link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Threeisacharm

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
    Will, what route are you planning and from which direction?

    If things go differently in the next year we may be starting our journey. We're planning Yorktown, VA to Florence, OR. We figure cooler and less muggy on the east coast in May and Mackenzie Pass being open in August when we approach it (barring any forest fires up there) When we start it will be mid May. Looks like we may be sagged as well. Question is: what year?
    Gus,
    We want to go 2008. That is sure.
    I am familiar with America By Bicycle Tour which has a tour at a leisurly 80 miles/day which my wife will tolerate.
    I can be talked into other tours like the one you mention but I am lacking knowledge. I am listening to any suggestions with an open mind.

    BTW, my responses are slow due to computer problems. Hope that will be resolved soon.

  14. #14
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will dehne View Post
    Gus,
    We want to go 2008. That is sure.
    I am familiar with America By Bicycle Tour which has a tour at a leisurly 80 miles/day which my wife will tolerate.
    I can be talked into other tours like the one you mention but I am lacking knowledge. I am listening to any suggestions with an open mind.

    BTW, my responses are slow due to computer problems. Hope that will be resolved soon.
    Have a great ride in 2008. I've read a lot concerning the organized type ride you are going to do and they are a nice way to go for many riders. As a single, I know "America by Bicycle" would be great for me! But as a family it doesn't fit us for such a long ride. We have found that sometimes these group type rides can become a grind. We want more flexibility in our x-country ride. If the weather is bad we want to make a decision to either press on or take an unscheduled day off. If we want to go shorter in a day we prefer that option over having to be from spot to spot everyday. As a family we have found that organized rides sometimes feel like a forced march. We still do them but only the 7-day flavors.

    Our ride will most likely be sagged with our van and a non-riding family member driving. If that falls through we are prepared to go self supported.
    2012 TransAm Tour journal link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Threeisacharm

    Naked Carbon Weave Aegis Aro Svelte, Purpleen Cannondale RT3000 Tandem, Orange Santana Triplet, Surly Long Haul Trucker

    So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides, 4th Century B.C.E.



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  15. #15
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have gone up Mingus Mountain on tandem in the Answer to the Challenge ride with temps at near 100.
    The descent into Prescott was a lot nicer!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Have gone up Mingus Mountain on tandem in the Answer to the Challenge ride with temps at near 100.
    The descent into Prescott was a lot nicer!
    There is no question in my mind that doing Mingus with a Tandem is work. I am counting on our fitness level. We seem to be very strong compared to others. That does not mean that I am not concerned.

    We are doing some training rides on Root River in MN. There is a 8-10% grade to Harmony from Preston. It is no Mingus but it will have to do. BTW, we do that one in the middle ring so that means we have the small ring reserved for Mingus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
    Have a great ride in 2008. I've read a lot concerning the organized type ride you are going to do and they are a nice way to go for many riders. As a single, I know "America by Bicycle" would be great for me! But as a family it doesn't fit us for such a long ride. We have found that sometimes these group type rides can become a grind. We want more flexibility in our x-country ride. If the weather is bad we want to make a decision to either press on or take an unscheduled day off. If we want to go shorter in a day we prefer that option over having to be from spot to spot everyday. As a family we have found that organized rides sometimes feel like a forced march. We still do them but only the 7-day flavors.

    Our ride will most likely be sagged with our van and a non-riding family member driving. If that falls through we are prepared to go self supported.
    I appreciate your post. It shows that we all are different with different priorities. For the benefit of other readers here is why I am looking forward to the AbB type tour.
    I have been a General Manager most of my life. As such I have to plan constantly and be on the lookout for emergencies. The tour is highly regimented by a former Air Force Guy. Believe me that shows. It is his way or nothing. But for me that is a real vacation. Follow orders and do not think.
    Imagine someone is willing to pay for that? BTW, I was never in any armed force, neither here nor in Germany and have no desire to do that. But such a bike trip was very therapeutic.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Old Hammer Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
    Have a great ride in 2008. I've read a lot concerning the organized type ride you are going to do and they are a nice way to go for many riders. As a single, I know "America by Bicycle" would be great for me! But as a family it doesn't fit us for such a long ride. We have found that sometimes these group type rides can become a grind. We want more flexibility in our x-country ride. If the weather is bad we want to make a decision to either press on or take an unscheduled day off. If we want to go shorter in a day we prefer that option over having to be from spot to spot everyday. As a family we have found that organized rides sometimes feel like a forced march. We still do them but only the 7-day flavors.

    Our ride will most likely be sagged with our van and a non-riding family member driving. If that falls through we are prepared to go self supported.
    Like Will indicated, each to their own. For me, I wouldn't even want a SAG. I like just getting out there alone, totally at my own pace, not having to account to anyone. I like the solitude and the complete control. But I will admit, when it's all over, there's no place like home, and no one like my wife.

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