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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 07-23-07, 10:37 PM   #1
danelo
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bottle etiquette?

I've been reading/learning a lot here since our we bought our tandem 2 years ago and I appreciate everyone's point of view, but I haven't come across any posts about "bottle etiquette" on a tandem.

Typically, on rides where we don't use camel-baks, I call to my stoker wife "Drink!" - this way she knows why the bike might stray a bit while I reach down to grab a water bottle. Obviously, she calls out her "drinks" also so I know why things might get squirrelly back there. As I learned here, communication is key on a tandem!

However, this past weekend we were on a longer (non camel-bak) ride, and I was out of fluids, but she had plenty of water back there, so I'd call out a drink and she would hand up one of her bottles to me and I'd hand it back when I'm done.

In doing so, I noticed the bike doesn't wiggle much at all when I reach back to take the bottle from her, and in the entire procedure, we don't lose nearly as much speed when captain's drinks are taken this way compared to when I reach down to get, drink, and reach down to replace. Three rides later, all water now comes from the stoker. When she has an empty bottle, then, and only then, do I reach down to get a bottle. I give her the fresh one and I take the empty bottle and put it in one of my cages.

So, if you are a tandem team with your spouse/significant other, do you share water bottles? Or would you view this bottle sharing thing as me being a lazy captain who won't get his own water?

This assumes captain and stoker have similar drink preferences - i.e. water, flavored energy drink, etc.

Just curious how odd/similar our team's rides are compared to others

D
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Old 07-23-07, 10:48 PM   #2
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What ever works well for your team is the right way... and if you decide later on that another way works even better, then that becomes the right way.

However, since you're curious...

We carry 3 or four water bottles: one up front (that's all there's room for) and three in back. I own the bottle on my down tube and the first one on the internal just behind my seat tube which is actually within reach.

I sometimes hand my empty back to my wife and then snatch the full one from behind, and will occasionally just hold the empty between my teeth while extracting the full bottle from behind, putting the full one in my front cage. I then put the empty in the back cage or will hand it to Debbie who stows it for me.

If we only have three bottles and have used up two, she'll pass what is now a shared bottle up to me for a swig and then I pass it back.

We gave up calling out shifts, braking, drinking, etc... many years ago as we now have something of an intiutive feel for what each other are doing on the tandem, e.g., I know when she reaches down for a bottle, but it's just the slightest movement (which is appropo since she's just a slight person).

Our Camelbaks are reserved for the off-road tandem which doesn't even have water bottle cages.

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Old 07-24-07, 06:58 AM   #3
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When we first began tandeming I knew Capt. C was preoccupied with all that captaining entails, and he was learning, too. That left me to be in charge of hydration. Thus we practice your new-found bottle etiquette.

As TG said, whatever works for your team is the right way. This works for us; glad you found what works for you, too.
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Old 07-24-07, 07:06 AM   #4
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What works for you. We are obviously much less "hardened". Our water policy is, "Stopping to get a drink." or "Could you stop so we can get a drink?"

What works for you, as long as you don't mind sharing captain/stoker cooties
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Old 07-24-07, 07:39 AM   #5
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My stokers are mainly kids. Their reach prevented them from using any of our cages. I recently bought camelbak for other activities (never had one before). After liking how it worked, I bought a kiddie camelbak for each of them. It has worked great. We'll get the real test on our first overnighter in a couple weeks. Otherwise, it's plenty stops, which works too.
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Old 07-24-07, 08:15 AM   #6
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We find it easier in the long run for the captain to initiate the drink and hand the bottle back than for the stoker to reach for it. We tend to drink from my front bottle exclusively for a couple of reasons....

1) I perspire a lot more than she does, so it's me who is more conscious of the need to drink even when you're not thirsty. If I leave it up to her, she won't drink enough.

2) I can get the bottle out without coasting. She cannot without a great risk of dropping it. (we know that from experience....and more than once!)

When it's time to change, I'll usually hold the empty with my teeth or slip it into our open handlebar bag until the full bottle is secure then either hand it back or stow it in my lower cage.
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Old 07-24-07, 08:29 AM   #7
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We have 4 bottles on our Co-Pilot - 2 in front & 2 in back. The couplers limit where the bottle cages can be mounted. The frame will allow only a small bottle in the front-top cage. The other 3 can hold larger bottles.

I drink more than my stoker. Also, the small bottle up front is harder to extract from it's cage. So, often when my big bottle up front runs out, we do an empty/full bottle swap. I hold the empty bottle in my teeth, my stoker hands me a full bottle from the rear, I install this in the empty cage & hand her the empty from the front.

We very seldom announce activities other than "bump" or "coast". Shifting positions, drinking, standing, etc. just happen whenever they need to.
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Old 07-24-07, 08:47 AM   #8
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We drink as necessary and when the bottle is empty, throw it to the crowd at the side of the road. We get new bottles from the team chase car.
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Old 07-24-07, 10:39 AM   #9
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Every team develops their own drinking/bottle placement preferences.
We do not like a load on our back, so we do not use camelbacks.
Both pilot and stoker use a handlebar mounted bottle with a plastic drinking tube in it, so there is no need to remove bottle from cage. Pilot uses a non-flexible tube and just bends down head and sips when needed. Stoker has a longer, but flexible, tube that she utilizes. Depending on length of ride we carry 3 to 5 water bottles.
The tubing is available at home improvement/pet stores. 'Surgically' remove the pop up top of water bottle cap and use appropriate sized subing so it fits snug. Minoura sells a bottle cage adaptor for handlebars.
On tandem, pilot uses Minoura handlebar adaptor; stoker has a custom built setup that is actually part of her handlebar clamp.
Photo #1 show double handlebar bottle setup on Rudy's single. Photo #2 you can see the bottles setup for pilot and stoker. No reaching/handing bottles back and forth. When we run our bottle dry, it's usually time for a break anyway and we refill our bottles from the spare ones we carry, and we're on the way. Works for us!
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Old 07-24-07, 11:20 AM   #10
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Both pilot and stoker use a handlebar mounted bottle with a plastic drinking tube in it, so there is no need to remove bottle from cage. Pilot uses a non-flexible tube and just bends down head and sips when needed. Stoker has a longer, but flexible, tube that she utilizes.
Nice jerseys and socks. And nice trophy wall! Are those toe straps on the captain's pedals? And what kind of bars does the captain have? Those look interesting, what we can see of them.
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Old 07-25-07, 04:50 PM   #11
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This time of year we usually carry five 24 oz. bottles and refill a couple at the rest stop. We'll consume a total of six, and occasionally seven, on a forty mile ride.

The Stoker/ Navigator/ Bartender serves the drinks.
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Old 07-25-07, 08:52 PM   #12
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Wow! Double-decker bottles! I'd never have thought of that. What a great idea!

I've spent time in FL in the summer, in Ft. Lauderdale and Jupiter. Any outdoor exercise we did that was out of the ocean started about 6 a.m. Brutal! Good on you for not letting it slow you down!
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Old 07-27-07, 09:08 AM   #13
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This time of year we usually carry five 24 oz. bottles and refill a couple at the rest stop. We'll consume a total of six, and occasionally seven, on a forty mile ride.

The Stoker/ Navigator/ Bartender serves the drinks.
How did you set up the double-decker bottles? I'd like to try that.
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Old 07-27-07, 09:58 AM   #14
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We prefer to carry as few bottles as possible. For supported rides we only carry two. For non-supported rides we usually carry four. The camel backs only get used when doing longer rides in areas without services. The camel backs are great for drinking without missiing a step or while steep climbing on the triple but they are heavy, hot, and get in the way of my stoker when she stands by herself.
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Old 07-30-07, 04:10 PM   #15
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How did you set up the double-decker bottles? I'd like to try that.

I bought the double cages on a site that caters to tri-atheletes. They don't carry them any more and I haven't been able to find any one else that has them. They were only about $20 bucks per set. The custom paint to match the frame was free, but you've got to know someone who sprays auto paint and owes you a favor.

Tandems Ltd. has an "L" bracket that is intended to mount two bottles perpendicular to the cage mount. You can bolt two "L's" together to make a "U" to mount them parallel to the mount. I think the "L" brackets are about $14 each, cages are sold separately.

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Old 07-30-07, 08:31 PM   #16
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Mel at Tandems East also sells the 'L' bracket that allows you to mount to bottles straight up . . . however you need enough room in the frame triangle to be able to mount bottles straight up and that's not always the case on smaller framesets.
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Old 08-02-07, 04:14 PM   #17
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We've handed bottles back and forth in some situations. It works pretty well. While we are talking about bottles--- our Co-Motion Speedster is not the best for carrying bottles. The captain's upper bottle is a tight fit even for a 24 oz using a carbon cage (easier in/out). My wife, the stoker, who is pretty short can just barely reach the stoker top bottle, so sometimes I just hand her my bottle.
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Old 08-02-07, 05:52 PM   #18
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See our thumbnails for solutions for stoker/pilot reaching for bottles.
Handlebar/stem bottle mounts with plastic tube for drinking . . . stoker Kay is just under 4'11", works for her.
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Old 08-02-07, 05:55 PM   #19
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We've handed bottles back and forth in some situations. It works pretty well. While we are talking about bottles--- our Co-Motion Speedster is not the best for carrying bottles. The captain's upper bottle is a tight fit even for a 24 oz using a carbon cage (easier in/out). My wife, the stoker, who is pretty short can just barely reach the stoker top bottle, so sometimes I just hand her my bottle.

Another reason for the "double decker" solution. The bottles on the upper deck are much more accessible, within closer reach.

My upper bottle is a tight fit too and the lower cage is a long reach that I now use to carry a tool case.

I find it much easier / safer with her passing the bottle. I call "drink", and when she's got it ready she taps it against my hip, when I reach back she fits it into my hand like a relay team passes a baton.

We drink a combination of sports drinks and water, and usually have all of the right drinks in the right positions at the ride start and after every rest stop, if she needs to attend to re-arranging more than a bottle or two on the road, she lets me know so we can take a rolling break for 5-10 seconds while she sorts it all out.

I'm sure lots of folks have lots of different solutions that work for them, we've tried a few others and this is the one that works best for us.
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Old 09-01-07, 08:29 PM   #20
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Again, all personal preference. Actually after about 2 months we stopped calling everything except coasting, standing and big bumps. However it can be a little un-nerving sometimes when my lovely stoker decides to adjust herself on the saddle without warning (we just use the coasting call usually) and gives the bike a wobble.

My wife prefers a camelback, which is great for me, because it leaves 3 1/2 bottles for me on longer rides (the other "1/2 bottle" is usually one that is diluted electrolyte that we share for washing down snacks). Otherwise when I run out up front, I find it easiest just to pass the empty back and she sends forwards a replacement.

We have found a great handlebar bag that straps nicely under the stokers handlebar (it is meant to be straped to the top of a front handlebar - but we have it "upside down" under the stokers). This works as a great little "picnic basket" without getting in the way and it is her resposibility to dish out the grub
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Old 09-02-07, 09:06 AM   #21
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Top quality Camelbacks all the time, no water bottle cages at all on our tandem or my single bike for that fact. We don't care for the bottle cages or the looks of them on our tandem. The frame is way more clean looking without the cages, I know they serve a purpose for those that use them. We have small slim line Camelbacks for shorter rides and the slim line larger ones for longer rides. For us the Camelbacks just beat the heck out of trying to reach for water bottles also with a little ice added to the Camelbacks the water stays cool for a long time. No calling out for taking a drink, no reaching or swerving while reaching for a bottle, for us the Camelbacks are the way to go.

Don't get me wrong, water bottles are great and I used them for a long time. Some teams do not like the wheight of a Camelback on there back, but for us we do not mind. It comes down to what works best for each tandem team.


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Old 09-03-07, 01:08 PM   #22
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Top quality Camelbacks all the time, no water bottle cages at all on our tandem or my single bike for that fact. We don't care for the bottle cages or the looks of them on our tandem. The frame is way more clean looking without the cages, I know they serve a purpose for those that use them. We have small slim line Camelbacks for shorter rides and the slim line larger ones for longer rides. For us the Camelbacks just beat the heck out of trying to reach for water bottles also with a little ice added to the Camelbacks the water stays cool for a long time. No calling out for taking a drink, no reaching or swerving while reaching for a bottle, for us the Camelbacks are the way to go.

Don't get me wrong, water bottles are great and I used them for a long time. Some teams do not like the wheight of a Camelback on there back, but for us we do not mind. It comes down to what works best for each tandem team.


Take Care,
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We got the camelbacks just so we would not lose control or slow down when wanting a drink. We still carry water bottles but Have found a good solution for long and short rides. We use the replacement 1.5 litre bladders and these are short and squarish. For a short ride we only fit one but for a long ride- we fit one on top of the other and have the two tubes available so we can have Energy drink in one and G&T -or whatever you want in the other.
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