New team update
Hey y'all, checking in with an update of tandem tidbits with me and the Missus.
I checked in some time ago with the news that we had purchased a new Cannondale after several successful trial runs with a rented KHS. Then, immediately after the Cannondale purchase, she went away for a while to care for a relative, then had surgery on her foot that took her out for a few weeks.
Well, we're back now!
Over the past couple weeks we've done some nice rides designed to ramp her up in the mileage department and we've got the hang of the tandem team riding experience. It feels we've logged thousands of tandem miles when in fact we've logged only a few hundred.
Along the way we've replaced the stock 700x23s (?) with beefier Bontragers (700x32 up front and 700x35 hard case in the rear). This is because we experienced several pinch flats earlier on. I put liners in as well. My philosophy: I'll gladly sacrifice rotational weight for fewer flats. And so far it's worked. (BTW, we're about a 370 pound team.) The Missus also likes the look of stability with the wider tires, and the Bontrager's have worked well for me in zillions of commuting miles.
The different riding experience with a tandem has led to a few challenges of the butt soreness variety but we're working through them. Micro-adjustments seem to be all we need. And I've got to do a better job identifying and calling out potholes.
Our most recent ride was a 45-miler from Watsonville to Santa Cruz and back along the route used in the Pacific Coast bike trail. This was Labor Day weekend and it was really great to get out in the cool ocean air, leaving behind the heat wave in San Jose! And the traffic in Capitola and Santa Cruz was awful -- but it was nice to zoom right by it all. Besides, being a member of the 20,000-mile commuting club, it's easy for me to navigate though the traffic.
We've invested in matching stars and stripes jerseys which never fails to solicit fanfare from people as a result. In SC last weekend we attracted the attention of a rowdy and no doubt inebriated group of revelers who gave us an enthusiastic -- very enthusiastic! -- send-off. My wife also has a set of Shimano sandals and she's been clipping in nicely, which is something new for her.
All in all we're having a blast. Tandeming (sp?) is great fun and we're having fun doing something we both truly enjoy. She's getting more miles in with better riding locations than she'd ever do on her own. And I have had no problems adjusting to the captaining role, and I appreciate her navigation assistance.
Sounds like you and the Mrs. are in for a lot of fun and good times in the near future an beyond. I am happy to hear of her recovery from her injury, and that you are adjusting well to the role of captain. I hope you two can enjoy many years of happy miles together.
There is a small learning curve in getting yourselves adjusted to riding TWOgether!
Communication is the key to a successful team (like calling out potholes/bumps, shifts, braking, etc). A bit of compromise/patience is always a good thing too 'til you get it in enough experience as a duo.
As you found out, it pays off to carry tools so that you can make adjustments as needed. Eventually the bike will be all dialed in . . .
The wider tires will also give a bit of extra shock absorption for that heat treated aluminum frame of the C'dale.
We presume stoker is using a shock absorbing seatpost of some type.
We did test riding for Cannondale back in the '80s on one of their prototype tandems for 3 months (that was about 2 years before the bike hit the market, and then as a frameset only). Shock absorbing seatposts had not yet been (re-)invented and stoker did complain about harshness of the ride on the alu twicer. She had been riding thousands of miles on steel tandem frames and without complaints.
Looks like you are becoming a real tandem team! Congratulations to you both!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
pleen, thanks for the kind words. zonatandem, we haven't done the suspension seat post thing yet b/c I was banking on the reason you mentioned -- that the Bontragers dampen the bumps, which they have done. It's just one thing in a long line of continual adjustments. As for communication it's a little odd, really. We're very good at it overall but at times I will invariably lapse into my solo mode ... and plain forget!! Compound this with the the Missus' rather tender rear end and it can sometimes cause some tandem trauma.
But she's having a blast overall. Not a big deal.