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Thread: Tandem Rallies

  1. #1
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Tandem Rallies

    So, who here HASN'T attended a Tandem Rally?

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    We've yet to log our first "tandem" rally. We've done club rides and regular tours with other groups of tandems but, not a Rally put together for tandems. We wanted to make the SWTR in Tulsa but, stuff came up.

    I hear HATS are hosting the SWTR'04. I dont know if this is true but, if it is I would assume it's in Texas and would think we'll be able to make it. Our club DATES is hosting the '05 SWTR so looks like we'll be able to make two in a row.

    Mark, how many "tandem" tours has team Livingood logged?

  3. #3
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by brad
    Mark, how many "tandem" tours has team Livingood logged?
    Tours or rallies?

    We've only gone on two"official" tandem tours:
    - A Santana Tandem Tour/Rally at Asheville, NC in May '98.

    - A two-week California Coast (San Francisco - San Diego) tour in '02. http://home.att.net/~rally_central/trips/catrip.html

    We've been booked on several European tandem tours and had hoped to do 3 weeks in New Zealand this coming Dec-Jan, but had to cancel due to conflicts. We'll try for Europe again in '04.

    On the Rally front...

    ATW 98, Fairhope, AL
    STR 98, Selma, AL
    ATW 99, Auburn, AL
    GTR 99, Madison, GA
    ATW 00, Auburn, AL
    GTR 00, Madison, GA
    STR 00, Callaway Gardens, GA
    ATW 01, Auburn, AL
    GTR 01, Athens, GA
    ETR 01, Frederick, MD
    STR 01, Clemson, SC
    NCTW 01, Asheville, NC (Off-Road Tandem Weekend)
    ATW 02, Auburn, AL
    GTR 02, Athens, GA
    MATES 02, Winchester, VA
    STR 02, Diamondhead, MS
    ATW 03, Trussville, AL
    GTR 03, Statesboro, GA
    TTR 03, Knoxville, TN
    MTR 03, Dayton, OH (This Labor Day)
    STR 03, Tallahassee, FL (This Oct/Nov)

    We also do several tandem "weekends" with our friends in and around the Southeast, heading up to the mountains of Georgia or North Carolina for two or three days of mountain road riding and spend the night at a B&B or Inn.

    Regards,
    Mark
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 09:48 PM.

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    We're signed up for our first organized tandem event this September, a no-frills weekend. Neither my wife or I are real social creatures so it will be interesting to see how we like it. I am the rider of the family, my wife is only going to humor me. Right now she needs to do some training or it will be an ordeal.

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    For the newbie here.... what's a tandem rally?
    - d.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    An event where tandem enthusiasts can gather for 2 - 4 days of group rides and social activities held all year long at various locations throughout the world. If you follow motorcyle activities, they are for tandem enthusiasts what Sturgis is for Harley owners and the Honda Hoot is for Honda owners.

    Here is a link to our calendar with all the major rally dates and locations. If you click on the hyperlinks for each rally you'll be able to read a description of the planned event.
    http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/RallyInfo.html

    Here's a notional description of what to expect at a rally that I wrote for someone here in Atlanta....

    For events like the smaller Fri-Sun rallies held here in the Southeast here's how it works:

    The organizers will identify a host hotel(s) where they've negotiated a "special rate" for a block of rooms. The hotel will usually serve as "rally central" where a hospitality suite will be located and just about all the hotels serve breakfast these days so that's covered by your lodging fee. People who will be attending the rally are on their own to make their reservations with the hotel. You just call up the hotel, tell they you are with the ________ Rally and secure your room with a credit card #. Mark's tip: Always call and make reservations as soon as you think you might want to attend an event so that you are assured of a room and have your best bet at getting the type of room you want, e.g., non-smoking king on the first floor (that way you can roll your tandem into the room if you so choose). If you decide not to attend later on, just cancel the reservation anytime before the event.

    Now let's talk about the event & registration fees. For our regional rallies the registration fees for GTR are around $125. Included in your registration fees are:

    - Two commemorative T-shirts
    - Two pair of cycling socks or some other premium type of give away
    - A bag containing the route maps/cue sheets for all three days of riding and often times brochures describing local sights and attractions.
    - An ice-cream or dessert social on Friday evening, often times at an interesting locale (e.g., museum, wildlife sanctuary) or in the hospitality suite of the host hotel.
    - A catered lunch buffet on Saturday out on the ride route in a pavilion, park or some other interesting location that offers overhead protection from the weather (organizers can't control the weather).
    - A sit-down banquet on Saturday night, often times with give aways.

    Here's how all this plays out.

    Thursday/Friday:

    - Folks travelling from far away usually arrive on Thursday nights.
    - Locals with the day off will arrive on Friday morning.
    - Registration will open at 9:00am.
    - The first Friday group ride (~30mi) will go-off around 10:00am for the folks who spent the night or who arrived early on Friday.
    - Lunch on Friday is own your own but often times the organizers will suggest good places to meet and eat with other rally goers.
    - The second Friday group ride will go off at 2:00pm for those who arrive before noon, folks who rode in the AM and who want to do a "double".
    - Afternoons are spent getting settled-in, meeting old friends and deciding who's going where with who for dinner.
    - Dinner on your own.
    - Dessert or Ice cream social where all the folks have an opportunity to meet each other and to socialize.

    Saturday

    - Breakfast in the hotel lobby.
    - Lots of free snacks to stuff in your jersey pockets for the ride.
    - Group ride meeting at 9:00am: Riders have their choice of route length/difficulty as the organizers will usually have short (20mi) medium (35mi) and long (45mi) ride options for the morning rides to the lunch stop with similar options for the afternoon rides that allow you to construct anything from a 30mi to 80mi day of riding.
    - Stores will be located along most routes where riders can take bathroom breaks and buy beverages or snacks to hold them over to and from lunch.
    - Lunch will be at a park and folks will arrive gradually depending on how fast they rode which route such that there's usually not a log-jam. GTRs lunches are always very healthy and offer a wide array of sandwich/croissants, cold salads, fruits, juices/water/gatorade (no soda) and often times hot soup.
    - Again, store stops available along the ride back.
    - Afternoons are spent fixing broken bikes, socializing and occasionally there will be a "special event" such as a swap meet. Mostly, folks try to recover from their ride, hang out in the hospitality suite where all kinds of soft drinks & beverages are available (BYOB) along with snack items.
    - Cocktails are on your own at the dinner venue -- always a great location and always a great buffet that offers folks a variety of food items.
    - The evening is closed out back at the hospitality suite or hotel lobbies with more social time. Although, if there's a pub or nightclub around some of the more energetic folks will make a night of it.

    Sunday
    - Breakfast in the hotel lobby.
    - Lots of free snacks to stuff in your jersey pockets for the ride.
    - Group ride meeting at 9:00am: Usually two different ride lengths designed to allow riders of all abilities to get in one last ride at a comfortable speed but still make it back in time for a late check-out.
    - Lunch is on your own but is usually where folks once again break off with collections of friends for one last "gathering" before heading home.



    The Southern Tandem Rally organizers of late have been incorporating cycling jerseys (not optional either) and that has driven the registration fees up towards $220 ($50/ea for the jerseys). For folks who don't have a closet full of jerseys or jerseys that match, they seem to get a kick out of them. Anyway, aside from the cost difference for the cycling jerseys, everything else follows a similar pattern. At the REALLY BIG rallies -- Northwest and Midwest where 400 - 700 teams (800 - 1500 people) show up -- the registration costs are usually ala carte, i.e., you can pay as little as $70 for the basics (maps, goodies, Friday social & lunch on Saturday) or opt to pay for T-shirts, jerseys, the banquet dinner, etc... to fit your budget and needs. These really large rallies tend to draw families so the ala carte approach works a lot better. There are occasionally rallies where the whole thing -- including lodging -- is packaged into the event cost. MATES & Eastern Tandem Rally do this quite often as they hold their events during the summer and use private colleges where students are out on summer break as home base for their events, giving them access to dorm rooms and the college cafeterias.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 09:48 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member RdRunner's Avatar
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    We haven't been to a rally yet, don't even own a tandem yet; but we are looking. Hope to be in Birmingham, AL next saturday to test ride some models for our first tandem. We are friends with one of the host couples for the STR in Tallahassee and have ridden on their tandem once. I would like for us to have a tandem in time to get into the STR, but don't think that will happen since registration closes at the end of this month. So we will look around for the first available rally after we finally get the bike. We live in South Alabama and will have to find one fairly close because it is difficult for us to find time for travel.
    I see where Mark attended a rally in Fairhope, AL. I don't think anyone around here rides tandems so I was surprised to see that they had hosted a rally in years past. Maybe we can generate some interest in the tandems around this area again.
    We are looking forward to the experiences.
    My stoker ain't no slacker

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    WHOA! That sounds like too much fun! Thanks for the link.

    We've order our tandem. It should arrive mid-September. We're worse than a couple of kids at Christmas. The waiting is awful! We had a blast on our test rides and truly can't wait to start riding. Our single bikes just aren't as much fun anymore.
    - d.

  9. #9
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RdRunner
    I see where Mark attended a rally in Fairhope, AL. I don't think anyone around here rides tandems so I was surprised to see that they had hosted a rally in years past.
    When you pay your visit to Jack & Susan at Tandems Limited ask them if the couple who hosted the Alabama Tandem Weekend in Fairhope are still there and still tandeming. At the time of the rally they were getting pretty serious about their sailboat and may have opted out of the tandem thing shortly after the rally. We really enjoyed the weekend in Fairhope; a very neat place.

    As for STR, you could always register for the event and use that as the forcing function/motivation to get yourselves a tandem!!

  10. #10
    Senior Member RdRunner's Avatar
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    As for STR, you could always register for the event and use that as the forcing function/motivation to get yourselves a tandem!!
    But that might put us in a hurry to make a decision instead of being patient to be sure we get just the right bike for us, don't you think? I think we are probably going to have to shop around for a good used tandem in order to be able to afford the level of components that I want on the bike, so the purchase may not be as simple as going into the store and ordering what we want.

    We will check with Jack and Susan on the status of the tandem couple from Fairhope.

    I have been enjoying the posts on this site and have learned a great deal already. I feel as though I already know some of the regular posters on here. Thanks for the help you guys put on everyday.

    Watson

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RdRunner
    But that might put us in a hurry to make a decision instead of being patient to be sure we get just the right bike for us, don't you think?
    Just remember, your first tandem is just that... your first tandem. The most important things are a proper fit, a quality frame and reliable components -- the things that will let you start riding sooner, rather than later, so you can begin to figure out if tandeming is "your thing" before you dump a wad of cash into a bike. If you have any qualms about how much you'll enjoy tandeming, your suggested approach of going with a previously owned tandem is a good one and one that I strongly endorse. Rather than reposting my spiel on why used tandems are good starting points for many first time tandem teams, here is a link to my tips for first time tandem buyers: http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/u...l#anchor948986

    Jack & Susan will most certainly have a different take and -- unfortunately -- their approach works well too. We paid a visit to Tandems Limited one fine Saturday in August fully intending to look & test ride but not buy. Heck, I even made sure we didn't take my truck so we wouldn't be tempted to haul a new bike home. Well, son-of-a-***, we arrived at 8:30am (yeah, I forgot about the time difference and we were just a bit early) and spent all day with the Goertz's, riding everything in the shop -- including a tandem that they had to assemble while we were at lunch. We ended up buying the first tandem that we test rode, thus demonstrating how well Jack can read his "potential" customers. We were so "jazzed" by our one-day tandem experience that I didn't even come out of my consumer fog when I paid the obscene 9% Alabama sales tax on our brand-new, Royal Deep Plum Santana Arriva with Sachs Ergo shifting and XTR components just so we could take it home and start riding the very next day. Yes, my vehicle strategy failed as well - you could get a tandem inside a 4Runner. On the bright side, I don't think I ever regretted the purchase of that tandem and it was really hard to part with it once we had our first "dream tandem". However, we were able to find it a nice home in El Paso, TX, and sold it for about 80% of what we had invested in it; not too bad considering we'd logged about 4k mi in the 15 months since we'd brought it home.

    That was three road tandems and three off-road tandems ago and what we learned with the first tandem was where to find other tandem folks whom we could learn from... at tandem rallies. That's where you can really see what's possible with regard to tandems, hear first hand what folks like and why they like it, etc... It's also where you can see what all the different brands really look like and get great ideas on paint schemes, options and gadgets.

    Well, enough of all that. Not sure which of the STR organizers you are friends with but since we have spent many wonderful miles riding and visiting with Al & Heidi as well as Greg & Angela we'll ask you to say "Hi" since we're covered on both fronts. Oh yeah, say Hi to Jack & Susan for us as well and tell them we'll come by and visit at their MTR vendor booth on Friday.
    Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 09:49 PM.

  12. #12
    Cat 6 Steve Katzman's Avatar
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    Well, we haven't attended any formal tandem rallies yet, although we took part in a two-day eight team mini-rally based out of one tandem couple friend's house. We enjoyed it immensely. In fact that weekend was the decisive event that convinced us to buy our first tandem. Up to that point we were borrowing one from another friend from our bike club, the Florida Freewheelers.

    We are registered for the Southern Tandem Rally in Oct/Nov in Tallahassee and another smaller one in Lake Wales, FL. a few weeks earlier. We will be attending the Tour of Sebring bike festival over the Labor Day weekend in Sebring, FL, as we have for the last several years. This is primarily attended by single bikes, but there are usually a few tandems in attendance.

    We prefer riding our tandem with other tandems although we don't limit our riding exclusively to such. We still enjoy riding with our club, but ride with different people than we typically ride with when on our singles, since we now ride faster than my wife and slower than I ride on our singles. In short we're enjoying the new aspect of cycling that the tandem has opened up to us, after being avid roadies for the better part of the last decade.
    Last edited by Steve Katzman; 08-19-03 at 01:42 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member RdRunner's Avatar
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    Well, it is official now. We will be attending the Southern Tandem Rally in Oct. We got our tandem Saturday in Birmingham.
    We ended up with a Co-Motion Speedster that we managed to stuff into the trunk of our Chrysler Concorde.
    It wasn't the sexiest bike on the floor, but I think it is a good one to try for starters. We took it out for our first real ride shortly after getting back home Sunday and everything went very well. Not a cross word between us! One time I asked her to ease off a little because she was pushing the pedals too fast!
    Going to post a pic on the "What do you ride thread" now.
    Hope to meet some of you at the STR!
    Watson

  14. #14
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Excellent. The Speedster is a great tandem; great company, solid design, light, and handles great expecially carving turns at speed.

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