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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 10-08-07, 11:06 AM   #1
axelfox
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Opinions on Columbia Tandems?

Hi:

I've found several Columbia Tandems on my local CL for sale. I was wondering what the general opinions on this company's bikes, as I would like to get one.

TIA.

Dan
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Old 10-08-07, 05:29 PM   #2
zonatandem
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There are a couple kinds of Columbia tandems . . .
The vintage Columbia single speeds; if in decent shape, good for cruising the 'hood and local bike paths and looking very cool and retro. But not intended for serious riding/tours.
Then Barcroft builds a Columbia recumbent tandem . . . great for low-to-the-ground 'bent cycling, even on long distances.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:16 PM   #3
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There are a couple kinds of Columbia tandems . . .
The vintage Columbia single speeds; if in decent shape, good for cruising the 'hood and local bike paths and looking very cool and retro. But not intended for serious riding/tours.
Then Barcroft builds a Columbia recumbent tandem . . . great for low-to-the-ground 'bent cycling, even on long distances.
I think the locals are vintage, and I don't intend to go touring with them. Thanks.
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Old 10-09-07, 03:38 PM   #4
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They were on par with Schwinn's Town & Country models in terms of quality, and a bit less expensive. Like any bike from the 40's - 70's, condition and having the original parts is what drives the value. If you're not collecting, then it's basically a question of serviceability.

For nostalga seekers, here's a link to a black and white movie in Pod cast format from the National Assn. of Manufacterer's archives that takes you through the Columbia bicycle factory during the 1950's, where you can see how bicycles were made "back in the day".
http://www.nam.org/hidden/podcast/bike.mp4
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Old 10-10-07, 11:26 AM   #5
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One Man's View On Nostalgia

Yesterday I took out the old Schwinn I tore down and built back up for a ride around the block. I'm not riding this thing anymore I said, finally.

My wife and I rode the Elroy Sparta trail on a rented Columbia tandem (we more or less found it neglected in a barn and asked if we could take it out for the day).

We had fun because it was a beautiful day and we were on vacation and it was a novelty. It was a noisy bucket of bolts and by mile 20 we were singing the blues. Through the support of a locally brewed beer, we managed 40 miles. The memory is great, but making the memory, not so.

So you buy one and you bring it home and ride it a few times and slowly you realize it's more a chore than a pleasure: it requires so much effort to get it going. Then you're late for work one day and while bustling to get to the car while trying to dodge the tandem you smack your shin on the pedal. At that instant, well, the second instant, the first instant you curse your maker; at the second instant, that Columbia tandem is forever an unwieldy piece of junk to you.

It's a fun idea but the reality requires more work while producing little pleasure. The thing is so heavy you won't put it on the car and take it to the bike path (you'll spend more for a roof rack than the bike itself). You don't want to spend too much, just something to take the kids/grandkids out for a ride; after one trip of you doing all the work and you'll opt for a walk next time.

Leave the old tandem in the back of the barn. Instead, look for something new, a cruiser-style with alloy frame and wheels, something crisp and light. Yes, it's going to cost more but at least you'll ride it. The return on the money spent for that Columbia will be difficult to recoup.

Nostalgia is great until faced with a headwind, a hill or a foul mood.
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Old 10-10-07, 03:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mayonnaise View Post
One Man's View On Nostalgia

Yesterday I took out the old Schwinn I tore down and built back up for a ride around the block. I'm not riding this thing anymore I said, finally.

My wife and I rode the Elroy Sparta trail on a rented Columbia tandem (we more or less found it neglected in a barn and asked if we could take it out for the day).

We had fun because it was a beautiful day and we were on vacation and it was a novelty. It was a noisy bucket of bolts and by mile 20 we were singing the blues. Through the support of a locally brewed beer, we managed 40 miles. The memory is great, but making the memory, not so.

So you buy one and you bring it home and ride it a few times and slowly you realize it's more a chore than a pleasure: it requires so much effort to get it going. Then you're late for work one day and while bustling to get to the car while trying to dodge the tandem you smack your shin on the pedal. At that instant, well, the second instant, the first instant you curse your maker; at the second instant, that Columbia tandem is forever an unwieldy piece of junk to you.

It's a fun idea but the reality requires more work while producing little pleasure. The thing is so heavy you won't put it on the car and take it to the bike path (you'll spend more for a roof rack than the bike itself). You don't want to spend too much, just something to take the kids/grandkids out for a ride; after one trip of you doing all the work and you'll opt for a walk next time.

Leave the old tandem in the back of the barn. Instead, look for something new, a cruiser-style with alloy frame and wheels, something crisp and light. Yes, it's going to cost more but at least you'll ride it. The return on the money spent for that Columbia will be difficult to recoup.

Nostalgia is great until faced with a headwind, a hill or a foul mood.
Thanks for the input. I think you're right, and it might rip off my spare tire rack on my Rav4.
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