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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 03-02-08, 09:07 AM   #1
larry h
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transporting a tandem

we are just starting to ride a tandem and have two carriers a strap type and a 3 bike hitch mount type is there a better way to transport a tandem
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Old 03-02-08, 10:46 AM   #2
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...is there a better way to transport a tandem
That depends on how you define better. If the rear-mount racks are working for you -- with or without the tandem's wheels attached (removing wheels for rear portage can add stability by reducing wind buffeting) -- then there's no real reason to go to one of the other options which, in ascending order for cost include:

1. Buy a tandem-specific rear horizontal hitch mount
2. Buy a sports rack for the top of your vehicle & fabricate a tandem mount
3. Buy a sports rack for the top of your vehicle & buy a standard tandem mount
4. Buy a Draftmaster vertical receiver mount for your vehicle
5. Buy a sports rack for the top of your vehicle & buy a pivoting-type tandem mount
6. Buy a pick-up truck and put a fork mount on the front of the bed or just tuck it in cross-wise
7. Buy a small wagon or SUV (Honda Element) and put the tandem inside with the rear wheel between the front seats, or with both wheels removed and laying on the rear floor with back seats down.
8. Buy a mini-van or SUV and stick it in there.

You'll occasionally find the tandem mounts on Ebay and Craigslist for a fair price.

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Old 03-02-08, 10:51 AM   #3
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8. Buy a mini-van or SUV and stick in in there.
The ultimate tandem bicycle accessory.

FWIW, I have an old style Thule roof rack tandem mount that I'd let go for the cost of shipping. It requires removing the front wheel. The rear axle clamps into a steel V. It's very stable. You need to provide the rest of the roof rack system.

PM me if you're interested, otherwise it's going into the dumpster.
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Old 03-02-08, 01:06 PM   #4
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do you mean by the rest of the carrier the regular roof mounts like on a jeep where you can put skis luggage etc
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Old 03-02-08, 01:50 PM   #5
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I've seen and used these a little:
ATOC racks
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Old 03-02-08, 03:53 PM   #6
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We toss our tandem inside a '97 Accord station wagon . . . pretty well out of sight and out of the way of the elements too.
A hitch mounted rack is usually sturdy and carry the tandem with 1, or 2 wheels, removed to reduce width
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Old 03-02-08, 05:16 PM   #7
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I've seen and used these a little:
ATOC racks
That is the one I chose to haul ours around at first on top of a RAV4.
Got a Tacoma a month later so now it is safe inside the shell and I don't have to worry about it on top.
Guess I should get around to selling the ATOC( Thule) this spring.
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Old 03-02-08, 05:51 PM   #8
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We have a Draftmaster, 4 position, that can carry 2 tandems and 2 singles. Have pictures but they're pretty much the same as the ones on the website - even same vehicle!

We get questions everywhere we go because of its odd look. I like it because it completely removes from the vehicle when you don't need it.
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Old 03-02-08, 07:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
The ultimate tandem bicycle accessory.

FWIW, I have an old style Thule roof rack tandem mount that I'd let go for the cost of shipping. It requires removing the front wheel. The rear axle clamps into a steel V. It's very stable. You need to provide the rest of the roof rack system.

PM me if you're interested, otherwise it's going into the dumpster.
Does it pivot and/or have a full tray?
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Old 03-03-08, 04:51 PM   #10
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I've got a tacoma and our cannondale goes in the bed with a fork mount bar at the front of the bed. Works well but the tandem is so long that the tailgate won't close.

If you get a top mount rack make sure you can lift the bike up there reliably.

Sheldon
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Old 03-03-08, 08:21 PM   #11
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we fit the burley in our civic wagon. The screamer goes on the ATOC tandem topper. I did bring it home inside the car, but didn't care for having the cranks amost in the windshield.
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Old 03-04-08, 10:14 AM   #12
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I've got a tacoma and our cannondale goes in the bed with a fork mount bar at the front of the bed. Works well but the tandem is so long that the tailgate won't close.

If you get a top mount rack make sure you can lift the bike up there reliably.

Sheldon
Is this the newer style Tacoma? I have an '07 and have put our Santana in the back and can close the tailgate. Before the shell came in I could put it in by backing it in diagonally and using a fork mount. After the shell I had to put the front in first but can close the gate and the hatch.
I did have to make a sliding mount so I didn't have to climb in to attach the fork.
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Old 03-04-08, 12:49 PM   #13
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5 vehicles 4 methods 1 tandem over 17 years (I drive too much).

1. 78 VW pop top. Stuffed it in the back.
2. 91 Toyota pickup. Fork mount in the back. Seems like I could close the tailgate.
3. 92 Volvo wagon. 3 bar Yakima rack. Used the wide bars for the canoe and the tandem mounted to a conventional Yakima fork mount. Used the other bar for singles and the cargo box.
4. 94 Land Rover/06 Suburban. Yakima Hitch mount. A bit wide but effective.

Someday I hope to justify the expense of a Yakima tandem mount and at 6'3" I don't have worries about muscling it on top of the Suburban for the added stability.

IMHO nothing beats a fork mount on the roof for stability. Nothing beats up a vehilcle interior and a tandem like stuffing it in the back of a vehicle. That said I would do it without a second thought if it meant going to a fun destination to ride.
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Old 03-04-08, 12:59 PM   #14
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Retro Grouch, If you are serious about tossing your tandem mount and Larry H is not interested please let me know. If it is functional on my Yakima bars, I would gladly pay shipping to save it from the dumpster and put it to use.
Thanks, T.
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Old 03-04-08, 01:11 PM   #15
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Nothing beats up a vehilcle interior and a tandem like stuffing it in the back of a vehicle.
I strongly disagree with that one - at least if you have the right vehicle.

Most of my tandeming friends own minivans and transport their bikes with a fork mount screwed to a piece of plywood. The bike is locked in the car so it's relatively secure and it's away from the weather and road grime. I've never noticed any car interior damage either. Last summer we bought a Honda Element because it's exterior length was short enough to fit comfortably into our garage but the interior will hold our tandem upright with the back wheel between the front seats. We took it on a couple of 1,000 trips last Summer and were quite satisfied.

Years ago we owned a couple of huge station wagons. Our tandem would fit inside but only by laying on it's side because the roof height was inadequate. That wasn't nearly so satisfactory.
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Old 03-04-08, 01:19 PM   #16
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I build my own roof racks with a fork mount in front attached to front cross piece of standard minivan and tire channel anchored to rear cross piece. For a tandem I had to turn it around and put the fork in the rear because the rear tire was extending back to far --preventing the rear hatch for fully rising.

(I get six people and full luggage inside a minivan with space for 7 bikes outside (4 on back, 3 on top).
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Old 03-04-08, 01:30 PM   #17
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I build my own roof racks with a fork mount in front attached to front cross piece of standard minivan and tire channel anchored to rear cross piece. For a tandem I had to turn it around and put the fork in the rear because the rear tire was extending back to far --preventing the rear hatch for fully rising.

(I get six people and full luggage inside a minivan with space for 7 bikes outside (4 on back, 3 on top).
dbg and guest on last outing...

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Old 03-04-08, 02:51 PM   #18
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Retro,
Well you got me there. I have yet to own a mini van but probably will some day. Can't argue the piece of mind of securing a bike inside the vehicle while running into the grocery for post ride munchies. Guess I should have elaborated on my personal experiences more. Many of our tandem rides are off road and the bike is covered in mud when we finish. Even wiped down, I would not want the knobbies on the carpet. When we do mellower rides as a family the back seats are filled with 3 boys and a dog (thus the tanker family vehicle we currently drive). I would still stand by a roof mount as my favorite way to transport bicycles. Hopefully you didn't take my statement literal as far as "nothing beats up a vehicle interior like a tandem". I know the bricks I was loading in my brothers car last month were worse. Shoot, on a good Saturday even driving the kids and their friends home after a muddy soccer game can be messy.
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Old 03-04-08, 06:45 PM   #19
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Retro,
Many of our tandem rides are off road and the bike is covered in mud when we finish. Even wiped down, I would not want the knobbies on the carpet.
Our road bike can get pretty wet and dirty too when the weather doesn't fully cooperate. I have a hand cut sheet of very thick vinyl (kind of like industrial strength plastic carpet runner) that rolls out on the floor to protect the carpet when we transport the bike, then it rolls up and stows away when we donít need it.
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Old 03-04-08, 10:21 PM   #20
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Retrogrouch: What kind of gas mileage do you get on the Honda Element?
We lay down our tandem in back of our Accord station wagon. Taking off front wheel and tandem fits inside. A big piece of scrap carpeting protects the interior. Our '97Accord gets up to 32 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in town.
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Old 03-05-08, 12:08 PM   #21
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I have a yakima base system and the Yakima Sidewinder, and I absolutely love it. It is incredibly easy to use, requires only removing the front wheel, is stable and secure, and only requires (in fact is much easier) one person to load the bike. All of this on top of a 1994 Honda Civic.



Charlie
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Old 03-05-08, 12:44 PM   #22
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Retrogrouch: What kind of gas mileage do you get on the Honda Element?
We lay down our tandem in back of our Accord station wagon. Taking off front wheel and tandem fits inside. A big piece of scrap carpeting protects the interior. Our '97Accord gets up to 32 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in town.
EPA says 26 highway 21 city. I get 25 on the highway. I can get 26 but I have to drive to Iowa first to buy gas that doesn't have any ethanol in it and that's not cost effective. I've never cared enough to calculate my city mileage but that 21 EPA number sounds pretty close.
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Old 03-05-08, 02:19 PM   #23
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Our tandem fits into our tiny new 2008 Honda Fit, with the front wheel off and both passenger side seats all the way reclined and folded up. With the tandem bike in the car, the driver and passenger have to sit in tandem, which is a little strange. The 36 mpg city and 42 mpg highway milage is very nice, for an interior tandem-hauler.

I got the idea from the Blayleys: http://www.blayleys.com/articles/cars/index.htm.

It was a little fiddly to work out how it fits in the car the first time, but not the Fit just fits.
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Old 03-05-08, 02:45 PM   #24
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We have a Yakima Sidewinder rack that works really well on our Toyota Prius. However, the mileage drops from about 52 to 30 mpg with the tandem on the top. The Prius seems very sensitive to changes in its aerodynamics.

With the rise in gas prices, we have been, more and more, putting the tandem inside after removing both wheels. The waxed chains help keep the inside from getting destroyed.
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Old 03-05-08, 04:50 PM   #25
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Retrogrouch: Thanx for posting the mileage numbers.
Amazing that back in the 70s the Honda Civic could achieve 50 mpg; our '84 Accord Hatchback got 43 mph on highway.
With today's petrol price$ smaller cars with better mileage will become the norm . . . and like the FIt, they'll be able to handle a tandem.
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