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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 04-27-08, 08:25 PM   #1
mtbcyclist
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Getting a young child on a tandem with no outside help....

I have been thinking about selling my tandem my wife and I bought three years ago as she will never be able to ride again as she has dementia and may not live past a few more years www.caringbridge.org/visit/roxannethomsen When we bought the tandem we though we would never have kids. Well after 600 miles of riding it we had our son which is a true blessing. Ever since she got pregnant the bike has been hanging up in our garage. My first gut feeling is to sell the tandem but part of me wants to put a stoker kit on it and have my son ride with me in about four years. Part of me thinks that maybe my future new wife may be a cyclist too and might enjoy the tandem assuming I can find another ladie who wil put up with my crap. Based on that are there any tricks to getting the kid on the bike without help? I am trying to weigh my options as the bike is a practically brand new Burely Rivazza with a carbon fork. Its a beautiful bike collecting dust hanging upside down in my garage. I would hate to sell it but at the same time I hate to see it not get used. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 04-27-08, 10:00 PM   #2
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We sympathize with your current situation/dilemma.
We would suggest to sell the tandem so you can recoup some $ invested; leaving it hang 4 more years it will not appreciate and it's too nice of a bike to leave unused; it can bring another duo pleasure.
If still interested you can buy another 2 seater sometime.
In the meantime, bring your spouse some flowers . . .
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 04-28-08, 06:46 AM   #3
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Based on that are there any tricks to getting the kid on the bike without help?
What do you mean? Physically getting the child onto the bike without someone else there to help get him into the seat? I think it's mandatory for any captain of a child stoker to be able to get going without assistance.

Here is my method:

Generally, I will start with the bike leaning against something, but this is not absolutely necessary. The kid and I will stand together on one side of the bike. We stand on the left (timing chain) side. I am toward the front of the bike, he is next to his seat. I bend at the knees and grab him in a one-sided hug, lifting him up and placing him on the seat. My left hand remains on the bike, holding it up. Still holding the bike with my left hand, I use the right to get his feet situated on the pedals and tighten the pedal straps.

After he is on, I lift my right leg up high and step over the top tube, then we start off. If I am riding with a baby in the baby seat, I will put him in first, then get the child stoker ready, then be off!
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Old 04-28-08, 06:58 AM   #4
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You might consider "lending" the Burley to a local cycling club or cooperative. Let them use and maintain it with the understanding that you may want it back at some time. That keeps the bike on the road and maintained. If at some point you are in a position to ride again, the bike will be ready for you. If not, you can still retrieve the bike and sell it. zona is correct about recouping the current value, but you seem to also have some additional connection to the bike that isn't about $.
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Old 04-28-08, 01:55 PM   #5
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What do you mean? Physically getting the child onto the bike without someone else there to help get him into the seat?
That was my question too. If this is the case you may want to consider selling the Burley and buying a Bike Friday.



I can now manage to take my son and daughter out. He can climb onto to the bike while it is parked, with the Arai drum used as a park brake. All I need to do is to tighten my sons toe straps.
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Old 04-28-08, 02:35 PM   #6
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+1 on the Bike Friday, or a Co Motion Periscope.

The Bike Friday will adjust easily as your child grows, and performs surprisingly well.

On a time value of money basis, you probably would come out at least even selling the Burley, not having to buy a stoker kit, and then buying another tandem when your son's ready.
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Old 04-28-08, 07:07 PM   #7
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Good points made here. I am going to do some research on the web and see what others like it are goiong for. I stopped by the shop where I bought it and asked them how much they would box it up and ship it for.

On the other hand if I do keep it I will have to fingure out a good way to get him on and it looks like you folks already ahve given me some pointers. I should have worded the question a little better. What I meant by no outside help was nobody else being around but he and I so I would have to hold the bike up and get him up on the bike at the same time.

Any other suggestions are much appreciated.
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Old 04-28-08, 08:12 PM   #8
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I have a tandem without stoker kit, and my youngest daughter tried to use it when she was about 4.5 years old. Of course she couldn't crank the pedals yet, but climbing on it was no problem.

If you like the Burley and if it's compatible with a stokid kit (it should, but I really don't know them), I think you will be OK doing short rides with the 3-year-old child on the tandem and that you'll do almost any riding you want when the kid turns 4, or at most 5. Of course, you'll stop more often for ice cream and playgrounds than you would do with an adult, but you may end up doing tours and long rides sooner than you think.

In the interim time, I have heard of people who get cycling partners – and even more than that – by showing up with their tandem and an Allen key at their club rides.
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Old 04-29-08, 07:49 AM   #9
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See, I'm doing the same thing you're talking about, but add a 2-y/o in a baby seat. The only problem I have is if the front wheel turns on you, the whole thing is very hard to keep upright. I actually own a Flickstand, but, unfortunately, my Cannondale has a really fat downtube that the Flickstand is too big for.

If you have a steel bike, or can think up a way to mod one to fit, a Flickstand would make the whole process a lot easier and safer.

(interestingly, the one in the photo has a piece of fabric spliced in to make it fit a bigger down tube!)

PS - good luck finding one!
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Old 04-29-08, 09:47 AM   #10
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By the time a kid is 4 or 5, they can just climb on up them selves. You will be already on the bike, holding it steady and applying the brakes. No problems.
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Old 04-29-08, 01:14 PM   #11
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I have the older one hold the bike up, they have been doing that since they were 5, although I am putting the other kids into a trailer and not a bike seat.
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Old 05-01-08, 05:15 AM   #12
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In my experience there is no problem getting kids on bikes if they're riding it properly and have seen you riding it as they love to copy you.

Our 1 1/2 year old used to love going in the trailer when she was 1/2 to 1 year old. Now she doesn't like it as she gets bored and is not really keen on riding in the seat on the back of our bikes, mainly because she doesn't like wearing a helmet and being strapped in. However she loves sitting on the top tube of my single bike and being wheeled across the garden when I'm getting ready to go to work on it, so I imagine she will be keen to have a go on a childback tandem when she's bigger.

I would be a bit wary about a flikstand - I imagine it has a locking device, but I wouldn't want to be on the bike if it disengaged accidentally. An simpler solution is to use a toe strap from rim to down tube, or alternatively lean the bike carefully so the front end doesn't swing round.
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