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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 05-05-08, 05:28 PM   #1
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Dropped my stoker

We were out for a Friday evening ride and well

Last edited by Aemmer; 07-31-14 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 05-05-08, 06:14 PM   #2
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Yeeouch. Not good.

I just got a tandem (beginner's tank bike, 1979 Schwinn Twinn Sport 10sp), and will have to watch for this. Hopefully I can gain from your (or your stoker's) loss. Please give her my sympathies - I hope those cuts and bruises don't bother her for long.

I guess the good news is, you didn't try to adjust your gloves while doing 30 down that hill.

Recall the t-shirt supposedly worn by some motorcycle rider whose ride had a long seat for a rear-mounted companion? The shirt said on the back, "If you can read this, the b____ fell off!"

Perhaps we can make some like that, with the word "stoker" substituted where appropriate. And with a picture of a tandem on the front, of course, for the uninitiated.
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Old 05-05-08, 06:15 PM   #3
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Proof that *proper communication* is key to tandeming (stopped or rolling!).
. . . time to buy her some spring flowers!
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 05-05-08, 07:40 PM   #4
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Definitely spring flowers, and also dote on her, refreshing her ice packs, bringing drinks and pain relievers as needed, complement her fitness, and just how lovely those cuts and bruises look on her beautifully toned body.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:21 PM   #5
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What Malkin neglected to tell you is that I dropped her on Saturday. We're new to "stoker up." She called a flat on the rear tire. I stopped and turned to my right to look at the tire. The bike tipped to the left with my stoker still clipped in! I am strong enough to make a soft descent, but I still put her on the pavement. The accident bruised my confidence as a captain, but not much else. I fixed the flat and we climbed back on and finished the 52 miles we planned. I hate having dropped my stoker, but I sometimes make mistakes. I'm very lucky that we like riding twogether enough to forgive, forget, and keep pedaling.

2008 Red Co-Motion Speedster Co-pilot (Redster)
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Old 05-05-08, 11:35 PM   #6
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Been there, experienced that.

Communication is key. However, balance is fickle and sometimes you have it, and sometimes it has you.

Another lesson learned for the captain.

Hope your stoker heals quickly.
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Old 05-06-08, 01:13 PM   #7
pan y agua
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Could be worse. Threw the chain once under maximum effort and literally shot my wife off the back of the bike in the middle of an intersection.
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Old 05-06-08, 02:21 PM   #8
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I too have been dropped off of both sides during our first ride on our new DaVinci tandem. My captain forgot I was there and leaned over to press the button to cross the street...That darn center of gravity! I am getting to old for skinned knees but the fun is worth it! Now that I am beginning to use clipless pedals our communication has been much better. Tandeming is a learning experience in communication...
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Old 05-07-08, 06:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Aemmer View Post
We were out for a Friday evening ride and well, this is what happened.......
Yes sir. In spite of McCready's "proper technique" moniker, the stoker up method leaves you with an inherently unstable tandem when at a stop. You have to be prepared for that 100% of the time. In his article, he even states that when you have the balance right, you can let go of the bars. And I indeed can. But I don't because a minute movement by a clipped in stoker can topple you. Enough about that.

Not to make light of these zero speed falls either, (because a few *have* caused broken bones), but they always remind me of "The Big Wreck" story in motorcycling lore.

If you're not familiar, that's the story every motorcyclist has to listen to everytime he stops at a burger stand. Invariably some old timer comes out and says, "Yeah, I USED to ride one of those until "The Big Wreck"". So after listening politely for 5 minutes when you really wanted to go get a hamburger, you begin to realize that you've done more damage to both yourself and your motorcycle just trying to kickstart it when you were drunk than this guy did in "The Big Wreck" that made him swear off motorcycles forever!

That, of course, is the biggest difference between someone who buys a bicycle or motorcycle, and someone who is a cyclist or biker! If a single FDGB makes you quit either, perhaps it wasn't for you in the first place!
BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

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Old 05-07-08, 08:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Aemmer View Post
We were out for a Friday evening ride and well, this is what happened.......

We were about 12 miles into our ride when we came to a fresh pavement side road going uphill to a new development. Things were going well and we decided to climb the hill and check out the new homes. After climbing to the top of the hill with about 400 foot of elevation gain we got warm fast and decided to shed our jackets as we checked out the great valley views down below. Before taking off my jacket I had removed my gloves so I could get my arms through my jacket sleeves (bad choice).

So there I was straddling the tandem half way through putting back on my first glove when I heard the specific noise clipless pedals make when they engage with a shoe. At 6"3" 225 lbs it usually doesn't take that much effort to hold up my 110 lb stoker, but one of my hands was halfway in a sweaty glove and the other was tugging on that same glove to get the fingers through. I never claimed to be quick and she was falling before I could react. We usually have some very specific communication before she clips in and in hindsight all she could remember was she was anxious to get going again and continue with a good time. It was a slow motion fall that resulted in a nasty bruise on her hip bloody knee, bloody elbow, and a sore wrist. I felt/feel horrible.

I think I straddled the tandem to free up both hands for putting back on my gloves. For whatever reason she thought I was ready to go. Next time I will figure out how to get the gloves on without straddling the bike. One lapse of communication led to a real bummer of a fall. This is the first fall I have ever experienced on the road with the tandem (tandem Mtn biking with my buddies doesn't count).

On the positive side she hit me up for a 30 mile ride Sunday afternoon. Outside of an uncomfortable wrist toward the end of the ride, she was fine. She got right back on the steed with no fear and unconditional trust of the Captain. I will try not to let her down.
My sympathy to both parties involved - I'm glad it wasn't worse and that she still is keen on the long bike experience.

I trust her scrapes and bruises, and your bruised confidence, heal quickly

You know the old chestnut tandem joke?

Sweaty single rider on a tandem. Passing car driver shouts "Hey, your other rider's five miles back"

"Thank God, I thought I'd gone deaf"

I wouldn't recommend retailing this story for a couple of years.
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Old 05-07-08, 04:35 PM   #11
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Story sharing: In 1991 I was in a severe single bike (no car) accident with many broken bones and some pins added to my foot. The next time I rode a bike was our first tandem in 1999. Our first commercial ride was the following Spring. My captain/husband, Spencer, was mortified when he managed to throw me off. He was afraid I'd NEVER trust him or the tandem again. That was tens of thousands of miles ago. What happened was the front tire had gone off the edge of the road into the softer shoulder and he tried to do what he'd usually do on a single, just jump it back up onto the pavement! YIKES! No warning. He says he looked back and saw me going down, still clipped in. We had to ride to the rest stop 10 more miles and they had to BUY ice to assist with the minor road rash then drove me back to the start while Spencer rode the tandem in alone to the anticipate "you lost someone" comments.
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Old 05-07-08, 06:54 PM   #12
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It's a new verse for the Woody Guthrie song!!

dropped my thumb, pick it up, pick it up (x3)
And put it back with my fingers

I dropped my candy, pick it up, pick it up (x3)
And throw it away in the garbage

Pick, pick, pick, pick it up, pick it up (x4)

I dropped my dolly, pick it up, pick it up (x3)
And lay her down in her cradle

I dropped my shoe, pick it up, pick it up (x3)
And put it with my other shoe

I dropped my head, pick it up, pick it up (x3)
And put it back on my shoulders

I dropped my stoker pick'er up pick'er up (x3)
And put her back on the saddle
And buy her some pretty flowers!
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Old 05-08-08, 06:10 PM   #13
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Last weekend when we took the tandem out to watch the Red Bull air races, my husband came as close to dropping me and the bike as he ever has. I felt the bike wiggle a lot and saw him unclip his right foot instead of his usual left foot. Luckily he got his foot on the ground quick enough for a good save. He felt terrible and I just giggled under my breath. I don't think I would have been giggling if we had actually hit the ground. With such a small range of balance to keep it upright, I think he does GREAT! I can't imagine having to try and hold up all that weight (110 pds) for any length of time, I remain clipped in. He says the hardest part is when we are stopped at a looooonnnnngggg light and the wind is blowing.
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Old 05-09-08, 09:41 AM   #14
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Riding along dirt a dirt road on a road tandem, possibly a little faster than we should have been going, just as wheels begin to drift in a sandy patch:

Me: OK, now we're going to just slide on through this and pop out just fine on the other side. The wheels are sliding around a bit but that doesn't mean anything. We still have perfect control of the bike.

Stoker: I'm OK, I trust you.

Me: That's nice but I wasn't talking to you.
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