I've been lurking on this site for a while. Thinking about a tandem. I borrowed an older Cannondale MTN tandem from a friend a year ago and took my wife out for a ride. We loved it but we went a bit too long. She got knee pain 50% out and I had to tow her back in. At 96 degree heat and running out of water it wasn't the best experience. The tandem we borrowed wasn't in good condition and the rear shifter broke during our ride. It also felt extremely heavy to me on the road. Even more so after my stoker was out of commission.
However, a healthy mind forgets pain so after a few months I only remembered the first half of the ride. We recently found a used KHS Milano 2006. It's aluminum so it isn't too heavy. The previous owner installed a bunch of weight saving upgrades so it was a deal at $1200. It has the following upgrades:
carbon ergo bars
Mavic Ksyrium front wheel
Chris King Headset
Ultegra rear derailure
It was in our price range so after a quick test ride we bought it. The bike handles very nice. I was looking for a road tandem and this one fit the bill. I didn't want to spend too much since I wasn't convinced that my wife would really want to ride it much.
After a few bike adjustments we went on our maiden voyage last weekend. It is so much faster on the road than the Cdale we borrowed. We rode it a bit over 40miles, and had a blast. I didn't expect to go nearly that far but we were having such a good time we didn't want to turn back. I included a picture we took on the ride below. You can't see the bike that well but you can see the scenery. With the scenery you can get a feeling for why we didn't want to stop. We've done a couple of other rides now and tomorrow we're going to take it out and try for 50 miles. Although the weather isn't as nice we are still excited.
We're still learning to work as a team. I installed flat pedals for my stoker since she didn't feel comfortable being clipped in. There were a couple times that her feet came off the pedals at high cadence/high speed. She now wants to switch back to SPD's. That will be for tomorrow's ride. She is now getting more comfortable keeping her feet on the pedals at stops, and I'm getting better at balancing the bike at the stops (a big reason she is feeling more comfortable).
I have some bad single habits I'm trying to rid myself of. One was leaning the bike too much when dismounting at stops. Others are making last minute steering adjustments to miss road debris. I need to look further down the road since last minute steering adjustments aren't appreciated by the stoker . I've also learned that communication is really important. Turning, slowing, stoping, coasting are commands that are getting used frequently. However, I've also noticed that as we work together more the required frequency of the commands is lessened.
I'm an avid cyclist both mountain and road. After several failed attempts to entice my wife into riding with me the tandem seems to be a great solution. It allows both of us to get a great workout while still staying together. It also allows for some quality relationship time while riding.
Reading this forum is insightful and also inspirational. Thanks to all for sharing your experiences and knowledge. See you out on the road.