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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!

View Poll Results: Which way is better for your stoker?
Stoker stays clipped in during entire ride 66 70.21%
Stoker dismounts with the captain 10 10.64%
We use both methods 18 19.15%
Voters: 94. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 06-01-08, 12:34 PM   #1
Litespeed
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Stay clipped in or not

I'm curious as to what method you like better for the stoker.
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Old 06-01-08, 04:19 PM   #2
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Not really the entire ride, but the first choice is the closest. We do have to stop every so often and let people catch up.
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Old 06-01-08, 05:34 PM   #3
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I chose the first option...although, if I am getting off the bike (dismounting) my stoker is already off the bike!

David
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Old 06-01-08, 08:04 PM   #4
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33+ years as a tandem duo; stoker Kay stays clipped in 'til end of ride.
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Old 06-01-08, 09:25 PM   #5
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I only clip out for bathroom breaks, until the end of the ride. I can conserve energy that way.
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Old 06-01-08, 11:47 PM   #6
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Remain in. I usually unclip only one foot so if the stoker starts twisting around and trying to lean or dismount it can throw me off balance. We don't like being off balance.
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Old 06-02-08, 03:54 AM   #7
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Should there be another option - neither Captain nor Stoker clipped in?

Have I got an unneccessary/antiquated thing about clipping in?

Instinctively I am afraid on not being able to twist out quickly enough in a split second emergency - and then pulling my stoker over with me.

We have been in a couple of situations where there was no time to think. We hit tram lines filled with water in bad light in Europe, pulling a 40kg Bob Yak - fortunately going relatively slowly. We were both thrown off and ended up on our feet sort of running from the bike. Would we have been in the road with broken femurs if we had been clipped but could not get out? dunno. Also hit some soft sand just the other day. Same out come although this time we just hopped off - in a split second that is.

Anybody been trapped in in a fall lately. Saw a couple of riders in the Tour de France with one foot still in sliding across the road.
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Old 06-02-08, 08:06 AM   #8
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My presumption is that you're talking about a stop sign or light. If so, the only time I ask her to clip out is when I can see it's going to be a long one....supporting the bike with one leg gets old after 3, 4, or 5 minutes.
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Old 06-02-08, 11:27 AM   #9
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I vote for whatever the stoker (aka "The Boss") wants to do.

I have ridden with stokers who always unclip, some who never unclip and some who seem to decide at random. If they are happy, I am happy.
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Old 06-02-08, 01:44 PM   #10
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...except when I specifically ask her to clip out and dismount. This is the case occasionally at stop lights that won't change (Malkin dismounts to push the pedestrian button), or when conditions make it risky to keep her clipped in.

Cheers!
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Old 06-02-08, 07:07 PM   #11
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I ride largely with my kids....we take 5 minutes to get them clipped in at the start. They are attached to the bike until we get to our destination.

Slipping off the pedals at 100+ rpm because you aren't clipped is a lesson you don't forget.

I have "saved" my half bike in the winter more times than I can count because I was clipped in...

You can adjust the tension down to where just thinking about it pops you out or up to where it takes act of gov't to get you out.
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Old 06-04-08, 08:39 PM   #12
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Short stops like traffic lights, and such the stoker stays clipped. Any longer and she unclips/dismounts...

Sheldon
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Old 06-04-08, 10:37 PM   #13
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We use commands to communicate when to mount/dismount. Both captain and stoker need to communicate. Stoker stays clipped in at lights, but we both unclip for breaks as needed.
For example, if the stoker tries to mount without telling the captain, then that's a stoker mistake
- yes stokers make mistakes. After a couple bruised shins, that's how this captain sees it :-)
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Old 06-05-08, 05:19 PM   #14
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One of the things no one talks about is design.

I have an older tandem that was designed in the era of toe clips. When you start out it takes a while to reach a stable speed. The stoker is responsible for getting the bike up to a stable speed. The stoker remains clipped in because the stoker needs to be ready to get the tandem moving. The captain is responsible for steering and balance. Only when a stable speed is reached can the captain pause to flip the pedal around and use both toe clips. Until then one of the captain's toe clips is down.


Because you start off with one of the captain's clips down, the captain's bottom bracket has to be higher to give clearance. Because the stoker is always clipped in there isn't the same safety issue that the captain has and the stoker's bottom bracket can be lower.


With one pedal down the captain can put weight on it. Another connection with the frame. This makes it a lot easier to muscle the bike around a corner. I have never hit the captain's pedals when going around a curve because of the higher bottom bracket. If the stoker's pedal is down it will hit because the bottom bracket is lower. We ride out of phase to allow the captain's pedal to be down while the stoker's pedal is up.


Because the captain's bottom bracket is higher the captain's seat is higher. This allows the stoker's handle bars to be higher. With the stoker having a lower bottom bracket and higher handle bars, the stoker has a more upright position. Because the stoker has a more upright riding position they can be moved closer to the captain. The designer kept shorting the top tube until the wind noise went away in his wife's ears.


There you have it. Stoker remains clipped in. The cranks are out of phase. The stoker and captain have a close relationship.

Other/newer tandems may not have the same design features.
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Old 06-06-08, 04:46 PM   #15
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Some tandems, but not all, have higher BB for stoker.
Toeclips on older tandem? . . . you can put on clipless if you want.
We have a 'newer 'tandem and have toeclips (by choice) and been riding OOP for decades.
Eventually all teams develop their own preference/style. More than once we've been told 'but you can't do that' . . . usually from single bike riders.
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 06-11-08, 05:38 PM   #16
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When we first started riding the tandem I would always stay clipped in, unless I was getting off the bike, but now we have learned that it is easier for us if I unclip the same foot as my dad that way we can push off, and jump onto the bike at relatively the same time. We have less balance issues that way.
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Old 06-11-08, 09:31 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
33+ years as a tandem duo; stoker Kay stays clipped in 'til end of ride.
We've only been tandeming for 32 years. We both step down with our left foot for every stop.
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Old 06-12-08, 03:48 AM   #18
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I put my left foot down and she stays clipped in. When the light changes I say green, she pedals hard and we get the jump on everyone around.
Steve
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Old 06-12-08, 10:42 AM   #19
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Retro Grouch:
32 vs 33 years of tandeming . . . goes to show you even us old timers have differences in method/style . . .
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 06-12-08, 05:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Retro Grouch:
32 vs 33 years of tandeming . . . goes to show you even us old timers have differences in method/style . . .
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
I thought I was an old timer at 22 years!
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Old 06-13-08, 06:12 AM   #21
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27 years on tandems. My wife stays in the clips. It is alot easier for me to balance the bike at lights with out her moving around and like it has been said. The stoker can get the tandem moving and the captain can join in fully after a couple of pedals around. We have rode in OOP. But for now we are in phase to breakin our new Cannondale 2.
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Old 06-13-08, 07:03 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pel View Post
Should there be another option - neither Captain nor Stoker clipped in?
One could assume that to be the case and answer accordingly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pel View Post
Have I got an unneccessary/antiquated thing about clipping in?
Similar to the question at hand, the answer is one that only you can answer as these are very subjective things that are influenced by background, experience, and the physical dimensions of the tandem captain and stoker.

Personally, I can't imagine riding at a serious pace, climbing, or even descending without having both my and my stoker's shoes attached to the pedals via a quick release mechanism or at a minimum, toe clips and straps: hey, they worked just fine for the first 18 years, that that relates to my background and experience. If, however, someone never became comfortable to the point where clip-in pedals are used intuitively without any concern about "being trapped", then all bets are off.

Getting back to the question at hand, I'm fortunate in that my stoker is a petite 5'2" and although I'm only 5'8" and of average build, I can hold the tandem up all day with her seated on the back with nary a concern or fatigue. Of course, it's worth noting she's very well-mannered as a stoker and doesn't flop around. Having ridden with stokers who are either my equal in size or larger than me, that's an entirely different ball game: the tandem becomes much more of a challenge to balance as stokers become taller and/or larger, never mind being unable to sit still and centered. The other troublesome situation is where stokers are really hardcore single bike riders -- male or female -- who already struggle with the loss of control on the back of the tandem and who most likely see being held up by the captain as the last straw: it's just a place they can't go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pel View Post
Anybody been trapped in in a fall lately. Saw a couple of riders in the Tour de France with one foot still in sliding across the road.
Having your feet still clipped into your pedals in a bicycle crash is a completely different thing vs. being unable to anticipate the need to clip out when coming to a stop. In all of the crashes I've had, on road or off, feet coming out of the pedals is one of those things that may or may not happen depending on the dynamics of the fall and, frankly, it really doesn't matter. Unlike seat belts, there aren't any issues with "being trapped" or "being thrown clear" since the bikes, in general, don't cause injuries... at least serious ones. In fact, in many cases they absorb a lot of the energy from the crash, protect the rider from other falling bikes and riders or obstacles, and limit the harm done to one side of the body.

All that said, I think everyone I know who's had to learn to clip in to toe straps or clip-in pedals has fallen over at a stop at least once very early on while learning to use them and refining their starting and stopping techniques. A tandem is, therefore, not the best place for a captain to experiment with new clip-in pedal systems.
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Old 06-13-08, 09:21 AM   #23
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Anybody been trapped in in a fall lately. Saw a couple of riders in the Tour de France with one foot still in sliding across the road.
Malkin and I were on a ride on our single bikes early in my clipless career (SPD). I was about a block ahead when I had the thought, "I wonder how slow can I go without falling down?" The obvious answer was, "Not quite that slow!" I simply came to a stop and fell over like a tree. I didn't even consider trying to clip out. So I suppose you could say that I was trapped in during a fall...

Cheers!
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Old 06-13-08, 01:57 PM   #24
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Malkin and I were on a ride on our single bikes early in my clipless career (SPD). I was about a block ahead when I had the thought, "I wonder how slow can I go without falling down?" The obvious answer was, "Not quite that slow!" I simply came to a stop and fell over like a tree. I didn't even consider trying to clip out. So I suppose you could say that I was trapped in during a fall...

Cheers!
In about 12 years of tandeming I have never drop my stoker who usually stays clipped in (knock on wood). Once on my single, while doing a very steep grade (close to 20%) with a compact double my chain broke with no warning... I only had time to put my hand out before I was on the groud.
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Old 06-13-08, 04:46 PM   #25
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I have heard, but have no personal experience, that it is better for the stoker to be clipped in during a fall. The bike comes to a three point landing. The two pedals and the stoker's handlebar. I have always been careful to keep the stoker's handle bar tight.
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