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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 06-18-08, 08:52 AM   #1
lazlo
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Our first tandem commute!

The wife and I had our first tandem commute this morning, in fact it was her first bike commute ever. We're lucky that we're able to do it. Her work is 7 miles from home, and mine is another 3+ beyond. Her work is slightly off my regular commute route, but I found a route that we're comfortable with and only adds half a mile or so to my commute. What a blast! This is the first time we've ridden the tandem into the city, and I find people very friendly towards people on a tandem. Lots of smiles, waves and hellos. Only down side is the single pannier left after dropping her off was too heavy; the bike was unbalanced and a bit squirrelly. I'll just have to learn to carry less when we tandem commute, or use a backpack. Anyone else have experience tandem commuting?
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Old 06-18-08, 09:19 AM   #2
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Only down side is the single pannier left after dropping her off was too heavy; the bike was unbalanced and a bit squirrelly.
I'm guessing you have not yet had two thousand people yell: "You lost someone!" at you yet...

Seriously, sans stoker, my tandem is pretty squirrelly all the time...actually, after riding a tandem for so long my single bike is pretty squirrely the few times I bother to ride it.
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Old 06-18-08, 09:20 AM   #3
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3-4 times a week, I leave work and captain the tandem 10 miles to pick up my fiancée at her shop, and then we both ride the 10 miles home. There is usually a single ortlieb on the rear rack. Aside from having to pay more attention with regards to pedal striking stoker's Looks, the bike handles fine and I enjoy getting to spend the solo time with the bike learning how it handles....
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Old 06-18-08, 09:50 AM   #4
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I have ridden our tandem solo many times. My only caution is to be aware that the rear brake is almost worthless with no stoker.
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Old 06-18-08, 09:54 AM   #5
lazlo
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Yeah, I expected some yells like that, but didn't get any. My prepared comeback was "Not again!" I do think it's good skills practice riding solo. I also notice my solo bike, which is pretty stable, feels twitchy after riding the tandem. Good fun.
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Old 06-18-08, 10:04 AM   #6
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I also notice my solo bike, which is pretty stable, feels twitchy after riding the tandem. Good fun.
LOL it also feels like a feather, or a race car. If I do a bunch of tandem riding, and then ride the single, I usually have the back wheel bouncing off the pavement on my first standing climb
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Old 06-18-08, 02:02 PM   #7
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You might look around for a beater bike to park at your wife's workplace and take that on to your job.
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Old 06-18-08, 04:16 PM   #8
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While not having commuted on a tandem, have ridden one solo many times even doing a couple solo difficult/long climbs. The first hundred feet feel slightly squirelly but then my rythm settles down and all is A-OK.
Make sure the back pedals are secured (velcro/bungee/or even rubber bands) so they don't clang/hit the roadway.
Pedal on!
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Old 06-18-08, 04:29 PM   #9
uspspro
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I dropped-off and picked-up my stoker from the train station with the tandem the other day.... Why use the car?
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Old 06-18-08, 09:47 PM   #10
Michel Gagnon
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I use the tandem quite often to travel one way with the kids and come back by myself. Once I drop the stoker, the tandem feels squirrelly... for one or two blocks, but after that, it handles smoothly.

One or two panniers : I find it doesn't really make a difference in terms of handling. Worst comes to worst, get a racktrunk and store your heaviest cargo in it.

By the way, if you have steep downhills, be a bit careful, especially if the road is bumpy or wet. You have little weight on that rear wheel.
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Old 06-19-08, 07:28 AM   #11
lazlo
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Thanks for the tips on braking. I hadn't considered how it would be easy to lose traction with the rear wheel unweighted. I got more used to riding it solo on the way home. We had to ride in a lot of bike traffic on the way home, which I was kind of nervous about, but we did fine. All the stops and starts are good practice.
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