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  1. #1
    Air
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    Crash course - what are the basics?

    I'm going with a friend on a slow group scenic ride (30 miles) Sunday who's a little apprehensive about riding in the city (NYC). So my genius plan would be to rent a tandem though neither one of us did before. I'm a big guy and she's pretty small so I'm not worried about keeping it stable but I have no idea how to ride one (besides the obvious ).

    What are some things I need to keep in mind? Safety concerns? Things to look out for or be extra cautious about? Any gems of knowledge that will keep us from becoming cab food?

    Thanks!

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Starting and stopping can be a problem---- I mean it. As Pilot- The one on the front- Take the Tandem out solo for several miles to get used to the bike before getting the stoker onboard. Then it is down to good luck.
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  3. #3
    Air
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    Any tricks to starting?

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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  5. #5
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    ^^ Actually whole threads on it, and some contention about the best method.

    What works for us. Stoker stradles bike while Captain holds it. Captain then stradles bike (swinging leg over the bars not the seat, as to not kick stoker). Stoker gets seated and both feet clipped into pedals, as Captain holds bike. Captain clips one foot in, with the pedal in the power position. Captain (after asking if the Stoker is ready) pushes off, one strong pedal stroke,and clips in the second foot, and you ride away.


    Alternative method is both captain and stoker clip in one foot. Both give a power stroke, as they start standing and move to the seat, then both clip in the second foot. Also works, and we'll do it this way if the stoker has gotten off the seat at a stop light.

    I think you may find the "3 feet on method" easier when you're first learning because there is less to coordinate between the 2 of you.
    Last edited by merlinextraligh; 12-17-08 at 02:56 PM.

  6. #6
    Air
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    This is awesome, thanks everyone!

    I don't think this tandem will have clipless (and neither one of us knows how to ride with them) so that will make it a little easier.

    Captain = Pilot, right?

    Reading those links above now, really useful. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Whenever you come to a bump, say "bump".

    Your stoker won't be able to see the bumps coming in time to unweight the saddle so they take the full force. (Every stoker in the world is going to love me for this.)

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    Air
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    Oooh - good one! Funny, I was just thinking about what to do about bumps and whatnot

    Another question - if the stoker hasn't done more than 10 miles at a shot in a long while and I'm an ox can she pretty much chill back there and have fun or is she going to be miserable?

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    Keep short and fun until the stoker asks for more.. otherwise you will be back ridding your single

  10. #10
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    You can alter the effort you put into the stroke as a stoker, so yes they can have an easier ride. However if her legs get tired due to your cadence (spinning very fast) you may want to tell her to take her feet off the pedals and stick her legs out- however not reccommended if you are going fast! Or you will have to drop your cadence down until she is comfortable and able to maintain the pace.

    Also make sure you foot is down and secure as you come to a stop. Have dropped the bike a number of times by not being "prepared" for the weight of the bike and the stoker. And the stoker normally goes down with the ship as its hard to jump off the back.

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    Along the lines of what cornucopia72 said...I don't want to discourage you but instead give you a heads up of what you might experience. I don't know that I would try a 30 mile ride off the bat, especially if she does not have many miles in herself. Yes, she can relax, but a sore rear will make her dread the next X miles. If you still want to do the 30, have plenty of bailout options along the route. It will be tough to transport a tandem if you do need to bail so it may mean she takes a taxi or the subway and you meet her later after you ride back solo. Hopefully she is prepared for the weather also, another avenue for quick misery. If this is a date, you are opening yourself up for alot of potential bad experiences. It could be the best worst time you two ever had together though .

    Write back with how the ride went, pics are always good too!!

  12. #12
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    To keep from being 'cab food' (yes, been to NYC and know how they drive) put a broom handle on the rear carrier sticking out sideways about 18 inches; attach big orange safety flag on it. No cabbie will want to get broomed by a bike!
    Agree a 30 miler is a hell of a long way for a new stoker who has trouble doing 10 miles. Seeing that this is a 'social' ride let's hope you stop for coffee at least 5 times on that ride so she can get her buns off the saddle. If not, she soon will be an ex-friend!
    Good luck!

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
    Agree a 30 miler is a hell of a long way for a new stoker who has trouble doing 10 miles. Seeing that this is a 'social' ride let's hope you stop for coffee at least 5 times on that ride so she can get her buns off the saddle. If not, she soon will be an ex-friend!
    Good luck!
    Wherever your relationship is headed, a tandem will get you there sooner.

  14. #14
    Air
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    Sounds it! Yeah, it is a slow ride with a lot of stopping and waiting for the group to catch up so there should be plenty of time for breaks. I'll be marshaling it too so flats should be a good opportunity for breaks

    zonatandem - I've thought about that on my single a few times!

    masiman/cornucopia72 - all great points. She can do 10 miles with ease, we've never gotten a chance to do more. I have a big cushy bouncy saddle I was thinking about putting on there for her regardless of what they give us to make it more comfortable for her too.

    thebearnz - Also great tips!

    Found a place that's $45 for 24 hours, not too bad. I think I'll be able to get it into my building too which will be important Have a feeling I won't know if we're doing it till Sunday morning but will absolutely update!

    Thanks again all!

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    One other thing to consider is how close you pass objects and help the stoker feel like she's not about to lose some fingers. While the captain will know the distance away from the bars, the stoker has a different perspective and things can feel a whole lot closer when you're sitting in the back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Air View Post
    ...She can do 10 miles with ease, we've never gotten a chance to do more. I have a big cushy bouncy saddle I was thinking about putting on there for her regardless of what they give us to make it more comfortable for her too.
    ...
    If you can, also bring along the saddle she has been riding on. A big cushy one would help with the bumps but might cause chafing and pressure problems. Have her try both if possible on a pre-ride checkout and use the one she wants.

    Make her stand out of the saddle once every 5 minutes or so. You won't have as much freedom of movement as you do on a single. You'll also want her to learn to do it smoothly to minimize the affect to steering. You will also need to stand occasionally.

    EDIT: Part of your experience may depend on what type of tandem they have for rent. I did something similar to this years ago. I think our day was going to be about 40 miles round trip. After @7 miles out on a 3(?, so long ago I forget) speed upright beach cruiser beater type tandem, I turned us around. I was tired from fighting the machine and we had not even gotten to the bigger hills. Hated the ride but thankful my ride partner took it as a new experience and was glad to have tried. Lesson: Know when to bail.
    Last edited by masiman; 12-18-08 at 02:59 PM.

  17. #17
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    With plain pedals, it will be easier to start with one foot from each of you on the ground, than it is with clipless (or toeclips), because you can push off and then all you have to do is to get the foot that was onto the ground, onto its pedal. No need to wiggle your foot to clip in, etc. Of course, none of the benefits of cleats and toeclips.

    Calling out the bumps, yes. Also call out "coasting", pedalling again, which way you intend to turn, slowing down, braking to stop, putting a foot down, etc. After a while it will become obvious, but I'd suggest doing it until you are asked to stop, and even then still call out the bumps and stopping.

    If you've got a blinky to clip onto the rental bike, that would help overtaking traffic see you

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    Bad idea. NYC is not a friendly place for a bicycle that does not handle quickly. By nature, a tandem will not do so, and with you being new to it, you will feel like you are driving an 18 wheeler through the streets of New York.
    Been there, done that. We ride our singles in the city, and our tandem at our country house in Ct.

  19. #19
    Air
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    Quote Originally Posted by crwindy View Post
    Bad idea. NYC is not a friendly place for a bicycle that does not handle quickly. By nature, a tandem will not do so, and with you being new to it, you will feel like you are driving an 18 wheeler through the streets of New York.
    Been there, done that. We ride our singles in the city, and our tandem at our country house in Ct.
    We'll be in a group of at least 100 riders so I'm not worried too much about that - if it was just the day I could definitely see that though.

    Looks like a winter mix for Sunday

  20. #20
    Senior Member VaultGuru's Avatar
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    A piece of advice. A tandem does not handle like your single bike. At first, it will feel like piloting the Queen Mary. Anticipate everything way in advance and respond accordingly. Everyone else's comments are dead on too. Above all, be extra careful
    Cheers

  21. #21
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Be aware of the fact that it's very difficult for a stoker to keep their feet on plain pedals if the pilot has anything like a decent pedal cadence. Without clipless pedals, (or toe clips and straps), even 85 rpms is tough, and even worse if the stoker is trying to "chill back there".
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  22. #22
    Air
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    Thanks for all the advice guys!! The ride unfortunately was canceled but going for a ride on a tandem has been on my todo list for quite some time - looking forward to posting pics when it does!

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