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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 01-24-09, 07:36 AM   #1
DCwom
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Where DON'T you ride your tandem?

I know there are folks who will ride anywhere its legal (we're a bit road shy), but are there places that you wouldn't ride a tandem, that you might otherwise ride a single?

Still looking for our first tandem...
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Old 01-24-09, 07:57 AM   #2
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I think some MTB trails are too technical, but I wouldn't think twice about tandeming on any road that I would single on...
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Old 01-24-09, 08:26 AM   #3
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I hate putting my wife at risk on certain two lane roads with no shoulders, high traffic and posted speeds of 50 or more. I will do some of that on a single but just won't do those on our tandem if there is any possible way to avoid 'em.

Bill J.
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Old 01-24-09, 08:36 AM   #4
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Severe down hills. I only have rim brakes and if there is a long hill that needs a lot of braking then I will not go there with the tandem. I have read too many stories and I do not want to share that experience. Although we have hit 50mph on hills where I know the risks.

Last edited by Butcher; 01-25-09 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 01-24-09, 08:37 AM   #5
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Mountain descents. The 10-20% grades with bumps and turns. I would not take the tandem there; I would not like it (I am not too bold on the single on these things, either), and my wife would insist we walk it.
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Old 01-24-09, 08:44 AM   #6
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Ditto the hill thing, after unpleasant experience I am leary of unknown
longish downhills with blind curves, especially in mobs of other tandem
naive cyclists. For example, the 3 States, 3 Mtn century in May in
Chattanooga is a nice ride but 2500 riders and twisty downhills with a
few hairpins thrown in scare the crap out of me. I can roll 45+ on a
singleton on some of those; way too much risk on a tandem.
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Old 01-24-09, 12:12 PM   #7
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I...., but are there places that you wouldn't ride a tandem, that you might otherwise ride a single?
No.
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Old 01-24-09, 12:41 PM   #8
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Looong hills. I'm talking about 3+ miles with no place to catch your breath. On a single I can grind it. On the tandem my wife quits after a mile or so, lol. But we are getting better at it.
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Old 01-24-09, 12:57 PM   #9
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No.
Same here. (for on-road... We don't have a MTB tandem)
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Old 01-24-09, 01:20 PM   #10
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We avoid narrow two lane roads with heavy traffic.
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Old 01-24-09, 01:39 PM   #11
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Yes. Multi-Use-Paths (MUPs). I hate ridings on MUPs. I think they are dangerous because of the unpredictable users.
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Old 01-24-09, 02:22 PM   #12
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Even though I'm comfortable just about anywhere on my single and used to ride in center city Philadelphia, I'm a little uncomfortable in congested areas on the tandem. Some bike paths are a drag as well. I can think of the big path in Milwaukee(forgot the name) and the Burke-Gilman in Seattle as 2 examples.

Frank
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Old 01-25-09, 08:47 AM   #13
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Those of you that commented about descending, I can see your point about long downhills if your braking isn't adequate, but with a good drag brake such as the arai drum, it really isn't a concern. It's true that a tandem can't dart around things - especially at low speed - the way a single can, but I find that my tandem is much more stable and predictable than my single. It always feels very stable even at quite high speeds, it tracks very true. I suppose there's a lot of room for preference, but I stand by the taking my tandem anywhere (on the road) that I would take my single. Mediterranean cities in Italy in France were probably the trickiest places I've ridden - fully loaded for touring. I think a single would have been interesting there though as well...
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Old 01-25-09, 10:12 AM   #14
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Basically, the only place I won't ride the tandem is: on the right side of a two lane road. On my single bike, I am sometimes inclined to ride on the ride side of traffic and do just a little bit of careful maneuvering around slow traffic, etc.

On the tandem, however, I take the lane and ride with the traffic. Its a lot harder to weave on an 11 foot triplet. Our triplet also can't really do single track. I have put wider tires on for some wider trails and gravel MUP, but the long turning radius and absence of any shock absorption would make single track undoable.

Also, I should clarify that I will ride in traffic on my own and with my stokette (7 yo), but when my rear stoker (wife) is riding, we try to stay clear of heavy traffic roads. Being in the back, and having much more fear than I have, I will get yelled at if the traffic becomes a problem.
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Old 01-25-09, 05:44 PM   #15
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.....I won't ride the tandem inside my house, like I've done with my singles, (even then I got scolded by the missus),

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Old 01-25-09, 05:52 PM   #16
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no.
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same here. (for on-road... We don't have a mtb tandem)
+1 but no MTB tandem.
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Old 01-25-09, 07:15 PM   #17
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I an road shy myself. So, i don't do any riding out on the open road on a tandem or single unless it is with a group. I am somewhat lucky that i have a large rural industrial area (park) near my home.
I have a 10 mile loop that is mixed rolling hills. It is void of through traffic so i maybe get passed by 5 cars per lap? I have done as much as 70 miles at a stretch.
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Old 01-25-09, 07:47 PM   #18
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We only ride road. I was careful to ease my stoker into dealing with high speed traffic passing situations and she got over it pretty quick.

Almost all of my single bike experience was on flat roads, so I struggled with going uphill when we first started doing tandem events outside our area & of course, passed my struggles along to my stoker. We've long gotten over it now that we've learned to pace ourselves based on effort & ignoring speed. So far, we've only walked one time for a short stretch of 20% grade and think we've gotten much better since then.

Downhill, I usually start to push it a little as we start tilting down, see how she feels, then we compromise. She's almost always fine up into the mid 30's unless it's too twisty. Then I either slow down or tell her what I'm seeing and road conditions to get 40 or a little +. She's got her own GPS so I can't lie. We don't have enough hills near us or a lot of hill experience to risk much more.
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Old 01-25-09, 08:02 PM   #19
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I only ride road and will ride the tandem anywhere I would ride a single.
My stoker does not ride bikes and is very comfortable wherever we go. I have earned that 100% trust thing after 20+ years touring on motorcycles and bikes.

Just keep doing it!
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Old 01-25-09, 10:25 PM   #20
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Same here. (for on-road... We don't have a MTB tandem)
Likewise for us.

In fact, we've taken the tandem on some roads we have yet to take our singles on.
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Old 01-25-09, 10:46 PM   #21
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Off road on the tandem we'll ride about anything. The few things that may cause a hesitation or walk the bike are going over logpiles or roots that will smash the front chainring or frames lower tube, the other is elevated narrow bridges. These for two reason one is falling off the other is my wifes extreme fear of even the smallest heights.

As for on road, my wife's entire road riding has been just recently on the road tandem. Without a doubt, there are some local roads we will not ride at certain times of day and will use the alternative sidewalk. These roads are posted as 50mph but do have bike lanes. The idea of motorists speeding at more like 70mph past you and only 3 or 4 feet away, while cell phoning or deciding which strip mall or restaurant to stop at along the road side is a bit much. Metal bridges are not a go either.

Terrain wise we try to almost anything. Speedwise, not sure about 50mph downhill yet, but a few runs at 40 may get her comfy enough to head towards 50.

Regardless it's always about being able to ride again tomorrow. I'm not here to scare her or hurt her, we both are doing this to have fun and enjoy the ride.

PK

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Old 01-26-09, 12:48 AM   #22
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+1 but no MTB tandem.
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Likewise for us.

In fact, we've taken the tandem on some roads we have yet to take our singles on.

We haven't taken the tandem up Bohlman-On Orbit YET.

But we will eventually!

I fear the downhill more than the uphill
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Old 01-26-09, 05:26 AM   #23
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We have a flat Bar Santana and I put MTB tires on it when we camp near a trail system. So I will ride it both on and off road. The only place I avoid are overly technical off road trails with real tight turns. I really enjoy these on my single MTB but don't like worrying about my stoker hitting trees, rocks etc.
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Old 01-26-09, 09:24 AM   #24
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The neighborhood bike routes often have cut-thrus with mazes at the end that I can ride a single through but could not imagine trying to get the tandem through, even at a walk. So those routes/MUPs with the mazes were not on our tandem agenda.
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Old 01-26-09, 10:04 AM   #25
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One other place I will not ride is up the hill where I live in Kent [James street]. There are sidewalks [I know, but if you know James you would use the sidewalks too] with root damage and my pedals will bottom out because of the length of the bike. Single is OK. Sucks when you are riding hard and then have to walk the 'bump' and start on a hill.
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