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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 02-03-09, 08:30 PM   #1
PMK
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Around Lake Okeechobee on a Tandem

I've been asking the wife to consider this as a possible ride for us on the tandem.

Has anyone else ridden around Lake Okeechobee on their tandem? I know there are several road rides that will do it during the year.

My thought was more of a non supported ride, with stops along the route. I'm thinking this could be a good training ride for us in prep for Lake Tahoe in early June. That will be 100 miles and the lake is slightly more than that.

Any thoughts or tips if we give it a go. The obvious ones are sunscreen, bug spray and a cell phone.

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Old 02-04-09, 08:59 AM   #2
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We have done a fair bit of riding around the west side of Okeechobee. The roads are quite open as is the trail on top of the levee so winds and rain are the big issues we encountered. Plus some of the roads we ended up riding had a lot of big truck traffic.

I do have to note (as you likely know) that a flat ride at sea level in Florida isn't going to be anything like riding around a mountain lake a mile above sea level.......still we like riding in Florida AND the Sierras so either and both rides are worth doing just for the pleasure of riding.
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Old 02-05-09, 01:49 PM   #3
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Tahoe is a LOT of up and down, as noted, in addition to the altitude. Nothing
major but clusters of 200-300' ups and downs. Riding dead flat is an order of
magnitude easier than big rollers. Consider adding intervals to simulate hills.
But the mileage is good as is time in the saddle.

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Old 02-05-09, 09:42 PM   #4
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We are going to ride what we can to get ready. Without doubt the elevation and climbs will be something for us to prepare for.

In regards to intervals, good advice. One local ride spot for us has a short climb of about 70 feet of climb in about 300 feet of road. Not exactly best, but best we've got locally.

I'm optimistic if we ride the lake, it will build some confidence about the distance. Just something we have never considered or attempted until now.

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Old 03-16-09, 11:43 AM   #5
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PMK,

My wife and I have done the "Big O" twice on a tandem. Had great experiences both times. I'd say it's not much different than doing it on a single.

There are plenty of places along the way to take a break, buy snacks or even eat a meal. Riding on the LOST trail is great and most of the roads you ride on have paved shoulders. If you go on the weekend traffic should not be a problem.

Be aware that there is a 20 mile section from Port Mayaca to Belle Glade that is being worked on by the Army Corps of Engineers. The trail through that section is closed. You'll have to ride roads from PM to Belle Glade.

The biggest adversity in doing the ride is wind. It is always there! When on top of the dike there is no protection. Choose the day you decide to ride and the starting point wisely. I've talked to guys who did it and had to ride the last 40 miles into a 15-20 mph headwind. Not fun!

Things to bring along: sunscreen, plenty of liquids & nutrition, cell phone, money and camera.

Here are some pics of our last ride around Lake O. Good luck!
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File Type: jpg pic3.jpg (30.2 KB, 25 views)
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Old 03-22-09, 12:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by transam View Post
My wife and I have done the "Big O" twice on a tandem. Had great experiences both times. I'd say it's not much different than doing it on a single.
Questions, Transam. I know there are clubs down that way that already put on lake rides, but they are for all cyclists, not just tandems. They also apppear to do the whole ride in one day since it's only a little over a century. I'm assuming you did the whole loop in one day as well.

What I'd love to see, however, is a tandem ride where we ride the lake in 2 days. Since you've ridden it twice before, could you figure something out and be the guide?

I'm envisioning something where there are hotels/motels side by side with camping areas so that we could accomodate both those who'd like to try a real camping tour and those who want to credit card tour. I figured dividing it into two days would give everyone more time to stop and take pics, play tourist, explore, etc.

Not a "tandem rally", but just an announced "show & go" weekend ride. Yea? Nay? Thoughts?

P.S. - Apologies for hi-jacking your thread PMK, but maybe we can get some more dialog going around this idea that might be useful to you.
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Old 03-22-09, 01:35 PM   #7
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Yes there are a couple of shops here in Palm Beach County that do lake rides.

I did the Big O ride a few years ago before they paved the levy. So most of that ride was on dirt and grass. I forget our exact start point, but it was I near Belle Glade or South Bay. We went about 1/2 way on day one and finished on day two.

With possibly many folks arriving from the North, we might do better to start near Okeechobee, then ride to Clewiston. On day two ride Clewiston to Okeechobee.

The shop that puts on the Big O ride is Bicyclery in WPB. The owner is a good friend and he's hinting at getting a Periscope for him and his little girl. I'll run it by him and see what he thinks.

You are not hijacking the thread. The entire idea sounds fun to do. As for us, training with rides around the lake gives us a goal and destination that makes more of a must do or we don't get home kind of ride.

PK

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Old 03-22-09, 01:36 PM   #8
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Onegun,

Both times we did the "Big O" it was the whole thing in one day. It is a challenging ride, but is manageable for most cyclists. Like I mentioned before there are plenty of places to stop for breaks, snacks or meals. If you start early and pace yourself it can be an enjoyable ride.

As for doing it in two days to accommodate campers and motelers the best choice would be to start at the top of the lake and ride to Clewiston. There are plenty of motels and several campgrounds, even a town park that might allow camping. The breakdown in mileage would be ~54 for day 1 and ~62 for day two. That's doing the west side of the lake the first day.

The biggest issue about doing the Big O is not the distance, but the wind. It is always there! You have to watch the weather and choose a day(s) and starting point that gives the best chance of tailwinds at the finish. Doing the ride in two days increases your chances of having to ride into the wind.

As for being the ride leader for a two day ride I have to decline. My wife was hit by a car while riding her single the day before Christmas and suffered multiple, serious injuries. She is recovering, but will not be ready to do such a ride till spring of 2010. If you'd like to do the ride I'd be glad to answer any questions you have.

Gary
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Old 03-22-09, 02:21 PM   #9
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OK, pardon my ignorance, but am I to understand that there is now a paved trail all the way around the lake except for 20 miles the Corps is working on?

(You'd think, being a Floridian, I'd have been there a hundred times and know the answer to that!)
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Old 03-22-09, 02:26 PM   #10
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I'm not certain on how much has been paved, but I know they did a bunch of it. There are sections like Moore Haven where you needed to exit the levy and ride the bridges that pass over the intercoastal waterway.

The amount paved should be easy to obtain, but if not published I can ask some folks that work for South Florida Water Management District.

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Old 03-22-09, 03:20 PM   #11
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The trail is approximately half paved and half unpaved. Here is a printable map of the trail showing what's paved, access points and some of the facilities. It's a PDF file so you need Adobe Acrobat to see it.

http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Divisi...CS/lostmap.pdf

The Army Corps of Engineers is working on the levee on the east side of the lake and in essence it's closed from Port Mayaka to Belle Glade, a 20 mile section. There is a highway close to the levee that will get you past the construction.

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