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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 05-01-04, 09:51 PM   #1
tornadobass
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We had our Raleigh Companion out for our first real ride today...10 miles in the rolling farmland sound of Iowa City. Our 2 teenagers were along on singles.

I'd just put a mirror on my handlebar end and it was helpful both to watch for cars and to keep an eye on the kids. My wife...the stoker...asked if she could also have a mirror for the same reasons.

Is this common to add a stoker mirror for casual riding? Or should she be the one with the mirror?

Dan Berkowitz
Iowa City, Iowa
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Old 05-02-04, 04:27 AM   #2
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You need a mirror. You are better off if she has one too.

The best mirror I know of is a Cateye helmet mirror. I won't use anything else.

Knowledge is power. I use a mirror all the time: on the racer training rides, on the tandem, on group rides, and while riding by myself. Nobody thinks less of me because I use a mirror. I ride about 93rd percentile on flat ground and about 75th percentile on hills, so the few people who can catch me have more objective criteria for riding partners than appearance.

My stoker uses a mirror too. She did an Oregon tour a few years ago, and that tour required the use of a mirror. She's never been without one since. Safety on the tandem is something we both do. I get it right the first time and she checks my work. If she thinks I am busy with some tactical or strategic concern (pack position coming up to a sprint line or getting away on a break), she tells me about things behind us that might be of concern.
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Old 05-02-04, 08:50 AM   #3
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I'll take a look at the Cateye mirror...I put a Mirrycle mirror on the bike, which is likely to break as the bike falls over. As you can see from our pic, we're closer to duffers than racers these days. But long ago, my wife toured the Oregon coast and did some other tours in Oregon near Portland that headed toward centuries.

On yesterday's ride, I know she felt uneasy not being able to check for cars behind us or to keep an eye on the kids.

I'd agree about the safety factor, too...we went down hills slower than needed...just up to 25 mph...since this was new for us.

Dan
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Old 05-02-04, 08:56 AM   #4
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Oops, asleep this morning, TIGER EYE helmet mirror. I am sooooo embarrassed. I have an unopened package that has a website on the back. www.tigereye.com
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Old 05-02-04, 08:57 AM   #5
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We only have one mirror on our tandem and it's for the stoker. My wife handles all the mirror work, I focus on looking ahead. It works well for us.
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Old 05-02-04, 10:50 AM   #6
tornadobass
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Originally Posted by SDS
Oops, asleep this morning, TIGER EYE helmet mirror. I am sooooo embarrassed. I have an unopened package that has a website on the back. www.tigereye.com
Were you perhaps *still* sleepy :-)

This web site is for a consulting firm...however there is a Third Eye mirror that seems to be highly recommended:

http://www.3rd-eye.com/welcome.html

Anyhow, I'll try to look into some options today.

Dan
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Old 05-02-04, 10:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blwyn
We only have one mirror on our tandem and it's for the stoker. My wife handles all the mirror work, I focus on looking ahead. It works well for us.
Hey blwyn, long time no talk to! I didn't realize you two worked the mirror thing that way. Interesting.

Charlie and I both use mirrors, she'll call car back sometimes when I'm zoned somewhere else in the "captain's" chores. It works for both.
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Old 05-02-04, 09:20 PM   #8
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Berkowitz Tandem Team:
You two look good on the 2-seater!
Handlebar mounted mirrors tend to vibrate, and break when bike falls over; also as you turn a corner you don't get a true perspective of what is behind you.
Our preference (after 29+ years of tandem riding) is an eyeglasses mounted mirror; by slightly pivoting your head (or stoker's head) you can slightly alter field of vision unlike with a bar mounted mirror. Have tried many types but these are the best we found.
Two USA eyeglass mounted mirrors that we recommend highly
Ultra Light rearview mirror by Chuck Harris, from Gambier, Ohio, who has handmade over 75,000 mirrors since 1970, using recycled materials: spokes, mirror and aluminum. Clever, workable and great! Available in several styles/sizes, including helmet mounted. 740-427-3404.
Take A Look Mirror, made in Greely, CO and available in many bike shops.
My stoker prefers not use a mirror but is a second set of ears for traffic approaching from behind us. Whatever works!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy & Kay, Zona tandem
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Old 05-02-04, 09:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by zonatandem
Berkowitz Tandem Team:
You two look good on the 2-seater!
Handlebar mounted mirrors tend to vibrate, and break when bike falls over; also as you turn a corner you don't get a true perspective of what is behind you.
Our preference (after 29+ years of tandem riding) is an eyeglasses mounted mirror; by slightly pivoting your head (or stoker's head) you can slightly alter field of vision unlike with a bar mounted mirror.
Rudy & Kay, Zona tandem
I thought about the eyeglasses mirror, but we both wear progressive lenses...would we be able to focus there?

Dan

PS Thanks for the compliment...someday we'll be a bit trimmer and have flashier cycling wear :-)
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Old 05-03-04, 11:49 AM   #10
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I've had Mirrycles on several bikes, including the tandem. I figure any bar-end mirror is gonna break if you fall while underway. I've learned to swing the mirror in immediately whenever I'm moving the tandem around on foot (in & out of the basement, parking, on & off the roof rack, etc). I have broken various parts of several Mirrycles when the bike has fallen while being "handled", but only when I've failed to swing it in.

Never thought about a mirror for the stoker (my wife). It's an essential for the pilot, who is, after all, "piloting" the vehicle. If Julie needs to see anything behind, it's much easier/safer for her to turn her head than for me.
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Old 05-03-04, 12:02 PM   #11
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Good tip about remembering to swing the mirror in when not riding...I'll take care of that when I get home tonight.

We decided to try a second mirror on the stoker's bars...it's installed but we haven't been out yet to try it.
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Old 05-03-04, 03:21 PM   #12
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Like all things with tandems and cycling, the best option will be the one that works best for you. You'll note, my comments do not specify "who" should have the mirror. Again, that's a personal choice. I believe teams are best served when both the Captain and Stoker have rear view mirrors. However, I must confess that most of the club racers who captain tandems will never use a mirror and then there are some folks who just can't get used to them. In fact, my beloved hasn't been able to get comfortable with a mirror. Of course, that was before she'd had her Lasik surgery... Perhaps it's time to take a run at it again.

Last edited by TandemGeek; 01-30-05 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 05-03-04, 03:57 PM   #13
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I have the cheap "Canadian Tire" mirror on my helmet and those of children. I think the model is similar to Profile's mirror.

As stokers, the kids don't use it to dodge out traffic, but it's nice that they are aware of what's coming in behind them. They also are much more stable because they don't turn around all the time.
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Old 05-03-04, 05:20 PM   #14
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I agree with Mark Livingood about the Take-a-look mirror. I also have mine attached to my helmet, using the little clear plastic adaptor plate that they supply. This permits the mirror to come off when it bumps anything, but that is how it should be, in my opinion. It is very easy to put back on. By the way, I also use prescription sunglasses that have progressive lenses and I have no problems with the mirror. I position the mirror in the distance vision portion of my lens.

My wife (stoker) also uses a mirror, since she is so used to it from her single bike. She uses a third eye mirror attached to the temple of her glasses (also prescription - bifocals). This works as well as a helmet mounted mirror, since either type of mirror changes its view as you rotate your head. The third eye mirrors use a ball and socket arrangement to aim the mirror. In my experience using these, the socket usually loosens after a while, necessitating a replacement. The Take-a-looks seem to be a more robust design from that standpoint.

Like Mark, I feel naked riding without a mirror any more, after using one for the last 20 years of cycling. My wife feels the same and it is not a big deal for both of us to have a view of the rear. She sometimes alerts me to something coming up from behind, although most of the time I'm already aware of the situation before she tells me. Not a big deal though. I would recommend these over a handlebar mounted mirror, but whatever works for you is the way to go.
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Old 05-03-04, 06:19 PM   #15
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This is really helpful...knowing that the helmet and glasses mirrors work even with bifocals and progressives...I'm going to try one out for commuting.

Dan
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Old 05-04-04, 11:45 AM   #16
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I use the Cycle Aware Reflex Mirror http://www.cycleaware.com . It is the first mirror I've used and it works well for me. My stoker is legally blind and can't see anything in the mirror. She can see, but not in good detail, especially with the small size of the helmet mirror.
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Old 05-14-04, 06:56 AM   #17
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I found three problems: 1) With an inexperienced stoker, I was being told "Car back" when the car was still in the next state, so we're working on that. Since she hasn't ridden singles much, she doesn't know that cars become relevant only when you can / have to do something about them: Move right, keep your line straight for a while. 2) I kicked the mirror and broke it while mounting. Of course, I was using a single bike mount, leg over the saddle - my mistake. 3) I still need my eyeglass mirror. I just can't ride without it. That's OK, two (three? four?) eyes are better than one.

She prefers the bar end mirror. It's like her car. I prefer the eyeglass mirror, easier to focus.

Bob Van Siclen
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Old 05-14-04, 08:24 PM   #18
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My two stokers have mirrors, but that's only so they aren't surprised by upcoming cars and trucks. I am the one who looks for traffic and acts accordingly.
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