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  1. #1
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    Thinking about buying my first tandem

    My wife and I have been riding bikes since I started to loose my sight. My sight is getting to the point that I can no longer ride a single without a lead rider to point out hazards. We have test road a few tandems and I am about ready to take the plunge. I guess the thing holding me back is there enough rides to make the cost worth while. While we have ridden with tandems in a group of singles they tend to be in the back. My questions are these: Are there tandem only rides? As a tandem team do you ride by yourself during the week and on weekends? While this may me jumping the *** anyone done the ride across Iowa on their tandem. We were thinking about this ride on singles and I"m not sure how much harder it would be on a Tandem.

  2. #2
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    First.. welcome to the forum and congrats on your decision to consider a tandem. The good news is you will get a lot of info to digest from the many contributors to this site. If you play with the 'search' function you will be reading for days on every subject you might have. In addition, there our numerous links that people will suggest that will give great info.
    But just to start.. here are a few answers to your specific questions. I don't know your area but I would be surprised if it were a whole lot different than what we have here on the west coast..
    Are there enough rides? By choice. we ride mostly by ourselves during the week but on the majority of the weekends from April to Nov. we look for organized rides and charity events where we can cycle with others while doing Century and Metric Century rides. We do the rides for a change of scenery and a chance to meet new people. We choose not to ride in packs during those rides but rather pick a few other cyclist that we feel comfortable around and talk, enjoy the day and have fun. These events are geneally 99% single riders with a few tandems mixed in.
    Are there Tandem only rides. Yes, but they are far more rare. Usually there are smaller Tandem specific clubs throughout the country that do therse rides. In addition there are several major tandem rallies each year in the U.S. and I 'm sure one would be in your general area. (see the link below for more info on these)
    Are Tandems doing the ride across Iowa? I am sure there are and I suspect some of them will respond to your post.
    How much harder on a Tandem? This varies a lot. But in general, if two riders of equal ability team up, it is not much harder for either except slightly more effort is required for the captain to steer and manage the heavier tandem. But, if the two riders have a large difference in ability, then the more stronger of the two will have to put out more effort to ride the tandem as fast as that person rides their single bike. The best way to enjoy the Tandem is finding a balance of riding position, effort, speed, and cadence where both riders are enjoying the experience. This is particularly important early on when both riders are adapting to the tandem. Finding this balance, and communicating with each other to get there, is the most important thing to focus on at the beginning. There are many sources for info on this subject.
    A highly recommended link. Here is one really good link to great tandem info. It includes Tanden specific Clubs, Events/Rallies that you asked about, also great learning info for first time Tandem riders and a million other pieces of great tandem info. http://www.thetandemlink.com/LearningCenter.html

    Good luck and have fun.
    Bill J.
    Last edited by specbill; 11-21-09 at 11:13 AM. Reason: Typo's

  3. #3
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    "my tandem" is an oxymoron; it's "our tandem."
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    Not wearing a helmet makes me more aware of my surroundings. I find myself anticipating the hardness of concrete 50 or 100 feet in front of me, it's almost a zen-like connection between my face and the pavement.

  4. #4
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    My wife said thank-you.

  5. #5
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    I think Bill summed it up pretty good , but I will add this.
    We only ride with other tandems because some of friends and neighbor have one, there is a tandem club but we never ride with them because of logisitics and the differences in ability.
    We ride with singles more and we have no trouble keeping up or even going faster on flats but tend to fall behind on hills.
    Tandems just don't climb as efficiently as singles. Although I am much stronger than my wife on hills, she goes faster up hills on her single than we do on the tandem. I never get to be the stoker, so you will get enjoy that as far as not having to worry about steering, braking and shifting. Just be the engine and enjoy the ride.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Welcome to the tandem page!
    Strongly suggest you commit to a tandem.
    Your eyesight is not getting any better so much safer to do the rides as a stoker if your spouse is willing/able to handle the tandem pilot duties.
    Have ridden with sight impaired/blind stokers . . . hey they're good!
    Years ago we used to reularly lead tandem rides (with singles invited) on a monthly basis in the Tucson area.
    Anywhere from a couple tandems to up to a dozen(at best) would show up. Singles would ride with us and quite often they too became tandemers!
    So if you belong to a local club, suggest you host/lead a tandem ride . . .see who shows up.
    Now we usually ride in tandem about 100 miles a week, but we are in our mid-70s and do not ride as far/fast as we used to.
    The last couple weeks we've had tandem friends show up from California and Maryland to get in a couple days of riding here in sunny Arizona; it may be November but our temps are just about perfect (mid-70s in the p.m. and 30 degrees cooler in the a.m.) .
    However, most of the time it's just the 2-of-us getting in our regular 20-milertro stay in shape
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem






    Quote Originally Posted by jnbrown View Post
    I think Bill summed it up pretty good , but I will add this.
    We only ride with other tandems because some of friends and neighbor have one, there is a tandem club but we never ride with them because of logisitics and the differences in ability.
    We ride with singles more and we have no trouble keeping up or even going faster on flats but tend to fall behind on hills.
    Tandems just don't climb as efficiently as singles. Although I am much stronger than my wife on hills, she goes faster up hills on her single than we do on the tandem. I never get to be the stoker, so you will get enjoy that as far as not having to worry about steering, braking and shifting. Just be the engine and enjoy the ride.

  7. #7
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    My stoker is vision impaired, and not from a cycling background, but he's lovin' it!!
    Did his first 100km Audax ride recently and since then he's just really keen to ride, in fact he wants to try MTB tandeming....YIKES!!
    I will have to borrow a bike and get some "Air"....BIG TIME.

    I think the main thing is, *whatever disability we have, KEEP ACTIVE.



    *From personal experience.
    Last edited by stevegor; 11-23-09 at 03:30 AM. Reason: Add
    I'm lame,
    I'm sore,
    I'm stonkered.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    Other than our first introductory tandem ride, we have never ridden with other tandems, although we're trying. We have seen a few other tandem teams on large organized rides (Bike New York, Bike Philly), but we ride pretty much solo (or should I say stereo?). We love the tandem and haven't ridden our singles since May, if we have any regrets its that we should have bought a tandem sooner. As for effort I believe it depends on your team and equipment, for us it was ++, we improved in every aspect; climbing speed, overall speed, distance, effort and of course max speed! In our case the tandem is a "faster" bike, than our singles (skinny tires, etc.) .

  9. #9
    Senior Member Stray8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arrowman View Post
    I guess the thing holding me back is there enough rides to make the cost worth while.
    Naturally we're all a bit biased here, but it's definitely worth it. Especially if you're losing your vision, tandem riding is your best bet to keep cycling as part of your regimen.

    While we have ridden with tandems in a group of singles they tend to be in the back.
    Why would this matter? Are you riding or racing?


    My questions are these: Are there tandem only rides? As a tandem team do you ride by yourself during the week and on weekends? While this may me jumping the *** anyone done the ride across Iowa on their tandem. We were thinking about this ride on singles and I"m not sure how much harder it would be on a Tandem.
    Tandems only rides are rare but they do happen where there are active tandem bike clubs. I do neighborhood riding with the wife and kids and we are pretty much always the only tandem. If you are already in shape to do a cross state ride on a single bike then you should be okay for completing the same trip on a tandem bike. In fact, if you're touring, it would likely be might be more fun.


    .

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by arrowman View Post
    I guess the thing holding me back is there enough rides to make the cost worth while.
    If you enjoy cycling, and enjoy spending time with your partner then the cost is definitely worthwhile. The cost of a tandem is not significantly different than the cost of two single bikes of comparable quality. Since you may not be able to ride a single bike much longer, perhaps you could sell your single bikes to help offset the purchase price of a tandem.

    There are as many opportunities to ride a tandem as there are with a single bike. Tandems are generally welcome at nearly any ride, cycling event, or organized tour. There is no need to limit yourself to tandem rallies or other tandem specific events. My wife and I ride our tandem around town, on long weekend rides in the countryside, and on extended tours, and we are usually the only tandem on these rides.

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