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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 12-03-09, 06:01 PM   #1
DanRH
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Who stands up out there?

I have to say, since starting our tandem experience early this year, the one thing we've yet to master is the art of standing when we climb. I'm a big stander. When not on my tandem, I ride my fixie 80% of the time and I love hill climbing. Kath on the other hand doesn't like to stand at all. She claims (and maybe rightfully so) that it works her core better.

Every time I see Marco and Ruth out of their saddle it's a thing of beauty and I am envious beyond belief.We do work on it at times and mabe with the daVinci, we've made it a bit harder but hopefully we will grow into it. We do OK on the climbs and don't shy away from teh steep stuff but I still feel out of my element when I'm seated on a steep climb.
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Old 12-03-09, 07:55 PM   #2
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I like to stand also but typically do it less on the tandem. One of the neat features of the da Vinci is that is quite possible for either person to stand independently and I do that more now than I used to, if only to alleviate the stress from sitting too long. One curio of the da Vinci that I haven't fully resolved is that my stoker often claims that the resistance is not high enough when we stand together, (so she spins out) even though it seems fine to me. However, it may just be that, as she doesn't ride a single, she doesn't have a good enough standing technique. It's definitely something that improves over time, however. Our balance when either solo or both standing is a lot better that it was a year ago and balance is a big part of it.
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Old 12-03-09, 08:22 PM   #3
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Dan, Sherrill and I are working on standing every ride and getting better, not great. For us the key is to not be in too low a gear - we'll spin out very fast. Also, I've got to be conscious of not using my upper body, but just stay relatively upright and use my weight at a low cadence. One suggestion Bryon @ Crank-2 had made was to get out of the saddle a bit after the stoker so as not to have her "fall behind" during that first spin. What we haven't done (yet) is have to stand on something really steep where we would not only be at a low cadence, but also very slow; I'm thinking the secrete will be quiet upper body, don't rock the boat
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Old 12-03-09, 09:00 PM   #4
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I stand rarely, and when I do it is usually to relieve the nether regions, not for climbing. But stoker will stand as she feels the need. I've always felt more powerful seated (Hinault club). She calls out "up" when about to stand just in case I was thinking of shifting. I must say that we are often spinning too fast under these circumstances for an effective stand, but sometimes it is the best way to deal with a climb. We almost always slow down noticeably when she is standing, I think confirming my preference for seated climbing. YMMV.
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Old 12-04-09, 01:29 AM   #5
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We're still working on trying to ride smoothly when standing up together. I like to stand more than my stoker, but we've found that it works OK if I just stand for a bit while my stoker remains seated.

When standing, you need to use a significantly lower cadence, and so you always need to shift one or two gears higher before doing so. If 2frmMI is not shifting before his stoker stands, this may explain why their speed drops.

With one person standing and the other seating, it can feel very odd for the seated person because the cadence and pedalling rhythm changes a lot when standing. Therefore, when I stand by myself I try to maintain a reasonably high cadence and try to keep the pedal strokes as smooth as possible so that my stoker can still pedal somewhat normally when seated.

It sounds like there are a lot of us who need to keep working on this skill, though. Any tips as to how to do it well simultaneously would be much appreciated.

Last edited by Chris_W; 12-07-09 at 02:03 AM.
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Old 12-04-09, 07:13 AM   #6
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We have experimented with standing, but haven't really found it to be comfortable. When slow climbing in granny gears on steep hills my stoker does stand from time to time while I stay seated because its easier on her legs. I definitely struggle with maneuvering when she does this because the bike is being thrown side to side at near stall speed.
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Old 12-04-09, 09:06 AM   #7
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One curio of the da Vinci that I haven't fully resolved is that my stoker often claims that the resistance is not high enough when we stand together, (so she spins out) even though it seems fine to me. However, it may just be that, as she doesn't ride a single, she doesn't have a good enough standing technique.

I'm not sure, but wouldn't the ICS of the DaVinci drivetrain essentially make her standing pedal input "spin out" if your standing pedal input grossly exceeds her input? Maybe when you're pouring on all that power, you're eliminating the "resistance" necessary for her to stand effectively on her pedals?

For example, if you two were connected by a fixed timing chain (as on a conventional tandem), then she'd just be feathering trying to catch up to match your pedal strokes, but since the drivetrain is independent she's almost freewheeling and can't stand because her pedal output is overshadowed by yours going uphill.

If this is so, then you'd have to adjust your pedal power down enough to more evenly match her pedal input. Otherwise with ICS, she really would be better off just letting you pull by yourself since her standing wouldn't really add anything.

.

Last edited by Stray8; 12-04-09 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 12-04-09, 09:57 AM   #8
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We stand frequently, but have two modes for it, just as we would if we were on our singles.

There are the lower, hill-climbing stands where I might chant quietly to myself 'the bike will not tip over' with each pedal stroke. We mastered these first.

And then the more frequently-used 'small stands' that took us a while to get a hang of. Cycling at higher speeds and higher cadence, we use these small stands to propel us over those smaller rollers or rises, where you might typically lose a smidge of momentum. We are usually both in the drops and at around 90rpm ... more of a sprint to keep moving quickly.

No matter which type of stand we are performing, I believe timing, captain shifting, and communication are the key to success. When we first started trying to incorporate standing he would often count down or tell me how many gears he would shift before standing so we could synchronize our movement. Now he just bellows out what type of stand, pauses slightly, and we are off.
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Old 12-04-09, 10:17 AM   #9
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Ahhh, the old "learning to stand" topic, but with the ICS twist thrown in! Cool!

OK, first of all, get in phase. That, (TO ME), is the easiest way to learn. (If you see a team out-of-phase in a double-stand, simply assume they've had a lot more practice than you, and let it go!) A friend who owns a da Vinci simply calls "Standing" to his stoker who will then stop pedaling for a moment to get back in phase, (if necessary), then she repeats the command and they both stand. Works for them.

Now the stand itself. You don't learn to stand when its critical, (like on the mountainside)! Practice first. Get on flat and level ground at a very moderate speed so you have plenty of room to ramp your speed up. Put the bike in it's highest gear. Now stand. You'll have a ridiculously low cadence, and don't even be in any hurry to wind it up.

Start getting used to how the two of you move the bike together, and both start adjusting to the other's movements. Some like to rock the bike, some like it perfectly upright, and the process is a compromise, just like cadence. TALK! The more experienced cyclist can usually do either, but ya gotta know, ya know? Most generally start out with some amount of rocking, and although Maggi and I can do either, we both still prefer that motion.

Once you get comfortable at the low cadence, start SLOWLY winding it up until you find the upper level. That'll be low at first, probably much lower than your individual standing cadence, but will increase quickly. Practice this a couple of times on every ride, (it's a great saddle and leg break), and in a month or so you'll probably look and feel like a well-oiled team.

Then you can start modifying your style to be more upright, which is what you need to be for an individual stand or an out-of-phase stand.

It's all practice, practice, practice. No magic, no pixie dust, no invoking the names of the cycling gods, nothing. Just practice. Good luck!
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Old 12-04-09, 11:00 AM   #10
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It is my impression that the daVinci independent coasting can be locked. If that is the case, I suggest locking the pedals in phase. Take a variable out of the equation. Practice with the captain and stoker standing individually. Then go together. Once you master standing in the easiest configuration, then you can go back to independent coasting and try standing that way.

We learned to ride and stand out of phase in 1980. Today, standing at most any cadence and any combination is easy. For climbing, we tend to stay seated on the steeper sections and spin and stand on the lessor grades.
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Old 12-04-09, 03:48 PM   #11
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It is my impression that the daVinci independent coasting can be locked. If that is the case, I suggest locking the pedals in phase. Take a variable out of the equation. Practice with the captain and stoker standing individually. Then go together. Once you master standing in the easiest configuration, then you can go back to independent coasting and try standing that way.

We learned to ride and stand out of phase in 1980. Today, standing at most any cadence and any combination is easy. For climbing, we tend to stay seated on the steeper sections and spin and stand on the lessor grades.

Or even better, buy an extra traditional tandem bike (without ICS) to practice on and then you'll have a spare! LOL!


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Old 12-04-09, 10:20 PM   #12
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With all those gears on a tandem, we seldom stand.
35 years of lots of tandeming and only in an emergency will one of us stand.
We use our gears.
We rarely have the need to lift our butts for a respite while riding. Stokercan ask for a 'buns up' break; or she will slightly lift off the saddle at a traffic light/stop sign.
In our decades of riding we've tackled lots of hiils/mountains. When you have a several miles climb, you will not be standing all the way.
We do pedal OOP and that, for us, makes climbing a lot smoother/easier.
Just our input.
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 12-05-09, 12:42 PM   #13
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There's much more experience on this thread than mine, but for what it's worth, 15 years or so enthusiastic but not very quick tandeming with the same delightful stoker

Standing on a climb reminds me (ex-marathon runner and fell-runner) of slowing to a walk on a mountain run - still covering the ground but at a much lower speed and a higher leverage stride.

Tandeming seated, we spin like cyclists, roundy roundy. Tandeming standing, we march like soldiers, uppy downy
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Old 12-05-09, 01:24 PM   #14
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We both use the rollers on our single bikes. I think this has helped the most. We are very neutral while standing. I put little or no more pressure on the bars while we stand. I noticed as we became more in sinc, I used less force to keep the bike straight. Now it feels much like standing on the single bike. I just keep the frame straight. Rocking the frame doesn't work for us. We haven't sinc'ed that, and this will bang her inside legs. I think the stoker following your movements is the key.
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Old 12-05-09, 03:50 PM   #15
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We're only fairly new to tandeming (around 1000km) but we are starting to practice standing. We've tackled some significant hills and our preference is to remain seated and use the gears, but it would be good to stand for 5-10 strokes occasionally just to relieve the muscles. Also standing to power over the small rolling hills just looks like it would be so much fun!
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Old 12-05-09, 11:37 PM   #16
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We've been riding tandem for 25 years so standing is second nature. I do stand a lot on my single and not as much on the tandem, but always trying to do it more often to give my butt and legs a break.
My wife doesn't like it as much, but since she has been riding her new single more the last few months she seems to be picking it up more.
On the other hand I have been on very hilly rides with guys that just sit and power (think Jan Ullirch) and they go just as fast as me standing half the time.
I didn't feel I had as much power as I do standing, so I started to train sitting more while climbing and I was able to improve that aspect.
So I think it just comes down to training and adapting your body to a certain task, and the more tools you have in the box the more versatile you can be.
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Old 12-06-09, 01:46 PM   #17
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We stand pretty easily. It makes for a good way to recruit different muscles on long climbs, and racing, or competitive group rides there are times that you need the burst of power from standing, or when sprinting.


From all the stuff above above, I would emphasize practicing. Also just staying loose.

And if it wasn't mentioned before, your cadence drops when you stand, so it helps gearing up a couple of gears as you stand. The lwoer cadence, and the higher resistence makes standing feel more stable.
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Old 12-06-09, 09:05 PM   #18
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I have to ask. What is the big deal about standing? I haven't been riding tandems for too long, about two years but standing has never been an issue. I didn't know it was supposed to be such a big deal. Maybe ignorance is bliss. I can understand how there could be a problem is one of the riders is pulling to one side or the other but that's about it. Am I missing something? Is this supposed to be harder?
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Old 12-06-09, 11:41 PM   #19
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We are also recent to tandeming, only three months. When we got the bike the cranksets were a bit out of synch, we tried standing but it felt very unstable and scary. Since we synched the cranks it works much better. It's not as easy as on a single but I would attribute it to our lack of experience, the more we do it the more relaxed I am as the captain and the smoother it feels.

Sometimes only one of us stands to get some saddle relief. If my wife, the stoker, gets up I definitely feels it on the front end. I much prefer when both of us get up at the same time.
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Old 12-07-09, 05:42 AM   #20
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Am I missing something? Is this supposed to be harder?
hehe! Not nesessarily. When I first started riding tandems, I was a stoker on a double male team. When it came time for both of us to stand, we just did! No problem or issue, and it felt natural from day one. But we were two equally strong, 6', 160 pound guys on a tight, upright, racing tandem. Fast forward to years later when I started riding tandems with my wife, and it took us a little bit to get it down to where it felt really smooth.

Like anything else tandem, there are so many variables .... the differencial in team member's height, both overall team weight as well as the differencial in team weight, team experience, each individual's standing style, stiffness of the tandem and the tandem fork, etc.

Sounds like you got pretty lucky in that everything matched well enough to allow you to "just do it"! But it doesn't happen that way for every team.
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Old 12-08-09, 02:10 AM   #21
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I have to agree, it can really depend on the stoker. My wife is my regular stoker, and she is a very experienced single bike rider, as am I, but we are not at all smooth standing together, it is always an adventure. However, I went out for a ride with her brother as a stoker once. He is even fitter than either of us and does some cycling. We decided to give standing a try, and it worked immediately, completely smoothly, and perfectly! I was amazed because I always thought that it took a lot of practice and co-ordination, but with him it just worked without even really trying. I asked him if he had any tips to give to my wife about how he was doing it differently, but he couldn't express it. I didn't feel that I had done anything differently, it seemed that he and I just have similar styles which worked well together.
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Old 12-08-09, 12:08 PM   #22
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Every time I see Marco and Ruth out of their saddle it's a thing of beauty and I am envious beyond belief.We do work on it at times and mabe with the daVinci, we've made it a bit harder but hopefully we will grow into it. We do OK on the climbs and don't shy away from teh steep stuff but I still feel out of my element when I'm seated on a steep climb.


Dan, it's mostly just the pictures you've seen.

If I had to guess... while climbing:
70% of the time we are both seated
20% of time I am standing and Ruth is seated
10% of the time we are both standing.

Rough estimate though.

I will say though, you need to upshift 2-3 gears when you stand. Otherwise it gets sloppy and does not help.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:19 PM   #23
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We haven't mastered dual standing yet (too wobbly) so we alternate - one standing at a time. Seems to work OK and get's us up some short steeps.
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Old 12-09-09, 01:47 PM   #24
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We've been standing regularly since we first got the tandem. We had to work through some issues - but we have settled in on how we go about it. I simply say up - my stoker goes up and I follow on my next pedal stroke. This works extremely well for us as I can feel when my stoker is up and allows me to use my pedal stroke I want to lead with. We are not comfortable with one or the other standing solo.

We usually stand to power up some short steep rollers or when it's a long climb or a very steep climb. This was shot during Cycle Oregon in 07 going over the Cascades on a 50 mile - 6,000 foot day. This was the second to two - 2 mile sections of 8-10% grade. Needless to say - it was tough.

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