As some of you may remember, in mid December I posted several threads here that culminated in my wife and I purchasing a "99' Cignal Melbourne Express" hybrid/mountain style tandem from craigslist. After a month of looking at it taking up precious living space in our 900sqft apartment we finally got to ride it today! The temps have been below freezing here in the B-W Corridor since well before X-mas and while I love riding, it wasn't worth trying to get Mrs. HandsomeRyan out in miserable temps. After all, this is supposed to be fun. Today it warmed up to the low 50's and my wife got off work early enough to get home before dark. Today we decided was the day to take the tandem out for a spin.
I must say I was blown away by how good of a stoker my wife was. She isn't an avid cyclist and I was a little worried that I'd have to pull us both up the hills but this simply was not the case. She was great, even pushing me to pedal harder up some of the more tiring hills. I think she's a better stoker than I am captain since I only called out about half of our stops, shifts and bumps. We're new at this though and I think we'll quickly get better as a team.
It was so nice to be able to have a conversation without riding dangerously side-by-side or having to keep looking back to see if she was still behind me. Also we encountered a little traffic and 'door zone' riding coming up the main street of our little town and I was glad to be able to watch for that and not be concerned that someone would 'door' my wife behind me.
I know that a lot of BF members lurk in this forum because they are interested in tandems. If anyone reads this who is on the fence about it I say absolutely try it! I enjoyed riding single bikes with my wife but the tandem is so much easier and more fun since we can talk and neither of us has to slow down or speed up to keep up. I can see us having a lot of fun together this spring and summer once the days get longer and we have more time to ride. I know we won't win any races on our boat anchor of a bike but its fun to just cruise around town slowly and wave at people who can't help but smile when they see us ride by.
Thanks for all the advice and information you've all shared with me via this forum. I'll try to get some pics of my wife and I on the bike ASAP.
Rodriguez Toucan tandem, Rodriguez Rainer Lite sport/touring
It's great that you've finally gotten out. The temperatures around here haven't been that bad lately, but it has been raining a lot so we haven't gotten out much ourselves. I wonder if people who aren't avid cyclists make better stokers; since they don't have to deal with traffic and shifting and braking and stuff like that, they can relax and concentrate on just pedalling. I know my wife's like that. The calling out of bumps and gear changes will come with time. We've found that unannounced shifts to a lower gear can be kind of a jolt to the stoker whereas shifts to a higher gear are not as big a deal. Stuff ythat ou do on a single without thinking - like turning and coasting - require announcement also. Don't be reluctant to ride far enough in the lane to avoid the door zone; I'm not, and I'm also constantly scanning parked cars to see if there's anyone inside who may be about to open their door.