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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 08-26-04, 09:42 PM   #1
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Migrated from another thread....


Quote:
Originally Posted by wsurfn
I also don't get the super loud jersey & matching gear thing. You don't see that stuff much on the dirt trails, but it is popular on the road....I do get that pros are walking billboards... but weekend warriors??. Electric yellow and pink spandex... Don't see it on the basketball court, dirt, or in our daily life. I find it visually loud (obnoxious), but I respect each individual's ability to choose what ever they like. I just find it interesting that people feel more comfortable to to express their chromatic diversity with their cycling gear...It is just an interesting phenomenon.


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Originally Posted by ottodog
Can't speak for others, but I normally pick the brightest, and most "obnoxious" colors for my jerseys merely for safety sake. I figure the brighter I am, the less chance of some a$$hole motorist running me into the ditch. Not sure, but the last time i was on a single track, or basketball court, I don't remember dodging that many cars. It's probably the same reason highway workers wear those offensive orange vests' when working on the roads, I just can't believe they're allowed in public in those garish things. So for me it's all about safety. The more visible I am, the better.


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Originally Posted by wsurfn
Better visibility... can't argue with that. Definitely some truth to it. Do you think everyone chooses for the same reason (safety)?


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Originally Posted by Murrays
I like lighter shades to stay cool. I like unique jerseys to get comments from my cycling buddies. Certainly, visibility factors in, but it falls in line with the other reasons. My rain jacket is "electric yellow" and that's entirely for safety.

Last edited by livngood; 08-26-04 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 08-27-04, 03:44 AM   #2
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It's my experience that looking like / riding like a "pro" (whatever that means in this context) gets you more space and better treatment (fewer rude/close passes) from the cars.

With carbon-fiber wheels on my single bike and my tandems, and aerobars everywhere they will fit, club jersies and other jersies that have sponsor logos, etc., on them, I fulfill the "look like" part of the requirement. This helps in any brief interaction with cars. If they are going to be behind for more than a few moments, then the other requirement becomes a factor. You have to ride the part as well. You and your group have to look purposeful and competent. That means your bike(s) move as though they are on rails (no wobbles, and no purposeless or aborted maneuvers as part of a pack), go at least moderately fast, and have buffed-looking legs with no lard hanging around anywhere. The public does know that cyclists don't go flat out all of the time, so if you are just sitting on high cruise or so (for me that is 80% of max HR or so, a level of effort I can hold for over three hours), that is good enough. Faster is better, of course.

I have some nice loud solid yellow, long-sleeve fleece jersies I wear in the winter, usually only when I am out by myself. No getting around it, if you are out in Texas and you are wearing solid yellow and moving on down the road, you get more space from the cars.

Having noted the advantage, with improved safety the benefit, I will not give up visibility and public perception for tasteful earth tones or whatever the heck "fashion" thinks I should wear.
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Old 08-27-04, 07:27 AM   #3
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Not sure about the "why" on loud colors, other than the high-vis-yellow foul weather jackets & safety connection that others have already discussed: we have those too. There are probably some folks who wear high-vis-yellow jerseys for the same reason. As for bright pink or some of the other more flamboyant colors, that's more a function of what the clothing manufacturers are offering-up as there is only one company -- Kucharick -- that produced apparel "for" tandem teams. They had some interesting fabric patterns, the most "obnoxious" being the yellow with small black fish skeletons and the tandem-kopelli with the turquise/white/purple/black graphics.

Here are a few thoughts or matching attire based on my experience:

1. It's a carry-over for roadies who belong to cycling teams and end up with a new complete team kit each season and who must or who are encouraged wear their team kit whenever they ride as part of their team association. Ordering an "extra" high quality jersey is usually pretty cheap, i.e., $35 when it's bought as part of a large custom team order. Moreover, when you're used to training rides where everyone is dressed alike then it's "just normal" to have your stoker in the same kit.

2. A carry-over from recreational riders who belong to riding clubs emmulate the racing teams by acquiring matching custom jerseys for both the distinctive look and the lower cost break on the same high-quality apparel that sells for 50% more in trade team colors. Again, if they take up tandem cycling it's no big deal to acquire that extra jersey for your stoker and the "team look" that goes with it.

3. Of course, you also have carry-over from recreational riders who don't belong to racing teams or riding clubs but who want to wear proper cycling apparel and rather than wearing a solid color prefer to have something with more character, e.g., the beer-brands, relica trade team, and fashion statement jerseys.

4. New tandem teams who don't fall into the three categories above but who attend rallies and group rides quickly notice that many teams are wearing "matching" jerseys and decide to emmulate that appearance.... something that isn't all that uncommon in life in general. Now, admittedly, I suspect many of the teams do it because the stoker or captain who haven't belonged to a racing team or riding club think it "looks neat" and look at it as an extension of their own sense of "team" that they derived from riding the tandem. Others just do it to "fit in". The lighthearted teams will often look for novelty jerseys like the Mickey & Miney Mouse on a tandem jerseys or others that are less "racer-like". And then you will also find that the entire protocol of cycling clubs manifests itself in the creation of a "local tandem club" that acquires its own team jersey which brings about the matched pairs.

5. There are also teams who attend rallies, tours, or participate in major events (MS150 ride teams, etc) where both participants end up "matching jerseys" as part of the entry fee, as part of a team, or as an optional premium items, e.g., Santana or Erickson rally apparel. And, last but not least, even a few of the tandem manufacturers sell 'brand jerseys", e.g., Co-Motion, Trek, Cannondale that some teams like to wear as a way of "showing their colors".

6. Of course, once you have the matching jerseys it's often times a slippery slope to acquiring helmets that match once one or both rider's helmets need replacement and the same sometimes even holds true for shoes when both riders can wear the same brand and there is a women's model or mens model that fits the women rider. Yes, some teams take it so far as to even have matching socks and matching Shimano SPD sandles. Enter the foul weather apparel and the team look continues to invade the wardrobe.

So, for what it's worth, that's why you'll find some tandem teams in matching apparel. It's roots are genuine in that it is a roadie thing.

Tri-geeks are lone-wolves who don't usually belong to teams as are the vast majority of mountain bike riders who don't race on a team. Same thing for pick-up stick and ball games, by its very definition it's a "pick-up" game of individuals and not an organized "team" activity where a uniform becomes part of the kit, e.g., intramural or company softball teams etc... will usually have matching jerserys.

Us, I think at last count we were down to about 45 matching "tops" between the two of us, accumulated over many years of cycling. Included in those 45 tops -- most of which are from my club affiliations -- are about 16 sets of matching items. Some of the items include a short-sleeve jersey, long-sleeve jersey, and matching wind jersey again, because they are necessary items for year-round riding and they are cheaper to buy that way. However, if the temperature is above 70 degrees (April - October), chances are Debbie and I won't match as she prefers to wear sleeveless tops and none of those match or even coordinate with any of my club jerseys. Matching helmets and shoes? Guilty. We didn't start out that way but over time I found that the Limar F107 helmets are ideally suited for both of our head shapes (smallish and round) and Side shoes have proven to be the best fit for both of as as well -- and come in a very pragmatic black color. Socks... she wears dark ones I wear either light or none at all.

Last edited by livngood; 08-27-04 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 08-27-04, 08:31 AM   #4
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I can't add a lot to this thread other than the anecdote that Beth saw a matching pair of jerseys for a good price on ebay, so we bid. Didn't win, and thus still don't match, but if the opportunity comes along, why not? Yesterday I saw a guy in a sierra nevada jersey; a pair of those would be sweet. But at $70 apiece, that won't happen either.
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Old 08-27-04, 12:10 PM   #5
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Just bought the loud neon orange jersey..My work site, the plant is now undergoing major construction. So, if about the plant with all the traffic we have to wear a bright orange/vest shirt..So, I bought a bright orange jersey, I double up at work and wear my bright orange bike jersey/t shirt..(single pocket) It it is required at the work site, then while biking on the road, should be all right. When bought it at Performance, the sales rep said bright colors such as that increase the odds of being hit by 35%.
As to team jerseys..My favorite is Bonjour. Just in case, as a cyclists, I am accused of Not Saying Hello.
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Old 08-27-04, 12:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclezealot
sales rep said bright colors such as that increase the odds of being hit by 35%.
.
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Old 08-27-04, 02:59 PM   #7
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Guess better not wear that jersey on todays commute..
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Old 08-27-04, 03:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclezealot
When bought it at Performance, the sales rep said bright colors such as that increase the odds of being hit by 35%.
Did the sales associate happen to mention where he or she came across that statistic or was that their own view of reality?

It certainly sounds like a statistic that needs to be qualified as it is not consistent with anything I've ever heard or read. In daylight, I think most data suggests that the color of a rider's apparel does NOT usually have much influence on the likelihood of being hit while riding a bicycle or motorcycle. Cyclists and motorcyclists are hit because drivers are only concerned about seeing other large objectives like cars or larger vehicles (threats) and are not looking for and don't react to smaller objects like cyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians (non-threats).
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Old 08-27-04, 04:52 PM   #9
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We're probably in that last category...we chose jerseys etc. because we saw others wearing bike clothing when we first got started...then we decided to go with matching stuff. The one difference is that I wear Wilson socks, but my wife won't because of her political views that conflict with the Wilson "W."

We've also gotten matching Alertshirt t-shirts in yellow and in orange...not quite standard cycling gear, but really visible and comfortable.

Bottom line, tandem riding is one of the few things we really do together, and matching outfits adds a fun factor.
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Old 08-27-04, 11:06 PM   #10
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Livingood..Did not ask..I would doubt a clerk at Performance? His comment was just elicited because of the bright orange hue reflected in his face from the bright lights of the store.
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Old 09-08-04, 03:43 AM   #11
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the only matching gear we use is our bright yellow gore tex jackets
there more of a dull yellow now..
otherwise no matching gear
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Old 09-08-04, 05:13 PM   #12
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If our jersey looks 'loud' or 'obnoxious' or whatever. . . then we have achieved our goal of being visible!
Several years ago we took stock of all our event t-shirts and jerseys . . . my gosh! Over a 100 t's each?!! What to do?
Next time we went on an extended sojourn by car (with trusty tandem inside) we left a trail for 5 weeks from the southwest to the northeast of the USA; each day we wore a clean event t-shirt and left it in the motel room when we departed! Sure cut down on the laundry problem!
Yes, we are guilty of wearing matching outfits while tandeming!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay
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Old 01-18-05, 12:02 PM   #13
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We don't wear matching apparel either except for our helmets. It's usually us just wearing our sweat outfits and when the weather gets warmer, we put on the shorts and tank tops. We saw a matching set of Mickey Mouse jerseys on EBAY awhile back and bid on them but didn't win. My wife thought they were kinda neat so that might be an option down the line. Here's the part that bothered us this past weekend. For the first time ever, we decided to go on a group ride that happens every weekend. Everyone there was in some kind of jersey along with their "Spandex" shorts as my wife would call them, but it was the tandem couples that gave us those "snobby looks" because of what they were wearing vs. what we were wearing. I thought it kinda strange, but throughout the ride not a single couple smiled or introduced themselves to us even though we tried to strike up a conversation. We eventually broke off on our own and still made a day of it. Any one ever have this happen?

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Old 01-18-05, 12:21 PM   #14
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Wow.... I think I will rethink any plans to move west.......

Being a n00b tandem team, we have yet to accumulate any matching outfits. I don't ride in sweats, but I can't understand you receiving such treatment. Is it a racing team ride?
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Old 01-18-05, 12:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mhendricks
I thought it kinda strange, but throughout the ride not a single couple smiled or introduced themselves to us even though we tried to strike up a conversation. We eventually broke off on our own and still made a day of it. Any one ever have this happen?
Wow, that is really sad. I hope you don't give up something the two of you obviously enjoy so much.

There seems to be more and more of this elitism/snobbery going on these days from what I'm reading on this forum. Just chalk it up to a phase. All the best.
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Old 01-18-05, 12:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mhendricks
Everyone there was in some kind of jersey along with their "Spandex" shorts as my wife would call them, but it was the tandem couples that gave us those "snobby looks" because of what they were wearing vs. what we were wearing. I thought it kinda strange, but throughout the ride not a single couple smiled or introduced themselves to us even though we tried to strike up a conversation. We eventually broke off on our own and still made a day of it. Any one ever have this happen?

Hate to say it but Offroad Tandems are very thin on the ground, and although I know of 5 other teams with full Mountain Tandems in my area, We have never ridden together. We very often meet them on the local hills, but they are always on their solo's. They have the latest Trek/Speckie/Dale Full suspension costalot bikes, but although we have tried to arrange Tandem rides, it never seems to get done.

As I have never ridden with other tandems on an organised or casual ride, I can't comment, but I do find that there is a lot of "snobbery" amongst certain groups of riders. I ride Mountain bikes and the Mountain Tandem, and it is surprising how many people look down on us on the tandem. We are normally covered in mud, wearing allsorts of wonderful clothing, but we are out enjoying ourselves. Tandems get about as much respect as an off road Unicycle. They may admire the riders skill and Fitness But why do it?

Occasionally. I do an organised ride, and that is what we keep our Tandem specific clothing for. Matching shorts/ tops/ waterproofs/ whatever else that matches. All of which was bought at bargain prices, but I always look out for Quality clothing at Discount prices and always as a pair of medium and large. We will only wear this cheap clothing though if it fits and is comfortable, so to date only have one set of matching gear. The rest of the time, we wear what we want for the day, or generraly it is whatever is clean in the drawer.
However, as I say, For the big organised rides, we do try to look a team, and that is what we are wearing in attached thumbnail. This was on a 100 mile offroad ride in 2004, at around the 60 mile mark. No chance of riding with other tandems on this ride though as only one other entered and they were fit.
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Old 01-18-05, 12:45 PM   #17
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It's not a racing team ride. Just a gathering of riders that takes place on the weekends. It won't deter us from riding with a group but to be honest, I'd much rather ride with just my wife. That's what we bought the tandem in the first place.
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Old 01-18-05, 01:51 PM   #18
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I have taken my tandem on one large group ride and one smaller club ride. The large ride was one of those benefit rides with hundreds of participants, 4 routes of varying lengths and so on - the type of ride that attracts everything that can roll. Everyone was very nice! Of course, there were way more recreational riders than 150-mile-a-week-plus riders. We actually had a following-literally! We would pick up singles as we passed them and they would fall in line behind us untill we had about 10 singles in our wake.

On the club ride my stoker (a beginner) was intimidated by the fitness level of some of the women on the ride and so we hung at the back of the pack. We got dropped on the climbs and would reconnect on the descents. I knew a lot of the folks on the ride, so everyone was friendly enough, but after busting my bum for several miles to stay with the group, we turned off, slowed down and did our own thing. I think we would not have had as much fun if we were constently trying to keep up....
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Old 01-18-05, 07:38 PM   #19
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We did a lot of club rides on the tandem through the fall...always in matching outfits...and always the only tandem on the ride. We were received in a friendly way each time. I think it might matter what kind of club you ride with...this group is mainly older...a lot of gray hair and a lot of grand kids (not us, though). When I rode on my own a few times, I was always asked where my wife was (don't worry, didn't ride a stokerless tandem!)
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Old 01-18-05, 08:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mhendricks
It's not a racing team ride. Just a gathering of riders that takes place on the weekends. It won't deter us from riding with a group but to be honest, I'd much rather ride with just my wife. That's what we bought the tandem in the first place.
Those Giordana Mickey & Minnie Mouse tandem jerseys are very hard to come by. They were a limited production run a few years back and the folks who've got 'em don't tend to let them go. Good hunting...

Don't know what to tell you about the group ride experience other than people are people, regardless of what they ride. Being animals at heart, humans tend to create and/or seek to join groups and often times adopt the norms of the group during the social bonding process... norms that can often times become a form of self-expression.

Assuming this was a weekly road ride, it sounds like you have come upon a "tribe" of tandem owners who, at least based on your description, have adopted the "road cycling kit" as their "colors" and I'd hazard a guess that they were riding mid to premium level 700c road tandems as well. Again, just an assumption based on some of the "norms" that we have observed in tandem teams over several years.

If that was the case then yes, I suspect they were "checking you out" as that is a common occurrence. However, I'm not so sure that's necessarily a negative thing as most humans -- loners & and the ones that belong to an established group -- tend to check-out new folks in all other aspects of their lives, be it "the new kid on the block", "the new folks in the gym", "the new hire in the office down the hall", and of course "the couple on the tandem." And, yes, I suspect that they were making some assumptions about you based on visual cues -- your physique, how you dressed, what you rode, what you drove up in, and how you ride -- just as I would suspect (if only based on your own comments) that you were likewise sizing-up and making assumptions about them. Again, I think it's fair to say it's something that most of us do, consciously or subconsciously and it's just part of being a warm-blooded mammal. It's also fair to say that not every couple who ride a tandem will find a natural fit every other couple who ride tandems, anymore than do the folks who ride single-seat bicycles.

That said, I'm glad to hear that the first impression won't deter you from pursuing other group ride opportunities and that it hasn't tarnished any enthusiasm for riding with your spouse. In fact, I would suspect that if you returned to the same ride that you might find the other teams to be less stand-offish and perhaps more engaging. Again, it's just part of the socialization process. Moreover, and on the bright side, if you remain undeterred in your pursuit of two-wheeled, two-seat bliss AND you have an interest in meeting other like-minded couples, I can assure you they are out there and will have similar first-time group ride experiences to share.

As we who ride motorcycles with different pedigrees have said for years, "it's not what you ride, it's that you ride" that matters... so ride what you like, like what you ride, and double your enjoyment by sharing the ride. If you can find other like-minded couples to ride with, that's just putting icing on the cake.

Last edited by livngood; 01-18-05 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 01-18-05, 08:46 PM   #21
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Just as an anecdotal post-script, let me share a photo and story about this photo with y'all that goes to the heart of what's possible in terms of the tandeming experience AND with an Internet discussion forum angle.

Below is a photo depicting 7 of the 9 off-road tandem teams who decended on Tsali NRC near Bryson, North Carolina back in October for a few days of single track on all four loops... basically tandem-friendly terrain, even when it was raining. Right to left: Tom & Donna from Cincinnati, OH; Marvin & Mary from near Chicago, IL; Buck & Lisa from Cincinnati, OH; Dave & Vanessa from near Toronto, Canada; Brian & Karen from Dearborn, MI; Marv & Miryam from Talahassee, FL; David [less stoker] from Asheville, NC; Mark & Debbie from near Atlanta, GA; and behind the camera were David & Christen also from Atlanta.

So, how did tandem teams from Canada, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia all end up in the same place for a weekend ride? Simple, it took years in the making. More to the point, all of these people came to know each other through an Internet mailing list/discussion forum where the only common thread was an interest in off-road tandeming. If you think road tandems are a niche market with a small following, Stapfam will back me up here when I suggest that off-road tandeming makes road tandeming look like NASCAR in terms of the following and opportunities to meet and ride together. Moreover, were it not for the common interest in off-road (and road) tandems, this highly compatible group who only met for the first time at Tsali would have likely never crossed paths. As it is now, this group now includes dedicated roadie cross-overs as well as hard-core off-road devotees who have just recently acquired their first road tandems and who will return to the South for their first road-tandem Rally in June.

The moral of the story? You'll meet some of the nicest people you'll ever know while riding a tandem... even if it takes a little while. Yes, yes, I know; spandex pants and matching jerseys. But, in this case at least the jersey is a TANDEM-CLUB jersey! Hmmm. Guess that means we're a group, even if we only get together for a ride once or twice a year.
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Old 01-19-05, 01:07 AM   #22
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I have been on two group/organized tours..The organizer provided us with a ride jersey...I did not mind wearing the same jersey..The organizer liked it..Helped to recognize his floc..Also, we recognized one another. Since we had the same agenda helped us to connect with our own group in seeking advice ..There were the ocassional riders who did not belong to our group...Saved us time in not bothering those not in the group and assisted the organizer in helping those he is responsible for..
Besides, we shared in a lot of commaradie..What's wrong with sharing jerseys..
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Old 02-01-05, 11:26 AM   #23
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We wear matching helmets and shoes, but that was just because we got good deals and took advantage of them simultaneously. I generally wear a Hi-Vis yellow jersey, stoker wears day-glo pink. I'm in bib shorts nearly always; wife in tights unless above 70 degrees. Haven't participated in many club rides on the tandem. Feel no overwhelming need to match, but practicality of Hi-Vis leading us to consider a matching jersey for stoker.
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Old 02-16-05, 08:24 PM   #24
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No need to justify why people where certain styles of clothes. To each his/her own. I'd rather be looking at my Colorado landscape than the clothes that I'm wearing or the at the people wondering about my choice of clothes.

Just ride...
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Old 08-28-05, 09:42 AM   #25
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I'm a newbie member, but long time tandem rider. This is my first post.

I've design several jerseys for my local club, the New York Cycle Club. My priorities were: A. high visability for safety through the use of bright colors; B. high identity to promote the club and and creat a feeling of a team; C. and last but no least, FUN.

Regarding tandem riders wearing matching outfits, We started wearing matching jersies becuase they were require for a Tandem Time Trial event. Later as we attended Tandem rallies we continued wearing them. Also at these events, people would match up couples by their jersies as in "oh I was talking to your wife" or "your husband is over there" even though they didn't know us yet.

Tandems require working together and and sharing the matched jerseis reflect that for some (but are not required).
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