I've been lurking here for several weeks and have learned a lot. Now I'm hoping some of you knowledgable folks can guide me in the right direction.
About 5 years ago on a whim and knowing absolutely nothing about tandeming I bought a used Santana. My wife and I rode it once and put it away. In the intervening years we have had two children; a son who is 3 and a daughter who will be 2 at the end of the year. A couple months ago I decided to dig the old tandem out as I thought it would be a fun way for our family to spend time together and get some exersize. I took the bike over to my local LBS for a tune up and we've been riding weekly since.
I've been contemplating something newer and have read the enthusiasm some of you have for your particular brand. Santana isn't frequently among them for some reason. Another issue is that I don't think there is a bike shop in the Los Angeles area that sells multiple brands. Bicycle John's in Burbank tuned up my bike and sells Santana. I've also heard of Bud's but I think they're Santana as well. There are a few Cannondale dealers around as well.
Anway, the first part of my question is whether it would be worthwhile to completely "overhaul" my current bike with all new components or get a new tandem. I don't know what model the bike is. I believe it to be early or mid '80s. It has Ishiwata tubing and is fillet brazed. I believe all the components are original. One of my cheif complaints is that gear selection is not crisp. I have a mid priced mountain bike with grip mounted shifters and it's easy to click into another gear. I like that. Also, judging from what I've been able to pick up here I think the bike might be too big for us. I can stand over the top tube with my legs splayed while my wife gets set-up, but she can't stand over her top tube flat footed. I'm 5'-9" and my wife is 5'-0".
The second part of my question involves cycling with my kids and how it might affect selecting a new ride. I've read almost everything posted on the internet regarding cycling with children but I still don't know which way to go. Currently we have a Bell trailer that we bought at Costco. It works well.
Of course I've thought it would be cool to have a Santana Cabrio quad, but I'm not sure I'm ready to spend $10k and even if I was, are my children way too young? As someone else mentioned, the thought of falling down with the two kids on the bike gives me the creeps. On the other hand, are they going to quickly be getting bored of riding in the trailer making it difficult for us to take family rides?
So, I know this is a lot of rambling and very much appreciate any input folks may have to help me guide my decision process.