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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 08-22-10, 03:05 AM   #1
Machka 
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Testing the Waters

On Saturday we picked up a tandem!!

It's only borrowed ... a fellow Audax Australia member has loaned it to us for a month or so to give us a chance to try it out. We've been talking about renting one for some time. Then a couple weeks ago we were in at Abbotsford Cycles, chatting to the owner (the fellow Audax Australia member) about my challenges and difficulties with cycling these days (see the Starting Over thread in Long Distance http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-Starting-Over) ... when all of a sudden he offered us the tandem!! We took him up on it and picked it up yesterday.

Both Rowan and I have ridden tandems in the past... in fact we've both owned tandems before. But it has been a long time since either of us has ridden one, and we had not ridden one together before.

So today ... Rowan and I did a 30.8 km ride on the tandem. It went really well ... better than expected. We took about 3 tries to sort out the starting technique but then got something that works, and kept practicing that. We seem quite compatable and comfortable with each other on the tandem ... and the ride was a lot of fun!


Photos of the tandem (and a couple of me on my "new" town bicycle) ... http://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...detail/?page=4




Now we're thinking about buying one!! We were talking and think we might want something that can be taken apart for easier transportation ... and something for touring purposes, not racing.
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Old 08-22-10, 06:03 AM   #2
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Hi Machka,
There isn't a huge choice of quality tandems in Oz, Cannondale or Trek tandems appear rarely on eBay or the Trading Post.
The KHS tandem you are borrowing is a good introduction model to try, but if you want something better you may need to contact a tandem club for info about tandems that club members may be selling or find a LBS that caters for tandems, not common in Oz
The other option is to import a tandem frame from the US or the UK and build it up here.... not cheap!!

S&S couplings make tandems easily to transport.

Cheers
Steve

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Old 08-22-10, 08:32 AM   #3
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I love our new Co-Motion Speedster with its steel frame: it would be a very nice bike for touring since it's so comfortable. And it optionally comes with S&S couplings for travel. The bikes are very expensive new, particularly with the couplings, but they do come up on the secondhand market here in the states.

One idea for you, should you want to purchase your own bike when you have to give the KHS back: use Craigslist to search the US for bikes that are available used. Obviously you'd be buying sight-unseen, and arranging shipping, but if there aren't many options locally this might be the way to go. The two links below might help. Searchtempest.com searches across all the criagslist sites in the US and Canada. The 2nd link is an actual search - you should be able to load it in your browser and then hit "Modify Search" to adjust it to your own parameters.

http://www.searchtempest.com/

http://www.searchtempest.com/results...00&maxAsk=5000
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Old 08-22-10, 10:33 AM   #4
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I knew you guys would have a great ride! So, you don't want to race it? What's up with that! I bet it would be perfect for you guys on longer brevets, especially one like PBP that is very tandem friendly.

btw, was it raining on your ride? It looks cold!
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Old 08-22-10, 02:13 PM   #5
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btw, was it raining on your ride? It looks cold!
Weather forecast for Melbourne, right now it is 43 F.
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Old 08-22-10, 04:16 PM   #6
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I knew you guys would have a great ride! So, you don't want to race it? What's up with that! I bet it would be perfect for you guys on longer brevets, especially one like PBP that is very tandem friendly.

btw, was it raining on your ride? It looks cold!

We're talking about trying a 200K on one. And there is a 200K coming up in a few weeks. Something to think about.

No, it didn't rain on the ride, but it was sure threatening .... lots of heavy dark clouds. It's been like that for weeks now ... cool and lots and lots and lots of rain. The fields have turned into ponds here. I think it was about 8C (46F) when we set off. This morning it's about 5C (41F) ... we're usually a bit cooler than Melbourne, up here in the mountains.
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Old 08-22-10, 04:19 PM   #7
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One idea for you, should you want to purchase your own bike when you have to give the KHS back: use Craigslist to search the US for bikes that are available used. Obviously you'd be buying sight-unseen, and arranging shipping, but if there aren't many options locally this might be the way to go. The two links below might help. Searchtempest.com searches across all the criagslist sites in the US and Canada.
Unfortunately shipping costs between North America and Australia are very high ... it is a lot less expensive to have something shipped from the UK, if we're going to look outside Australia for a tandem. We'll probably start by doing an Australia-wide search and see how that goes.
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Old 08-22-10, 06:28 PM   #8
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Machka,

www.bikeexchange.com.au

If you do a tandem search on this site there are two lightly used road tandems for sale. A Trek and a Cannondale.

Cheers
Steve
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Old 08-23-10, 08:56 AM   #9
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We bought ours here:
http://www.tandemmag.com/classified/

You have traveled back and forth a bit? Pick it up here and fly back with it? We looked for a long time to find ours.
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Old 08-23-10, 06:14 PM   #10
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We're talking about trying a 200K on one. And there is a 200K coming up in a few weeks. Something to think about...
Think about it????? You need to think about it?
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Old 08-23-10, 08:59 PM   #11
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Thinking about it because ... I'm not 100% sure I can even do a 200K. I DNF'd my last one. But I have been riding my butt off on the trainer ... so perhaps I'm in better shape now.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:01 PM   #12
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We bought ours here:
http://www.tandemmag.com/classified/

You have traveled back and forth a bit? Pick it up here and fly back with it? We looked for a long time to find ours.
We were doing a lot of travelling, but flying is what got me into my DVT mess and so my last flight was over 14 months ago, with nothing planned for probably another year. Every time I mention flying to a Dr these days, they get a really funny expression on their faces.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:45 PM   #13
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Think about it????? You need to think about it?
Well, the 200K route would be done entirely by Machka. There wouldn't be a team with a relay.
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Old 08-23-10, 10:22 PM   #14
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Well, the 200K route would be done entirely by Machka. There wouldn't be a team with a relay.
Har-de-har-har I may have done RAAM on a team but I have done a half dozen 1200k's all by my little lonesome. So has Machka. Besides her DVT mess I know how tough she is. Machka, I know you and Rowan will make the right decision for your health but you know me, gotto prod you a little. It'll be fantastic to see you out in the saddle again, even if it is just a little ol 200k.
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Old 08-23-10, 11:03 PM   #15
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A cautionary word (or several words): Wherever your relationship is headed, the tandem will get you there faster.

For the purchasers of our tandem, that was a deal-breaker.

For us, it's been the way to combine our talents, skills and abilities and passion. The couple that ordered the tandem are splitsville. We're still together and pedaling strong, after many years of trying to find a common denominator.

I hope you have many happy tandem rides!
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Old 08-24-10, 05:37 AM   #16
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We rode again this evening ... 11.29 km (according to the computer). It was part of our 2nd Wedding Anniversary celebration.

I left work a bit early so we could get a ride in while it was still light out (the sun sets at 5:50 pm at this time of year here), and despite the rain and wind, we did the ride!! Rowan took me on terrain I would never have ridden on my single bicycle (gravel), and on terrain I still feel nervous on when riding my single bicycle (wet descents) ... I was a bit nervous, but found that if I focused on the hills over his shoulder rather than on the terrain, that helped.

So far we're finding this tandem thing to be working better for us than riding single bicycles these days. Rowan is so much stronger than I am right now, and when we ride together on single bicycles, we're not very compatible, and frustration occurs. With the tandem, we're working together, and we've finished both rides we've done so far in smiles ... and I'm looking forward to the next ride. I figure that's a positive thing.
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Old 08-24-10, 07:29 AM   #17
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My dear Stoker was run over by a truck on her bike. She cannot ride her single on the road at all. But on the tandem she's perfectly fine. She does close her eyes when we get going over 40, which must be a very interesting sensation. So far, her confidence in me has not been misplaced. May that continue forever.

Living in the PNW, my group and I have done quite a bit of research and testing on wet weather tires. Our current position: avoid Gatorskins. Run Conti 4000 black, with the Black Chili rubber, Michelin Pro3Race, Schwalbe Durano, or Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech. The Schwalbe Ultremo wears out very quickly on a tandem. These are all available in 25c, some in 28c. Most tandems in our group are running 25c.
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Old 08-28-10, 03:15 AM   #18
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‎51.9 km on the tandem with Rowan today!! That's the longest we've done so far. MUST change saddles, but other than that, it went really well. I'll post some pics of the two of us together with the tandem shortly.


OK ... photos. You can see them here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...detail/?page=5 (starting with the last photo on this page, the rest of the photos are other autumn/winter photos I've taken on rides)

and here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...detail/?page=6 (all the photos on this page)

Rowan and me with the tandem ...


The area we were cycling in ...


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Old 08-28-10, 09:48 PM   #19
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Been only married 55 years and 35 years of tandeming, covered over 230,000 miles as a duo.
KHS Milano is a real good starter tandem; however after a couple years you will likely upgrade.
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 09-05-10, 07:12 AM   #20
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Today we were really testing the waters! It was our first rain ride. For me, it was good because I wasn't getting a blast of rain in the face, but I did notice quite a bit of water coming off the front wheel onto my right foot.

Are front fenders a common thing among tandem riders?
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Old 09-05-10, 12:16 PM   #21
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Not on my tandem!!! I suppose you'd suspect that though...
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Old 09-05-10, 03:29 PM   #22
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Living in he desert southwest (Arizona) rain is not an issue.
Hopefully you got a rack or fender on back of tandem to save you from getting a real dirty streak up the back of your jersey/rainwear!
Have ridden severe rainstorms by the Grand Canyon and feet were so soaked we threatened to drill holes in soles of our shoes to let the water out!
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Old 09-05-10, 04:53 PM   #23
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Today we were really testing the waters! It was our first rain ride. For me, it was good because I wasn't getting a blast of rain in the face, but I did notice quite a bit of water coming off the front wheel onto my right foot.

Are front fenders a common thing among tandem riders?
Yes!
And a mud-flap hanging off the front fender keeps the stoker's feet drier longer. It needs to almost reach the ground when the bike is stationary so that as the wind blows it back it still hangs low enough to catch the spray. Susan finds that the water coming off the primary, front chain as it whips around her left chainring is what really soaks her feet. The mudflap keeps the chain drier. It also keeps me drier as a secondary benefit.

The best mudflaps are ones you make yourself. Ours attaches to the front fender with a light decorative hinge so that if you need to rest the bike on the dropouts with the front wheel removed the flap swings up out of the way and doesn't get bent or broken. I attached the hinge to the fender with a wingnut so, in theory, the mudflap can be removed when not "needed" but really it never comes off since you never know when it will rain.

(Rear mud-flaps are a great courtesy to following riders but have less impact on the stoker as long as your rear fender is a proper normal real fender.)
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Old 09-12-10, 05:18 AM   #24
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Well if we decide to buy this bicycle, we may have to look into mudguards.


We've done a little over 200 km on the tandem now!! That didn't take long. We're still working out a few details, but in general it is going quite well ... and I look forward to riding it.

The only thing we haven't tried that is riding up fairly steep hills. We've managed more gradual hills, but we're in our granny on those. I'm not sure how we would go on a steeper hill, but one of these days we'll have a go on some of the hills in the town where we live ... there are several which are quite steep.
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Old 09-12-10, 11:13 AM   #25
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Do you have the option of buying the KHS? If you are worried about steeper hills, you can always go with some easier gears to help you up them. As you get your strength back those steeper hills will come easier as well. I don't know if you and Rowan have talked about it but I would suggest you guys seriously think about doing PBP next year on the tandem. I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that you guys were planing on going. It's a very tandem friendly course and you've got plenty of time to get ready. I think you guys will really enjoy the experience on the tandem.
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