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  1. #1
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    Is Everyone Else Plugged In?

    It seems that there have been many threads lately about using various electronic devices on a tandem: ipads for mapping, Bluetooth intercoms, best GPS, stoker computers, shared computer for captain and stoker, etc. Personally, I prefer not to have any electronic device on our tandem, in part because I have always admired the pure mechanical beauty of bicycles. Another reason is that my personality is such that if I had a cycle computer, I would be checking it constantly, and I would prefer to just focus on the ride and surroundings. Finally, it is just one more system that requires selection, maintenance, repair and replacement. Lately however, I have succumbed to mounting my heart rate monitor on the tandem as we train for the Seattle to Portland bike ride. Once the ride is over however, I donít plan to use it or any electronic device on the tandem ever again. I was just curious to know if there are many others who eschew the use of electronic devices.

  2. #2
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    We use 2 Garmins on the Tandem. We train to a specific program based upon power. Unfortunately, there's really no practical power meter setup for a tandem just yet, so we default to heart rate on the tandem, and use the 2 Garmins for that.

    If you're training, cycle computers, HRMs, and better yet a power meter are useful tools.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  3. #3
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    ...and better yet a power meter are useful tools.
    Oh, if only the Garmin-Metrigear Vector power meter would be rolled out. Then we'd really be plugged in.



    We have a 705 and a Node. The Node is lighter, doesn't have to be recharged or turned on, and most of all, the stoker can actually read the display.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    My poor high frequency hearing led us to the use of an intercom; it's nice (?) that the stoker can answer the phone without fishing it out of her handlebar bag. Also, on the daVinci I do call out many, not all, shifts so the intercom comes in handy there as well.

    The Garmins are just used as cyclometers with little regard to the data that's recorded. I find HR to be very valuable and the cadence readout helps me avoid spinning out my stoker. We probably would be better off if I removed the readout of "grade", but it let's me quantify the degree of suffering.
    Rick T
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  5. #5
    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    We are with Rick, intercom is next big purchase, the rest is just fun
    R&J

  6. #6
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Cyclocomputer. On a 50 mile ride, it's nice to know how far we've gone or how far it is to the next sag.
    Fine to know how fast we went downhill. (Max Speed). Or how slowly we are crawling up a hill.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  7. #7
    PMK
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    Doublediamondog

    I know your question was focused on simplicity.

    "I was just curious to know if there are many others who eschew the use of electronic devices."

    Seems the replies are coming in on what is used, not so much who doesn't use.

    Our rides are very dependent upon the wifes / stoker heart rate. With allergies and asthma there are good days and bad days. HR plays a very real and visual means to always fine tune the effort and pace. Except for the most casual short distance rides, HRM for her is always worn.

    We ride three different tandems, from pretty much no electronics to way too much. It is fun to not get wrapped up in anything but HR as you put a lot of dirt miles behind you in the woods. When doing stupid long distance races from point to point, navigation is a must. That's why #2 is always GPS'd and lighted. Longer off-road rides sometimes after work until 11pm or later, or Sundays all day and not returning home until after dark.

    The road tandem is just stupid, but it all gets used. Not so much for local rides, but for rides away from home.

    Off-road tandem #1, no computer, HRM's if worn are wrist mounted, Garmin etrex vista HCx, if brought, is stuffed in a camelback, sometimes stem mounted.

    Off-road tandem #2, no computer, HRM's are very often worn (wrist mounted) as we use this as our off-road race bike, Garmin etrex vista HCx is stem mounted, this is used for both navigation when needed, all distances and speeds plus averages and ascents. High power LED sniper lights for night rides. Almost every ride day or night is the same setup. Anytime, all weather machine.

    On-road tandem, most often GPS equipped, Garmin etrex vista Cx (older model that works good in the open areas), Cateye computer (may be removed since ROX 9.0 install), ROX 9.0 computer with HR for stoker on captains stem, Captain HRM, ICO Checkmate xl motorcycle enduro race computer on stokers stem http://www.icoracing.com/xl2.htm , Nightrider Tri Newt headlight and Blackburn Mars 3 tailight. The ride determines how much data interface we like to see or acquire. Not every ride is this electronics heavy.

    PK
    Last edited by PMK; 03-31-11 at 07:43 AM.
    2006 Co-Motion Roadster, flat bars, discs and carbon fibre fork, size 22 / 19
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    And most important, someone special that enjoys them with me (except the KTM's)

  8. #8
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    It depends. For general riding we use a basic Cateye Mity 8 just for mileage, this is about all that matters to us and it isn't a distraction. But when exploring new turf I like to carry an old Garmin eTrex GPS for tracing our route after the fact.

  9. #9
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    We have two independent computers, and a Garmin Etrex Vista. But what do we use? Well the stoker computer has had a dead battery in the sending unit since the fall, and she's saying it doesn't matter. The Garmin is for navigation on tour, and stays home otherwise. The primary use of the one remaining device is the odometer, although I occasionally look at the speed to know at what speed we stopped pedalling on a down hill, and therefore at what speed to re-start in the current gear.

    Having the odometer allows me to track the mileage on tires and chains, which I care about to know how about when they're likely to need replacement when we're on a long enough tour that they will need replacement on the road.

  10. #10
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    We have a Cateye computer up front & a Garmin GPS for the stoker. Not for any particular reason. I used to pay close attention to speed, average speed, etc. but less so recently. I think we have these things more from habit than desire. I do identify with your appreciation for the pure mechanical nature of a bike. I think some go all in for all electronic gadgets and others want none.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDiamonDog View Post
    I was just curious to know if there are many others who eschew the use of electronic devices.
    My family's tandems have cyclometers only on the stoker 'bars. They come in handy when following cue sheets on organized rides and answering the inevitable "how far have we ridden?" question. I agree with your preference to focus on the ride and surroundings, so appreciate the freedom from real-time data that I get while captaining for one or both of "my girls." (In recent years -- after more than three decades of adult cycling -- I finally installed cyclometers on my singles, but often find them distracting. I like to know mileage and average speed after the fact, however, so am tempted to mount the devices on my seat post -- out of sight and mind until the ride is over.)

  12. #12
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    We have nothing on our tandem at present. We'll be adding a bike computer shortly. Now that my GF is moving faster she's interested in how fast and how far we ride. For night riding we'll use her battery powered B&M Ixon IQ light and a Planet Bike Superflash on the rear on steady. For tours I may add a GPS.

    I agree that a simple bike is a beautiful thing, but a few items like a bike computer/GPS can be useful for following route sheets and such without detracting from the experience.
    Last edited by vik; 03-31-11 at 09:32 AM.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  13. #13
    Cycling since 1978 deanack's Avatar
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    I like my Flight Deck on our tandem so I can see witch gear we are in for cross shifting without asking my wife what gear we are in. She has a Mavic Wintec for speed and distance. We do have our smartphones with us if we get lost.
    Assenmacher - full Campy 27" - '81
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  14. #14
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleDiamonDog View Post
    I was just curious to know if there are many others who eschew the use of electronic devices.
    Nyet...

    Let's put it this way, if I forget, neglect or consciously decide not to clip my Edge 705 to the bike and/or strap the HRM pick-up to my torso... it doesn't really impair the quality of a ride. But, then again, we're not hard-core riders who are out there working to hit performance targets, stay in training zones, etc... In fact, I have no idea what my lactate threshold is: I just know my heart rate at rest is around 50 pbm and redlines at 198 bpm.

    Having on the bike simply provides with useful information that can make navigation a bit easier, setting ride tempo, or verifying that I'm working my heart at an elevated level. But, once again, unless I need some bit of information from the thing, it pretty much goes unnoticed throughout the ride and is essentially a black-box that quietly collects data about the ride... data that I rarely even download. But, if I wanted or needed to, I could.

    Now, if you take my rear view mirror away... that's another story. It's about as annoying as driving a car or motorcycle with a missing mirror.

  15. #15
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    I have a mount for a Garmin and a wonky Cateye Astrale on my handlebars... don't pay any attention to it when I'm "just riding along", but I have a simple cyclocomputer on the stoker bars, and the 5-y/o back there likes to call out our speed, and sometimes the temperature...

    Personally, the HRM/powermeter thing is hard for me to understand on a tandem...
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  16. #16
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    It is interesting to read about what type of electronic gear people are using and why. I am a bit of a "numbers guy" and admit to being curious, about how far, how fast, how much elev gain etc our last ride was. But I have held off.

    I have such a stong appreciation for the mechanical aesthetic of bicycles. For me simplicity approaches perfection. No, we don't use down tube shifters, but intellectually, I prefer them. With the frequency of my shifts on the tandem downtube shifters would be a hassle and perhaps unsafe. We use brifters and caliper brakes - no adapter to a V-brake. No J-tek shiftmate to a rear derailleur. Those are proven reliable solutions but I like using the components that work together without an adapter and for our team, on our rides, we get along fine. Not saying that this is any better, just saying it is a personal aesthetic preference. This is getting a little bit away for the original subject of the post, but somewhat explains my reluctance to add electronics.

  17. #17
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Cyclists in general, and tandem cyclists in particular, tend to be very diverse in their tastes and preferences. Thankfully, there are no hard and fast rules for what you ride, the equipment you use, or how you dress... despite what an outsider might think if they landed in the middle of a discussion forum or anywhere else that cyclists are having discussions about such things.

    Frankly, the most "fun" and "liberating" experience I can have on a bike is found on my relatively low-tech, inexpensive track bike / fixie: one-speed, a front brake and no electronics. It's far from practical for anything other than specific applications, but it's a joyful experience on those occasions. I haven't ridden it in about 6 months, but if I ever need to de-tox from bicycle technology overload, it's ready and waiting to go.

  18. #18
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Cyclists in general, and tandem cyclists in particular, tend to be very diverse in their tastes and preferences.
    And it's worth noting that readers of/posters to the forum are an unrepresentative sample. Unrepresentative in the sense of being more likely than average to have a liking for electronic. The sample shows breadth, but it is biased.

  19. #19
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    Ah yes TandemGeek - that is exactly what I am talking about. Some of the bikes I admire most are the elegant simple fixies. In reality such a bike would never be for me becasue I lack the legs and the nerve to ride one with our Seattle hills, but I see people riding them. It could be a zen-like experience to ride a track bike, just get into the rhythm let it flow.

  20. #20
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    We use a Planet Bike hard wired 'puter to keep track of things.
    If our hearts are beating, we're alive . . .don't need atandem smiley..gif HRmonitor for that.
    GPS? If we don't know the area a cue sheet or map does the trick.
    No longer interested in training/performance . . . been there/done that for decades.
    We're just happy to be out there TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  21. #21
    Member cowtandemstoker's Avatar
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    Funny because our friends were just making fun of us this weekend due to our growing electronic addiction.

    We have our Flight Deck, which should have been sufficient. But then she wanted to be able to monitor her speed too so I rigged up a wired Cat Eye for my stoker (she loves it). Then recently because of our plan to do the Wisconsin Triple Crown ride I really wanted feet of climb and grade so I just bought the Garmin 705 last weekend (love it by the way). But I am not getting rid of the flight deck because it is wired into the handle bars and everything, plus I like seeing the cassette position. Oh yeah and she wears a heart rate monitor, but I'm not counting heart rate monitor since it is attached to the Garmin. Last year I bought a Contour HD helmet cam that I now have mounted on my handlebars (check out www.teamcowiowa.com or my facebook page Patrick Coughlin for some awesome biking videos). Not done yet. We have a Tandem Com and then she said she would really like to have some music so we hooked our iPod into the Tandem Com. If you count headlight and taillight as electronics I guess we're running with eight! LOL. Maybe I should weigh them. Might have to change our name from Team Cow to Team Electronics.

  22. #22
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    cowtandemstoker - What, no Ipad?

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