My wife and I are new tandem riders, having bought our first one last year. We love it, but there is one aspect of tandemania that really rankles: the titles of the riders. "Captain" and "Stoker", with their evocation of Steam-Age nauticality, have their charm, but I find that overbalanced by the implied master/servant relationship of rider-in-front to rider-in-rear. True, the RIF steers and slows the rig, while the RIR provides power while hanging on for dear life, trusting the RIF not to allow his lofty position to overwhelm his sense of self-preservation. However, on our rig (and apparently a lot of yours), there is no reason for the RIF to think of himself as commander in any sense. He has his job, and the RIR has hers.
New names are called for!
Now "Stoker" could be paired with "Helmsman". I considered, then discarded this idea as a little too salty. "Pilot" & "Co-pilot" is clunky, while "Engineer" & "Fireman" just sounds stupid.
After straining my brain for as long as I could stand it (about 45 seconds), I arrived at what I believe is the perfect pairing. The names are alliterative (and literary!), have brevity and depth, and give a nod to the soon-to-be-discarded designations. They also sum up certain best-left-unspoken assessments made in stressful tandem moments. I hope you agree.
The stoker will henceforth be known as "Bram"; the captain, "Bligh".