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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 05-12-11, 07:53 AM   #1
buster110
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stoker mirror for my daughter to look forward

Hello. Season and salty roadie. First time poster, long time follower.

Last year I purchased a Co-Motion Periscope Hammerhead, which WE love btw. To be able to switch out my wife's pedals with my daughters crank shortened pedals, adjust the seat and stem and be off within minutes is a real dream come true.

Anyway, I've noticed that my 8 year daughter is pedaling hard a lot of time at the wrong time. This could be just the world of being eight, but I've noticed that she also can't really see around me and has no idea what terrain is coming up. So my question. Does anyone make a mirror that can be adjusted easily to see forwards? I've looked around and the selection seems limited, if at all. So before I go out and do a big trial and error I thought I would ask those who have been riding tandems a lot longer.

We use handlebars and stoker hoods, instead of bullhorns. I use a bar end mirror myself, which I think is ok. But until I can get past my insecurities of now being a "Fred" I can't allow myself to get a helmet mirror, which I know works better. I still can't ride with hairy legs either, so it could be a while for the helmet mirror. In 29 years I've never used a mirror, so I guess I'm making some progress.

thanks in advance.
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Old 05-12-11, 07:59 AM   #2
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Try a rear view camera mounted on the front. http://www.4kam.com/bikeeye_wireless...iew_camera.htm
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Old 05-12-11, 08:13 AM   #3
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That's a good idea. A camera never crossed my mind. A tad expensive but it certainly looks like it would work and would probably blow my daughters mind.
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Old 05-12-11, 12:08 PM   #4
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We use a Mirracylce mirror facing the rear. It's quite adjustable. I would guess that you can find a position that would alow forward views. Just mount it on the bar end.
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Old 05-12-11, 02:08 PM   #5
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Proper communication by pilot to stoker, will let her know when to kick in the afterburner or ease up on the pedals.
No foreward looking mirror necessary.
My stoker is 4' 10" tall and can't look around/over me either. She's my spouse and has covered 230,000+ miles on tandems . . . without a mirror.
Just our input.
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 05-12-11, 02:13 PM   #6
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I TOTALLY agree with Rudy (zonatandem). This is a golden opportunity for you to learn to communicate with your daughter.

Forget mirrors and gadgets, you will become much closer if you take the time to communicate.

Wayne
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Old 05-12-11, 05:48 PM   #7
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If you had a wireless, near-eye helmet mounted display you could put a camera on the handlebars. Would not recommend feeding video from a captain head-mounted camera to the stoker unless to a fixed display. A pure optical solution does not seem very promising due to a host of reasons too numerous to mention.
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Old 05-12-11, 07:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by buster110 View Post
I use a bar end mirror myself, which I think is ok. But until I can get past my insecurities of now being a "Fred" I can't allow myself to get a helmet mirror, which I know works better. I still can't ride with hairy legs either, so it could be a while for the helmet mirror. In 29 years I've never used a mirror, so I guess I'm making some progress.
I use a helmet mirror and consider a mirror anywhere on the bars to be Fredly.
Actually, the equation is: any kind of mirror is equivalent to any kind of mirror
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Old 05-12-11, 07:04 PM   #9
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Old 05-12-11, 08:53 PM   #10
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Here is another camera solution:
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...ource=googleps
http://www.parts-express.com/wizards...AT&srchCat=774
still need a monitor...
http://www.parts-express.com/wizards...IDEO%20MONITOR
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Old 05-13-11, 06:29 AM   #11
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The camera solutions linked to here require carrying a 12 volt battery of some type on your bike!

This one is specifically designed for bikes. http://www.cerevellum.com/ Don't know if they are delivering product yet, (they are scheduled to be!), but you can email them and ask.
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Old 05-16-11, 07:22 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone... I agree communication is a big part of riding a tandem regardless of the situation. My wife and I ride very well together and for the most part so too do I with my daughter. The issue really isn't that much of an issue; it's more trying to make the ride a little more enjoyable for the both of us. Zonatandem... you and your wife have a lot of miles. That's great, but the communication with an 8 yr old is a little different than with your experienced wife. I'm sure by now she can tell by your little nuances when she needs to put a little more effort into the pedal, even on the slightest of hill, headwind or whatever. She probably also pedals at a constant rate for the entire ride. I’m lucky if in a two-hour ride I get a good effort from her for 20% of it. She pedals when she can and does a good job, but she’s eight and I don’t expect her to have to. She races at our local velodrome, so she knows what she’s doing; it’s a matter of power, stamina and focus. If I can get her to see a little easier it would help me just a little and take a little of the pressure off, with me constantly asking her to pedal. As it is, in those two hours, we may ride about 40 miles, but for me, it’s more like 50 or 60 miles in regard to effort. Every little bit I can help that, the better.

The biggest reasoning is that I want her to enjoy riding the tandem for as many years as she’ll let me. If she can see more of the surroundings then staring at my sponsor logo on my butt and the blur she sees from side to side, the better the opportunity I can keep our great rides going.

Btw: Speaking of communication, we were second in one of the local group ride sprints on Thursday… We had a good head of steam and a clear road, so I thought what the heck and told her to start pedaling hard. We’ve never done anything like that together before, so a little into it, I hear “WHY ARE WE PEDALING SO FAST FOR SO LONG!”… It was pretty cute. She loved it though when all the racers came by her as her dad was about to throw up and patted her on the back and stoked her ego a bit…
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Old 05-16-11, 07:29 AM   #13
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Onegun... thanks, that looks like a good option at first glance. I'll look into it.
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Old 05-16-11, 02:14 PM   #14
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Let us know what you find out! This new toy has apparently been in the works for a year or two.
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Old 05-16-11, 07:06 PM   #15
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Thanks everyone... I agree communication is a big part of riding a tandem regardless of the situation. My wife and I ride very well together and for the most part so too do I with my daughter. The issue really isn't that much of an issue; it's more trying to make the ride a little more enjoyable for the both of us. Zonatandem... you and your wife have a lot of miles. That's great, but the communication with an 8 yr old is a little different than with your experienced wife. I'm sure by now she can tell by your little nuances when she needs to put a little more effort into the pedal, even on the slightest of hill, headwind or whatever. She probably also pedals at a constant rate for the entire ride. I’m lucky if in a two-hour ride I get a good effort from her for 20% of it. She pedals when she can and does a good job, but she’s eight and I don’t expect her to have to. She races at our local velodrome, so she knows what she’s doing; it’s a matter of power, stamina and focus. If I can get her to see a little easier it would help me just a little and take a little of the pressure off, with me constantly asking her to pedal. As it is, in those two hours, we may ride about 40 miles, but for me, it’s more like 50 or 60 miles in regard to effort. Every little bit I can help that, the better.

The biggest reasoning is that I want her to enjoy riding the tandem for as many years as she’ll let me. If she can see more of the surroundings then staring at my sponsor logo on my butt and the blur she sees from side to side, the better the opportunity I can keep our great rides going.

Btw: Speaking of communication, we were second in one of the local group ride sprints on Thursday… We had a good head of steam and a clear road, so I thought what the heck and told her to start pedaling hard. We’ve never done anything like that together before, so a little into it, I hear “WHY ARE WE PEDALING SO FAST FOR SO LONG!”… It was pretty cute. She loved it though when all the racers came by her as her dad was about to throw up and patted her on the back and stoked her ego a bit…

AS a father of seven children (4 daughters and 3 sons) and a grandfather of 11, I am a bit taken aback about your statement saying that you will ride for 2 hours with your 8 year old daughter and cover 40 miles, that is averaging 20 MPH, that is pushing an 8 year old pretty hard in my opinion.

2 of my daughters and 2 of my sons rode on a tandem with me, however they were all in their teens before they ever rode and then a long ride would be for an hour. I would not even consider riding 2 hours with an 8 year old and expect them to contribute very much effort at all.

I would take her for 30-45 minute rides and be happy that she was with me, if she pedals that is just a bonus. Just my opinion and like mouths we all have one, however I do have a bit of experience with kids. I certainly would not be racing sprints with her until she was at least 12 or 13.

Wayne

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Old 05-17-11, 09:19 AM   #16
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Wayne.... first, glad you have had such a great experience with your children. I wish everyone of us had great experiences with their kids regardless of what the activity they do. Second, and to be quite frank, I asked for opinions on mirrors, not parenting.

But since you bring it up, let me retort. I consider any bike ride with my daughter a real treat and WE both enjoy ever second of it. I treasure it actually. Whether we're on the tandem, at the track or just taking the BMX bike down to the local ice cream parlor (actually she prefers fresh fruit smoothies from the smoothy store). I think, however, if you reread what I said, you will realize that I am pretty much stating that I DO NOT expect her to contribute that much...which is why I was asking for the front facing mirror option, so that she can see when she CAN help me. Trust me, she does not get off the bike exhausted or even remotely. I do 90% of the work when we ride and I'm fine with that. I would like to make sure though that we're maximizing her effort. As the years go, her percentage of effort will change.

The speed at which I go is a matter of opinion. I have shortened her cranks to around 160, so she is not pedaling at a high rpm at all. The speed is on me and yes on a good day, we average close to 20. If we're going 15 or 20mph she's putting the same amount of effort into it regardless. Two hours is a little long for her preference and not all of our rides are that long, but her goal (not mine) is to ride RAGBRAI with me next year. If she wants to ride 60 miles a day we're going to have to put a few times a month in the saddle riding a little more than she's comfortable with now. (I also take her on 5-6 hour hikes occasionally... is that too long as well?)

I have been racing my bike pushing 30 years now (And I'm only 41). I have been a coach, official and promoter for a good portion of my adult life. I have national medals in tandem and single sprints so I feel confident in my captaining abilities and would never put my daughter into a situation that I would consider too dangerous. It's no different then flying down a big hill. As I said, I had a clear road... and her comment was in a joking manner. If I felt she was about to panic or was at her maximum, I would have slowed down.

I do not push my daughter and I am extremely careful to keep her within her limits and abilities. Trust me, I understand parents pushing their kids to much and am constantly reminding those who do at the local velodrome. But at the same time, if you have a goal, you have to work for it. She rides 2 -3 days a week. Twice at the track with her friends for an hour (they do a 200 meter time trial and two short races) and once with me and my wife on the weekend... Of the junior cycling team I started on, I am the only one left who still rides his bike at all, so I am working hard to keep that in mind every day.

Wayne
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Old 05-17-11, 10:22 AM   #17
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If you're looking for experience, zonatandem has as much as anybody.

Actually, I'm surprised every time somebody complains about the stoker's view never changing. My view is the one that doesn't change much because I tend to focus on the strip of road ahead. When there's beautiful or interesting views to either side Mrs. Grouch always notices them first and alerts me.
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Old 05-17-11, 11:09 AM   #18
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Again.... I'm not complaining, I'm not asking for opinion's on how we ride, or what age/speed equation is appropriate for her. I simply asked for options on a mirror, which I now have several good ideas. Thanks again to those who made suggestions. If anyone else has additional options, I'm all ears.

If we're going to give random opinions though and post random RAMM pictures that have nothing to do with the topic, then I'll play along... In the other photo that Zonatandem sent, they both have their seats too low in my opinion as a former coach, who has fitted hundreds of cyclists. However, as he's stated, he has not quite a 100,000 more miles on the bike than me and it works for him and his wife, so who am I to say otherwise... Same goes for my question. I want a way for my 8 year old daughter, not my wife, or other random being to be able to see around me. She's eight, which I feel is an appropriate age and she has fun. I think she would have more fun if she could see past my backside. Nothing more than that.

Sorry if I seem irritated
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Old 05-17-11, 04:19 PM   #19
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There are a lot of car rear view camera setups that could probably easily be retrofitted if you are handy with tools, some are quite inexpensive. Some bike lights use ~12 volt battery packs so I imagine it would not be hard to power it off one of those.
I might just have to try that my self! A Magic Shine battery pack would not be too much.
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Old 05-17-11, 04:37 PM   #20
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buster110 - My opinion on a mirror, per your request. There seem to be a couple of different reasons for the mirror, from what you have written.

"If I can get her to see a little easier it would help me just a little and take a little of the pressure off, with me constantly asking her to pedal." It sounds like you want your little girl to be able to see the road ahead, so that she will know when she can "pedal to help you". It seems the mirror will have to be placed away from the stoker a fair distance to see around you and over/under the handelbar. I think the effective optic angle will be very restricted and only useful from a limited head position and orientation. As the coach, do want her to view the mirror from the drops or the hoods or elsewhere? As you know, you will make better time if you keep her in the drops even though your larger body will block much of the wind. Also there is side benefit since "She races at our local velodrome, so she knows what she’s doing; it’s a matter of power, stamina and focus" - coaching her to endure in the drops will improve her performance when she is competing in her races. Soon she will be winning medals of her own.

"The biggest reasoning is that I want her to enjoy riding the tandem for as many years as she’ll let me. If she can see more of the surroundings then staring at my sponsor logo on my butt and the blur she sees from side to side, the better the opportunity I can keep our great rides going." Again, with the mirror she will have a very limited view of what lies ahead and I think that it will offer little toward your objective of making the ride more enjoyable. The stoker's view is different from the captain's and you may be surprised to find that it is very enjoyable and not a blur, except for objects that are very very close and which are usually not that interesting in contrast to the greater landscape. In my opinion, a useful mirror arrangement will be very difficult to configure and I do not think that it will achieve either of your objectives. I think that it is great that you want your daughter to enjoy your rides more, but I think that there are much better ways to accomplish this than by buying a mirror. Actually, that may be a more useful thread to start - asking how you may make riding the tandem more enjoyable for your daughter. I bet that you would get some good input.

Also, just a word of assurance for you although you wanted comments limited to mirrors (I figured since you indulged in discussing more than mirrors, maybe I could indulge in what I hope is a helpful comment). Don't worry about being a "Fred". The real "Freds" are the ones who lack confidence and self assurance to do what works best for them.
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Old 05-17-11, 09:00 PM   #21
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DoubleDiamonDog... thank you for your input. Let me start by saying I never should have said "constantly asking"... It's more like, occasionally reminding her when we're on a hilly section and she's having a nice little chat with her dad and not really paying attention to the terrain. Having her put a little more effort in at certain times, is exactly what I need. So yes, communication would help with that, but in my head it seems like helping her see could help too.

I can certainly understand your point and have given positioning and orientation of the mirror some thought. Most of the time that I have stoked I was on the track, so my understanding of the view from behind is limited. I've pretty much given up on the mirror idea for your reasoning. Though I have a few ideas I wanted to try myself, but I have a feeling they'll get thrown in the scrap heap. I am intrigued by the camera/display option and will look into it a little more. Especially the cerevellum, should it ever come to market, since it doesn't require a big battery. I may find that nothing works and if that's the case, then I've done my best to research the possibility and we'll continue on as we have been happily doing. It's not like we're miserable. I was just seeing if there was something to make it a little more enjoyable for her. Whether it does or not can't be determined until we try it.

The drops are new this year for the tandem, though she rides in the drops at the track. She's been pretty good about switching between the two as the ride goes on without me saying anything. She's pretty comfortable either way. At the moment we're working on her pedal stroke, which would probably help me more than anything. To her bouncing her head means she's going faster... We're slowly working on that. Lots to learn and lots of time to do it.

Your input was exactly what I was looking for and was specific to the question, so thank you.
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Old 05-18-11, 08:16 AM   #22
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There are a lot of car rear view camera setups that could probably easily be retrofitted if you are handy with tools ...
Be careful. LED screens designed to be installed inside an automobile will, in all probability, NOT be waterproof.
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Old 05-18-11, 02:18 PM   #23
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Be careful. LED screens designed to be installed inside an automobile will, in all probability, NOT be waterproof.
This I am aware of, water proofing would not be terribly difficult.
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