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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 05-13-11, 11:52 AM   #1
bikefor2
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Average speed?

Have only been riding a tandem 8 months. For those with more "road-ish" tandems, I'm curious what your average speed is after, say, a 25-50 mile ride that doesn't really involve a lot of climbing. I realize that it's hard to pin down because of different terrain, different bikes, etc. but I'm a numbers person and I'm curious. I'm wondering if we ever ride with other tandems whether we might fall in the first third, the middle third, or the last third. Just a curiosity since we have no experience with riding with others.
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Old 05-13-11, 12:45 PM   #2
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Riding on our own over that kind of distance with moderate hills - about 18mph.
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Old 05-13-11, 01:05 PM   #3
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It depends on who's stoking for me. :-) My daughter is my main stoker and a bad day with a route featuring many red lights and stop signs comes in at 15-16 mph. Our "out on the open road" trips seem to get interfered with by wind, but 18-19 is probably ballpark.
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Old 05-13-11, 01:30 PM   #4
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For those with more "road-ish" tandems, I'm curious what your average speed is after, say, a 25-50 mile ride that doesn't really involve a lot of climbing.
Well, lets see...not quite 25-50 miles, but yesterday we went out for a little 10 mile jaunt, and averaged 23.7 mph.
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Old 05-13-11, 02:39 PM   #5
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Checking my rides for the year I see everything between 14.5mph and 20mph. Longest was 88m. Not much correlation with distance - fastest ride was 66m, slowest 56m, no pay rides which are usually a bit faster; more correlation with wind, hills and especially who you ride with. I suspect Ritterview will be towards the upper end of the distribution.
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Old 05-13-11, 03:38 PM   #6
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Well, lets see...not quite 25-50 miles, but yesterday we went out for a little 10 mile jaunt, and averaged 23.7 mph.
We could only do 23.7 if were downhill both directions but we get a lot of fun per mile. I guess on a flat ride with no wind we would average be 18-19 mph but I can't remember a ride like that. On our usual ride with some hills and invariably some wind we average about 17mph with are range of 9mph to 30 mph. Always a little faster if there is someone to chase...
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Old 05-13-11, 05:05 PM   #7
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We're fairly slow. We tend to average around 12 mph in the city and 14 mph on the road.
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Old 05-13-11, 07:14 PM   #8
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We usually climb an average of 50'/mile and average between 13 and 15 depending on just how much climbing there was. On a flat ride with only 10'-15' climbing per mile, we average 16-17. That seems to be pretty typical of mixed geezer tandems. Most tandems are the same or slower than we are and there are a very few that are much faster.
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Old 05-13-11, 07:38 PM   #9
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We are a mixed team and average about 17 - 20mph on rolling countryside with a few reasonable hills (up to 500'). Average about 26-27mph on a flat 10 mile time trial. I would say we are a bit better than average but certainly not up with the fast teams.
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Old 05-13-11, 08:52 PM   #10
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Thanks!

We tend to average 15-17 mph on the flat (ish) terrain. The 15 would be with some very slight hills, and the 17 would be without any (or many) stoplights and not much for "hills". I appreciate the feedback, it seems like we are well-set to ride with a group, not being "first" and probably not "last" and that's what I was curious about.
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Old 05-13-11, 09:21 PM   #11
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15-17 here.
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Old 05-13-11, 09:36 PM   #12
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We usually climb an average of 50'/mile and average between 13 and 15 depending on just how much climbing there was. On a flat ride with only 10'-15' climbing per mile, we average 16-17. That seems to be pretty typical of mixed geezer tandems. Most tandems are the same or slower than we are and there are a very few that are much faster.
plus 1, us too
R&J
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Old 05-13-11, 10:14 PM   #13
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We tend to average 15-17 mph on the flat (ish) terrain. The 15 would be with some very slight hills, and the 17 would be without any (or many) stoplights and not much for "hills". I appreciate the feedback, it seems like we are well-set to ride with a group, not being "first" and probably not "last" and that's what I was curious about.
We much prefer riding with a tandem group. There's nothing like getting 3-4 tandems together of similar ability and haring about the countryside. I think it's even more fun than singles, maybe because of the speed potential. I don't know. It's a party. Riding with singles is a PITA, see the wheel sucker thread. There is the occasional single who knows how to play with tandems, but they're rare. We've gotten to be close friends with other tandem couples.
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Old 05-14-11, 10:29 AM   #14
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20 miles this morning at 14mph on a flat-to-rolling route. We have less than 175 miles on the new Screamer and will likely get somewhat faster as we put on more miles.
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Old 05-14-11, 11:17 AM   #15
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Who cares?

The reason for riding a tandem is because you have a partner that you want to ride with. The good thing is you always arrive at the lunch stop together so you always have somebody to eat with and you always have someone to talk with. Given that fact, whatever level of effort the two of you agree upon is the perfect speed.

If one of you feels a need to compare your performance with somebody else and the other one doesn't, one or both you may find riding a tandem not to be so enjoyable.

Whichever way your relationship is headed, a tandem will get you there faster.
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Old 05-14-11, 12:02 PM   #16
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We ride pretty casually, even on longer (50ish mile rides) and only do between 13-15. Cruising speed is somewhere about 17. The tandem is time to spend with my wife, not to compete.
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Old 05-14-11, 03:33 PM   #17
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Agreed, it's not a competition

However... if you are new to tandems (only a few months) and have never gone on a group ride with tandems it's natural to be curious about whether you are going to fit in with the group or kill yourselves trying. Also, the captain races a little on his single bike, so I know he'd feel better if we were not struggling and still bringing up the rear.
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Old 05-14-11, 05:37 PM   #18
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Terrain, weather, age are all variables that must be taken into consideration.

For us:
Terrain: rolling to mountainous. Very little flat terrain.
Weather: Very windy springtime; warm (100+ degrees) from May into October). Dry, very little rain. Ideal weather from late Oct. to April (70s, sunny).
Today's tandem toot, May 15: winds +/- 20mph, temps 93 degrees, cloudless/sunny. Yes, some hillwork.
Our average speed was 11.3 mph
Best average speed ever was a hilly ride of 43 miles at 21.5 mph average; but that was 20 years ago!
Back then we averaged 14 to 18 mph.

Our

Our ages: 78 for pilot and 76 for stoker.
Our f-a-s-t days are behind us!
Our motto:Growin' old is not for sissies!
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 05-14-11, 09:03 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikefor2 View Post
However... if you are new to tandems (only a few months) and have never gone on a group ride with tandems it's natural to be curious about whether you are going to fit in with the group or kill yourselves trying. Also, the captain races a little on his single bike, so I know he'd feel better if we were not struggling and still bringing up the rear.
The other BIG variable is how fast the other teams are that you will be riding going with.
The best way to find out is to just go out for a ride with them. You will get to meet some fellow tandem riders which is always great.
If you struggle to keep up, so what!
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Old 05-15-11, 11:20 AM   #20
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I'm with zona here. Although we aren't quite as well aged at 69 and 64, we have dropped from around 17 to 14-15.
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Old 05-15-11, 04:14 PM   #21
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tsoft:
Can hardly wait 'til we get older!!!
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Old 05-15-11, 10:06 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
Terrain, weather, age are all variables that must be taken into consideration.

For us:
Terrain: rolling to mountainous. Very little flat terrain.
Weather: Very windy springtime; warm (100+ degrees) from May into October). Dry, very little rain. Ideal weather from late Oct. to April (70s, sunny).
Today's tandem toot, May 15: winds +/- 20mph, temps 93 degrees, cloudless/sunny. Yes, some hillwork.
Our average speed was 11.3 mph
Best average speed ever was a hilly ride of 43 miles at 21.5 mph average; but that was 20 years ago!
Back then we averaged 14 to 18 mph.

Our

Our ages: 78 for pilot and 76 for stoker.
Our f-a-s-t days are behind us!
Our motto:Growin' old is not for sissies!
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
Well said. A quarter-century ago we would think nothing of averaging 30-32 mph on a ride of 50-100 miles. Today, we hope for half that speed. As our vision becomes less acute it still feels fast and we have just as much fun, but someone keeps making the hills taller and steeper. In another quarter-century we hope to be able to go as fast as Rudy and Kay, but even if we are significantly slower we'll still be having fun.

For Rudy and Kay: My favorite uncle's motto is, "80 isn't old!" In many ways, I'm sure that applies to you.
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Old 05-15-11, 10:30 PM   #23
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Well said. A quarter-century ago we would think nothing of averaging 30-32 mph on a ride of 50-100 miles. Today, we hope for half that speed. As our vision becomes less acute it still feels fast and we have just as much fun, but someone keeps making the hills taller and steeper. In another quarter-century we hope to be able to go as fast as Rudy and Kay, but even if we are significantly slower we'll still be having fun.

For Rudy and Kay: My favorite uncle's motto is, "80 isn't old!" In many ways, I'm sure that applies to you.
30-32 mph for 50-100 miles? Impressive.

1989 - LeMond won the final TT in Paris, covering 15 miles at 34 mph (+change). You guys weren't much behind him....
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Old 05-16-11, 04:01 AM   #24
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30-32 mph for 50-100 miles? Impressive.

1989 - LeMond won the final TT in Paris, covering 15 miles at 34 mph (+change). You guys weren't much behind him....
+1 Very impressive indeed! - 30-32 mph for 50-100 miles is smoking fast! Pro level for sure. Especially 25 years ago when a light tandem was probably over 35lbs.

We just did 70 miles yesterday. The first 40 with a group, the last 30 by ourselves on the tandem. We averaged 23.7 mph. Flat terrain with a few bridges. 20 of the last 30 miles were right into a 14mph headwind.
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Old 05-16-11, 06:36 AM   #25
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Our ages: 78 for pilot and 76 for stoker.
Our f-a-s-t days are behind us!
Our motto:Growin' old is not for sissies!
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem[/QUOTE]

--- mind if we adopt that motto?
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