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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 06-13-11, 04:51 PM   #1
Thalia
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First Tandem Ride

My nine-year-old and I rented a tandem bike and rode the Santa Monica beach path on Saturday. OMG, is that fun! Once we figured out how to start and stop and she got into the rhythm of peddling, it was nearly effortless for both of us. We went 7.5 miles and wanted to keep going, and at home she can barely make 2.5, verrrry slow, miles.

Is tandem riding generally easier than riding solo, because you have two people pushing one bike? Of is it just that at home we're always going either up grades or down, and the beach path is mostly pretty flat?

Either way, we will definitely rent another tandem -- that is a blast!
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Old 06-13-11, 05:18 PM   #2
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Don't forget the helmet's and be safe. Have fun.
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Old 06-13-11, 06:04 PM   #3
Al Bundy
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Its a great way of getting good quality parent / kid time together.
For sure tandems are tougher on the hills for the person doing most of the work - its certainly harder for them than doing the same on a single, but if built appropriately one can ensure that it has the gears to get up most things. The big deal is that you can go far and cruise with other cyclists in a way that you cannot when the child is on their own bike. My experience is in no way unique and I can say for certain that there are people riding further and with younger children but we have ridden >8 centuries with my daughter starting when she was 8. We tend to pick the flatter rides, but have certainly ridden rides with 4k ft. Tour de Tahoe, Tucson (x2), Cool Breeze (x3), palm springs numerous club rides. She's been up GMR/GRR. Now there is no way most kids can do that on a single.

The key seems to be making sure that you keep an eye on the drinking and eating. You get these right, make sure that they have some decent shorts and kids will bounce back from a long ride much faster than you. Keep it fun and then ramp the difficulty as they progress so as to maintain some sense of challenge and then go and do some organised rides and go out to dinner and stay in the occasional hotel and it becomes an adventure and a way of spending time together at an important age. Make sure you stop often enough and they stay interested.

Lastly, you will lose the use of your jersy pockets and I would caution you not to just go delving in them towards the end of a long ride as you may not be prepared for the half eaten banana or fig Newton that awaits the unwary...
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Old 06-16-11, 10:35 AM   #4
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Lastly, you will lose the use of your jersy pockets and I would caution you not to just go delving in them towards the end of a long ride as you may not be prepared for the half eaten banana or fig Newton that awaits the unwary...
I've stuck a bag under my seat.



But it's certainly true that you can go further and faster, much further and faster than a child alone. And when I went riding with my wife, even though she tends to ride in a fairly leisurely manner when alone, we were really flying. Definitely faster than I could have gone alone.
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Old 07-13-11, 08:31 AM   #5
NixNuxSr
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We just got a tandem about a month back, and I love it. Took my 14-year-old daughter for a couple rides, and we had a very good time. So much nicer than trying to ride two separate bikes -- I don't have to be always looking back to see how she's doing, and she has a much better time. She told me she didn't like riding solo because she's always struggling with hills and shifting.

We actually got it for her autistic twin brother, but he's not yet ready to do more than sit on it for a few minutes.

My wife's never ridden a bike, so I'm working on getting her onboard as well.
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Old 07-14-11, 11:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia View Post
My nine-year-old and I rented a tandem bike and rode the Santa Monica beach path on Saturday. OMG, is that fun! Once we figured out how to start and stop and she got into the rhythm of peddling, it was nearly effortless for both of us. We went 7.5 miles and wanted to keep going, and at home she can barely make 2.5, verrrry slow, miles.

Is tandem riding generally easier than riding solo, because you have two people pushing one bike? Of is it just that at home we're always going either up grades or down, and the beach path is mostly pretty flat?

Either way, we will definitely rent another tandem -- that is a blast!
Warning: the first taste is free, then you're hooked!

The answer to both of your questions is "yes": Tandems are a great equalizer and will allow you both to explore farther, and sometimes faster. Hills will always be a challenge and more so on a tandem. No worries! Just begin your tandem experience with the easy stuff, let the addiction build your motivation and the practice build your skills, then add in a few hills, longer rides and enjoy where the tandem takes you!
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