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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 08-11-11, 03:52 PM   #1
bikefor2
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Tandem on supported bike tour, luggage question

We're going on a 14-day supported bike tour in Europe this fall with our tandem. We are allowed 1 "day bag" in the van which should be accessible during the day. For those of you who have done this type of thing, did you find it useful to have a rack and rack bag, or a pannier on your bike as well? Why or why not? I'm concerned that we may want to buy something (even a picnic lunch perhaps) and have no way to carry it, and as it's fall in a mountainous region we may want rain gear or extra clothes in there. Then again we don't need the extra weight and items when we pack our bike for travel unless it is really going to get used.
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Old 08-11-11, 03:59 PM   #2
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We have found a rack and expandable rack trunk bag to be very handy to carry extra food/armwarmers/jacket/rain gear/incidentals on a tour.
We like it so much, it's on our tandem 99% of the time . . . heck we stop at bakery/grocery store to pick up stuff on daily rides.
Pedal on TWOgether!
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Old 08-11-11, 04:56 PM   #3
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We use a Topeak seatpost rack http://www.topeak.com/products/Racks...de_frameE-Type and a matching bag http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags/RXTrunkBagEXP that has small expandable panniers that can be extended for additional room if needed. Max capacity is 15 lbs which is more then adequate for the day. Both are easy to remove and do not require any modifications to the bike.
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Old 08-11-11, 07:08 PM   #4
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Yes!

We've done several Europe tours, with the similar "day bag" system. But we always put on the rack and a "trunk" bag, too. We will vary what we carry based on best estimate weather predictions. Almost always carry some minimal wind jackets. Even non-waterproof wind jackets can allow you to continue in the rain if you aren't in reach of the SAG vehicle. If the prediction is bad, we'll put more serious rain gear in. On cool morning starts, the bag gives us a place to put the leg/arm warmers and jackets when the morning warms up. Also carry a couple of emergency food bits, a first aid kit, sun screen, etc. We love having space for those unavoidable purchases, too. One nice habit is watching for a place to pick up a bottle of wine near the end of the day. Allows quicker "attitude adjustment" at the hotel! Remember, you are touring! All those fast training rides, with light bike, you have been doing all year are to get ready for this. Don't obsess about trying to be light and fast when you get on the tour. That isn't what you are there for. Comfy and slow R good! The scenery is better when you take your time.
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Old 08-11-11, 11:40 PM   #5
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I lead some fully supported European bike tours last summer. Our rental bikes were equipped with handlebar bags and a trunk bag attached to the seatpost. When first seeing the bikes, many people wanted one or both bags removed to reduce the weight and make it look more racy. After one or two days, everyone was very happy with their bags and couldn't live without them, and the people who had insisted on having one bag removed were jealous of the rest. They mainly used them to store extra clothing so that they could adjust to the variable weather, but also for cameras, snacks, etc. Personally, I hate having my jersey's pockets stuffed full of things, so everything always goes in some type of bag on the bike.
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Old 08-12-11, 07:00 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by 2frmMI View Post
We've done several Europe tours, with the similar "day bag" system. But we always put on the rack and a "trunk" bag, too. We will vary what we carry based on best estimate weather predictions. Almost always carry some minimal wind jackets. Even non-waterproof wind jackets can allow you to continue in the rain if you aren't in reach of the SAG vehicle. If the prediction is bad, we'll put more serious rain gear in. On cool morning starts, the bag gives us a place to put the leg/arm warmers and jackets when the morning warms up. Also carry a couple of emergency food bits, a first aid kit, sun screen, etc. We love having space for those unavoidable purchases, too. One nice habit is watching for a place to pick up a bottle of wine near the end of the day. Allows quicker "attitude adjustment" at the hotel! Remember, you are touring! All those fast training rides, with light bike, you have been doing all year are to get ready for this. Don't obsess about trying to be light and fast when you get on the tour. That isn't what you are there for. Comfy and slow R good! The scenery is better when you take your time.
+1
While we haven't toured on our tandems yet we have done a number of self-contained tours on singles. You will absolutely want a place to stash food, cameras, clothing, etc. But you don't really need to purchase a rack if you don't have one already. A handlebar bag for the captain and, depending on the room in the stoker compartment, a small saddlebag on the captains seat would take care of everything and make it accessible while on the bike for both riders. You can always move the saddlebag to the stoker's seat if you prefer. Penalties for this are minor. A bit of added weight on the climbs and less aerodynamic on the descents. If you're there to enjoy the scenery, have conversations, etc then not an issue.

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Old 08-12-11, 07:32 AM   #7
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A handlebar bag for the captain
This, too. But like to keep it small, mostly just for a camera on the ready. Under-seat wedge bags with the normal tools and tubes we carry all the time. Rack and trunk bag for the tour-related stuff. We have one of those bottle-cage tool carriers, too, but it always seems to cause too much rattling noise, so we don't use it.
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Old 08-12-11, 07:53 AM   #8
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I will definitely weigh in that I feel extra storage capacity is critical to enjoying your tour. You'll want it to store rain gear, warmer clothes, etc ... it can be a challenge for a tour operator van to be where you are at the moment you realize you need something from your day bag. There are numerous options as suggested in the other comments, from handlebar bags, triangle frame bags, seat post mounted rack and bag, or regular rack with small panniers. Your enjoyment of the tour will be much greater if you have a room for these little extras.
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Old 08-12-11, 07:58 AM   #9
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After a few years of denial, trying to stick with saddle and frame bags, we put on a rack and bag. Because there's only one bag, we didn't gain much weight, and the convenience is wonderful. We went with a Tubus Cosmo (SS!) and a Detours Transit bag. These are fairly light, do the job, and look good. They're always on the bike now. Very nice for riding in the mountains and in variable weather, both of which we do frequently. We use the captain's pockets for camera and snacks, so we only have the one bag.
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Old 08-12-11, 11:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by akexpress View Post
We use a Topeak seatpost rack http://www.topeak.com/products/Racks...de_frameE-Type and a matching bag http://www.topeak.com/products/Bags/RXTrunkBagEXP that has small expandable panniers that can be extended for additional room if needed. Max capacity is 15 lbs which is more then adequate for the day. Both are easy to remove and do not require any modifications to the bike.
+1 on this rack and bag. It fits just enough, but doesn't tempt you to overload. Jackets, warmers, snacks, tools. Soft shoes at a pinch for places that ban cleats.

Small stem bag for the captain is goos for holding maps and a camera.
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Old 08-16-11, 08:32 AM   #11
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Definitely a rack and bag at least. I'd probably use a single small rear pannier for fall riding to more easily store jackets and whatnot. A handlebar bag is also really handy for supported tours like yours, allowing easy access to a camera and other things you'll want/need while riding. I use a handlebar bag as the "valuables" bag with my passport, camera, wallet, etc. It goes everywhere with me whether on or off the bike. Some may feel that it's not super cool to ride with a handlebar bag and a rear bag, but the convenience way overrides any style demerit points IMO.
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