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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 08-12-11, 09:30 AM   #1
JMarino
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Ideal mixed tandem and single bike paceline organization

Hi, been a member for a while, but don't post much. Here is something I haven't seen discussed.

My wife/stoker ride our tandem nearly all the time with single bikes and have figured out the best way, for us anyway, to integrate ourselves into a paceline. The quick answer for us is that it takes a lot of cooperation and compromise on the part of everyone involved.

So the question now is: how best to incorporate a second tandem into this paceline? We've been wondering if we should keep the two tandems separated in the paceline, or keep them together?

Any thoughts in this? We are looking to optimize speed and efficiency and are lucky enough to have have cooperative single bike buddies.

Thanks
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Old 08-12-11, 11:02 AM   #2
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We ride mixed multiple tandems and multiple singles most Sundays. There are many different types of pacelines. I suppose it depends on how structured your group wants to make it. A rolling paceline on flat ground should be easy, but will fall apart if there are any rollers. If I'm running a paceline that's going long distance, I specify 3 minute pulls.

Our usual group practice is to take long pulls of at least 5 minutes. We don't separate the tandems and singles, though most tandems prefer a tandem wheel for the steadiness. Our tandems don't compromise - the singles have to do that. Mostly, the singles have to be ready to start sprinting as the tandems top a hill, grab a mudflap in their teeth and hang on. Singles which miss a wheel become specks in the mirror. It can take singles a while to figure that out, but they either do or they don't like riding with us.

Some singles will have to climb slower than their usual pace, and even with the faster descents, they will turn in slower averages than they are used to. Some singles will climb even with the tandems, and they will turn in faster averages. Those are the reasons that the tandems don't compromise.

A good single tactic is, traffic permitting, to come alongside their tandem wheel at the top of the climb and then accelerate with the tandem, dropping onto the wheel before it vanishes.

We don't do flat rides. That would make things a lot simpler.
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Old 08-12-11, 01:18 PM   #3
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The correct answer depends on several variables: terrain, fitness of the singles and tandem, and skill levels of all play a role.

If both tandems are fit enough that they have more horsepower than the singles, I'd just rotate the two tandems on the front on flat or mildly rolling terrain.

If everyone is more equal in power it gets more complicated. I'd likely keep the two tandems together, since their differing momentum should be more manageable that way. Then I'd just rotate the paceline in the normal manner. If everyone is a skilled paceline rider, it should be steady enough that the differing characteristics of the tandems don't create havoc.

In rolling terrain you can start to strategize on when to have the tandems pull: Generally you want them coming off the flat into a roller or descending off the roller. The rest of the time the singles will pull, and will likely need to adjust to stay in contact with the tandems.

We were riding with another tandem and a halve dozen singles on mildly rolling terrain last weekend and it went better than I expected, though we did drop one of the singles when the tandems went to the front on a fast descending section of road.
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Old 08-12-11, 05:02 PM   #4
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If you wish to optimize speed, do a double paceline.
It was suggested to us by some singles that being a tandem we'd have to pull twice as long as singles. To which my stoker replied ". . . and we sit on the back twice as long too, right?'
'nuf said!
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Old 08-22-11, 05:32 AM   #5
JMarino
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Thanks for the suggestions. We will try to implement them and see what works best for us.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:27 AM   #6
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We generally avoid hilly or rolling paceline rides with mixed groups. The rubber-banding that inevitably happens toward the rear of the line can be difficult to manage on the tandem. Also, the added mass of the tandems make it more painfull for the rest of the group if there is a mishap!
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Old 08-29-11, 07:31 PM   #7
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Ask the group to call when you're clear of their wheel so that you keep the paceline efficient and moving. Your stoker can also help with this and gives them something to focus on instead of your sweaty back. Follow a steady rider, not one that yo-yo's. Leave a little distance between you and the wheel to allow some yo-yo absorption.

Always, and I mean always know how the bike handles if you need to throw it one way or the other. Position yourself in the line where you have an exit path. We've been meaning to practice 'riding off the road' without warning to my stoker so that she doesn't accidentally panic. This past weekend, that skill we never practiced was tested when a group of 4 bikes in front of us overlapped wheels and exploded in front of us. We rode off, and back on with zero incident. the people behind us were thankful that I showed them the line and gave them the confidence to ride off themselves.

Of course, if you two are fit, just set the pace yourself on the front. Singles are always happy to enjoy a tandem draft.
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Old 08-29-11, 09:46 PM   #8
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Nothing more annoying after a hard/long pull than to have to follow the wheel of a squirrel/YOYO single rider
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Old 08-30-11, 03:27 AM   #9
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Wow, how nice it would be to have cooperation of singles in pacelines. Their cooperation is for us to pull the whole time while they enjoy the draft. LOL
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Old 08-30-11, 05:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Bedell View Post
Ask the group to call when you're clear of their wheel so that you keep the paceline efficient and moving. Your stoker can also help with this and gives them something to focus on instead of your sweaty back. Follow a steady rider, not one that yo-yo's. Leave a little distance between you and the wheel to allow some yo-yo absorption.

Always, and I mean always know how the bike handles if you need to throw it one way or the other. Position yourself in the line where you have an exit path. We've been meaning to practice 'riding off the road' without warning to my stoker so that she doesn't accidentally panic. This past weekend, that skill we never practiced was tested when a group of 4 bikes in front of us overlapped wheels and exploded in front of us. We rode off, and back on with zero incident. the people behind us were thankful that I showed them the line and gave them the confidence to ride off themselves.

Of course, if you two are fit, just set the pace yourself on the front. Singles are always happy to enjoy a tandem draft.
I have had to make a quick move throwing the tandem around a couple times. It has always been an emergency situation. My stoker now knows the value of hands on the handlebars. Still afterward she was appreciative that we got out of the situation without going down.
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Old 08-30-11, 07:34 PM   #11
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we got out of the situation without going down.
Wish we had done so. My training is to "hold the line" and don't hit the brakes so those behind you don't suffer. We tried to ride out a major paceline fault, but when one of the single riders ahead was down on the road, we did evasive maneuver which put us into a crash. Actually flipped the tandem. Now I have a titanium collar bone plate just like Lance! Sometimes the good intentions work, and sometimes they don't. Alternative is: don't ride the paceline...
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Old 08-31-11, 08:35 AM   #12
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Wow, how nice it would be to have cooperation of singles in pacelines. Their cooperation is for us to pull the whole time while they enjoy the draft. LOL
The funniest aspect of doing long pulls is watching the paceline actually rotate behind us. Most of the time, they play nice and take turns in our draft.
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Old 09-05-11, 01:24 PM   #13
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It is a little hilly where we are, and I know when it is more effort holding a single bike wheel, or just letting go, especially speeds below 20 or so. Of course the best is when they line up behind us. We don't mind pulling at all.
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Old 09-06-11, 02:29 PM   #14
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On the track the tandem is always in the front of the paceline.
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Old 09-07-11, 09:03 AM   #15
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On the tandem we just go at our own pace. We may be in front or behind the paceline but I usually don't mix in with them at first. It seems the longer the ride, the more singles get tired of the YoYo and jump in behind the tandem and they comment about the liking the steady pace. I was in one paceline when a rider 2 in front of me went down and the next rider went over him. I was about 3 or 4 feet off the wheel and went around but I did not know the singe behind me was overlapping my rear wheel. I never felt him rub but he went down also. I avoided going down but I don't like riding pacelines untill all the jackrabbits calm down. If I don't feel safe with the other riders I will get out of the paceline.
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Old 09-07-11, 11:53 AM   #16
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+1

We are either hanging back out of the paceline, or up front pulling.

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On the tandem we just go at our own pace. We may be in front or behind the paceline but I usually don't mix in with them at first. It seems the longer the ride, the more singles get tired of the YoYo and jump in behind the tandem and they comment about the liking the steady pace. I was in one paceline when a rider 2 in front of me went down and the next rider went over him. I was about 3 or 4 feet off the wheel and went around but I did not know the singe behind me was overlapping my rear wheel. I never felt him rub but he went down also. I avoided going down but I don't like riding pacelines untill all the jackrabbits calm down. If I don't feel safe with the other riders I will get out of the paceline.
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