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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 08-19-11, 01:42 PM   #1
chewa
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New Tandem riders

Well, we just bought bike no 10 and it's a tandem. A nice ebay purchase 3 year old Viking Saratoga which is entry level but actually seems pretty good. We bought it to take over to France to ride on the cyclepaths and nice road surfaces of Normandy.

Aluminium frame, cable discs (the weak spot). Nicely finished, not too heavy (about 19-20kg) 24 speed Shimano with revoshift.

So far I've swapped the tyres out for 26X1.5 Specialised Nimbus which has made it feel livelier. Added an extra rear brake (Suntour XE self energising canti). I plan to swap to hydraulic disc at front when funds permit.

As I can build my own wheels may swap the rims for 700c at some point with narrower tyres, as the same frame is available with these.

It's good fun but we are still working on our technique. We are both extremely experienced cyclists having toured all over Europe, ride with slightly different cadences - Sandra tends to push a higher gear while I spin. She says she didn't realise how much I changed gear until we got the tandem!

Still working on starting and stopping technique and as such haven't swapped to clipless yet.

On the flat it hammers along - hold 20-24 mph easy on the flat, over all we are running slightly slower than me, slightly faster than Sandra, on singles.

Just looking for advice about starting, stopping techniques, how to synchronise for changing gear etc so will search the past posts.

Also, I do feel a pulsing when we are pressing on, almost an exagerated power stroke. Is that something which will pass as we ride more or should we think about going slightly out of phase?

It's all very exciting and EVERYONE talks to you when you ride a tandem! Great
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1985 Sandy Gilchrist-Colin Laing built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
1964 Flying Scot Continental (531)
1995 Cinelli Supercorsa (Columbus SLX)
1980s Holdsworth Mistral fixed (531)
2005 Dahon Speed 6 (folder)
(YES I LIKE STEEL)
2008 Viking Saratoga tandem
2008 Micmo Sirocco Hybrid (aluminium!)
2012 BTwin Rockrider 8.1
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Old 08-19-11, 03:55 PM   #2
Tom Spohn
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I recommend the book, "Cycling the Waterways of France". You can order it from Amazon. Riding is on towpaths that are no longer used as towpaths.
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Old 08-20-11, 02:18 AM   #3
chewa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Spohn View Post
I recommend the book, "Cycling the Waterways of France". You can order it from Amazon. Riding is on towpaths that are no longer used as towpaths.
Thanks Tom, I'll look for that.

Our house is in Lower Normandy so we are lucky in that we can cycle for hours and only see a few cars, it's nice rolling countryside. The waterways sounds like a great idea if we go further afield. We've toured Netherlands and Belgium (and Northern France) following canals and it was really good.

I can see it would be ideal for a tandem (fewer altitude changes!)

John
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1985 Sandy Gilchrist-Colin Laing built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
1964 Flying Scot Continental (531)
1995 Cinelli Supercorsa (Columbus SLX)
1980s Holdsworth Mistral fixed (531)
2005 Dahon Speed 6 (folder)
(YES I LIKE STEEL)
2008 Viking Saratoga tandem
2008 Micmo Sirocco Hybrid (aluminium!)
2012 BTwin Rockrider 8.1
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Old 08-20-11, 07:37 AM   #4
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Just do it. The neat thing about a tandem (as you've already discovered) is it makes it easier for two riders of dissimilar physical ability ride together.

For launching many, maybe even most, tandem teams have the captain stablize the bike with both feet on the ground while the stoker clips in both feet. Mrs. Grouch and I have never done it that way but try it. You may find that it works for you.

To equalize the power stroke, many tandem teams run their timing chain out-of-sync so that one rider or the other is always on the more powerful part of the pedal stroke.

I've ridden with tandem teams in which the captain announced every shift to the stoker. We don't do that either. However, we've been riding tandems together for over 30 years so maybe Mrs. Grouch has learned to sense when I'm getting ready to shift.

One thing that I do announce is every single significant bump because Mrs. Grouch can't see them coming in time to lift up and protect her toushie. Sometimes I guess wrong on the severity of bumps coming up but it's better to announce too many than too few.

Last edited by Retro Grouch; 08-20-11 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 08-20-11, 06:51 PM   #5
nfmisso
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We have had our tandem a few months, and the following works very well for us.
ref: http://www.gtgtandems.com/tech/propmethod.html

My wife has balance issues, and has never been able to ride a half-bike. She decided after our first ride that she wanted toe-clips because she felt her feet sliding around on the peddles. She really likes having them.

We also have wired headsets so that she can hear me more easily. See: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...hlight=headset
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Old 08-21-11, 08:40 AM   #6
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What we do: After the captain gets on, hold the brakes on, move back and rest some part of your back side on the front of the saddle. This gives me a better feel for bike movement. After the stocker is on, have the stoker move the peddles to the start position (one peddle up about 10 o'clock position), teh captain says go and both people push the up peddle down and stop at the bottom, this gets the bike started moving, at the same time it is easy for the captain to slide onto the seat as you are already in contact with it. Then get your other foot on the peddle and start peddling, the stocker will feel when the captain starts and start also.

As captain/shifter I try to time shifts to the low part of the power stroke (generally at the 12/6 position). If timed correctly as there is less pressure on the chain/gears shifts happen smoothly.

Stopping: As we come to a stop the stocker stays in position (both feet on the peddles) until the captain says go ahead and get down.

Hope this helps. It is a little different than singles.
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Old 08-22-11, 04:05 PM   #7
chewa
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Thanks for the advice guys - all very helpful. We are working on our starting - have sorted stopping. I think we will try out of phase this weekend.
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1985 Sandy Gilchrist-Colin Laing built 531c Audax/fast tourer.
1964 Flying Scot Continental (531)
1995 Cinelli Supercorsa (Columbus SLX)
1980s Holdsworth Mistral fixed (531)
2005 Dahon Speed 6 (folder)
(YES I LIKE STEEL)
2008 Viking Saratoga tandem
2008 Micmo Sirocco Hybrid (aluminium!)
2012 BTwin Rockrider 8.1
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