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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 11-10-11, 09:13 PM   #1
KonAaron Snake 
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Threesome Fun (safe for work)

This almost made up for having to blow off Steven and Ed's ride today. We did this following a family obligation for my sister's anniversary. I know I've told this story many times, so feel free to skip forward to the photos as I think they say it all.

When I was 12, my family was out driving to breakfast and we passed a tandem that was out with the trash in our neighborhood. I said I counted three seats and my dad said I was imagining it. We argued briefly, and much to my mom's annoyance, we backed up to settle the dispute. I was right...it was a Schwinn Triplet being thrown out in the trash. My dad and I looked at each other smiling, while my mom groaned, knowing the garage just got messier. We knocked on the door to make sure it was being thrown out, and the owner told us it was our's if we wanted it, but that it had a lot of problems. We walked it home while my mom and sis groaned.

We found that it was difficult...the bike was rough and had a dented rim. This happened in 1986'ish, so there was no internet for used parts. We weren't bike people...we just thought it was a cool bike and worth fixing up. The rims are 650b, almost unheard of in most bike shops circa 1986 and we're pretty sure that's why the previous owner tossed it out. We took it to a local shop, who insisted we couldn't get tires for it and he changed out the bad rim with a 26 inch MTB rim...it BARELY fit. Again, we weren't bike people and didn't know any better. We had the misfortune of going to a lousy (and dishonest) shop which, for some reason, had a good rep then. Keswick CYcles in Glenside. My dad decided to check other sources for the tire before we replaced the other rim.

The next month involved about $100 (1980s dollars!!!) worth of long distance phone calls looking for parts and information. This is pre-wireless, when you had to pay for calls. We even ended up on the phone with Richard Schwinn. Finally we learned about a new shop called Via in center city that sold old parts. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Curtis, Via's owner, had recently sold a triplet to a gentleman some of you might know from the CR list...he was updating his to Phill Woods hubs, Dura Ace parts, he had Bilenky weld on an extra top tube...and he generously gave us many of his old parts for use on our bike's restoration. We found we could get the tires from Via and that they weren't nearly as difficult to source as Keswick had led us to believe. My family had a lot of fun with this bike and it was the gateway drug to my current addiction.

I left for college and the bike sat in their garage for 20 years. I finally got it down to philly and the Via gang did a fantastic job on it...far better than we had it running back then. All the bearings overhauled, chain guiards, new chains, new tires, restored rim...it rides like a dream. Which brings us to today...

A dream fulfilled. My wife now actively enjoys riding it and we took it all through town today. It almost felt like we were spreading joy - everyone who saw us just smiled and many commented how fun it looked. It was amazing, and I hope you folks appreciate some of the photos!

Race Street Pier, by the Ben Franklin Bridge:





By the Liberty Bell



Love in Love Park



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Old 11-10-11, 09:14 PM   #2
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Our bike is occupying Philadelphia!





Art Museum



Obligatory Rocky Photo



Rittenhouse Park

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Old 11-10-11, 09:15 PM   #3
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So not what I thought it was gonna be. Cool pics tho!
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Old 11-11-11, 08:33 AM   #4
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Fabulous story, great pics. When you ride the triple with only two-up, which seat does the stoker occupy?
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Old 11-11-11, 09:08 AM   #5
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With two we ride positions 1 and 3...the third spot has a more spcious cockpit and a larger chain ring for power.
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Old 11-11-11, 10:55 AM   #6
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Stylin' ride! If you had been in front of the Art Museum last Saturday you would have seen me and my family riding there on our triplet (a bit newer Santana Cabrio).

I grew up in Glenside and Keswick had been my shop for years. They went through some challenges in the 1980s, as one of the owners (Dot) got sick and eventually passed away. Her husband sold the shop eventually, and Keswick Cycle now is a high-end shop with additional locations in downtown Philly and Cherry Hill.
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Old 11-11-11, 12:09 PM   #7
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Bri - I grew up near Jenkintown. Buckets

My understanding was that Keswick went from the father to his kids. The kids were much better folks - the father was a little tougher. I was more of a Guys fan and used to ride with their team. I wasn't good enough to get on

I actually heard that someone up the block from us at 16th and Washington also had a triplet, but thus far it's an unconfirmed rumor. I also know a bike polo guy who welded some frames together to make one.
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Old 11-12-11, 06:44 AM   #8
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Good read! I love seeing people keep old bikes going. I can't imagine how people restored them back before the internet. Nice pics of Philly also... I have to get back there sometime.

You have a lot of old bikes. Are you an avid restoration hobbyist now? If so, I'd like to PM you for some advice.
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Old 11-13-11, 08:02 PM   #9
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I'm not sure how avid I am...feel free to ask what you'd like though. Most of my stuff isn't really that old, the triplet is an exception.

Photos from our last ride:









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Old 11-14-11, 12:53 PM   #10
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Well, since you're showing an old bike, maybe it's not too far off-topic to ask here:

I have a late 80's steel frame that is beginning to rust in various areas. Do you know of a good frame restorer, or frame-treatment business? Someone in the Classic & Vintage subforum gave me a link to a business in TX, but I was hoping to find something in PA, VA, MD, NY area to do a road trip instead of shipping.
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Old 11-14-11, 02:29 PM   #11
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It really depends on how much you're willing to spend. The first step is to treat it with Weigle's Frame Saver. If you;re looking to repaint it, you have a lot of options out this way. Bilenky is excellent...but pricey. Tom Kellogg. Plenty of others. Powder coating might be an option as well.

Depending on the severity of the rust, one avenue is to take it off with a file and cover it in clear nail polish to protect from future rust.
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Old 11-16-11, 11:41 AM   #12
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Thanks, those are some good tips.
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Old 11-17-11, 02:48 PM   #13
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Bilenky is a great shop for restos, and is generally pretty fair price wise (but not cheap). They are located in northern section of Philadelphia (Olney). Be careful with regular powder coat jobs if you have a rusty bike, as if they aren't prepped correctly the rush might reappear under the powder coat. The primer coat in wet-coat paint jobs acts as a general rust inhibitor, powder coating doesn't necessarily have that built-in.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:54 AM   #14
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That's very cool!
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Old 11-24-11, 11:10 PM   #15
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Anyone interested in restoring old bikes would be better off taking their questions over to the Classic and Vintage forum.

At any rate almost anything steel can be completely restored as long as it isn't rusted through. There are some tricks but things like Oxalic acid will take frames and components from rusty parts headed for the scrap heap to gleaming shiny bits! Powder coating is a great solution for restoration in follow-up as it is much more durable than paint and releases less VOCs into the atmosphere (although neither paint or powder are environmentally friendly) than paint. If done properly a good powdercoat job essentially "seals" steel under a layer of plastic powder. Decals can be sourced from many vinyl label providers who only need a drawing or an image of what you are trying to recreate.

There is a huge spectrum of restoration services everything from what CyclArt or Spectrum are very pricey but do world class work. People only have amazing things to say about working with Len McCreary at Figure Engineering LLC, and there are always local entrepreneurs that will properly prep and chase threads after getting a bike done (look on Craigslist). Believe it or not you can get a frame/fork done for usually just over a $100 most places. Spectrum takes the price and the service to another level. CyclArt uses mostly paint.
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Old 11-26-11, 06:50 AM   #16
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Thanks, I'll check out some of those shops. Although, it turns out that Tom Kellogg's shop is in my home town where I still visit occasionally. So, I'm leaning towards that one if I have it professionally repainted.

I like the price of powder-coating, but I heard that it's such a thick layer that you can lose some definition in the lugs, or engravings in the lugs, etc. But I'll take further questions over to the Classic & Vintage forum. Thanks!
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