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  1. #1
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    Ever attended a tandem rally?

    I'm thinking of signing up for the Northwest Tandem Rally (http://nwtr.org/2012/), and riding with my 12 year old son and 7 year old daughter on our Bike Friday tandem pulling an Adams Trail-a-Bike.

    Anyone ever been to a tandem rally; what's it like? Would there likely be any other kids there, or mainly older tandem enthusiasts in matching gear? Anyone ever ridden in that area - west central Oregon centered around Salem?

    As my kids are somewhat experienced tourers, with maybe 3 50+ mile rides under their belts, and a number more of 40+ (check out our 2010 CA tour here: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=7203&v=Ci), my concern is less with the distance, and more that the event is fun for them and they don't feel trapped on the bike all day. Do teams more typically ride on their own, or with others? Are there enough teams that you feel like you're part of a group activity, or are you more likely on your own for long stretches of road without seeing others? What is the scenery/ what are the stops like in that area/ are there interesting things to get off the bike and do? (Or is there some focus/pressure on keeping going to get to your destination by day's end?)

    On our 2010 CA coast tour, we enjoyed a mix of great scenery (ocean views, redwood forests, prairies, rolling farmland), things to do (tourist stops, interesting small towns, beaches, cheese factory tour), places to stay (both camping and motels), that kept things fun and interesting for the kids. I like the idea of a tandem rally, and this year's NWTR may be a fit as it's a do-able drive from home, but not sure what it will actually be like and if it will be worth the time and effort to go.

  2. #2
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    johtrev - Not sure if I can provide much helpful info, but I'll share what little I know. I have heard from many about what great fun the NWTRs are but I must say that I have heard no reports from children. This will be the first time for my wife and me are we are looking forward to the ride perhaps more than any other of the half dozen or more that we will do this summer. While we probably qualify as "older" tandem enthusiasts, we will definitely not be wearing matching gear - so there is a bit of a mix on that concern. Seriously, I think that there will be such a good vibe that all will have a good time regardless of age.

    There will be rides of different lengths so it would be easy to break things up - maybe try a shorty the first day and see how it goes. There are alternative activites - you can walk around the downtown, the Willamette campus or see the state capitol. If one wants to get out of town there are some camping opportunites not far away, for an alternative place to stay and hang out. The wife and I are going to hit the wine and jazz festival - maybe the kids are too young for the wine but they might dig the jazz and they will have a variety of food. Alternatively, the World Beat Festival might be a better fit for the young'ns - it sounds really cool and I am sure we will check it out too. If you want something a little more US focused, well, how 'bout the civil war re-enactment? If you are a fan of local markets and the food, crafts and music they offer then the Salem Saturday market might punch your ticket.

    It sounds like you like to make your bike trips party about the riding and partly about doing other things so I think this would an ideal trip for you. Plus seeing all those tandems taking over the place will great fun it itself!

  3. #3
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Have attended well over 50 rallies in the US and Canada.
    There are susally a few different groups that ride at tandem rallies.
    The go-fast and wanna be first bunch will take off like a bat outa hell and miss most of the scenery.
    The let's try and keep-up group, which will be not as fast and finally just find someone to ride their pace.
    And then the group of slower riders who are out to have fun. Some will be hauling kids in trailers or trail-a-bikes or even triples.
    Even saw a quad with dad and 3 kids; the kids were having a blast as they were using a bubbles device! Neet to see colorful soapy bubbles trailing the 4-seater!
    Have seen tandem with trail-a-bike and then a trailer attached to the trail-a-bike. A reall choo-choo train!
    Have ridden in 30-some states and rallies all over the USA and Canada.
    Food stops are always well done and a great place for kids to wander a bit and chat with other riders.
    While many folks will wear matching jerseys it is not necessary. Have the kids wear their favorite outfits!
    We've been riding rallies since 1975 and enjoyed them all!
    Our advice: Do it and have fun!!!
    Pedal n TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  4. #4
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    We have attended the NWTR once when it was in Medford in 2010. We enjoyed ourselves as we got to ride with some other fast teams. Zonatandem would put us in the "go-fast and wanna be first bunch will take off like a bat outa hell and miss most of the scenery". I don't care as much about the scenery, I get my kicks from riding in a fast tandem pace line. Amy still gets to take in the scenery, which she enjoys much more than me.

    We showed up late to the start both days and had to work our way through the field to get to the front. Along the way, we saw teams of all shapes and sizes, including several with kids. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves no matter what their pace. The rest stops were always well done and from talking with others, that was typical of the NWTR. Since we were doing the longer routes, at the end of the ride, we would often come upon teams we had passed earlier since they had done the shorter routes. They still seemed to be having a good time. As with any event with that many tandems, we did see a few teams that were having a bad day, but I don't recall it being the ones with kids.

    We saw teams where the father was on one tandem with a child, and the mother was on another tandem with a child. There were also triplets with dad, mom and kid.

    I would agree with the other posters. Try it, I bet you will have a good time!

  5. #5
    Senior Member CaptainHaddock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johntrev View Post
    I'm thinking of signing up for the Northwest Tandem Rally (http://nwtr.org/2012/), and riding with my 12 year old son and 7 year old daughter on our Bike Friday tandem pulling an Adams Trail-a-Bike.

    Anyone ever been to a tandem rally; what's it like? Would there likely be any other kids there, or mainly older tandem enthusiasts in matching gear? Anyone ever ridden in that area - west central Oregon centered around Salem?

    As my kids are somewhat experienced tourers, with maybe 3 50+ mile rides under their belts, and a number more of 40+ (check out our 2010 CA tour here: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=7203&v=Ci), my concern is less with the distance, and more that the event is fun for them and they don't feel trapped on the bike all day. Do teams more typically ride on their own, or with others? Are there enough teams that you feel like you're part of a group activity, or are you more likely on your own for long stretches of road without seeing others? What is the scenery/ what are the stops like in that area/ are there interesting things to get off the bike and do? (Or is there some focus/pressure on keeping going to get to your destination by day's end?)

    On our 2010 CA coast tour, we enjoyed a mix of great scenery (ocean views, redwood forests, prairies, rolling farmland), things to do (tourist stops, interesting small towns, beaches, cheese factory tour), places to stay (both camping and motels), that kept things fun and interesting for the kids. I like the idea of a tandem rally, and this year's NWTR may be a fit as it's a do-able drive from home, but not sure what it will actually be like and if it will be worth the time and effort to go.
    I cannot speak to rallying per-se, but I do feel comfortable saying that the riding will be be nice (assuming it's not raining) as the area around Salem is quite picturesque. My wife and I are trying to figure out if we can make it work with her schedule as we live up in Portland.

  6. #6
    Senior Member colotandem's Avatar
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    We have never attended a tandem rally. I wish we had something like that in Colorado.

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    Thanks to all who replied, especially you, Rudy, who painted a really clear picture of what to expect, and that we ought to indeed fit in and enjoy the event. I imagine I will be in the "want to keep-up group", while my kids will more likely be in the "let's have fun" group, so we'll be a good tandem team and find a way to work together.

    And Captain H, just coming from Portland?! I'll be coming from San Francisco; it's farther to Salem from SF, right?!! Maybe this is a different thread, but Rudy, how have you gotten yourself to those 50 rallies over the years- fly, drive? Seems like if you've got to fly with the bike for just a weekend, you are significantly adding to the expense and hassle for just a short event. How far would anyone drive to attend a rally? If you're coming from a ways away, do you stay for a few extra days, and make more of a trip of it?

  8. #8
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    We attended the NWTR in Medford. Saw lots of tandems with kids - triples, a quad, a quint(!). We rode for a bit with a father and daughter (6 y/o) on their tandem; no way to draft behind a 70 lb. kid! I think kids would really enjoy this; you almost certainly could find someone to ride along with. For couples the real fun would be attending with a group.

    We might go to another, but it's hard to get away for that long with 4 horses at home and depends on whether we consider the event to be within driving distance.
    Rick T
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  9. #9
    Senior Member CaptainHaddock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johntrev View Post
    And Captain H, just coming from Portland?! I'll be coming from San Francisco; it's farther to Salem from SF, right?!!
    Well yeah, just a touch, and we've got friends in the area so if we do this, we'll probably drive to their place to spend the night vs. staying in Salem per se. Keep us updated if you guys decide to do the rally!

  10. #10
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    How did we get to rallies?

    Back in the early '70s we lived in Michigan and drove to our first tandem rally in Kokomo, IN. It was the first MTR (Mid-West Tandem Rally) in 1976 with 30-some tandem attending; we thought that was a whole buncha tandems!
    The next year we drove to Kenosha, WI for MTR #2, and so on.
    In 1978 we moved to Arizona so most rallies were pretty far from us. We opted to fly if it was a weekend event like in Maryland or Minnesota.
    Did have 4 to 5 weeks vacation, so quite often we drove to places like Michigan or the First Canadian Tandem Rally near Toronto. Also drove to rallies in California, NWTR in Boise, ID and Eugene, OR. and Vermont.
    The largest tandem rally we've attended was MTR in Des Moines, IA with over 600 tandems (that's 1,200-some riders!!!).
    Did several rallies in TX (SWTR), Florida, Louisiana and the Prairie State Tandem Rally in IL.
    Also did a couple of post-rally tours in Wisconsin and in Indiana, whereby a half dozen or so tandems toured the area and stayed in B&Bs after the main event.
    Also participated in hundreds of other cycling events on our tandem in many different places. Some were one-day events and some were up to one-week tours like from the Grand Canyon to Mexico or touring in Wisconsin/Minnesota.
    The first dozen years of rallies/events we kept our nose to the wheel and ususally hammered; later we rode a bit slower and now in our late 70s, we just go ride and have a good time!
    Traveling distances to do events can be a bit co$tly, but the memories and experiences are pricele$$!
    So by all means, get out there and do NWTR in Salem!
    Enjoy the event with your kids!
    Pedal on!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  11. #11
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    We did Midwest Tandem Rally last year with two four year olds (on two tandems) and they had a blast. Kids end up being the center of attention at some point during the ride and they love that. One was able to do 25 and 45 mile days, the other was happy to do just the 25 mile day. On the longer day, Grace was happy provided we stopped to throw rocks in the river, have cider and donuts and pick wildflowers. Key for us was being extremely flexible based on the kids' needs and wants.

  12. #12
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    We have attended NWTR rallys for many years now. There is the complete cross section of cyclists from racer types to quad bikes with families aboard. The routes vary in length so there is something for everyone. Food stops are usually good. Riding in Oregon is awesome. We have already signed up for this one.
    Last edited by Tom Spohn; 04-03-12 at 11:37 AM.

  13. #13
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    For the rallys that we've attended -- 5 GA, 2 FL, & 1 Southern -- we haven't seen very many children. No more than 6-7 at most. (The demographics for our rallys have been weighted towards boomers & 30 somethings.) I'd echo rhino's impressions regarding the starts. Start towards the back of the pack and adjust your cruising speed accordingly. I'd probably stay with the shorter routes, not knowing how children really fair on bikes.

  14. #14
    Member cowtandemstoker's Avatar
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    Check out our video from MTR 2011 - Team Cow.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMTuu_utwiY

  15. #15
    Senior Member CaptainHaddock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowtandemstoker View Post
    Check out our video from MTR 2011 - Team Cow.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMTuu_utwiY
    Oh, so a tandem rally, is just like doing any other mass-start non-competitive bike event? Well then, I know all about that! I've been doing the Portland Bridge Peddle for as long as I can remember, so too with the worst day of the year ride & the Lucky Lab ride. fun times, so long as you can deal with the slow pace and crowds! Sign me up! (not even kidding here!)

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all the repliues, and thanks for posting the video, Cowtandemstoker. I saw a number of teams with kids, a quad, a triple, at least one bike with trailer, even a couple Bike Fridays. I'm convinced to sign up! ...Just need to get my wife on board.

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    The Northwest Tandem Rally is in one week; we're all signed up and ready to go!

    With my 12 year old son and 7 year old daughter, I'll be riding my Bike Friday Twosday tandem and pulling a trail-a-bike. We plan on riding the middle length option each day.

    Here's our rig; me with my daughter and her friend.GG Bridge 75 Anniversary, 5-27-12.jpg

    Later this summer, we plan a 5 day Wine Country tour, riding out our San Francisco door to the SF Ferry Building, taking the ferry to Vallejo, then a counter clockwise loop through Napa, Sonoma, then Marin Counties, over the Golden Gate Bridge and back home. http://goo.gl/maps/JNyi

  18. #18
    Senior Member obrentharris's Avatar
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    Have a fine time at the Tandem Rally.
    I enjoyed your account of your 2010 trip and...
    Happy Birthday!
    Brent

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    Wow! You're an attentive reader, Brent. Thanks for the good wishes. Hope to post another CrazyGuy report later in the summer.

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    We have been to over a dozen NWTR rallies, and it's just a blast, great people, lots of bikes and a wonderfull way to meet other tandems riders. I think every body needs to ride in a 300+ tandem pace line just once, can't explain the feeling but the concentration, sounds and chatter that goes on is something we'll never forget. And to think we have a little article from Rudy over 28 years ago that got us started. Thank you, Skip.

  21. #21
    enthusiast JamieElenbaas's Avatar
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    We went. It rained. We had a blast.

    My wife and I took delivery of our first tandem week before last. My work travel schedule limited us to a 10 and a 25 mile shake down rides before we were off to the NWTR. 83 miles day one and 50 some miles day two. We met new friends and began to hone our tandem skills (we're much further along than either of us expected to be).

    I cannot wait for next year in Bellingham. Next stop is to join the Evergreen Tandem Club.

    OP, how was your weekend?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieElenbaas View Post
    We went. It rained. We had a blast.

    My wife and I took delivery of our first tandem week before last. My work travel schedule limited us to a 10 and a 25 mile shake down rides before we were off to the NWTR. 83 miles day one and 50 some miles day two. We met new friends and began to hone our tandem skills (we're much further along than either of us expected to be).

    I cannot wait for next year in Bellingham. Next stop is to join the Evergreen Tandem Club.

    OP, how was your weekend?
    Are you the Jamie from Kirkland riding that nice black Davidson? My wife and I were on the blue Davidson as we rode and chatted with you for a while Saturday morning.

    I give a similar big thumb's up for the rally. My wife and I rode about 50 on Friday, 80 Saturday and another 50 on Sunday. Got caught in the rain towards the end on Saturday and early on Sunday. There were many teams from the Evergreen Tandem Club at the rally. We got together with a couple of them Saturday night for "refreshments" at the hotel. We'll be joing ETC again next year, now that our schedules will allow us to join them on group rides.

  23. #23
    enthusiast JamieElenbaas's Avatar
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    DoubleDiamondDog,

    That's us. Joining ETC too. See you at Eat-Ride-Eat at the very least.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieElenbaas View Post
    I cannot wait for next year in Bellingham. Next stop is to join the Evergreen Tandem Club.

    OP, how was your weekend?
    Thanks for asking; outside of the heavy rain that dampened our spirits Saturday afternoon, we went and had a great time. We arrived Friday around noon, getting in 41 miles on the unsupported first day.

    At home in San Francisco, the only tandems we typically see are the inexpensive rental bikes riders take over the Golden Gate Bridge, so it was great fun seeing all the variety of riders and bikes at Saturday's mass start at the State Capitol building. With our Tandem Twosday, we're partial to Bike Fridays, and saw maybe 8-10 of them, along with bikes from just about every tandem manufacturer you've heard of. We got in 51 miles on the Saturday "Two Farms" ride, grateful for the fresh blueberry donut pick-me-up at the EZ Orchards rest stop in the midst of the worst of Saturday afternoon's rain.
    IMG_0157.jpg

    After Saturday's rain, my 12 year old son and 7 year old daughter weren't eager to get back on the bike, but we dutifully headed out about 9am Sunday for the "Rambler" ride, shortcutting a bit to get to 31 miles on the day. Like Friday and Saturday, the ride Sunday included flat to rolling country outside of Salem, passing farms growing cherries, blueberries, strawberries, wheat, oats, hops, corn, Christmas trees, and probably a few other things.

    Stops came every 8-12 miles, and were well stocked with water, gatorade, bagels, bananas, fresh blueberries and other goodies. Routes gave a good variety of the area surrounding Salem, and maps were clear. The event was particularly well organized with everything seeming to come off without a hitch.

    Sunday's ride included an impromptu photo op - 5 quad teams and bikes!
    IMG_0192.jpg

    Getting to and from the event took a 10 hour drive, but we were happy to have made the effort; just sorry that there is nothing similar closer to home. Hope to attend again next year!

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    We saw teams from Minnesota, Texas, Utah, Colorado, British Columiba and of course, many from California...

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