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  1. #1
    de oranje Jan Feetz's Avatar
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    Tandem riding improved your relationship with your spouse or significant other?

    Captains and Strokers, question for you all:

    How has riding a tandem improved your relationship with your Spouse or significant other?
    Did both of you get to know one another better or....?

  2. #2
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Yes and Yes.

    Tandem cycling changed our lives for the better, in all respects.

    FWW: Debbie would agree wholeheartedly with this.

  3. #3
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Didn't improve our off the bike relationship, but made things on wheels 150% better and allowed us to go on ride together that were impossible otherwise.

    We simply don't ride singles together any more.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  4. #4
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Yes helped our relationship and No we were married 27 years and raised three kids before getting a tandem so we knew each other pretty well without the tandem.

    We like it so much we rarely ride singles anymore.

    Of course we in this forum are self selected as those who's relationships benefited. Those that didn't probably don't ride very long and aren't here to answer your question.
    Last edited by waynesulak; 03-30-12 at 03:24 PM.

  5. #5
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    Yes, it has improved our relationship. It has taught me a few things and allowed us to recreate together when we otherwise wouldn't have been able to. It's a bit long, but here's our story:

    In 2006, Amy and I had caught the cycling bug pretty bad. We had both gotten much faster and could ride longer distances (slow and short by today's standards). However, it had gotten to the point where it was difficult to ride together anymore. I couldn't modulate my speed very well, and Amy couldn't draft without getting motion sickness (I still don't quite understand what caused it, but she has since overcome this - thank goodness).

    We really enjoy recreating together and it was getting pretty frustrating trying to ride together. So, we started talking about getting a tandem. I started reading everything I could find about tandeming, and came upon TG's site - thetandemlink.com. Wow! What a great resource for the first time tandem buyer. We soon found a tandem to rent for the day and went out with another couple on a tandem and a few singles. The bike didn't fit right, the ride was only 16 miles and I broke Rule No. 2 multiple times. (Rule No. 1 - It is never the stoker's fault, Rule No. 2 - Never scare the stoker). Even so, we decided that we were definitely tandem compatible and started the search for our first tandem. We went to several shops that carried tandems. I don't think we ever found one where the person helping us actually rode a tandem, but in general they tried to be helpful. At one shop, when we asked about tandems, the immediate response was an emphatic, "Why do you want to buy a divorce machine?" We did try to glean what the guy was talking about to see if we could learn something. All we learned is that a friend's relationship had ended about the time they bought a tandem. He didn't want to sell us a tandem and we didn't want to buy one from him.

    We ended up ordering a new Cannondale road tandem, because we felt like it offered a great value for an entry level bike. We also looked at Treks and Co-Motions. While researching Co-Motions, I came upon the Co-Motion Classic Tandem Stage Race and also the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. Bike racing in Oregon? Who knew? I was intrigued, and with much cajoling, Amy agreed to enter the 2007 Co-Motion Classic. We did a couple of time trials in the spring to try to learn a bit, and trained to try to get ready for B grade. The one thing that really concerned us was the Criterium We raced against some much more experienced teams, finished mid-pack overall and had an absolute blast! After the crit, I exclaimed, "That was the most fun I have ever had on a bike!!" To my surprise, Amy had even enjoyed the crit. To this day, she still doesn't like racing her half-bike in a crit, but she really enjoys racing the tandem in one.

    The tandem was was got us into bike racing and that has been a really great thing for both of us. We now try to enter any tandem race within a reasonable distance and race our half-bikes in road, CX and occasionally mtb.

    I see us as very fortunate in that we like to recreate together, and cycling is an important part of that in our relationship. I was once asked, "What do you and Amy do to keep your relationship strong?" I answered, "We play together!"

    Tandeming has increased our ability to compromise - I prefer to spin, Amy prefers to grind. We have learned to work more effectively together. We have a shared experience of suffering on a bike, and a shared sense of accomplishment. All these things strengthen our relationship.

    Unfortunately, there are lots of stories of couples whose tandeming experience isn't as positive

    Someone once said, "Wherever your relationship is going, a tandem will get you there faster." There's a lot of truth in that!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhino919 View Post
    Yes, it has improved our relationship. ........ There's a lot of truth in that!
    Great post, rhino

  7. #7
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    We've covered over a quarter million miles riding together.
    We both enjoyed riding singles and in 1975 started tandeming so we could ride TWOgether on centuries without wondering where our partner was.
    Been HAPPILY married for over 57 years.
    Our relationship has always been great and continues!
    Now being great-grandparents we are still active cycling, although we don't ride as fast or far as we used to.
    Pedal on TWOgether!
    Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

  8. #8
    Used to be Conspiratemus
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    So glad to see that Rudy and Kay chimed in on this thread!

    Count us in as a couple who have thrived on a tandem. "Conspiratemus" by the way is Latin for "Let us breathe together" or "Let us agree." That's a lot of love and respect tied up a single word! (The word took on the sinister connotations of our English word "to conspire" much later. The Latin word for conspire is something else totally.)

    A previous poster notes how tandeming allowed him and his partner to do rides together that would not have been possible otherwise. The common-sense interpretation of this is that the woman in most couples is not as strong as the man. While this is true for us, too, there is another facet of this "cross-subsidy" that is worth keeping in mind: While I would certainly enjoy a hard climbing tour on my single bike in far-away mountains that would be out of Susan's reach, there is no way I would want to spend my vacation separated from her, so as a result I never went to Europe either. Yet the second summer after we got our first tandem we did a long-ish tour through the Adirondacks and Green Mountains in which I literally rediscovered my joy of bike touring which had lain dormant since the 1970s. We moved on to the Rockies, and then the big mountains of Europe as the cornerstone of our vacations and discovered totally new experiences together. Now, If we can't take the big bike somewhere, we don't go.

    I really like this thread. Other threads seem to whine about how most stokers don't have enough power per weight to make the team as fast up a hill as the captain would be on his single,...and yes it is true: the easiest way to make a tandem climb faster is to leave the stoker in the car. But that's hardly the point of re-creating a relationship as a tandem team. So what if we finish our day an hour* back of the men, and women, riding single bikes? We're having more fun because we've been "in tandem" all day.
    Last edited by conspiratemus1; 03-30-12 at 07:20 PM. Reason: *deleted "or two": we're hardly ever *that* much slower
    "I did not know that!" -- J. Carson

  9. #9
    Senior Member colotandem's Avatar
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    Yes, it has improved our relationship, but in subtle ways. We had and have an amazing relationship, but our tandem adventures have changed the way that we spend our time (likely more together time).

    The ability for us to share in successes – whether that be completing a century ride, “cleaning” a section of mountain bike trail, riding our tandem on the local cruiser ride, or just beating our personal best up a local climb – is very rewarding.

    As someone else mentioned, we have learned to compromise. I am a spinner and she is becoming more of a spinner… kidding.

    Seriously, though, I may end up pushing a bigger gear than I might otherwise ride on my own, but knowing that we are a team, the team performs better at our optimized cadence that might not be either one of our own optimal cadence.

    People outside of a forum such as this think we are absolutely crazy. I can’t count how many times we get a look and a comment on the mountain bike trail saying, “I have never seen one of those bikes on this trail before”. We usually just smile and tell them that we get that a lot.

  10. #10
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    Most people we know think we are crazy to ride a tandem on the road as much as we do. We know that we are are not crazy we are but not so sure about anyone who does mountain bike tandeming Just kidding, we have thought about it but are just to adverse to falling down to do it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I've heard it said and I suspect that it's true, that whichever way your relationship is headed, a tandem will get you there sooner.

  12. #12
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    We got the tandem just four years after we moved in together, so I don't have much to compare to. Our relationship is incredibly great, and maybe the tandem has had something to do with that, but I can't know for sure. We've sure had a lot of great times riding twogether, though.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Team Fab's Avatar
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    After a serious mountain bike injury left my wife a high functioning quadriplegic we were introduced to tandems by a close friend who owned a few bikes. The first few rides were about 15 minutes long with rest breaks every five but soon we could ride 15 then 20 then 25 and so on up to a one day high of 262km ( she cried because her ass hurt soooo much and i cried because we had our life back). From a low of thinking we would never be able to ride together again to the freedom of 2 wheels. She has been rated a C3 for paracycling now but is to timid to ride in traffic on her own as she cannot brake or steer in a emergency(or let go of the brakes if she can manage to pull them).

    The accident brought us closer in the last three years than many couples who have been together for a lifetime. To Quote Retro Grouch "I've heard it said and I suspect that it's true, that whichever way your relationship is headed, a tandem will get you there sooner" . For us it definitely brought us closer. I can no longer imagine not riding with my wife and we plan on traveling with our tandem(we purchased a Co-motion for that).

    I could not be luckier than to have a partner in crime like her.

    Our tandem created Team Fab, and we truly are a team now. We compliment each other in life and on the bike.

  14. #14
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynesulak View Post
    Most people we know think we are crazy to ride a tandem on the road as much as we do. We know that we are are not crazy we are but not so sure about anyone who does mountain bike tandeming Just kidding, we have thought about it but are just to adverse to falling down to do it.
    Yes we resemble those remarks...Jeanne and I both love riding serious off-road on the tandem. Maybe it's on account of the added intensity to remain very focused.

    As for the OP's question of does the tandem help with our relationship...honestly yes and sometimes no. There are times when we just don't gel and wear each other out. Other rides, I've turned it around and parked it. Luckily this is not frequent. There is just too much at stake most rides to not get along, and even on rides when we start out poorly, most times, a mile later it is all good. Except for those scavenger hunts at some rallies...getting pencil pierced while she writes on my back during a fast downhill leaves the immediate up hill to discuss my wounds...

    When you capture on the helmet cam, the words from the back..."don't tell me just do it", you'll need to be your own judge of how well we get along.

    PK
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  15. #15
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by colotandem View Post
    Yes, it has improved our relationship, but in subtle ways. We had and have an amazing relationship, but our tandem adventures have changed the way that we spend our time (likely more together time).

    The ability for us to share in successes – whether that be completing a century ride, “cleaning” a section of mountain bike trail, riding our tandem on the local cruiser ride, or just beating our personal best up a local climb – is very rewarding.

    As someone else mentioned, we have learned to compromise. I am a spinner and she is becoming more of a spinner… kidding.

    Seriously, though, I may end up pushing a bigger gear than I might otherwise ride on my own, but knowing that we are a team, the team performs better at our optimized cadence that might not be either one of our own optimal cadence.

    People outside of a forum such as this think we are absolutely crazy. I can’t count how many times we get a look and a comment on the mountain bike trail saying, “I have never seen one of those bikes on this trail before”. We usually just smile and tell them that we get that a lot.
    Amen to that my friend...and to add, when we ride some of the local trails, we have been told they are mountain bike only trails, to which we explain it is a tandem MTB, or for those trailhead arrival meetings, the nice people try and explain the bike won't fit on these narrow trails. Remaining quiet, typically someone that knows us will suggest that they follow us for a bit and hope the trail doesn't "open up".

    PK
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    And most important, someone special that enjoys them with me (except the KTM's)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Team Fab View Post
    After a serious mountain bike injury left my wife a high functioning quadriplegic we were introduced to tandems by a close friend who owned a few bikes. The first few rides were about 15 minutes long with rest breaks every five but soon we could ride 15 then 20 then 25 and so on up to a one day high of 262km ( she cried because her ass hurt soooo much and i cried because we had our life back). From a low of thinking we would never be able to ride together again to the freedom of 2 wheels. She has been rated a C3 for paracycling now but is to timid to ride in traffic on her own as she cannot brake or steer in a emergency(or let go of the brakes if she can manage to pull them).

    The accident brought us closer in the last three years than many couples who have been together for a lifetime. To Quote Retro Grouch "I've heard it said and I suspect that it's true, that whichever way your relationship is headed, a tandem will get you there sooner" . For us it definitely brought us closer. I can no longer imagine not riding with my wife and we plan on traveling with our tandem(we purchased a Co-motion for that).

    I could not be luckier than to have a partner in crime like her.

    Our tandem created Team Fab, and we truly are a team now. We compliment each other in life and on the bike.
    This is a beautiful post. Congratulations for the courage, determination and spirit to get things together like that.

    We are bike-o-philes, so we'll ride almost anything if the opportunity arises. Our opportunity with tandeming started with us both trying to get our cycling back together after my home was destroyed in the 2009 Victorian bushfires, and Machka contracted deep vein thrombosis on her flight from Canada to Australia to come live me later that year.

    We borrowed a tandem, put about 3000km on it with general riding and some randonnees up to 300km. It didn't seem to fit us well, but it was enough to encourage us to spend the moula on a better quality machine. So we bought a new Santana Arriva in February 2011, and haven't looked back.

    We still share our riding with various singles, but we have done a lot of centuries on the Santana -- in fact, every month bar one since we acquired it, and the missed one was made up with our singles.

    Communication counts on a tandem, in our experience. Communication counts in our relationship. We know, for instance, that we are low on energy when we start getting snarky with each other. Calling those bumps, rail crossings and so on is important, as are regular calls for coasting to stand and drink. Climbing is a bit of an issue, but then we have been tackling rides with lots of hills in the 6-12% range, and now have decided to probably opt for singles forreally hill y rides. Putting on a 36T cassette and a 26T ring up front has helped immensely, as has Machka's recent thread on tandem climbing.

    Machka's timidity on some aspects has improved enormously, and we finished a century today without any conflict but with a lot of satisfaction.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  17. #17
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    My wife and I have always done things together. I was a runner through my early 40's; refereed field hockey at all my wife's tournaments. During that same period we bicycled with our kids. We moved and got into doing things with horses. Years later, in our early 60's, we had stopped showing horses and started up with cycling on singles, but we really couldn't ride together. We saw others on tandems and thought we would investigate. Now we ride 3+ times a week and do as many 100K organized rides as we can. Yes, there are grumbly times: we're climbing, it's warm, we've already ridden 50 miles, but it's 98% good

    As captain I've found there are two danger zones: thinking about how much easier a tough climb would be on a single and picking rides that may be too difficult; avoid these and life is good on a tandem. Of course, a young(er), strong(er) team has a different perspective.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member CaptainHaddock's Avatar
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    Um, wow. I'm speechless / blown away. I hope that my nascent team can be as lucky in love, and as able to work through the hard S*** as you two seem to be!

  19. #19
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    My wife and I have always done things together. I was a runner through my early 40's; refereed field hockey at all my wife's tournaments. During that same period we bicycled with our kids. We moved and got into doing things with horses. Years later, in our early 60's, we had stopped showing horses and started up with cycling on singles, but we really couldn't ride together. We saw others on tandems and thought we would investigate. Now we ride 3+ times a week and do as many 100K organized rides as we can. Yes, there are grumbly times: we're climbing, it's warm, we've already ridden 50 miles, but it's 98% good

    As captain I've found there are two danger zones: thinking about how much easier a tough climb would be on a single and picking rides that may be too difficult; avoid these and life is good on a tandem. Of course, a young(er), strong(er) team has a different perspective.
    As I hear the music from "Top ***" Highway to the Danger Zone echo in my head...I have our own "danger Zones", never ever say she's not pedaling, better put is you need to focus. Flog them as hard as you dare, but be prepared for the "stink eye" after the ride, regardless of how much you tell her she rode good. And when you crash off-road, always act injured until you know she's ok, even if she is in a thorn bush and you dismounted, landed on your feet and could just walk away, fall down like you mean it, then go help...and don't laugh until remounted and rolling (honest this has never happened.)

    PK
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    And most important, someone special that enjoys them with me (except the KTM's)

  20. #20
    Half Fast mwandaw's Avatar
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    We were crazy about each other before, and we're crazy about each other now. But we sure like to have fun together on our bike!
    Not slow, not fast, but Half Fast!

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    Shared interest, space from the kids, time to talk - best thing we ever bought.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    I've heard it said and I suspect that it's true, that whichever way your relationship is headed, a tandem will get you there sooner.
    Doing most anything fun together will tend to strengthen a relationship, currently we are taking ballroom dancing lessons and it can be hilarious when we screw up together. However once one of us gets a particular dance figured out and the other doesn't it can get less fun and more stressful, how you handle this of course will determine if it strengthens a relationship or not. The same can be true for the tandem, there have been moments when it hasn't been all peaches & cream on the bike, but most of the time its good. About three years ago we bought the tandem as a 25 year anniversary gift to ourselves and switched to 100% tandem riding, we've also done some overnight touring on it as well. Your mileage may vary.

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    After 15 years, we found tandem riding actually improved the relationship. She's a faster runner than I am and I'm a stronger biker. With the tandem, we are able to exercise together and both get in an equally challenging workout.

  24. #24
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMK View Post
    ...never ever say she's not pedaling, better put is you need to focus.
    In such situations I usually say we need more steam pressure, and she responds, sometimes with more steam pressure than necessary!

    We've been tandeming only since October so maybe our experience doesn't count. We had a good relationship before, as should be expected after 34 years of marriage. The tandem has improved it by allowing us to bike together and thus share expriences.

    I daresay the answers you get here will be strongly biased toward the "good" end. After all, (a) this is a forum for people do tandem, and (b) couples whose relationship suffers probably don't tandem for very long! Natural selection will have weeded out everyone except those who are successful at it or those who are just beginning and haven't settled their relationship yet.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
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  25. #25
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    Yes and Yes.

    Tandem cycling changed our lives for the better, in all respects.

    FWW: Debbie would agree wholeheartedly with this.
    Well and simply said. It's important to play together. We always hiked together, skiing didn't work out, but tandeming worked out super. It's more "together" than almost anything else, a huge, multi-faceted thing for a couple to try to do together. More frequently than "she's not pedaling" I hear "Lucky!" So true.

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