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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 06-27-12, 07:12 PM   #1
Team Fab
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Tandems Banned

Hi All

Tandems have been banned from the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx in Penticton, B.C. Canada.

http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/


"Tandem bicycles: Due to issues of rider safety, tandem bicycles are not permitted on the ride course."

We ride a tandem due to a disability so we are a little steamed.

Let them know that tandems are safe and that we want in.

C + C
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Old 06-27-12, 07:46 PM   #2
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Hi All

Tandems have been banned from the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx in Penticton, B.C. Canada.

http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/


"Tandem bicycles: Due to issues of rider safety, tandem bicycles are not permitted on the ride course."

We ride a tandem due to a disability so we are a little steamed.

Let them know that tandems are safe and that we want in.

C + C
Whose safety are they worried about? Wouldn't be the tandem team and they allow recumbents and other non-conventional "bicycles".
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Old 06-27-12, 07:47 PM   #3
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Message sent!
No tandems?!
But . . . drink our local wine and go ride single bike?
Very un-Canadian!
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Old 06-27-12, 08:00 PM   #4
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Hi All

Tandems have been banned from the Valley First Granfondo Axel Merckx in Penticton, B.C. Canada.

http://www.granfondoaxelmerckx.com/
Have you contacted them and asked for an explanation? While on the surface it appears to make no sense whatsoever, there must be something behind the ban that might be worth knowing more about so that any protest can address the stated root cause of the ban rather than just the ban.
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Old 06-27-12, 08:25 PM   #5
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We have not asked yet but in the past we have noticed that Canadian Gran Fondos do not like tandems even though US Fondos welcomed us with open arms.

We had to explain to the Vancouver Gran Fondo that they we discriminating against people with disabilities (hand cycles etc... were also banned) and after that they changed the rules.
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Old 06-27-12, 08:30 PM   #6
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I posted a question to their Facebook page, to wit:

Quote:
What's the back story here; on the surface it makes no sense whatsoever?

"Tandem bicycles: Due to issues of rider safety, tandem bicycles are not permitted on the ride course."
Be interesting to see if the respond or simply delete it....
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Old 06-27-12, 09:18 PM   #7
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It will be interesting to see how, or whether, they respond to TG's FB inquiry. If their answer is unsatisfactory, it might be necessary for tandem enthusiasts to administer Gran Fondo Axel Merckcx some social media blowback. If Canadian gran fondos think it advantageous to ban tandems, American gran fondos might eventuall do the same. Then other organized rides. This needs to be nipped in the bud.

Granfondo Axel Merckx Facebook

Twitter


Martin Niemöller could tell us a thing or two about this. First, they came for the tandems....
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Old 06-27-12, 10:52 PM   #8
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We ride a tandem due to a disability so we are a little steamed.
In the US I'd expect a mention of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) would have them change their rules - at least in cases involving a disability. Not sure if there's equivalent legislation in Canada.
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Old 06-28-12, 01:07 AM   #9
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It's interesting that the first sentence on their homepage includes the statement "experience a European-style cycling event" - we've ridden our tandem in several European events (in France, Italy, and Switzerland) without any mention that our tandem was causing problems with safety. One or two of them even had a special classification table for tandems.

If you can't get the organizers to listen to you, then I would try to contact Axel Merckx directly and ask him whether he is happy to have his name associated with an event that forbids tandems - he may not be aware of the issue.

The rule is certainly not caused by the event being part of the UCI World Cycling Tour series, because one of our local events is also part of that series, and it does not have a ban on tandems. If your pleas to the organizers fail then I would therefore try to contact the UCI and see what their opinion is on the matter - if they disagree with the ban then I'm sure that they could exert the necessary pressure.

Last edited by Chris_W; 06-28-12 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 06-28-12, 03:54 AM   #10
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I've contacted them asking what safety risks they associated with tandem bicycles. I'm a League of American Bicyclists certified safety instructor (LCI) ... and tandem stoker averaging 7,000 miles annually. This is the first ride I'm aware of that has a ban on tandems.
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Old 06-28-12, 05:39 AM   #11
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I'm reminded of the perceived ban on tandem bicycles that was written into Japanese vehicle safety codes.

What was purportedly targeted as illegal was having more than one rider on a bicycle built for only one rider, i.e., riding "in tandem" with a passenger on the handlebars, doubled-up on the saddle or on a fender.

Whether through oversight or omission, the language has remained unchanged. However, it also appears to be a law that is never enforced when folks ride tandem bicycles in Japan.

It is true that tandems were banned by the UCI for track racing events due to safety concerns after several serious crashes a few decades back now. I'm still not sure I really understand that one as there are still serious crashes in a variety of other track cycling events to this day. I suspect there is and always has been a quiet bias against tandems by the cycle racing community who seem to struggle with the concept of cycling ever being anything but a sport that's all about one person on one bike. Well hell, they also struggle with a lot of other things too...
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Old 06-28-12, 05:52 AM   #12
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I didn't know tandems were banned by the UCI. Those were the best races since the bikes were so fast. I suppose that leads to worse crashes though. My understanding is that Trexlertown has a night of tandem races, and I've heard it's worth going to.
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Old 06-28-12, 09:14 AM   #13
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I didn't know tandems were banned by the UCI. Those were the best races since the bikes were so fast. I suppose that leads to worse crashes though. My understanding is that Trexlertown has a night of tandem races, and I've heard it's worth going to.
Trexlertown and other velodromes still have "exhibition" events (which are still very exciting and very fast) and the US Paralympics still include a tandem racing class for sight impaired / disabled athletes, but to the best of my knowledge tandems are no longer raced in UCI sanctioned events or the Olympics, just the Paralympics and in a number of different classifications covered by lower-level santioning organizations, i.e., USCF, USA cycling, US Rando, for time trials, road, endurance and the like.

Anyone who's more in tune with the USCF / USA Cycling and other national-level organizations can fill in details or correct me.
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Old 06-28-12, 11:39 AM   #14
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Safety issues are often only perceived when they match other prejudices. If the UCI is concerned about safety then they should ban the first few stages of the Giro and to a lesser extend the Tour de France which always have a number of very serious crashes on dangerous courses. The UCI also has no problem with the media promoting cycling events by showing endless crashes on wet cobbles or riders flipping over guard rails descending mountains. Those crashes are "epic" and not a safety concern.
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Old 06-28-12, 07:29 PM   #15
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I'm not clear why some of us feel that a private organization putting on an event that amounts to a freely entered contract between itself and participating cyclists should have to justify any of its rules and regulations to non-participants. Those are the terms of the offered contract set out ahead of time -- you are free to decline to participate if you don't like them. It's not like they took your money and then denied you entry when you showed up at the start line on a tandem.

If you want to play the disability card you could file a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Commission. But for all us other regular types, the old rule of "Don't try to crash a party you weren't invited to" seems to apply.

I'm assuming the "no tandems" rule was put there at the behest of the insurance company believing rightly or wrongly that tandems on the course increase the crash risk. If the Human Rights Commission orders the event organizers to remove the rule for future events (to avoid discriminating against those tandemists who might be disabled), then I predict that the insurance company will decline to insure it. The event will be cancelled and then everyone will be happy.
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Old 06-28-12, 07:49 PM   #16
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I'm not clear why some of us feel that a private organization putting on an event that amounts to a freely entered contract between itself and participating cyclists should have to justify any of its rules and regulations to non-participants. Those are the terms of the offered contract set out ahead of time -- you are free to decline to participate if you don't like them. It's not like they took your money and then denied you entry when you showed up at the start line on a tandem.

If you want to play the disability card you could file a complaint with the British Columbia Human Rights Commission. But for all us other regular types, the old rule of "Don't try to crash a party you weren't invited to" seems to apply.

I'm assuming the "no tandems" rule was put there at the behest of the insurance company believing rightly or wrongly that tandems on the course increase the crash risk. If the Human Rights Commission orders the event organizers to remove the rule for future events (to avoid discriminating against those tandemists who might be disabled), then I predict that the insurance company will decline to insure it. The event will be cancelled and then everyone will be happy.
I tend to agree with you that a private origination should be able to set their own rules, although that breaks down a bit when they become a public accommodation.

That said, I doubt this is insurance driven, particularly in Canada, but more likely driven by some single rider freaked out by a tandem flying past them on a descent
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Old 06-28-12, 07:54 PM   #17
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I'm assuming the "no tandems" rule was put there at the behest of the insurance company believing rightly or wrongly that tandems on the course increase the crash risk.
Yes, it's their right to establish rules. However, if tandems have been "branded" a safety risk it's news to me and probably a lot of other tandem cycling advocates. Hence, my interest in understanding the reason that this rule was put in place. I'd rather not assume...

Moreover, I did not ask them to change their rule; I'm merely asking to know what precipitated the rule. I do not believe that it's an unreasonable request.

Frankly, I don't expect a response... but that doesn't mean I can't ask the question.
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Old 06-28-12, 08:35 PM   #18
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...That said, I doubt this is insurance driven, particularly in Canada, but more likely driven by some single rider freaked out by a tandem flying past them on a descent
lol....or perhaps by a whole crowd of single riders p.o.'ed at having to manoeuvre past the same tandem toiling s-l-o-w-l-y up the other side! <-This is supposed to indicate an angry sweating peloton.
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Old 06-29-12, 12:31 AM   #19
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I'm not clear why some of us feel that a private organization putting on an event that amounts to a freely entered contract between itself and participating cyclists should have to justify any of its rules and regulations to non-participants.
I think there is an expectation that a public spirited cycling event seeking to attract cyclists will not arbitrarily and capriciously proscribe an entire category of cyclists without providing legitimate reasons.

If a US Gran Fondo, without giving a reason, banned Canadian cyclists, the Canadian cyclists would object. Likewise, affected riders would remonstrate if a Gran Fondo banned riders with a BMI greater than 30, older than 65, bikes with retained wheel reflectors, or SRAM components. Until the ride organizers provide legitimate reasons, their tandem restriction is just as nonsensical.
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Old 06-29-12, 04:53 AM   #20
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lol....or perhaps by a whole crowd of single riders p.o.'ed at having to manoeuvre past the same tandem toiling s-l-o-w-l-y up the other side! <-This is supposed to indicate an angry sweating peloton.
Nice...., that's the same argument many motorists put forward for wanting cyclists banned from public roads, i.e., they are a nuisance and represent a safety hazard to motorists and themselves.
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Old 06-29-12, 05:44 AM   #21
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I didn't know tandems were banned by the UCI. Those were the best races since the bikes were so fast. I suppose that leads to worse crashes though. My understanding is that Trexlertown has a night of tandem races, and I've heard it's worth going to.
I went to the "Tandemonium" event there a few years ago. What a blast to watch! The speeds they achieved on the high banked track was simply amazing. There were mens and womens teams. Many foreigners live and train at the velodrome for summer so we saw many country's national champions.
We were on a bike tour through the Amish country and the tour leaders took us there for dinner. A few days later we were allowed to ride our bikes on the track.
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Old 06-29-12, 06:41 AM   #22
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This thread might have some insight as too what's going on.

http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=111949
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Old 06-29-12, 07:31 AM   #23
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Interesting, at least from what was capture in quoted material since the person -- TMB? -- went back and deleted most of his replies.

In essense, these were the key elements of the problem:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMB
I rode the event last year, and will be riding it again next week.
There was a problem last year with two particular bikes, both tandems. Ignoring traffic direction, ignoring course Marshalls and riding in an especially dangerous fashion on a number of the twisting downhills.
They were cutting people off in curves and what we noticed was a tendency to cut to the right before the back wheel could possibly be clear of a bike they had passed.
I was one of the people that had to dive for a ditch on one of these as was Jodi Merckx, who I spoke to about it after the event.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TMB
The most significant problems suffered by the event last year, and all of the issues that resulted in the police having to be involved, were involving tandems.


Again, so much of what was posted was removed by TMB that these snippets are even hard to track, i.e., were ALL of the significant problems related to the same two-tandems and what I'm almost sure was retribution doled-out by the peloton???

As others in the Peloton thread noted, it sounds like the captains should have been banned from the event not an entire class of bicycle. If this was the standard at most cycling events I'd venture to guess that single bikes would have been banned long-ago.

All that said, from personal experience I know that "roadies" and in particular licensed racers do not like to have tandems in and around the groupo compacto because they do disrupt the tempo when the roads begin to rise and fall. And, if tandem teams don't respect the unwritten rules of the peloton by not advancing their position on downhills, etc, they'll definitely draw scorn from the single riders in the peloton. So, from the small snippets that remained in the Peloton thread, it sounds like the organizers were given an opportunity to eliminate all tandems based on poor judgement and unsafe riding by the two (?) tandems that created the problems.

Yeah, I can see that happening at a UCI event... and it's truly unfortunate that not even cyclists can demonstrate the courtesies, restraint, skills and tolerance necessary to safely and effectively "share the road" when riding in mixed company. Again, as noted earlier, this is the exact same argument that motorists make about cyclists in general who ride on public roads.

Let's hope that motorists never figure out that probably less than 1/10,000 registered voters have any interest in riding a bicycle on public roads... As a "group", non-cyclists could easily vote-off bikes for the very same reasons that tandems were apparently banned from this event.

As they say, "the actions of a few..."
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Old 06-29-12, 08:11 AM   #24
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Team FAB, if you have not done so already, in addition to the organizers, contact the title sponsor and other local businesses. You might want to get other local tandem teams involved as well.
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Old 06-29-12, 08:24 AM   #25
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........All that said, from personal experience I know that "roadies" and in particular licensed racers do not like to have tandems in and around the groupo compacto because they do disrupt the tempo when the roads begin to rise and fall. And, if tandem teams don't respect the unwritten rules of the peloton by not advancing their position on downhills, etc, they'll definitely draw scorn from the single riders in the peloton. So, from the small snippets that remained in the Peloton thread, it sounds like the organizers were given an opportunity to eliminate all tandems based on poor judgement and unsafe riding by the two (?) tandems that created the problems....

I am not an expert on the unwritten rules of the peloton and find this instructive. I can see where this is a tradition in favor of safety especially for professionals. On the other hand I seem to recall some races being won with attacks on the downhill. Something to watch for in the next few weeks.
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