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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 07-10-12, 03:30 PM   #1
JSNYC
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Have you ever ridden your tandem solo?

Hi folks, I gotta get my rig out for some test miles and get myself familiar with it. Was thinking of doing 30-40 mi. solo on it. Is that a goofy idea? Any tips for riding a tandem solo?

I've only putzed around for a few miles here & there, and thus far it's pretty darned cool. Quick on the turn-in, relatively speaking. Presume that'll feel slightly different with two people on it, at speed.

Thanks.
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Old 07-10-12, 07:02 PM   #2
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here and there, for kicks as it were. I get a lot of puzzled looks. Even more so when I have the trailer & dog hooked to the back.
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Old 07-10-12, 07:16 PM   #3
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I've only ridden a couple miles at a clip without a stoker and do not find it a very pleasant experience. I find it to be strange as it gives a "waggle" that is very disconcerting without someone pedaling on the back. The "waggle" becomes more pronounced if you put a bag on the back of the bike.
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Old 07-10-12, 08:27 PM   #4
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I've done it once for a half mile; wife's car was ready so we decided to pick it up after our morning ride. Up to that point, I wasn't crazy about the disk brakes (I'd never ridden disk before). Stopped on a dime with only one rider...wowsers.
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Old 07-10-12, 09:19 PM   #5
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I've ridden maybe 7-8 miles at a clip doing a test ride. Not really much of a problem and easier to accelerate solo. I wouldn't be crazy about a steep descent, but otherwise I do do most anything on the tandem that I'd try on a single.
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Old 07-10-12, 10:03 PM   #6
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Yep, been there, done that. Kinda feels like you have this big train behind you, and I found it actually embarrassing. Felt like when people were looking at you they were thinking, " he doesn't have any friends?"
(partner, stoker buddy, wife significant other-fill in the blank) It's kinda weird. guess I gave people permission that day to make me feel insecure. hahahaha. Go ride and have fun!
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Old 07-11-12, 08:33 AM   #7
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There are more replies in other threads on this subject:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...highlight=solo

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...highlight=solo

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...highlight=solo

When I ride solo the bike feels a little big, heavy and clumsy compared to a half bike. Other than that, it doesn't cause any trouble, except for the goofy stares I get.
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Old 07-11-12, 09:53 AM   #8
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For me and my wife, each carrying a kid on the back of our tandems, it's a great exercise to ride alone at low speeds, and practicing tight turns/maneuvers. It really helps understand the dynamics of how it turns/feels on balance. This is when we have had our most common issues, not while going straight or at a fast pace.

My wife has dropped both our tandems while stopping/starting (couple times), once with a very low speed turn, and once with a serious uphill finally getting the best of her and my daughter (coming to a screeching halt, like stopping). Nobody ever hurt in any of these. She's been a trooper with only a bruised ego, and carries on and still stokes for me or captains (with the kids).

My one fall was not so graceful. Overconfident, having fun, kid egging me on, and took a turn too fast, ended up off the pavement, and low sided in gravel (front tire slid out from under us). Luckily I was able to scrub most of the speed off before and while we went down, but it was almost inevitable to go down or end up hitting something solid. Can't describe the feeling of knowing I went down with my kid stoking, and seeing the result (luckily only a scraped elbow). I ended up being the most hurt, didn't even feel the road rash and puncture wound on me......they had to point it out.
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Old 07-11-12, 10:06 AM   #9
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I don’t like to drive my car to group rides, so I’ll sometimes ride the 7-10 miles on the tandem solo and pick up my stoker there. It's a big heavy bike, but other than that it is fine. You do get some interesting stares and comments though!

I also sometimes ride from the back seat solo. That is entertaining. ;-) Just don’t stop, and make sure you know which cables to grab if you want to use the rear brakes…
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Old 07-11-12, 10:18 AM   #10
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I've had a couple of occasions when she didn't feel she could handle a big hill, or had to walk a bit to stretch a leg cramp. If someone says something, I respond: "Is she gone again? I knew I shouldn't have ridden past that shoe store!"
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Old 07-11-12, 10:56 AM   #11
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Thx for the replies folks. Might try & give it a go tomorrow early morning.

I can remember a funny thread on this forum some time ago where the captain spaced out for a minute and took off without his stoker (wife) accidentally. Now that's funny stuff.

That reminds me of a couple months back when my wife and I were on vacation. We rented a small boat and as I was departing from a dock I gave it a little too much throttle to avoid another boat that was incoming. My wife, who was at the back pulling the rope on board, fell down and almost got launched over the side. I didn't even notice....until about 10 seconds later when i heard her yelling at me.....!!!!
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Old 07-11-12, 04:19 PM   #12
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Climbing was an issue for me, when taking the tandem for a ride after dropping my daughter at school. On a steep grade (Alameda de las Pulgas, south from Hillsdale in San Mateo, CA) where I needed to stand, the rear wheel had traction issues. Other than that: kind of fun! Rode several times past a big gang of spandex and fast-bike looking folks, who were meeting atop Ralston at the park-n-ride. Each time lots of looks and pointing me out, but no comments.
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Old 07-11-12, 04:31 PM   #13
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Yes.
Many times and on many different tandems.
Used to assemble/build new tandems. Always test rode them solo when finished.
Rode one century event in New Mexico; huge storm coming; wind, scudding black clouds.
Put stoker on sag wagon and rode the last 50 miles solo.
Yup, actually was able to avoid getting rained on!
The first few pedal strokes it feels a little like the tail wagging the dog; soon you settle down and go with the flow.
Not a problem.
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Old 07-11-12, 06:19 PM   #14
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I'll be the dissenting vote here.
I've done it for short distances, when necessary. It's not a problem, really. A good way to get used to the fit, shifting, etc.

However, if you 'get used to it' without a stoker, you're in for a big surprise when the back saddle gets filled because everything changes -- the balance, the acceleration, the turning, the braking. Then the natural tendency is to conclude that the stoker's input is... wrong.
As long as you know that "the stoker makes no mistakes", you'll be fine.

So I guess the short answer is "you could, but why?"

YMMV

(When, after several weeks of tandem-only riding, I get on my half-bike... it feels squirrely for the first block or two.)
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Old 09-10-12, 10:31 AM   #15
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Have you ever ridden your tandem solo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSNYC View Post
Hi folks, I gotta get my rig out for some test miles and get myself familiar with it. Was thinking of doing 30-40 mi. solo on it. Is that a goofy idea? Any tips for riding a tandem solo?

I've only putzed around for a few miles here & there, and thus far it's pretty darned cool. Quick on the turn-in, relatively speaking. Presume that'll feel slightly different with two people on it, at speed.

Thanks.
I have owned several tandems from early 1970's 650B Motobecane though to several generations of Santana's nad the like. I have ridden them all as a single rather regularly. As my stoker never adapted to cleats the rear pedals always have toe clips/straps on them, so to keep the clips from slapping the ground I just loop the strap around the crank arm and back through the clip and to the tightening clip. Frankly I find that they ride well and with good stablity as singles. Why do it? For grins and primarily to make sure I have all the technical stuff squared away before letting the stoker get involved as she is not a particularly patient rider...
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Old 09-10-12, 10:33 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgot View Post
Climbing was an issue for me, when taking the tandem for a ride after dropping my daughter at school. On a steep grade (Alameda de las Pulgas, south from Hillsdale in San Mateo, CA) where I needed to stand, the rear wheel had traction issues. Other than that: kind of fun! Rode several times past a big gang of spandex and fast-bike looking folks, who were meeting atop Ralston at the park-n-ride. Each time lots of looks and pointing me out, but no comments.
Easily solved with an upgrade to the gearing to add either a larger top cog or a granny chainring... standing should be an option, not a necessity on a tandem...imno!
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