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Old 02-09-04, 02:51 PM   #8
Time for a change.
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Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
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Originally Posted by Gus Riley
Hmm, good point, I totally didn't make that connection. Off roading would by necessity require a bunch more commands.

Fairly new to off road tandemming, only about 18months but 15 of that have been with one stoker/pilot combination. There is a 6th. sense that is almost like ESP that comes with a "Tandem Team". It takes time to nurture, but suddenly, it is there. I can feel when the Pilot wants to change gear. It is the same time that I want, I can feel when he is about to swerve, The saddle tells me, I can feel when the red mist has come over him and he wants to pass the solo's on the fast singletrack downhill section, It is when I get fed up with mud coming over the top of his head. The only verbal communication comes from me now, Such as "Groping for the drink Bottle"-- "you've just missed the turning"-- Or "Before you duck through the next low bush, tell me about the rock in the trail BEFORE we hit it"

Communication is One of the arts of tandemming, and it is good to talk. Gradually you will find that there is less need to say "Changing Gear ---NOW". It will be "Gear" and then finally it will be instinct. Gear changing is only one signal, but honestly, We do change gear without communication. I know roughly when the pilot is about to change as my legs or breathing will be the same as the pilots, and am ready for that slight stop on turning the cranks that he will make. Similarly, I can feel when he will want that extra power to get over the ledge in the trail. He will have told me before hand that he will want it, but when I feel his power go on, then I put mine in. To a certain extent, A stoker just sits there like a sack of potatoes, so as not to affect the steering, and I follow the movements of the bike, But if a really tight turn is required at speed, then I lean into the corner aswell. A stoker can affect the steering as much as the Pilot.
We generally find that as a team, we work together, but it did take a lot of training, both physically and verbally. I notice this when I have a different partner, either as pilot or stoker, as the Tandem is then Very hard work, and is not the joy to ride that it can become when the "Team Effect" takes control.
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