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raybo 10-25-12 01:08 PM

First time on a tandem on the Otago Rail Trail
My wife and I are planning a 3 day ride from Clyde to Middlemarch on the Otago Rail Trail in December, 2012.

I am a seasoned bike tourist and should have no problem with the 30 miles a day. My wife, while in good physical shape, is not much of a bike rider. To remedy this, we have decided to rent a tandem and ride this trail.

We have never ridden a tandem and I am wondering if there is anything about the Otago Trail that would make this a bad idea for a first time ride on a tandem.

Any other information about riding on the Otago Trail would be appreciated, as well.

AnthonyG 10-27-12 04:53 AM

OK, Thats New Zealand isn't it? Send gnome a personal message. He doesn't seem to be about.


gnome 11-01-12 12:48 PM

The Otago Rail Trail shouldn't be a problem on a tandem. The grades are moderate and the surface, while gravel, is generally good. Most of the hire bikes are hybrids with tyres with slightly more tread than standard. Please note I have not actually ridden the full rail trail. I was with a group on vintage bikes, including Penny Farthings, and they don't like the gravel. We rode on the roads along the route of the rail trail.

The tandem riding itself is a whole different ball game. I have ridden a tandem once. It was fun but you wouldn't want to tour on one without practising first. Starting stopping and matching your cadence and communication take time to master. I suggest that you hire a tandem locally and get used to riding one before your holiday.

gnome 11-01-12 08:18 PM

oh. use sunscreen. lots of sunscreen. you are coming in our summer when the "Ozone Hole" is at its largest and closest. In summer the burn time can be as little as 15 minutes.

72andsunny 02-14-13 03:39 PM

Hey Raybo, just wondering how the ride went. The bike paths up my way are rather tandem unfriendly. (They run over private land, which means sheep gates interrupt the path frequently...on a single they are an inconvenience; on a tandem nearly impossible.)

raybo 02-14-13 05:55 PM

The bike path is gravel the whole way. The closer you get to Middlemarch, the better the path seems to be maintained and it is much smoother. The part past Alexandra is mostly two tracks, as if it was cut by car tires, and fairly bumpy. I recall moving from one track to the next trying to find a smoother line.

All that said, the trail was not a problem on a tandem. The grade is gradual, both up and down, and there are plenty of well identified services along the way. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am glad my wife and I chose a tandem as it would have been lots of bother on two separate bikes and riders. There are some gates with sheep grates that we walked the tandem over but they weren't all that often (though I got tired of them, nonetheless).

I wrote a journal of this ride, with dozens of photos--several of the trail itself, if you are interested.

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