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Tandemonia

Old 12-20-20, 12:26 PM
  #1  
rsbob 
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Tandemonia

Do you or have you ridden one? Share your stories of victory, noodling, marital discord or harmony and defeat.

Quick story, after riding a racing style tandem for a couple of years with a good buddy we tackled all sorts of centuries and doubles until we did the Issaquah Salmon Cycle ride. It involved a 2500’ continuous climb to a pass and then descending the way we came. Sounded like a good challenge so we signed up. The day had very threatening skies with rain forecast but we were tough or so we thought. The ride was along I-90 which should have been a sign. We left Issaquah heading east to the top of Snoqualmie Pass. Since it was a supported ride, there were two stocked rest areas on the way up. We had a rear pinch flat 20 minutes into it. We were good at fixing flats so were up and running in 10 mins. Made it to the first rest stop and they only had apples and oranges. No carbs. Hrumpf. Same at the second stop, and we didn’t carry food because we were used to well organized well stocked food stops. About 5 miles from the summit it started to rain. We had light Tyvek jackets but that was it. We got to the summit and it was pouring so we found a restaurant, bought food and coffees to warm and fuel up. It just kept raining harder the longer we stayed as more riders kept joining us. Pretty soon the place was full of cold wet people. After an hour and a half we decided we had to bite the bullet and descend.

so in the pelting rain we pulled out on I90 and immediately start getting whipped with the contrails coming off the numerous semis. One after another blasted us as the rain poured. We didn’t have the drag break mounted since we never used it so we kept gaining speed even under breaking. Then we were going across metal expansion joints in the elevated portion of the highway and the bike would move around enough to be thoroughly disconcerting but we maintained.

The brake new brake pads wore down to about 1/4 on the way down as hands started cramping as we both started getting hypothermic. We had 16 miles to go when we flatted again. The spare tube was just used on the way up so we had the patch kit. It was raining so hard that that when we got the tire off it filled up with water in about a minute. We went though 5 patches because we couldn’t keep the tube dry enough for them to stick. Keep in mind this is before widespread use of mobile phones. We only had one patch left and we got that one to stick while we were shaking with cold and cussing up a storm.

we made the rest of the trip down without flatting and took the brakes down to their holders while hands were in just about permanent cramps

when we finished we had definitely learned several lessons and headed to a bar for warmth and more food and heat.

it was a day of pure hell. The worst cycling day of my life.
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Last edited by rsbob; 12-20-20 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 12-20-20, 12:31 PM
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Well, I can understand with a tandem you'd want to save the weight of the second spare tube ....... ;D
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Old 12-20-20, 06:06 PM
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Sounds like a "memorable" ride.
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Old 12-20-20, 07:38 PM
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We have a cheap tandem. Do not ride it at all anymore. Attempted to ride with the wife and we could not get our efforts coordinated to the point there was any enjoyment for me at all. She would stop pedaling without any notice and kept moving around making the bike very unstable. It not sits in the garage unwanted and unused.

Nothing near as exciting as a ride uphill in the rain.
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Old 12-20-20, 07:50 PM
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When the wife didn't take to cycling, i had 2 stokers in the wings. There were 2 memorable adult stokers, one a strong rider, one for different reasons. Maybe low mileage but high memories.
Never bit off more than 2 could chew.

edit: '97 Co-Motion Cappuccino, ghosted decals for the big red sled.



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Old 12-20-20, 08:09 PM
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Spouse/stoker and I have been riding bikes together since we met.
We first rode a rental tandem at Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1978.



Didn't ride tandem again until 2000, when we bought a KHS Tandemania Comp



I started riding recumbents in 2006 and persuaded stoker that we should upgrade to a RANS Screamer in 2010.
On the North shore of Lake Pontchartrain in 2018. Rode the Tammany Trace.


Most of our together riding for a long time was tandem riding, but since she got a Trek e-assist Verve+ a year and a half ago, we have ridden together mostly on single bikes. We still enjoy the tandem, but only ride it when we feel the urge, which included a lot of club rides and tandem club rides until Covid 19 messed with club riding. Lots and lots of rides with each other on single bikes during this year of the pandemic.
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Old 12-20-20, 08:15 PM
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New to the tandem world.

I've been cycling for 37 years and just recently purchased a hybrid style tandem second hand. It's nothing fancy and I swapped out the grip shift for thumb shifters, got rid of the heavy white wall all terrain tires for a set of road tires and a few other upgrades. My reason for the purchase is the girl I'm currently dating has MS and she does not have the balance or control in her left leg to ride solo. She loves it. I put toe clips on for her so she will stay on the pedals. I ride KEO's on all my road bikes so i just installed a set on the tandem. She's 56 and had not been on a bike since she was 16. I took her to a local park in a neighborhood and surprised her with a jersey, gloves, helmet and water bottle. Before doing so I asked, when was the last time you rode a bike? She's always interested in my group and charity rides so I figured she'd go for the bike thing.

We walked around to the back of my suburban and when I opened the back she saw the tandem. She assumed it was a customer's bike as I do bike work on the side from my home workshop. She said "that's a nice bike that you're working on." I said yes it is but it's not a customer's. It's for you. She was shocked and amazed. She was a bit scared but I actually outfitted it with a two legged kickstand that holds the bike upright and allows her to step over and get up on the seat. I help her get her left foot in the toe clip and I can mount the bike and push forward and the kickstand goes up and away we go. She's in heaven outdoors and this tandem has given her a whole new thing to enjoy in life.She's met several of my cycling friends both male and female and looks forward to seeing them at weekend rides. We take an evening ride to some restaurants, eat outdoors and ride back to the car. Next year I will get her some clipless pedals and shoes. She can help pedal some but the main thing is she's exercising those legs. She can walk with a slight limp. Gets off balance sometimes but the tandem has opened up a whole new world for her. We've logged a bit over 80 miles together. 16 miles being her longest ride. I'm super proud of her and she's excited for us to start riding again after the new year.


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Old 12-20-20, 08:22 PM
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JANMM
Hey, neighbor. I'm in the Gonzales, LA area. I've probably seen y'all out on the roads. Tour de Tangi, Tour de Jefferson...
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Old 12-20-20, 09:27 PM
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When I first introduced my wife to the tandem she wouldn’t lean with me in the corners but would lean the opposite way because it just felt so strange. Getting synchronized to start together only took a few times with count downs until it became second nature. Since she wasn’t nearly as strong, getting her and the bike up long climbs at 5-8% made me much stronger, like doing maximum weight workouts. After 6 months she totally trusted me and we would regularly fly down a half mile hill by our house at 45 with her yelling Woohoo! She loved going fast. During year two we did a century, actually at 98 miler, so we rode around our neighborhood about 5 times to hit 100. We rode for four years together and she really loved it, but I still dreaded hill climbing with her. Year 5 she had her right knee replaced and riding the tandem was painful so the bike was retired. Sold it this last summer after hanging unused in the garage for 5 years. Very sad to see it go.
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Old 12-20-20, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by wiliermdb View Post
JANMM
Hey, neighbor. I'm in the Gonzales, LA area. I've probably seen y'all out on the roads. Tour de Tangi, Tour de Jefferson...
Actually, we live in Indiana but visited Mandeville early in 2019. First time in LA. That was on the way to visit snowbird friends wintering over at Gulf Shore State Park in Alabama. They suggested we ride the Tammany Trace on our way to Gulf Shores. It was worth driving the extra miles to ride the Trace and get a taste of Louisiana.
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Old 12-20-20, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
When I first introduced my wife to the tandem she wouldn’t lean with me in the corners but would lean the opposite way because it just felt so strange. Getting synchronized to start together only took a few times with count downs until it became second nature. Since she wasn’t nearly as strong, getting her and the bike up long climbs at 5-8% made me much stronger, like doing maximum weight workouts. After 6 months she totally trusted me and we would regularly fly down a half mile hill by our house at 45 with her yelling Woohoo! She loved going fast. During year two we did a century, actually at 98 miler, so we rode around our neighborhood about 5 times to hit 100. We rode for four years together and she really loved it, but I still dreaded hill climbing with her. Year 5 she had her right knee replaced and riding the tandem was painful so the bike was retired. Sold it this last summer after hanging unused in the garage for 5 years. Very sad to see it go.
Sorry to hear knee replacement didn't completely work out for her. I've ridden with more than a few folks who've had knee replacement and were able to resume cycling.
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Old 12-20-20, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Sorry to hear knee replacement didn't completely work out for her. I've ridden with more than a few folks who've had knee replacement and were able to resume cycling.

Very much appreciated. It really devastated her.She also had to give up downhill skiing which she was quite accomplished. She had many complications and lots of scare tissue which limits her extension. Then she got severe RA.

The good news news is that this year she bought a Specialized Como E-bike and has resumed riding after many years. She also has back problems so this bike worked for her. Now she can ride next to me at 18-20 and not break a sweat. What frustrates me is that on steep climbs (8%+) she utterly drops me to pant and struggle after her. She is now able to ride which is happiness no money could buy.
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Old 12-21-20, 04:13 AM
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A couple successes: Rode coast-to-coast with my then-10 year old daughter on a Santana steel frame tandem pulling a BOB trailer with our gear. Took 80-days and was a great bonding experience.

Several years later, on a Co-Motion triplet completed the "Hotter n' Hell Hundred" with my then 13-year old and 10-year old daughters as stokers. It gave a great sense of accomplishment to all three of us.
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Old 12-21-20, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
The brake new brake pads wore down to about 1/4 on the way down as hands started cramping as we both started getting hypothermic. We had 16 miles to go when we flatted again. The spare tube was just used on the way up so we had the patch kit. It was raining so hard that that when we got the tire off it filled up with water in about a minute. We went though 5 patches because we couldn’t keep the tube dry enough for them to stick. Keep in mind this is before widespread use of mobile phones. We only had one patch left and we got that one to stick while we were shaking with cold and cussing up a storm.
Next time bring superglue and baking soda. Baking soda is your last resort if you want the superglue to cure to maximum strength instantly.

Those are your secret weapons for patching in the rain. Superglue works in wet conditions and it can seal a hole without using patch.
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Old 12-21-20, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
The good news news is that this year she bought a Specialized Como E-bike and has resumed riding after many years. She also has back problems so this bike worked for her. Now she can ride next to me at 18-20 and not break a sweat. What frustrates me is that on steep climbs (8%+) she utterly drops me to pant and struggle after her. She is now able to ride which is happiness no money could buy.
That wouldn't bother me. Either I keep up or I don't. There's no ego involved when going up against a motorized vehicle, even if it *looks* like a bicycle.
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Old 12-21-20, 04:32 PM
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Tried a tandem on Block Island with my then girlfriend (now wife). We had a blast, right off the bat. Went all over the island, we just loved it. We didn't get to do it again for a long while, though - we were skiing and hiking/backpacking/camping together, so it wasn't a big deal.
Fast forward to kids in High School (i.e. they were never around), we demo'ed 4 different tandems one afternoon, and got one.

My wife learned to ride as an adult, so she's not a confident or strong rider, but as a team we have a lot of fun. We aren't fast, but on level ground (and, certainly, descending) we're now faster than I am on my single. Still slow on climbs, but we did manage to make the climb from New Paltz to Mohonk Mountain House, which was fun. Slow, but we made it.

As Ucanttouchthis said above, tandem riding is a lot different from riding a single. It is very much a cooperative effort - the feedback you get through the pedals, your hands and your inner ear is astounding. I can tell what is going on with my stoker without looking, I can just feel it (one reason why we HATED the DaVinci tandem we demo'ed - the one with the independent pedaling - no feedback from the pedals). My wife and I haven't had any trouble getting in synch, but probably that is because she is inexperienced and trusts me (generally) - at least, she isn't fighting me and doesn't have a problem relinquishing control of the bike. I'm not sure I'd be a good stoker, myself, I haven't had the chance to try. The turning radius is quite a bit bigger, especially since my wife isn't comfortable leaning the bike as much, but she's getting better over time. I've gotten a little better shifting the gears (so she isn't suddenly spinning wildly, or mashing), and again the feedback from the pedals tells her when I'm lightening up on the pedals in preparation for a shift, so I generally only announce big shifts to the granny when a steep hill is coming up. I still miss some bumps, especially when my wife is pointing out the sights. I've also learned to just take quick looks when she says "look at that", because it is much harder to keep a tandem going straight while looking around than it is keeping a single bike going in a straight line..

Balancing the bike takes a bit more strength, since stoker and captain aren't always leaning the same way (taking a drink, looking at sights, etc.), which makes your upper body a bit more tired. However, it isn't like bike riding is a tough upper body workout, so it hasn't been a problem on rides up to 3 hours of continuous riding, and "touring" days when we're out looking at the sights for hours (ride an hour or two, get off to look at stuff, rest, eat a meal, get back on, etc.).

It is a great break from riding a single - a bit like skiing and riding a snow board. They're both cycling, but different enough to give you a mental break. And the feeling of riding with someone, rather than just doing your own thing, is a lot of fun (for me, at least).
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Old 12-23-20, 06:01 AM
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Apparently it doesn't show up on everyone's browser but BF has an entire sub forum dedicated to tandems https://www.bikeforums.net/tandem-cycling/
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