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first time on a tandem (HELP)

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first time on a tandem (HELP)

Old 06-01-15, 02:36 PM
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antokelly
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first time on a tandem (HELP)

folks hope this dosn't sound like a stupid question.
im taking a blind lad out the weekend hopefully on his new custom tandem.
thing is i've never ridden a tandem in m life, im a very experience cyclist mainly road bikes.so besides the obvious like calling out hole turning and stopping is there anything else i should be weary off.thanks in advance.
oh if u can point me to a good video that would be excellent

anto.
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Old 06-01-15, 03:24 PM
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We just tried it for the first time yesterday! So while I don't have a lot of experience, what I've got is pretty fresh.

The biggest problems we had were starting off in the first place, and communicating when we coasted. The first we solved with a countdown ("Go on three...") and agreement on what we were going to do (downstroke to launch, coast just a second while I get on the seat and other pedal, then gogogo). The second needs at least one revolution of warning from EITHER person.

There were a lot of funny little things too. Her coasting pedal position was a little off mine, not sure if this was a difference in chain sync or a difference in how we hold ourselves. The brakes are much less effective than you are accustomed to, because of the weight, and because of the way the weight doesn't shift as much due to the length, so you need to get used to that, don't be too gentle. We rocked a bit and fought with balance, but honestly the bike is stable enough to cope with that until you are used to it.
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Old 06-01-15, 03:37 PM
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yeah i was wondering about the shifting ,mind u the bike is well set up 11 speed ultegra cracking looking bike for sure,thing is im the newbi not him but saying that i have way more experience in cycling 40 years im cycling longer than hes on the planet so if we can get balance and cadence we should be fine.
thanks for that.

anto
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Old 06-01-15, 04:19 PM
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Here are some links:

Sheldon Brown
Tandem Bicycles

Gear-To-Go Tandems
Advice for New Riders of Tandems

Tandem Cycle Works
Tandem Cycle Works of Colorado | The Tandem Bike Specialists

The Tandem Geek
The Tandem Link - Learning Center

Blind Tandem Cycling Connection
Captain's Tutorial | Bicycling Blind

All of the above have great tips and ideas, a few of them counter to each other. I think the key is communication, patience and always remember that you, as the captain, must be worthy of the complete trust of the stoker.

Have fun!
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Old 06-01-15, 05:39 PM
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In addition to calling out road items, also call out pedaling (we use "Pause" and "Resume"), "Shift", "Stand", etc. Do not stop pedalling without pre-announcing ask your stoker to do same. I would also recommend that you both use flat pedals so you are not constrained by being clipped in until you develop a rapport. Also announce when you are going to stand and take a drink. My stoker has a difficult time reaching her water bottle so I hand her my second bottle when she wants to drink.

It's all about communication and good luck, you are doing a great thing.

Last edited by Alcanbrad; 06-02-15 at 04:18 AM.
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Old 06-01-15, 07:29 PM
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Make sure your blind stoker is aware NOT to try to steer! That can affect handling drastically.
Having ridden with blind folks, when you get your pedaling act TWOgether, be sure to describe the scenery to your stoker.
It is quite the thrill riding for blind folks and a very rewarding experience for the captain!
Enjoy and stay relaxed . . . no death grip on the handlebars.
Pedal on!
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Old 06-02-15, 12:20 AM
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Also, ride the bike by yourself just so that you are a bit used to the long wheelbase. This will help anticipate turning radius. That was the hardest part for me, anticipating the speed and turning radius of what the bike would do. Had to learn it again when piloting the triplet.

Have fun.
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Old 06-02-15, 02:36 AM
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thanks lads its my first time but he was used to cycling it with his wife,i can get balance and cadence righte should be fine fingers crossed.(famous last words
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Old 06-02-15, 04:31 AM
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Thanks everyone much appreciated for all the great advice and links.
i have it all in my head now ,just a matter of getting the tandem and riding it for an hour then its all systems go.

thanks again

anto.
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Old 06-02-15, 07:21 AM
  #10  
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All that stuff is helpful. However, I'd suggest not getting too hung up on it. After all, you're still just riding a bike. Stay loose, and talk to your stoker and you'll be fine.
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Old 06-02-15, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
All that stuff is helpful. However, I'd suggest not getting too hung up on it. After all, you're still just riding a bike. Stay loose, and talk to your stoker and you'll be fine.
I agree with this statement, the fact that you are asking is a good sign and it will probably come together as the miles increase. We use an intercom so we can talk back and forth without yelling over traffic.

With newer 10 or 11 speed stuff I wouldn't worry too much about calling out up shifts but defiantly call out down shifts especially from the big to the small ring. This is a spot where you can drop the chain off the inside if you are not careful.

Keep a conversation going about what tempo they like to ride. Be sure they are comfortable with the down hill speeds you may want to go, it really isn't too hard to break 50 mph with a tandem. As someone mentioned earlier, watch the breaking you'll be riding a truck and not a sports car like your single.

Also realize that in most cases they will probably stay seated at stops so unless you are good at standing (this make take some time) they may need to give their butt a break, if you are going to be coasting awhile make sure they know it is ok to stand and "readjust" or go for the water bottle.
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Old 06-02-15, 04:35 PM
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Thanks again folks well i got the tandem earlier on tonight after loads of adjustments still not 100% i took her out for a night ride.
wow its a hell of a machine feels just like my own bike ,cant believe how light and lively it is. it ridea as smooth as silk gear changes are spot on only thing ive no idea what gear im in but if it feels right them that will do me. the brakes are set up wrong way round for me i like the front brake on the left leaver it's on the right (obviously) on the tandem.my reach is half inch to long no adjustment left on saddle height either thats also half inch out .but i'll ride it tomorrow get a really good feel for it take my new cycling buddy out saturday morning for the big one fingers and everything else crossed it goes well.
i took photos on my phone but no idea how to post them sorry.

anto.
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Old 06-02-15, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
...the brakes are set up wrong way round for me i like the front brake on the left leaver it's on the right (obviously) on the tandem.

my reach is half inch to long no adjustment left on saddle height either thats also half inch out
anto.
Sounds like the brakes were set up for a rider in England. They have the front brake on the right. The brakes are usually very easy to switch, but usually require new brake cables. You can often reuse the brake housing, depending on where the openings are.

Not sure what you mean by the reach comment, but don't be afraid of swapping out the seat post if it is sticking out too far. With a tandem, there is a lot more force on the seat post. Both your weight and the push/pull and weight of the stokers upper body.

Have a great time!

WillFam
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Old 06-03-15, 12:33 AM
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If your stoker is experienced don't forget to ask him what he's used to. He probably has some ideas!
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Old 06-03-15, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by WillFam-Reno View Post
Sounds like the brakes were set up for a rider in England. They have the front brake on the right. The brakes are usually very easy to switch, but usually require new brake cables. You can often reuse the brake housing, depending on where the openings are.

Not sure what you mean by the reach comment, but don't be afraid of swapping out the seat post if it is sticking out too far. With a tandem, there is a lot more force on the seat post. Both your weight and the push/pull and weight of the stokers upper body.

Have a great time!

WillFam
WillFam on my own rd bike i use a 70mm stem thin one 110 i adjusted the saddle as far forward as it goes its not to bad now.the saddle heigh was way to big but i got it close to my own rd bike gonna have to do. i went for a 30 mile spin this morning on my own to get the feel of it ,to be honest i forget aften ten minutes i was riding a tandem happy days.
Darth yes the stoker is well used to riding one well it is his tandem im just filling in until his wife is ready to take over once again.
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Old 06-03-15, 10:19 AM
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I second that about asking the stoker what his wife communicated to him. *My wife adapted to tandeming very quickly so I don't mention shifting or coasting. *She senses it. *However it is important to warn about bumps so that the stoker can rise off the saddle & avoid an unexpected jolt. *I also indicate an upcoming turn because she signals the turn & acts as my rear view mirror. * *
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Old 06-03-15, 11:29 AM
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When I started riding the tandem, it took about a 1,000 miles before it didn't feel "weird". So that's pretty normal.
You can have issues with cadence and which side you dismount/lean toward.
Riding a tandem without a stoker feels pretty normal, until you ride it a bunch with a stoker, then if the stoker hops off and you go riding, it suddenly feels very wrong!
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Old 06-03-15, 12:01 PM
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From a former pro motorcycle racer, if you can adapt I feel that front brake on right is superior. Especially if you are right handed. you will have better front brake control. You can get away with less accurate control on the rear brake but not front. that is just my opinion go by how you feel you may grow to like it. I have bikes set up both ways but the majority of them are front on right.

You could suggest a suspension seat post for training with you if you are prone to forgetting to call out the bumps and switch to a non-suspension for race day.
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Old 06-03-15, 01:34 PM
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Cheers Lads.ah i reckon i'de be a good pilot as im cycling all my life started many a lad off.have to say im looking forward to this first spin bit weary to be honest, as i said before first ever tandem ride. this bike was custom made the guy is the same size as me but his wife is taller by a good 2 inches . i can't adjust the my ride position anymore im stuck with the way i have it set up for me .
i suffer with lower back pain but funny enough im ok cycling its when i get off the problem starts ,but i have the same issus with my own bike and i have that set up perfect.
btw how the hell do you guys figure out what hear your in front and rear,at the moment im going by feel mind u i always do but its nice to look down once in a while just to check.
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Old 06-05-15, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
btw how the hell do you guys figure out what hear your in front and rear,at the moment im going by feel mind u i always do but its nice to look down once in a while just to check.
I've been wondering about this too. Some shifters have gear indicators. But it seems like all the pretty decent tandems have Ultegra, which don't.
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Old 06-05-15, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I've been wondering about this too. Some shifters have gear indicators. But it seems like all the pretty decent tandems have Ultegra, which don't.
I usually just ask my stoker to take a look, although that obviously won't work with a blind stoker. I also have bar end shifters on the "good" tandem which give a visual clue of roughly what gear you are in. If you really want to know what gear you are in on an Ultegra or 105 STI setup, you can get an inline gear indicator for the rear derailleur cable, or a Shimano Flight Deck computer which has an electronic indicator system.
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Old 06-05-15, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
All that stuff is helpful. However, I'd suggest not getting too hung up on it. After all, you're still just riding a bike. Stay loose, and talk to your stoker and you'll be fine.
Gotta agree.

I have been riding with a blind friend for about 10 years, probably the most important thing is a helmet and gloves. The rest we just figured out on our own. After riding that long I mention almost nothing to him about the mechanics of the ride, we just enjoy the ride.

When we first started, I knew about nothing, and certainly was not on an internet bike forum. We just had a beater tandem and kinda pushed off together and rode. ....well guess that doesn't make for an interesting post or book, but it is true: we really didn't over think the thing and still don't. We ride out in the rural areas on mostly good roads, that helps. Being young helps too, older folks probably need tons of hand holding, seminars or whatever. (I am older, but this youngster just adapted to Everything LOL).

We have since graduated to a better tandem with drop bars and gears, but still do the same ole thing. If your not having fun, then your prolly not doing it right. After a while, you will probably be like us and say virtually nothing about the ride if you ride in the rural areas. Don't think riding in the city would be fun, but I could be wrong.

In the end it has just turned out to be exercise, fellowship and fun. Kinda like sighted people. The nerds among us worry about oil on the chain, gear ratios and all the weird stuff on a bike forum, but most people could really care less. My friend is now a young adult and his attitude is mostly 'shut up and ride' LOL.
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Old 06-06-15, 02:26 PM
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Thanks folks,
well got my first ever tandem ride this morning interesting to say the least .first turn of the pedals was a disaster normally i clip my left foot in coast and then clip my left foot in place, i clean forgot to tell my stoket this he nearly sent me over the handlebars not his fault tho.well we soon sorted that issue out next was the balance but after 3 miles all was sorted.
we had a super 35 mile ride even tho the wind was blowing at gale force actually it was the hardest spin this year, the last 5 miles for home is a long hard drag into a headwind . but look im here to tell the tale it was fantastic i enjoyed it all wind or not.

gear changes were spot on ultegra 11 speed is magic but yeah no idea what gear i was in most of the time i just went with feel.i'll try and get a few more spins next week the more the merrier as the man said ..
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