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Captain and stoker different riding abilities

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Captain and stoker different riding abilities

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Old 06-11-18, 10:20 AM
  #26  
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I agree with the previous two posts.

We use the following phrases routinely: Shifting (which, by agreement, means shifting the real derailleur up); downshifting (which, by agreement, means shifting the rear derailleur down); shifting front; downshifting front; stop pedaling; pedal; stopping soon; prepare to stop suddenly (e.g., entering a traffic circle); turning ___ in 50 yards, so please signal; slowing; braking.

My wife has, over the years, developed the habit of really moving her body when pedaling hard, so we're working on her being aware of that, and minimizing it. Also, she always pedaled her half-bike at very low cadence (@70), which resulted in an uneven application of power, which contributed to her destabilizing movements when pedaling hard. We're pedaling at higher cadence now (trying to keep it between 83 and 88), and that does help with the even application of power and lessening of the body movement.
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Old 06-12-18, 06:43 AM
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Sounds like a gradual process. Keep it up, it'll be nicer on her knees, too.

Differences in preferred cadence are not uncommon. If I want to take a higher load share, I stay in a higher cadence, as my gf doesn't push as much then. If I'm lazy, I'll drop the cadence and I will feel her rocket power more

Often the captain cranks are a bit longer than the stoker's. This is to ease with cadence differences (longer cranks->larger circle->faster foot movement->more speed, less torque than on the shorter rear ones). Our Cannondale came with that configuration from the beginning.
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Old 06-12-18, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Sounds like a gradual process. Keep it up, it'll be nicer on her knees, too.

Differences in preferred cadence are not uncommon. If I want to take a higher load share, I stay in a higher cadence, as my gf doesn't push as much then. If I'm lazy, I'll drop the cadence and I will feel her rocket power more

Often the captain cranks are a bit longer than the stoker's. This is to ease with cadence differences (longer cranks->larger circle->faster foot movement->more speed, less torque than on the shorter rear ones). Our Cannondale came with that configuration from the beginning.

Actually you get more torque, not less, out of longer cranks. The reasons why Captains compartments sometimes have longer cranks is the recognition of the fact that, on average, Captains are usually taller than stokers. Often very much taller. It isn't a fully researched science however. Me and mine have (after losing two) three tandems currently, two DF, one recumbent. Two have 170mm cranks f/r and one has 165mm cranks f/r. When there is a manufacturer supplied size differential it is usually 170mm Captain, 165mm Stoker. It would be ironic if the o.p. and his stoker had such a setup as they are both the same height.

I am not convinced that crank length influences cadence to any degree. Training influences cadence. Trained athletes spin 175mm cranks to 120rpm routinely in competition and you also can find untrained casual cyclists that are daunted by an 80rpm cadence with 165mm cranks. We use a variety of cadences in our riding. I am fortunate that my stoker never complains about them.
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Old 06-12-18, 05:50 PM
  #29  
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H-m-m. After 30+ years of tandem riding, including daily rides for many years, I have no idea how many rpm we are spinning. So, how does one quantify rpm on the bike and is there any particular reason we should care about how many rpm we are spinning?
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Old 06-12-18, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jethro00 View Post
H-m-m. After 30+ years of tandem riding, including daily rides for many years, I have no idea how many rpm we are spinning. So, how does one quantify rpm on the bike and is there any particular reason we should care about how many rpm we are spinning?
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

I like data. A lot. So I gather data, and it helps me in my riding. I measure cadence with a cadence sensor (either a stand-alone one, or many power meters also record cadence).

I feel that pedaling hard at a low cadence is an isometric exercise, which succeeds only in tiring my ancient muscles out, and does not efficiently make me go faster. So the harder I'm working, the faster I'm pedaling. Conversely, when I'm out on a stroll, I pedal fairly slowly.

YMMV
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Old 06-14-18, 10:15 AM
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Actually, spinning faster is less efficient, but efficiency isn't the most important thing. There are several reasons to spin faster than is efficient, long-term preservation of the knees being a big one. Knees don't last a lifetime, so being gentle to them helps prolong their time.

I've never had a cadence meter, but every so often, out of curiosity, I'll count my strokes and divide by time. I'm not sure, but I suspect I pedal at around 90 rpm.
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Old 06-14-18, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Actually, spinning faster is less efficient, but efficiency isn't the most important thing. There are several reasons to spin faster than is efficient, long-term preservation of the knees being a big one. Knees don't last a lifetime, so being gentle to them helps prolong their time.

I've never had a cadence meter, but every so often, out of curiosity, I'll count my strokes and divide by time. I'm not sure, but I suspect I pedal at around 90 rpm.
I suspect that there is an optimal spin level (which may be different for each person), but I don't believe that the blanket statement "spinning faster is less efficient" is valid. For instance, 1rpm isn't going to work and I'd wear myself out in no time trying to spin at 110rpm, while the pros can do 110rpm all day.
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Old 06-14-18, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 124Spider View Post
I suspect that there is an optimal spin level (which may be different for each person), but I don't believe that the blanket statement "spinning faster is less efficient" is valid. For instance, 1rpm isn't going to work and I'd wear myself out in no time trying to spin at 110rpm, while the pros can do 110rpm all day.
Certainly. But when measuring energy input and output, I believe the ideal efficiency is at 30-40 rpm. Except that it's medically inadvisable. If you do it today, you'll be fine, but if you do it every day, you won't have knees for long. It also makes accelerating difficult.

I commuted on a fixed gear bike one winter many years ago. I geared it low, at 66 inches. I got good at spinning fast. I think I timed myself at around 180 rpm on some big downhills.
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Old 06-17-18, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Actually, spinning faster is less efficient, but efficiency isn't the most important thing. There are several reasons to spin faster than is efficient, long-term preservation of the knees being a big one. Knees don't last a lifetime, so being gentle to them helps prolong their time.

I've never had a cadence meter, but every so often, out of curiosity, I'll count my strokes and divide by time. I'm not sure, but I suspect I pedal at around 90 rpm.
85-95RPM is "ideal" for riding below threshold - it's not the most efficient in terms of caloric expenditure, but it fatigues your muscle fibers the slowest.

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