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spinning pedals equal to or greater than risk of going down

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spinning pedals equal to or greater than risk of going down

Old 02-05-21, 01:10 PM
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preventec47
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spinning pedals equal to or greater than risk of going down

At this point, I have lost my stoker. Maybe gentle coaxing and proof of new components will help lure her back in the future. I confess to a mistake I made
which contributed to losing my stoker due to wildly spinning pedals contacting legs and resulting in the timing chain coming off and much blood as the teeth of the
sprocket somehow gouged my stokers ankle. At the stokers request I removed the toe clips on her pedals and that caused her to lose the pedals many times during a high
cadence stretch and I believe that might have been the precursor to whatever happened that caused the chain to come off and the gear tooth to gouge her leg.
To further exacerbate the problem I as captain was unaware of the pedals spinning wildly as she would not inform me and she would try to catch the pedals while they were spinning. Communication is key and the danger of spinning pedals I now know is equal to or greater than the risk of going down without being able to pull your feet out of the pedals.
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Old 02-06-21, 08:54 AM
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ya sounds bad. my wife fell off once when I tired too sharp but that did not stop her. we use these and now my wife feet never slip off.

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Old 02-07-21, 04:58 AM
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We've been using clipless pedals forever. For a variety of reasons, my stoker needed to shift over to platform pedals like those in the previous post. She hated 'em. Found it really hard to stay on the pedals and in sync although she didn't suffer the horrifying fate that the OP's stoker endured. Ouch! She switched back to clipless pedals, and all is again sunshine and unicorns in the land of the Tandem.
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Old 02-07-21, 02:12 PM
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Clipless pedals for both of you, not toe clips, and use the proper method: stoker clips in first and stays clipped in until the end of the ride, or coffee stop, etc.
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Old 02-07-21, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Clipless pedals for both of you, not toe clips, and use the proper method: stoker clips in first and stays clipped in until the end of the ride, or coffee stop, etc.
My precious stoker and I do exactly as you described, she stays clipped in for the duration. I'm about 225lbs, and she's a measly 120lbs, so it works great for us.
Not to pick a bone or anything but of course there are plenty of other teams who are quite successful at doing it differently. The most common variation I've seen is both Captain and Stoker put a foot down and then do some variation on 'one two three go' when launching.
Regardless though, the solution to barked stoker shins (ouch!) is clipless pedals. Naturally, others will see that differently too.
Which is exactly why there are many different brands of tandems.
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Old 02-08-21, 01:19 PM
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+1 for clipless pedals. There are two kinds of bikes I would not ride without clipless pedals: a tandem or a fixed gear bike.

P.S. My stoker will not ride the tandem without her cycling shoes that allow her to be "locked" to the pedals, because she didn't enjoy getting hit by the rotating crank arms.
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Old 02-08-21, 05:58 PM
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Why did she want the toe clips removed? Did she feel uncomfortable/unsafe with them? Why? Do you two have lots of miles on a tandem, or are you just starting out? Have you ever ridden as a stoker (it can be eye-opening if you've not!)? Was this whirlwind spin accompanied by really high speed? If so, is your stoker comfortable with that? If not, don't do that again without explicit permission/agreement.

'll join the chorus calling for clipless pedals. Go with SPD pedals with the recessed cleat -- from the MTB world but widely used for touring as well -- they can be walked in with reasonable comfort.

I'd also suggest that your timing chain was loose -- regardless of cadence (how fast were you spinning, anyway?) it should never come off if properly adjusted. there should not be more than about 1/2" of droop at most in the timing chain when you press down on the center of the chain when off the bike.

You'll need to reestablish your stoker's trust in you. Perhaps some earnest apologizing, followed by a commitment to communicate better, and never to surprise her on the bike again. I spend a lot of time informing my stoker/wife of what's going to happen (I say "time to climb," right," left," "big truck coming," "bump," etc. and apologize when I miss something). I was responsible for crashing a couple of years ago which resulted in my stoker breaking her arm -- even though we have many thousands of miles on tandems together it took a few rides after she'd healed for her to regain trust and comfort in me and the bike -- and my realizing that was key in keeping her as a stoker -- we've gone thousands more since then!

Good luck!

Last edited by JulesCW; 02-08-21 at 06:04 PM. Reason: clarity, added section.
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Old 02-08-21, 08:51 PM
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Some find Power Grips to be a helpful compromise/transition in this challenging situation.
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Old 02-08-21, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Ross200 View Post
Some find Power Grips to be a helpful compromise/transition in this challenging situation.
+1 Between all my half bikes and tandems (yes, multiple tandems too) there are many pairs of PowerGrips. I moved to SPD on my Highracer recumbent and DF roadracer and also the double recumbent tandem but my Stoker (blind) remains a PowerGrips girl on both DF tandems and her station on the double recumbent. Most of us acquire a Stoker through a marriage or LTR, this seems not to be the o.p.'s situation. IMO much of the trust that a Stoker needs for that first ride (and any subsequent ones) is built off the bike, through the normal connection of the ongoing relationship. Where that is not possible, other means need to be resorted to. I wouldn't know what those are, but I wish the o.p. good luck in finding out.
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Old 02-09-21, 12:07 AM
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Also keep the cadence down, people who don't practice spinning don't just maintain a higher cadence. Especially if they don't ride a lot I wouldn't be surprised by someone only riding at 50-65rpm, pedal faster and the feet just fly off or they're not comfortable trying to keep up.
I'll join the chorus of going clipless, I hate tow clips and straps, never feel safe to me, but set the pedals as loose as possible and don't let her fall over while practicing.
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Old 02-09-21, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
+1 Between all my half bikes and tandems (yes, multiple tandems too) there are many pairs of PowerGrips. I moved to SPD on my Highracer recumbent and DF roadracer and also the double recumbent tandem but my Stoker (blind) remains a PowerGrips girl on both DF tandems and her station on the double recumbent. Most of us acquire a Stoker through a marriage or LTR, this seems not to be the o.p.'s situation. IMO much of the trust that a Stoker needs for that first ride (and any subsequent ones) is built off the bike, through the normal connection of the ongoing relationship. Where that is not possible, other means need to be resorted to. I wouldn't know what those are, but I wish the o.p. good luck in finding out.
I personally over twenty years have been satisfied with toe clips with no perceived need for improvement and have never heard of power-grips which I assume is featured here.
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Grips-T.../dp/B003UWEK1U

I can see some unique engineering going on with twisting the foot ..... but I am not sure "I" need the extra functionality, but the focus here is on a 1st time or low time stoker. I am single and the tandem is my date vehicle during the pandemic. I have to keep it very simple and easy and I cannot see how you can beat good old fashioned toe clips for 1st ime riders.
Now here is something new to me which might be an improvement for my situation. It is a toe-clip without a strap.

https://www.amazon.com/Zefal-Cristop...048HWQKS&psc=1
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Old 02-09-21, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by preventec47 View Post
I personally over twenty years have been satisfied with toe clips with no perceived need for improvement and have never heard of power-grips which I assume is featured here.
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Grips-T.../dp/B003UWEK1U

I can see some unique engineering going on with twisting the foot ..... but I am not sure "I" need the extra functionality, but the focus here is on a 1st time or low time stoker. I am single and the tandem is my date vehicle during the pandemic. I have to keep it very simple and easy and I cannot see how you can beat good old fashioned toe clips for 1st ime riders.
Now here is something new to me which might be an improvement for my situation. It is a toe-clip without a strap.

https://www.amazon.com/Zefal-Cristop...048HWQKS&psc=1
Yeah, the thick toeplates without straps are almost as good as PowerGrips. Unless I way miss my guess, you don't dare cinch your toestraps so hard that you can't get out of the pedal in a bailout. In fact, no one outside of a Velodrome uses toeclips and straps the way they were actually intended. Track cyclists have cleats on the bottoms of their shoes that engage with the back plate of the pedal and with the strap tightly, but not necessarily insanely cinched down, that foot isn't coming loose for any reason. The racers have to be held upright at the start of a race, and also caught at the finish by assistants. Toeclips as most of us use(d) them, without cleats, serve as foot location, nothing more. Out in the real world, you cannot safely tighten the straps enough to actually use the straps to provide much performance increase. I'm not judging you, but, after being a toe clip user for more than 20 years I didn't need a whole lot of convincing to see the improvement of PowerGrips, and now its been another 20 years and SPD (clipless) are a mature technology ... I'm kind of bemused that you haven't been even a little bit curious to want to find out why half the cycling world has adopted that technology with very little resistance. I'll be 62 in April, I'm guessing you are younger than that? If an old dog like me can learn new tricks, so can you.

Regardless of what you think, you are not having the most quality experience, toeclips have been much improved upon. One day a cyclist will no more use a bike without some kind of clipless technology than you would ride in a car without seatbelts. Ok I made that up. Upthread a little someone posted pictures of the pinned platform pedals that some are using instead of clipless. I have a new bike that came with a pair that I haven't yet gotten around to changing. Platforms are wider than normal pedals and the pins make them hard to lose. On a half-bike. On a tandem, where the pedals are being driven around by an outside force I wouldn't make any bets. And catching those pins on a shin ... ouchie ... "date over, thanks for playing ..." So, yeah, order up a pair of those toe things for the Stoker compartment, but, ... dude ... you know we all want to ask you if you think Stokers grow on trees that you seem to have so little regard for their proper Care and Feeding. Well ... I do. I'm probably not the only one.

If you get your Stoker back (or find another) you might want to consider nice and non-threatening MUP's or Greenways with no elevation changes, until some trust has been built. If you spend significant amounts of time on tandem forums you will often see reference to "the Stoker is always right" or words to that effect. Most Captains have all they can do to keep their Stokers contented. They'd love to bomb that downhill at 42mph but keep it to 25 or 30 because <repeat after me> "the Stoker is always right". I'm missing the gene that makes people want to take perfectly good bicycles away from primo pavement and put them on terrain that make Mountain Goats bust a sweat, but, that's me. Still, would it kill to keep the first half dozen rides with a novice Stoker to gentle pavement that she will enjoy even if you'd rather be shredding the big rock?
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Old 02-10-21, 10:12 PM
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Ah, trolling for stokers. That's more successful if they already have clipless shoes and you have a selection of pedals to suit different shoes. I also know stokers who troll for captains. Same deal. Experienced cyclists make the best stokers. Lots of things are that way.
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Old 02-10-21, 10:51 PM
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There was a period of about 2 years that I rode mostly tandem. I got real good at starting the pedals slowly and stopping as well. Stopping the pedals abruptly is also very hard on the stoker. Been riding the tandem for 22 years and still married so these tips work!
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Old 02-11-21, 01:54 AM
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This discussion has been very helpful to me with regards to the preparation and training and treatment of a new stoker. I give lots of rides to 1st time stokers and
I thought I had my speech and introduction and routine down pretty good, until someone asked to remove the toe clips and I had a senior moment and forgot why
I had them and stupidly removed them. I have a nice quiet road route that serves as a nice training introduction and practice of several tandem teamwork techniques but I screwed up when approaching a steep hill in that I downshifted and skipped 3 or 4 gears and went too far so that for my speed there was a total loss of resistance on the pedals and the sudden resulting spin action caused the stoker to lose the pedals. What I had failed to mention to the stoker in my presentation because it had never been a problem before is that the stoker must communicate to the captain any concerns or problems that they may have. I am pretty sure my stoker felt guilty as though it was their fault for losing the pedals and didnt say anything and I had no idea of what happened. Just to better convey the larger context, I ride in an area with many quiet neighborhoods and quiet rural roads that lead to a significant incline that steadinly rises 800 feet over a stretch of one and a half miles. It is this incline that is my daily workout. Two or three times up that back to back and I am toast. Surprisingly this happens to be a fantastic ride for two on a tandem because it is very slow and very constant...meaning almost zero need for shifting..... and maybe 7 to 9 mph and thusly very safe with a super satisfying coast back down from the top in which I brake the whole way so as to not build up too much "scary" speed.
I dont want to seem argumentative about the clipless pedal technology, I am sure it is superior to my toe clips but for me... again no argument. I just dont want the compromise in convenience re the special shoes etc. And for new stokers, I can not inventory a bunch of clipless shoes of all sizes to have on hand at the ready for a new stoker and have to teach how to use etc.. If it were me I wouldnt want to wear someone elses shoes anyway. What I mostly wanted to share here is that it would be a mistake to give in to the request that a foot retention pedal be removed for the stoker and that I learned this the hard way.
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