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galyons 01-17-22 12:28 PM

First tandem ride ever is now complete!
The Virgin ride on the tandem is complete. My heartfelt thanks to, no longer Virgin, nephew, Tim. (Who had never ridden a tandem either!) It was definitely a learning experience! I am 70 and broke my hip road cycling near Mt. Lassen in Northern California 4 years ago. I was medevaced 180 miles to the hospital. So still a bit paranoid with the thought of falling! For most of you, my comments will be “Duh! Yeah!” But this captures my initial experience!!

Riding the tandem is significantly different than riding a single bike. All my research drove home the point that “Anything that goes wrong is the Captain’s fault.” Our first 100 feet was an experience best left for nightmares. Nothing bad happened, but in those short few seconds, we imagined everything that could have gone wrong, and more! Learned Rule #1. Tandems are not at fun slow speeds! You do not feel stable and “safe” until you are 8-10mph, or more, especially on start up! Even the slightest movement by the stoker feels like you have an elephant dancing on the rear end. Tim, learned VERY QUICKLY!! Sit still or you will die!!

Pedaling? There is no avoiding teamwork! One chain, two cranksets! Turning, not Porsche, 18 wheeler!! Braking was great, after all of the loose bits from my refurb shifted and/or collapsed. Thankfully the multi-tool solved the problems. Communication is key to actually getting to complete the ride. Even Tim’s constant “Dear God, please don’t let me die!”!!

We rode 8.5 miles, (although it seemed like 50!), at an average speed of 16.5mph. So that was pretty much my normal 13.5mph, with Tim’s pathetic contribution of 3.0mph.

All joking aside, Tim was a trooper. I appreciate a 30 year old, babysitting his cranky old Uncle!! I could not have picked a better partner to venture out on my first ride on the tandem! We learned a lot! Every start was better! Every stop became smoother and more coordinated. I think riding the bike will be a real pleasure, but, just like a child learning to ride, you have to get past the “I’m going to die!”

MNBikeCommuter 01-17-22 01:32 PM

My first tandem ride was with my wife on my folks' $250 five speed special they picked up at Walmart. It wasn't a great introduction of course, but I don't remember the details other than cruising down a hill at 25 mph, the bike felt like it was going to shake apart. Or maybe it was the terror my wife was experiencing causing her to shake...

Anyway, we survived. We eventually got a Cannondale RT1000 but the kids spent many more miles on it with me than she ever has.

Fun to "get in" on your first experience!

jim_pridx 01-17-22 01:58 PM

Your story sort of reminds me of my son's first tandem ride shortly after we purchased our first tandem in 1985. While my wife and I had already ridden several rides, I couldn't believe how fast we could go when my 12-year-old kid hopped on the bike. He was already a pretty strong and light rider, but since he was so terrified after that ride, he swore that he'd never get on a tandem again......haha! Now that he's in his mid 40s, I guess he has stayed true to his words. Still, it was great fun for me!

fooferdoggie 01-17-22 02:15 PM

our first ride was in a packing lot test riding a tandem. but once it was delivered we road over a mile around in a big empty parking lot learning to start and stop and turn and such before we rode a mile to may daughters house.

jethro00 01-27-22 01:26 PM

Our first tandem in the 1980s was a cruiser by Trailmate. When we went to pick it up, we could not get it in the car. So, for its maiden ride, I had to ride it home solo, not a short ride and on busy streets. Naturally, it was raining. That experience did not engender an affinity for riding tandems solo But, after that maiden ride all the way home solo, it wasn't too scary with my stoker getting on the back and wobbling from time-to-time. I was just glad to have her on there to help peddle and occupy the seat :)

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