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How to Tandem?

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How to Tandem?

Old 04-07-22, 05:43 PM
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Attilio
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How to Tandem?

Hello fellow Tandem riders. My wife is terrified of mountain biking and trails. I am not into technical stuff either but there's plenty of pretty forests to be ridden that don't involve big rocks, roots or jumps. I am decent (not great) at MTB riding and for the trails I have in mind I think if I am at the helm, or should I say the handlebar and she just plods along she could get better at it.

The only issue is do you have to synchronize your stokes? Like do you have to pedal at the same time? This seems kind of tricky. They call double kayaks "divorce boats" but in the end it works out because she is in the front and I am in the back steering taking control of the thing. She paddles as she likes (or takes breaks) while I do the lion's share of the work. As long as she is paddling or isn't I can time my stroke to her. However this is easier on a double kayak because I am in the rear and can see exactly everything she does so she has to really do things wrong to go the "divorce boat" route. Are tandem bikes divorce bikes too? Do you have to coordinate how you pedal? Seems hard if I am in front and cannot see what she is doing if so I would not want to get into this. Please let me know either way.

Thanks
A
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Old 04-07-22, 06:50 PM
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JoeShellharbour
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Hi Attilo
My wife was never able to ride a solo bike and fell off every time.
When her mobility deterieted we decided to try a Tandem as it could not possibly be worse!
I found a tandem group who rode tandems with vision impared and dissabled stokers so I tried tandem riding with them, and still ride with them at lest once a week!
All the group tandems have a sinchronising chain which locks front (captain) and rear (stoker) pedals in synch so the captain always knows where the stokers pedals are.
After a couple of tandem rides I borrowed a tandem and rode Solo for a few rides to get my confidence and staminer up, then asked my wife (Kathy) to join me,
Result instant joy no more falling off and never late, we then purchased our own Tandem a medium Cannondale and have never looked back.
As Kathy's left ankle deterieted we started to stall and fall over on steep climbs so I fitted a front motor and battery pack and now no fear on hills
Some Tndems do have the ability to allow the stoker to pedal out of synch and this creates a problem for corners and Kerb crossing so the captain calls out (right forward) to tell the stoker to bring their right pedal forward and synch ready to corner or climb a curb (not a problem when both are locked the captain just stops pedaling with his pedal correct and stoker is there.
I hop you get a tandem and have lots of fun
Good luck
Joe

Last edited by JoeShellharbour; 04-07-22 at 06:52 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 04-08-22, 11:43 AM
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jethro00
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<<Some Tndems do have the ability to allow the stoker to pedal out of synch and this creates a problem for corners and Kerb crossing>>
Actually, tandems with ICS (independent coasting system) make it easier on corners and curbs, since the captain only has to be concerned with the
position of his pedals and the stoker handles the position of her pedals independently. daVinci sells a line of tandems with ICS. They have pros and cons. You only get the benefit of the efforts of both riders if you pedal in sync. That said, a stronger rider can pull the team at his/her pace without being constrained by the pace of the weaker rider. Whether you ride a standard tandem where you pedal in sync or a tandem with ICS where pedaling in sync is optional, disharmony has more to do with whether you both look for ways to work as a team in light of each other's strengths and weaknesses or whether you develop resentment over each other's strengths and weaknesses. Based on your description of your wife's fear of mountain biking and trails, if you try riding a tandem, it might be considerate to start with smooth roads for a while and give her a chance to develop confidence. Being a stoker is scary for many riders. My stoker was terrified when we started riding a tandem. We ride every day and have now been riding for over 30 years. She is no longer terrified, just a bit scared when we ride. But, she enjoys it very much, perhaps in part because we very gradually increased our riding time and difficulty of terrain so she could get acclimated and gain confidence.
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Old 04-08-22, 08:05 PM
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Attilio
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The MTB that I do one could do 95% of it on a gravel or even cheapo steel-o city bike. There are some more technical and rocky sections where I ride but it involves mostly powerline access roads, doubletracks and fairly easy trails. The most technical element is significant elevation change. I am pretty fit and have started to bike centuries and while those did make me very tired I have no qualms about pedaling up 15, 18% grades for a few miles and have done so without issue so I think I can provide plenty of the power if she only contributes enough to overwhelm the bigger bike's weight and hers that's just fine. I own mountain bike only because it makes it a lot easier, smoother, nicer and allows you to talk with a friend or two instead of concentrating 99% on the trail and feeling like you're going to get knocked off your bike but it can be done with "lesser" bikes though not fun. This is not hard stuff I have in mind for the most part.
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