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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 05-25-07, 04:06 PM
  #1  
hesmysnowman
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New riders

Just got my first tandem - Phat Limo. My wife is very nervous and it shows in weight displacement in turns. Any advice for her would be appreciated.
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Old 05-25-07, 05:40 PM
  #2  
zonatandem
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The Phat Limo is a hefty cruiser-type machine, great for doing local MUPs, etc.
Tell your stoker the following: Do NOT try to steer from the back, do not keep a death grip on the handle bars . . loosen up! Do NOT keep looking over pilot's left/right shoulder to see what he's doing. No leaning into the curves (for now) . . . In other words, her weight/movements should be predictable.
Most of all tell her to "Relax!'
You, on the other hand, should verbally communicate all you are about to do: turning, slowing, stopping, braking, shifting, coasting/pedaling. Even with those fat tires, do call out the bumps, she can't see them from her position! No surprises for her!
There's a bit of a learning curve to riding a 2-seater . . . patience/practice!
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 05-25-07, 06:11 PM
  #3  
JanMM
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Originally Posted by zonatandem
The Phat Limo is a hefty cruiser-type machine, great for doing local MUPs, etc.
Tell your stoker the following: Do NOT try to steer from the back, do not keep a death grip on the handle bars . . loosen up! Do NOT keep looking over pilot's left/right shoulder to see what he's doing. No leaning into the curves (for now) . . . In other words, her weight/movements should be predictable.
Most of all tell her to "Relax!'
You, on the other hand, should verbally communicate all you are about to do: turning, slowing, stopping, braking, shifting, coasting/pedaling. Even with those fat tires, do call out the bumps, she can't see them from her position! No surprises for her!
There's a bit of a learning curve to riding a 2-seater . . . patience/practice!
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
Excellent advice.
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Old 05-26-07, 12:26 PM
  #4  
Brian
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Good advice. My wife learned not to wiggle on the back of our tandem, which makes riding our Goldwing much more pleasant.
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Old 05-26-07, 01:18 PM
  #5  
hesmysnowman
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Thanks. I never noticed any issues with her on the Harley, but i'm sure it was just weight/speed differences.
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Old 05-27-07, 07:23 AM
  #6  
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Another first time tandemist

My first tandem ride was on May 5th, the day of my 50th birthday, with a brand new tandem and my brother Mark (170 lbs) as stoker. We pedaled up our straight road for its 250 meter length. The captain portion of this Bob Brown custom tandem feels identical to my other road bikes - its geometry comforming deliberately. So, I felt a strange dissonance as the bike both felt the same and radically different from my road bikes. A great force threw the tandem from side to side in unpredictable moments. I tried desparately to compensate, but the lurches were unpredictable and almost irresistable. We got to the end of the road, turned in the circle of this no-thro' way and returned home. We were both laughing uncontrollably as we dismounted. He told me his experience, expressed in engineering terms, which was that he feared we would sway synchronously and that with each sway we would resonate and end up on the asphalt.
Since Mark left back for the UK (I live in New York State), I have found a solution. At first I was scared of cycling with my children as I couldn't figure how we could start the tandem if they didn't have the power to propel it while I engaged my feet in the clipless pedals and move forward. Thanks to encouragement from this forum I tried this out. It turns out my 9 year old is the perfect tandem coach. She is 64 lbs and most of that mass is muscle. She has a great power to weight ratio. We don't sway. She has better coordination than I have and automatically cycles in phase on this tandem with independent coasting. Yesterday we went on our first proper ride outside our neighborhood and went 20 miles into country roads. It was a charming experience. There was no lurching from side to side. There was great companionship. She would tell me to stop and look at wild flowers, a rusting plough, a Victorian house. The hills were no problem "are we going up hill". On one downhill she asked me to slow down. This reminded me about why I went into cycling in the first place as an adult 30 years ago - to enjoy the landscape by being a participant within it. My recent Tri-cycling/time-trialing road-biking past dissolved into an enjoyment I have to my embarassment forgotten. I have also begun to ride with my middle daughter - one weight up. I will progress up the ranks until I reach my wife, Jane-Marie, as I don't want there to be anything to put her off. I have painted on the boom-tube "the stoker is always right" - a slogan discussed in a previous link - I thought this was there to reassure future stokers that they were not just the rear motor. Actually, I have now learned the wisdom in it - allowing myself to share in the imagination and excitement of the stoker permits me to remember aspects of cycling I had all-but forgotten. As for my brother Mark - when I next ride with him I will share with him the wisdom of your post - lines to be given to all adult stokers - "Do NOT try to steer from the back, do not keep a death grip on the handle bars . . loosen up! Do NOT keep looking over pilot's left/right shoulder to see what he's doing. No leaning into the curves (for now) . . . In other words, her weight/movements should be predictable.
Most of all tell her to "Relax!'"

Thank you for that.

Adam
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Old 05-27-07, 02:33 PM
  #7  
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Adam:
Great ride: 20 miles with daugther!
Kids can teach us all a lot as their minds are not as fogged-up with mechanical/engineering details!
Keep us posted!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 06-04-07, 08:06 PM
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Yep, basically let her know everything you are doing. That is number one.

Number two, let her know what you would like her to do. Stay straight on the bike, if she needs to adjust, have her tell you. Coast while she adjusts, let her know when you are going to resume pedalling. Remind her you will take care of piloting the bike and will let her know that anything she feels she needs to do to help to discuss with you first.

Focus on working Two-gether. Practice, practice, practice. Communicate.

If the two of you want it to work, it will work. It just may take a little bit of time.
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