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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 10-07-07, 08:52 PM   #1
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Newbie needs avice

I've been lurking around the site for a while now and love what I have seen. Decided to join up and post.

Although I'm new to the tandem world, I'm not new to bikes. Actually, all thorough college I never owned a car and the only transportation I had was my Gary Fisher MTB.

Now, 15 years, 3 kids, a real career, and 20+ pounds later, My wife and I came up with a hair-brained idea. We are not in bad physical shape, but not great shape either. We both want to get back in good shape but needed some incentive to do it. We decided that next Summer we want to bike the Oregon Coast (Washington to California) for Summer vacation. (Grandma and Grandpa have volunteered come along in the support vehicle and carry the gear and the kids.) We plan on biking approx. 50 miles a day for the trip. (By the way, I haven't missed a day of exercising since we made the plan to do the trip!)

Anyway, I found a 2001 Raleigh SC Tandem that a couple bought, used a dozen times and then hung in the rafters of their garage for 6 years. Even though it is 6 years old, it is virtually brand new. I picked it up for well under $400. (I think I did okay?) I know it isn't the nicest bike but it is comfortable, runs really smooth and has already proven to be a ton of fun.

Since I bought it I have made a few adjustments. I added bar ends for comfort, put on better pedals, and a few other minor things.

There are a few more things I want to do, but am looking for advice from some people in the know before I make my move. I am worried that 6 year old tires, even though they look brand new, may need to be replaced? The team weight is currently just under 350 lbs. (hopefully that will drop a bit!) The current tire size is 26 X 1.95. I am wondering what brand and size you experienced cyclists suggest and what tubes you suggest a well. I want something that rides smoothly but that is really tough. The last thing I want is a front blow out, I'm sure that would be enough to have my wife throw in the towel and not get back on the bike, even if we didn't go down.

Also, We need to add a small bag of some sort to carry a few tools, spare tube, etc. I am looking at some of the small trunk bags that attach to the seat post. Good idea? or is their a better way. And how about a pump? What brand/type do you recommend.

Thanks in advance for your help! (sorry about the length of my first post)
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Old 10-07-07, 09:32 PM   #2
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Hey . . . welcome to the world of tandemers!
Sounds like you've got your act TWOgether and planning ahead. Great!
None of us started out with 'the greatest' tandem, so no sweat there.
Price-wise on the tandem you did OK!
Several suggestions. If you do your own mechanical work on bikes it won't cost a whole lot either.
Go over the tandem with a fine toothcomb. If the bike hung in the rafters for 6 years, bet all the bearings will need repacking/greasing. As for the tires . . . although they have not been ridden much, dry-rot is an issue. You and spouse's lives are worth a pair of new tires and probably tubes also. Keep the old tubes as spares if you're so inclined.
Seeing that you'll be riding on paved roads along the Pacific coast, non-knobby and a bit narrower (26 x 1.5) higher pressure tires would do just fine. As for tire brands, see what your local bike shop recommends; suggest you avoid K & W-mart, etc.
We run 700c road tires so do not really have any input on 26" tire brands.
Possibly get a rear rack and put a trunk bag on that rack. That will hold all necessities and maybe some snacks in case grandma/pa are not in sight and you need some extra calories to keep pedaling those hills by the coast.
Yeah, the hills were easy in the car were'nt they . . . but YOU are the motor this time.
Yes, do carry a pump! How else will you air up that flat that is bound to happen? We use/recommend the Topeak Mt. Morph that attaches to the bike and readily converts to a small floor pump when needed. It can inflate either schrader or presta valves.
Hope you have a least 4 water bottles mounted for the two of you as there is not always a convenience store around every bend.
The usual repair stuff: spare tube and patch kit, a multi-tool in case some nuts/bolts/screws need adjusting/tightening. And don't forget the sunscreen!
Now get out there and keep practicing; get in some hillwork and longer rides. 50 miles a day is do-able if you are in shape plus grandfolks and the kids will be rootin' for you!
Good to plan ahead!
Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 10-09-07, 07:12 PM   #3
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Can't do any better on advise than zona, seems he covered just about everything. I can give advise on 26" tires ... we use Tom Slicks on our Cannondale MT. We have used them since we purchased the bike in the early 90's. We have worn out two sets and are on our third with no flats. I'm not sure if they are still available but ask at your LBS. We use the Cannondale for vacations on Cape Cod and the islands and around town ... usually loaded with gear.
Remember it's not about the bike ... it's who you put on the saddle that's most important.
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