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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 04-29-08, 06:23 PM   #1
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Charity Rides

My stoker and I are considering riding in some local rides to raise funds for charities. First the dumb question: do we enter as 1 bike or as 2 riders? The registration websites don't include tandem specific instructions. Since the $$ goes to charity, it doesn't matter to us.

Since we ride mostly by ourselves and occasionally with a local tandem group, any advice for us on a charity ride. I expect there will be many singles that are not used to pack riding, no less riding with a tandem.

Wish us luck.
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Old 04-29-08, 07:20 PM   #2
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Every charity or other organized ride in which we've participated has required us to register as two people. Sometimes we get a break on the price (donation) if we make it clear that we're a tandem team.

Our most recent experience (SLC Marathon Bike Tour with about 1500 riders) taught us to avoid the starting pack at all costs. The halfbikes tend to sort of mosey along (actually slower than walking pace) in a bunch with one foot down. This bunching made it pretty tough to launch our tandem, so we got off and walked the bike to a wide spot in the road created by a press vehicle. Also be aware that the course may have been layed out with little bikes in mind, so there may be a tight corner or two. So either be at the very front of the start or plan to be a bit patient as the group gets going, and make sure the captain has radar going all the time for errant halfies and scary turns.


Best of luck!
2008 Red Co-Motion Speedster Co-pilot (Redster)
2009 Surly LHT (captain's commuter)
2009 Surly Crosscheck (stoker's road bike)
2007 Giant FCR2W (stoker's commuter)
1980's NOS Legnano (stoker's toy)
1970's Stella rebuilt as fixed-gear (captain's toy)
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Old 04-29-08, 07:56 PM   #3
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Riders get registered, not the bikes.... so, unless the event offers a tandem, family, or group rate you can pretty-well assume the expectation is that each person on a tandem will register.

Large rides with a wide variety of different types of riders demand a lot of attention and common sense from a tandem team. Every team is a bit different in how they approach these types of events and you'll need to figure out what works best for you, taking into account how strong your team rides, how well developed your tandem-handling skills are, and what constitutes a "good time" for you on a tandem.

Some tandem teams we know actually like to start out near the back and do the 'on your left thing' through the pack... but I'll be darned if I know why. Others are strong enough to ride with the lead group or "B" group who tend to have pretty good bike handling skills and fewer squirrels than slower groups. Still others like to start early to get out in front of the masses and hang with the lead teams for a while when they come through.

Just keep your wits about you, stay well off the rear wheel of any other bikes, and be mindful of kling-ons / wheel suckers.
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Old 04-29-08, 09:54 PM   #4
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It is two entry fee's as everyone has said unless there is a specific fee for tandems.
Re charity rides...We enjoy charity rides alot, do many of them, and recommend them highly. We tend to enjoy the smaller ones (200 to 400 riders) the most as the risks of the unpredictable single bikes are less.. we always time our starts at these events to ensure we have good spacing around us in the initial miles...once riders spread out and everyones initial adrenaline settles down,all is good. From then on we enjoy the other riders, laugh a lot and just ride. BUT always, always stay alert for the unexpected...keep all your senses on max reception at all times particularly early on and in the staging area. ... do the the charities... have fun .... be safe.
Bill J.
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Old 04-29-08, 10:23 PM   #5
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You normally enter as 'individuals'; some events do have tandem team specials.
Have done at least a hundred charity rides. Some as financial contributors/riders, others as volunteers/bike patrol riders.
When you get several thousand folks lined up ready to roll it will be hectic.
We've started at the front, the middle and near the rear. All have their issues.
Near the front it's not bad with racers/experienced riders; the wannabees usually create problems by being so focused they don't see anyting at all. In the middle it gets crowded/hectic/agonizing. At the rear it 'seems' safer, but then have to wade through a thousand folk that have no idea what 'on your left' means' and are to busy yaking or listening to their tunes.
Having done the El Tour de Tucson 24 times, 15 with my stoker as Bike Patrol; she finally decided she had enough. The worst is the first 25 miles of the 100+ mile ride and then the last 25 miles.
In the first 25 miles you have thousands (9,000+ riders in 2007) riding elbow to elbow, all wanting to be first. You have to ride 'elbows out' as they will not give a tandem enough room. Corners can be especially dangerous for tandems. Seen folks in a huge pack pile up, 'cause someone drops a pump/water bottle and stops to pick it up. EEeeeK!
The mid-section of the event is cooler as packs as more spread and folks have found their comfort level.
The last 25 miles gets bad as a few folk that have over-extended themselves start fatiguing and not paying attention. Touching wheels, and some just falling down going into a corner.
The mix of experienced/inexperienced riders can create many issues. Then drop a few tandems in this melee that may/may not be experienced riding in groups/packs and you bet there will be at least one good crash somewhere in the event.
Our advice is start off with a smaller group/charity ride and build up to you comfort level.
Ride with eyes wide open and elbows out . . . . we've never crashed our tandem in any of the charity events. We attribute that to experience and a bit of good luck!
Having said all that, go out there and help out with a good cause and ride it TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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