Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Tandem Cycling
Reload this Page >

Average Speed

Notices
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!

Average Speed

Old 08-24-09, 10:36 AM
  #1  
NyoGoat
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Utah
Posts: 98

Bikes: CAAD10 105

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Average Speed

My wife and I bought a 2007 Raleigh Companion early this year to give tandeming a try. My wife has never been into cycling before this and I hadn't done much road biking at all. We love tandeming together! It's great because it keeps us together, physically i have more endurance than she does, but on the tandem we are equals, we both get tired together. Anyway, this last saturday we rode in the "bike the bear" 50 mile ride around bear lake. 3 miles in we blew out our back tire and had to get a lift back to the beginning to buy a new tire. After finding a shop with a tire we fixed the tube, put on the tire and started out again, about 15 minutes behind the last rider. We finished in about 3 hours and 20 minutes, it's hard to say what our real time was because we forgot to check the clock on our second start. We estimate an average speed of around 15 mph for the whole race. Because we started so far in the back there was no way to jude our pace with other cyclists. We were the only tandem so we couldn't compare there anyway. What kind of pace are tandems normally able to maintain? I know that our bike is a pretty low end bike so I can't expect to reach the higher pace easily, but I am interested to know what common pace times are, for both tandem and single riding.
NyoGoat is offline  
Old 08-24-09, 03:11 PM
  #2  
tandem rider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 400

Bikes: Co-Motion tandem, Serotta, and Specialized mt. bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 11 Posts
Is a tandem faster than a single? Depends on the route. Hills, stops, turns, and slowing for other cyclists tend to make a tandem slower than a single. In cities/towns we usually have problems staying with singles. On the open road the tandem is faster than a single and the more open the road the faster the tandem becomes.

Don't read too much into average speed as the factors above greatly affect average speed. Safe riding habits like stopping at stop signs also can lower average speed. We find that we cruse 2 - 3 mph faster than our average speed on our local rides. With that being said we usually average 15 - 18 mph.

Sheldon and Martha Hall
Greenfield, IN
tandem rider is offline  
Old 08-24-09, 04:21 PM
  #3  
just me
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 88
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think you will get as many different answers as there are teams, so maybe I will qualify my answer with the following.

Using TandemGeeks "unofficial heirarchy of tandem teams" I would rate us as a C team
Combined age 83
Combined weight 315 (guessing here, she don't tell, I don't ask)
We ride a 10 mile loop, 4 mornings a week prior to work
We currently ride 60-80 on the weekends.
We ride about 8 months out of the year.

Morning loop average is 16.5
Weekend average 15-17 depending on where we ride.
Got caught with "the fast group" on a club ride a couple of weeks back. Averaged 23 for the first 35 miles... got dropped on a hill... averaged way less for the last 15 miles. Tough day for us, but it was a lot of fun.

Jack
just me is offline  
Old 08-24-09, 04:57 PM
  #4  
rdtompki
Senior Member
 
rdtompki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Hollister, CA
Posts: 3,957

Bikes: Volagi, daVinci Joint Venture

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Just for grins:
We're probably an "F" team - don't have any idea. I'll check TandemGeeks hierarchy
Combined age >120
Combined weight ~350
Trying to ride 75 mi/wk or so. Long weekend ride at least 40 miles
We can ride 52 weeks/year, but only been riding since last August (tandem for 3-4 mo.)
Hills are everything:
If we could find something flat w/o wind(!) we could probably do 19+ mph for 40 miles w/o paceline
We've done 35 miles at 17.5 mph over rolling hills
Marin (CA) 100K with 4000 ft. of climbing and some of it steep we averaged 14.7 mph.
Climbing is going to kill your average, but the worst is a steep descent that doesn't really let you take advantage of the aero. I'll take a -3% grade any day.

I love my wife, but one of these days I'm going to put one of my 34 y/o sons on the back just for grins
rdtompki is offline  
Old 08-25-09, 10:47 AM
  #5  
NyoGoat
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Utah
Posts: 98

Bikes: CAAD10 105

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
okee, so we're probably still considered recreational riders, we don't have jerseys or cycle shorts, we just bike in our shorts and t-shirts.
Combined age: 47
Combined weight: 290

So it seems like average speeds could be right around the same for single riders. Is the effort the same then? does a 50 mile on a tandem equal a 50 mile on a single bike? It's hard for me to compare difficulty because my single rides are on mountain sides.
NyoGoat is offline  
Old 08-25-09, 12:06 PM
  #6  
WebsterBikeMan
Senior Member
 
WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Just outside Kitchener, Ontario
Posts: 623

Bikes: Nishiki Continental, Bilenky custom travel tinker, home built winter bike based on Nashbar cross frrame

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by NyoGoat View Post
okee, so we're probably still considered recreational riders, we don't have jerseys or cycle shorts, we just bike in our shorts and t-shirts.
Combined age: 47
Combined weight: 290

So it seems like average speeds could be right around the same for single riders. Is the effort the same then? does a 50 mile on a tandem equal a 50 mile on a single bike? It's hard for me to compare difficulty because my single rides are on mountain sides.
Well, what I've heard, and I think it matches well enough, is tandem speed is somewhere in the range 1.0 to 1.2 times average single speed. And the 1.2 case would be unusual. Barring technical descents, the faster descents may make up for the slower ascents. The improvement is mostly the reduced wind resistance (compared to two singles). The effect of wind resistance will depend on the shape of the team (width, height, contrast between two), and whether the singles under comparison are drafting.

In my case, I'm usually faster on the tandem (much faster with my son, faster with my wife, not-so-sure with my daughter), because on my single my mind is everywhere but, so I coast and my cadence is all over the map. Not so when there's someone else linked through the pedals... I think we'd qualify as the fast-recreational/commuting/touring type, if there is such a category. Tandem average on a half hour first-thing-in-the-morning ride is something like 28 km/hr. Was more like 23 in the spring.
WebsterBikeMan is offline  
Old 08-26-09, 09:54 AM
  #7  
specbill
Riding Heaven's Highwayson the grand tour
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Tehachapi Mtns, Calif.
Posts: 737

Bikes: '10 C'Dale Tandem RT2. '07 Trek Tandem T2000, '10 Epic Marathon MTB, '12 Rocky Mountain Element 950 MTB, '95 C'dale R900, "04 Giant DS 2 '07 Kona Jake the Snake, '95 Nishiki Backroads

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Here is another data point for you.
We are: 116 yrs combined age, team weight (excluding tandem) 305lbs, ride 4000 + miles per year, stoker only rides the tandem ... never a single. We've been cycling on/off for 20 yrs....mostly on for the last 4.
Our average speed for our last two centuries were. "Windmill Century-Santa Maria" in July '09- 14.2mph and the 'Cool Breeze Century" two weeks ago - 15.2mph. Both events were quite flat (less than 3500 ft climbing) and very Tandem friendly. In both rides we were quite a bit slower than several other tandems but slightly quicker than a couple as well. For a single comparison, I did the "Cool Breeze' ride a couple of years ago on my single and averaged exactly 1 mph faster.
On the Tandem I don't focus on speed much but rather on staying injury free and having fun. We both have aging bodies with some worn out parts that only have a finite number of miles left in them so we want to protect those parts and 'enjoy the ride' as long as we can.

FWIW...Just ride and have fun..... no need to worry about speed initially because at your team's age/weight, I promise the speed will come pretty fast as your mileage base builds. If it doesn't, and if speed is important to you, then there are plenty of resources out there that will give you some specific training plans that will definitely build speed....

Bill J.

Last edited by specbill; 08-26-09 at 12:31 PM. Reason: typo, typo
specbill is offline  
Old 08-26-09, 10:56 AM
  #8  
Murf524
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 103
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Tangent...
Do the rest of y'all find it tough to ride with singletons? Northwest Florida has a lot of rolling terrain which makes it difficult for us to ride with "the group". My typical solution is to ride to the left of the paceline folks and try to maintain conversation until a large hill puts us off the back. We took part in a century 2 years ago and spent 80% of the time riding by ourselves due to terrain that never felt level. We're just fast enough that the B rider tandem flies suck wheel on the flats and declines and then leave us when the road turns up.
Murf524 is offline  
Old 08-26-09, 02:29 PM
  #9  
rdtompki
Senior Member
 
rdtompki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Hollister, CA
Posts: 3,957

Bikes: Volagi, daVinci Joint Venture

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
We've ridden a couple of 100k's and experienced the same thing. Any single we can hold our own with on a hill we'd torch anywhere else. We've only go 1000 miles under our belt, but I've learned that unless we're on a really social ride we just ride our own pace. At first in a group I would brake going downhill to stay with the group, but then just fall behind on the hills. Now we go as fast as we dare - if a single wants to grab our wheel that's fine. And we conserve energy on the climbs because the small increase in speed just isn't worth the effort.

The most annoying thing is when 3-4 singles get in front of you at the bottom of a grade and slow things up - they can accelerate so much faster at the beginning of a climb, while we're working somewhat hard to build momentum and keep it as the hill rolls out - especially true in rollers.

I've only ridden in a paceline a few times on the tandem, but I definitely would want a bit more room on both ends. When we hit a short climb I'll just signal and peel off toward the back as to not hold anyone up.
rdtompki is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 05:29 AM
  #10  
2592
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 94

Bikes: 2005 LeMond Buenos Aires, 2009 Santana Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Finished my wife's first real century Saturday in the HHH. No pacing, 100 miles, 7 hours. Max speed 31 mph.

Slow but steady.
2592 is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 11:55 AM
  #11  
Hermes
Version 3.0
 
Hermes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SoCal
Posts: 12,498

Bikes: Too Many

Mentioned: 294 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1000 Post(s)
Liked 1,195 Times in 750 Posts
On our ride on Sunday, my wife and I climbed a 7.2% grade 3.2 mile hill on our singles as part of our ride. About 1/2 way up the climb, I saw a tandem ahead. I was closing on them quickly. As I approached, we hit a steep switchback section and I noted that the stoker was just chatting away. The captain was sweating bullets.

I got to the top and a few minutes later, we started down. We passed the tandem getting closer to the top and the stoker was as chatty as ever.

This is a tough climb and on singles most everyone has to work at tempo / threshold to get up especially on the switchbacks. I am sure the captain of that tandem thinks that climbing on a tandem is a lot tougher than climbing on a single and will report average speed up a hill on a tandem worse than on a single.
Hermes is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 12:32 PM
  #12  
gmbtandem
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Menlo Park, CA
Posts: 2

Bikes: '94 Santana

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Did that tandem you passed happen to be on Old La Honda?
gmbtandem is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 12:37 PM
  #13  
uspspro
Tandem Mountain Climber
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: San Mateo, CA
Posts: 4,101

Bikes: Calfee Tandem, Custom CAAD9 BB30, 90 Santana Arriva Tandem, 02 CAAD4 errand bike, 87 Cannondale "Black Lightning"

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
On our ride on Sunday, my wife and I climbed a 7.2% grade 3.2 mile hill on our singles as part of our ride. About 1/2 way up the climb, I saw a tandem ahead. I was closing on them quickly. As I approached, we hit a steep switchback section and I noted that the stoker was just chatting away. The captain was sweating bullets.

I got to the top and a few minutes later, we started down. We passed the tandem getting closer to the top and the stoker was as chatty as ever.

This is a tough climb and on singles most everyone has to work at tempo / threshold to get up especially on the switchbacks. I am sure the captain of that tandem thinks that climbing on a tandem is a lot tougher than climbing on a single and will report average speed up a hill on a tandem worse than on a single.
True, but he is getting extra training!

My stoker doesn't hang me out to dry like that, but still admittedly has a lower power/weight ratio than I do. She puts in her absolute all, on every ride. I know because I frequently ask her how her HR is doing. I hear some insanely high numbers, and have to tell her to curtail her effort a bit.

It works out well for my single bike riding actually. I took out the single bike (rare for me nowadays) on Sunday for an 85 mile 7500 foot loop, and it felt soooo easy on the climbs. Also, descending is much easier, descending on the tandem requires much more focus in braking and setting up your lines.

So I fully embrace everything the tandem has to offer: Time with my wife (riding and accomplishing things together), AND as a training tool.

Last edited by uspspro; 08-31-09 at 05:18 PM.
uspspro is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 01:28 PM
  #14  
John R
so cal com
 
John R's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Yorba Linda Calif
Posts: 419

Bikes: Trek hybrid commuter, Specialized Tarmac, Cannondale Cad 6, Shwinn Homegrown MB, Specialized FSR MB Cannondale Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My wife weighs 300 lbs and has a good power to weight ratio. I know this because on our Saturday ride its 3.5 miles to dunken donuts, I tell her that if we can make there in under 10 minutes I will buy her a extra dozen jelly filled. Man, I can feel her accelerate. Returning home is a different story.

Last edited by John R; 08-31-09 at 04:51 PM.
John R is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 01:53 PM
  #15  
Hermes
Version 3.0
 
Hermes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SoCal
Posts: 12,498

Bikes: Too Many

Mentioned: 294 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1000 Post(s)
Liked 1,195 Times in 750 Posts
Originally Posted by gmbtandem View Post
Did that tandem you passed happen to be on Old La Honda?
Yes. it was. And a fine looking team.
Hermes is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 06:17 PM
  #16  
Hermes
Version 3.0
 
Hermes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: SoCal
Posts: 12,498

Bikes: Too Many

Mentioned: 294 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1000 Post(s)
Liked 1,195 Times in 750 Posts
Originally Posted by uspspro View Post
True, but he is getting extra training!

My stoker doesn't hang me out to dry like that, but still admittedly has a lower power/weight ratio than I do. She puts in her absolute all, on every ride. I know because I frequently ask her how her HR is doing. I hear some insanely high numbers, and have to tell her to curtail her effort a bit.

It works out well for my single bike riding actually. I took out the single bike (rare for me nowadays) on Sunday for an 85 mile 7500 foot loop, and it felt soooo easy on the climbs. Also, descending is much easier, descending on the tandem requires much more focus in braking and setting up your lines.

So I fully embrace everything the tandem has to offer: Time with my wife (riding and accomplishing things together), AND as a training tool.
Now that you are fully embraced, when will we get a ride report on the new tandem with pics? So far, the pics and narrative have been USPSPRO lite. Before the tandem was shipped and during construction, we got lots of pics and discussion.
Hermes is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 06:38 PM
  #17  
regomatic
Cyclist- Bike 'n a half
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 257

Bikes: Custom S & S Bushnell Tandem, Eddy Merckx Ti

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by John R View Post
My wife weighs 300 lbs and has a good power to weight ratio. I know this because on our Saturday ride its 3.5 miles to dunken donuts, I tell her that if we can make there in under 10 minutes I will buy her a extra dozen jelly filled. Man, I can feel her accelerate. Returning home is a different story.
If she reads this forum, I hope you have a nice comfortable couch, because you'll be sleeping there a lot.

Our average for the calendar year was 17.8 just a few weeks ago. We've been working on our hill training a lot more lately and it's recently dropped to 17.4 in 2,477 miles.
regomatic is offline  
Old 08-31-09, 10:25 PM
  #18  
John R
so cal com
 
John R's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Yorba Linda Calif
Posts: 419

Bikes: Trek hybrid commuter, Specialized Tarmac, Cannondale Cad 6, Shwinn Homegrown MB, Specialized FSR MB Cannondale Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by regomatic View Post
If she reads this forum, I hope you have a nice comfortable couch, because you'll be sleeping there a lot.

Our average for the calendar year was 17.8 just a few weeks ago. We've been working on our hill training a lot more lately and it's recently dropped to 17.4 in 2,477 miles.
Its ok, If I keep her fed well with donuts and Hagen Daz She will forgive me.
John R is offline  
Old 09-01-09, 01:39 PM
  #19  
barry.cohen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago Area
Posts: 56

Bikes: Co-Motion Macchiato, LightSpeed Road Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Our tandem club (Chicago Area) has a wide range of average speed groups. Some putter along at around 12 MPH. The fastest are up above 20 MPH. Most are in the 14 to 17 MPH range. Of course those numbers vary with the time of year (we seem to have many more steep hills in the Spring after a Winter off the bike), the distance (most of our rides are in the 30-50 mile range) and the terrain (mostly rolling hills). My wife and I wear heart rate monitors and use a target rate as a goal. Our combined age is 130, weight around 340 lbs and we're now riding close to 15 MPH. However, last winter we traveled to Central Florida to ride a week, and found that we could go closer to 16 MPH with the flatter trails we road on there.
barry.cohen is offline  
Old 09-01-09, 03:08 PM
  #20  
WebsterBikeMan
Senior Member
 
WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Just outside Kitchener, Ontario
Posts: 623

Bikes: Nishiki Continental, Bilenky custom travel tinker, home built winter bike based on Nashbar cross frrame

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by barry.cohen View Post
Of course those numbers vary with the time of year (we seem to have many more steep hills in the Spring after a Winter off the bike).
Around here we also seem to have stronger headwinds in the Spring
WebsterBikeMan is offline  
Old 09-08-09, 07:17 AM
  #21  
ftsoft
Senior Member
 
ftsoft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Ohio
Posts: 274

Bikes: Bianchi xl boron, Trek WSD, Comotion Speedster, Giant TCR Advanced

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
We are averaging 15-17 these days on flat to rolling terrain. We don't really have an average speed goal but ride for fun or ride to stay with a group. We can ride faster if we have to. A couple of years ago we did a weekly group ride with singles and did around 19 in fairly aggressive rolling terrain, but we are at a combined age of 130 and tend to smell the roses a lot more these days.

It's very satisfying to me to see the average creep up over the summer as my stoker gets fitter and the hills get flatter. It's really tough to ride a pace line with singles, but on the few tandem rallies that we have done, the tandem pace lines were pretty nice.

Frank and Terry
ftsoft is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.