Bike Forums

Bike Forums (
-   Tandem Cycling (
-   -   Southern Tandem Rally 2009 - a quick write-up + photos from the "young team" (

Rahzel 10-11-09 02:01 PM

Southern Tandem Rally 2009 - a quick write-up + photos from the "young team"
Photos -

(Cross-posted from my blog at

Lana and I took our Cannondale RT3 down to The Villages, Florida this weekend to attend a rally for tandem bicycle riders. Having only been riding TWOgether for about 9 months and about 1,000 total miles, this was our first rally AND our first big group ride on the tandem AND our first major cycling event attending on the tandem! It was a blast.

We both skipped out of work/school early on Friday, slapped the tandem on our car rack (the tandem is only slightly wider than our car with the wheels still on the bike) and headed down from Gainesville to The Villages, an "interesting" retirement community in central Florida. We arrived shortly before 6pm and, after registering, decided that we had enough time to sneak in a short ride. We rode about 15 easy miles around the streets of The Villages and returned in time to grab some ice cream.

On Saturday, when we arrived at the arrival/departure location, we noticed that we seemed a bit younger than most of the pairs there. That didn't seem to matter much, though, as veryone we talked with was very nice and welcoming!

And BOY were there some sweet bikes, as well! Carbon fiber, titanium, couplers, Dura-Ace, sick wheels, belt drives, recumbents, triplets, folding bikes--it was all on display. Never before had we seen such "tandem bling" all in one place before!

The Saturday ride was fun, if a bit chatoic. The organizers decided to throw some little rollers into the route, which served to break up any large packs of riders. After the rest stop at 17 miles, we decided to take the shorter (38) mile route back home. Unfortunately, no one else decided to follow us, so we rode to lunch by ourselves!

At lunch, we got lots of compliments on our matching "USA Cycling" jerseys, and a lot of positive comments about the fact that it's great we're getting into tandem cycling at such a young age. Tandem riders really are the nicest cyclists around!

That night, the organizers hosted a happy hour and dinner for the riders. The happy hour was scheduled to start at 6, with the dinner scheduled to start at 6:30. Lana and I didn't want to drink, so we decided to show up just for the dinner. However, we forgot that the "target demographic" of this event (aka "distinguished" citizens) are much more punctual than us. Not only had EVERYONE else arrived by the time we entered the banquet hall at 6:37, they were halfway through the salad course! Lesson learned: arrive at all future tandem rally events 10 minutes early.

At the dinner, we met more riders and confirmed that we were, in fact, the youngest couple there BY FAR. We had hoped to win a door prize for this accomplishment, but sadly they skipped us and went straight to the "oldest couple" prize (the couple that won has a combined age of 155 years!! Wow!!)

On Sunday, we took advantage of the flat start to get organized in a nice fast group at the front. Us and 3-4 other tandem teams spent the whole 41 miles doing a fun, hard rotation. It was really fun to work together with other strong tandem teams to put out some amazing speed. (A brief moment of embarrassment occurred when Lana and I dropped our timing chain while taking a hard pull around a corner, but we got it back on without too much delay!) I'm pretty sure our group was the first one to finish, which was a nice "feather in the cap" kind of feeling.

All in all, our first tandem rally was a very positive experience. We got to meet lots of tandem couples from around Florida and other places in the South, see a bunch of VERY COOL looking bikes and get in some great tandem riding! We're looking forward to attending more tandem rallies in the future!

Some stuff specifically for the BikeForums crowd:

- No, Lana and I are not changing our wedding date so we can attend the Midwest Tandem Rally next year. Sorry! :love:
- I know we talked to many of you this weekend (I'm awful at names so I've already forgotten half of them). I even got photos of some of you! If you're not in any of the photos I posted and you think we got you in a shot, let me know and I'll send you the picture!
- TandemGeek, were you in attendance? I saw a beautiful coupled Calfee Tetra with spoke-tastic wheels that looked just like the bike you wrote about recently. I was hoping to introduce myself, as your website helped Lana and me IMMENSELY in our search for our first tandem (thank you)!
- Another thanks to everyone in attendance for helping us to feel welcome at our first rally. We'll definitely be at more in the future.

TandemGeek 10-11-09 03:09 PM

Originally Posted by Rahzel (Post 9838584)
- TandemGeek, were you in attendance?

Sort of....

Based on your first photo y'all were parked next to us on Saturday AM, i.e., the black truck to the left of your punch buggy.

However, this ended up being a tough weekend for us. Debbie was under the weather and we would have probably passed on making the trip but we had volunteered to bring one of our friends down to the rally (Linda). Her husband had travelled down earlier in the week for business in their mini-van with the triplet and tandem and rather than having her fly down, she just tagged along with us. In fact, I'll take a wild guess and assume one of the teams you rode with on Sunday may very well have included Linda & Eric on their tandem, noting that on Saturday they rode their orange triplet with Eric's dad, Don.

Anyway, we had a flat early in the ride on Saturday which pretty much put us well off the back for a solo ride through lunch as there's just no way to fix a flat and catch back up to the folks whom we normally ride with on flat terrain... heck, we can barely hold their rear wheels as it is.

Debbie didn't feel all that well this morning so we opted to pass on the ride and headed back home just after y'all headed out of the parking lot so that we could get home early enough to take care of some other business here in the Atlanta area. Had we stayed for the ride and then lunch with the usual suspects I'm guessing we wouldn't have arrived home until after 8:00pm tonight.

We're hoping that next year will be a better year for us, i.e., a few less broken ankles and other health maladies that have put us well off our game.

It was great seeing you two out there and I wish I'd have known who y'all were as I would have certainly made a point of searching y'all out. Well, let me restate that: we definitely noticed you and Lana as I'm guessing the second youngest team at the rally was probably about twice your age. I just didn't know to make an introduction and apologize for not doing so. We've been doing about 4 rallies a year for 12 years so it's always a bit of a challenge just to say hello to everyone whom we've met over the years. We hope to see y'all at future events if you find one that's close enough to be worth the drive.

CameronC 10-11-09 03:10 PM

That is a great picture of you guys. You should frame it and put it on a wall.

Rahzel 10-11-09 03:35 PM

Originally Posted by TandemGeek (Post 9838851)
we had a flat early in the ride on Saturday

Haha, we were actually on your wheel when the flat occurred! Lana commented that y'all did a smooth piece of riding to get out of the group.

We will almost certainly be coming up to the STR2010 in Alabama. We will have to miss the GTR due to our wedding in May, but we'll be tandeming for a long time, so we'll be around :)

Sorry to hear that your weekend was a tough one. I'm sure our paths will cross in the future, seeing as we're only 5.5 hours from Atlanta here in Gainesville!

Rahzel 10-11-09 03:39 PM

Originally Posted by CameronC (Post 9838854)
That is a great picture of you guys. You should frame it and put it on a wall.

Thanks, and definitely we will! We have a second version of this shot (where I'm kissing Lana, it's in the photo gallery I posted), and both of these are going to be distributed with our engagement photos!

PMK 10-11-09 05:21 PM

Who took that photo...


Rahzel 10-11-09 05:24 PM

PMK! Yes! That was you who took that photo :) I have a photo of you and your stoker with some beautiful portapotties in the background, look for it in your Private Message box soon.

regomatic 10-11-09 07:38 PM

Congratulations, for a great job on your 1st tandem rally. We were 3rd back behind you on the Gold/Blue Bushnell when you pulled a gang of us into the rest stop this morning.

Glad to hear you'll be tandeming for a long time, it's a wonderful way to make a good relationship with your stoker/ partner/ teammate/ whatever, even better.

Make sure tell your friends about how much fun it was. We'd love to have a gang of you and your "younger demographics" friends to pull us around some more next year.

Let us know ahead of time next year, if you need to, and we'll try to hold a couple of extra seats at the banquet for you until 6:25! After that you're on your own.

Reg & Michele

zonatandem 10-13-09 05:26 PM

About time we have some younger tandemistas at rallies!
These older folks are usually a bit early if f-o-o-d is involved . . .
Good lookin' couple and matching jerseys too.
Have done one rally Florida years ago . . .
Good places to find like-minded duos and scope out other tandems.
Enjoy the ride TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem

stewclark 10-13-09 07:56 PM

We were there and met on Sat...
You were the youngest and looked like you guys were having fun..

See you at future rides...

Stew and Nancy

specbill 10-13-09 08:58 PM

.....just more proof that young folks these days are just smarter than some of us were back in the day...they already figured out early just how much fun you can have on a Tandem - I didn't 'get it' 'til I was dang near 40. Oh my wasted youth!!:)

Bill J.

Stray8 10-14-09 05:04 AM

"Oh look! Isn't that sweet? Someone brought their kids along!" :D


Nice ride, nice pictures and ride report! :thumb:


Steve Katzman 10-14-09 08:20 AM

I met you two on the buffet line Saturday night. If you recall, my friend and I were commenting about your t-shirts and how we thought that aero helmets (as well as other speed weapons designed to cut seconds off) were hardly appropriate for amateur triathletes that finish anywhere other than the top of the pack. I hope we didn't hurt your feelings - we assumed that the t-shirts were tongue-in-cheek.

It is a pleasure to see younger tandemers join the ranks. If you have more young tandem friends, persuade them to join you for the next event. I'm glad you were well received and had no issues interacting with people old enough to be your grand parents. This is what makes these events so special. If tandem rallys don't attract new blood, they will eventually fade away when us oldsters get too old to ride.

There is usually a tandem rally in Sebring in the spring, although it was called off this year. We will be attending a rally in Sebring, FL for all types of bikes in mid December (Highlands bike fest), but it usually attracts many tandems too. Maybe you would like to attend. If you're ever spending time in Orlando, send me a message, although we are clearly not as fast as you. Regomatic (see above) lives nearby as well as some other tandem teams. Perhaps we can put something together.

Rahzel 10-14-09 08:47 AM

Originally Posted by Steve Katzman (Post 9855569)
I met you two on the buffet line Saturday night.

No worries--the shirts are indeed tongue-in-cheek! Though I do maintain that aero stuff helps everyone be faster (not just front-of-pack riders), and if someone has the money to spend on that stuff, then more power to them!

We will definitely look into the rally in Sebring, and if we're ever in Orlando we'll be in touch. At the rally, they were talking about starting a central Florida tandem club, and my ears are open for any news on that front as well!

mchell 10-14-09 03:28 PM

If it will fit into your schedule, you would love Bike Florida ( We've travelled down from Canada the past three years with our Rans Screamer to join that event and hope to be able to do it again in 2010. Mike

uspspro 10-14-09 04:07 PM

Cool pic and report. How old are you guys? Congrats on the upcoming wedding too.

PMK 10-14-09 07:38 PM

Jeanne and I spent some time riding and talking with Marty and Lana on Saturday and Sunday. Very cool couple. As for bringing the kids, well, these "kids" are quite ambitious, and from what I could best guess have a plan for their future.

Hope to ride together again soon. Thanks for the photo, one of our goofing around shots.


bikeguy 10-14-09 08:48 PM


nice to see you at STR.... and umm thanks again for the Adult Beverage for my Birthday... :bday:

We had a great ride on Sunday.... and got Bern Home for her trip north. Saw a HUGE flock of wild turkeys at Carney we were the first ones there (due to early start)

Glad you got home safely.... hope to host you two here for some Santos riding in the near future...

M & B

colotandem 10-14-09 09:03 PM

feeling left out..
Damn! All this talk about Southern Tandem Rally, Eastern Tandem Rally...

We need a Rocky Mountain Tandem Rally!!!!


In all seriousness, nice to hear that the there are more tandems getting out to play! Nothin wrong with more 'young kids' joining the club either. :thumb:

Rahzel 10-15-09 05:15 AM

Originally Posted by uspspro (Post 9858696)
How old are you guys?

Our combined age (the metric by which tandem team ages are evidently measured, hehe) is 48.

PMK 10-15-09 05:49 AM

It was a lot of fun seeing and riding with everyone. As for the birthday beverage, hope you enjoyed it.

In regards to your "present", I am kicking myself for being slow on the draw at the banquet. I should have attempted to get the entire hall to sing for you and handed your gift to you. 41 cents and plus beer would have been the most economical gift I may have ever bought someone...for those not knowing what I'm saying, Bob, one of the STR organizers, made a table center piece for each table at the Saturday night dinner. The center piece was a wooden tandem figure, routed from a fine dark wood with an embossed leather "STR 2009" plaque at the base. Bob had decided that the Captains at each table should stand, reach into their pocket, remove all coins and the person with the highest amount of coin total would win the center piece. In the case of a tie, the person with the birthday closest to the STR date was deemed the winner. Unfortunately for Mike, I had 41 cents in my pocket. The double irony is that it was Mikes birthday on this day, and the coins I had were the change from buying cooler ice for his beverage.

In regards to us bringing the off road tandem, it was worth it. We rode Santos for about 1 1/2 hours on Friday after the road ride. Santos is a great place for an off road tandem if anyone gets the chance. FWIW, I spent some time with the helmet cam tech support guy and he was able to explain a way to retrieve the corrupted file. As it turned out, we got about 45 minutes of video, taken from the stokers viewpoint, riding the MTB trails at Santos. Suffice to say that the camera does not show elevation good. The only appearance to level of difficulty is wind noise to indicate speed while descending, and how much the tandem is moving in the rocky sections. The climbs on John Brown Trail appeared that a kid on a big wheel could ride them easily, conversely, it was the first time we ever lifted the front wheel on the tandem while climbing.

Sorry for the long post, it was our first STR and like Marty and Lana we hope to do many more. The couple at our table that had the greatest combined age for a two person team had 155 years combined. I hope many of us are able to continue to that benchmark, truly impressive.


pablopsd 10-15-09 05:24 PM

Ah to be the you couple again. We started when we were 30, 11 years ago. Funny thing is, when we ride around here, we are still the young ones! :-) Used to be easier to be fast..... 6 year old has something to do with that, but you will figure that out eventually!

Weebee 10-20-09 06:56 PM

Click on the Picasa Web Album at the top of this post. Look at picture number 11 of 15. Look at the silver tandem propped against the tree in the left of the picture with the low spoke count wheels. Does anyone know what set of wheels are on that tandem?

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:48 PM.

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.