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Tweens/Teens as triplet stoker?

Old 11-14-12, 08:56 AM
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johntconklin
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Tweens/Teens as triplet stoker?

My wife and I were on the path of getting our first tandem, but now we're thinking triplet instead.

I've been randonneuring on a single bike for the past few years, and the time away form home to complete long brevets was becoming an issue. She mentioned she'd like to join me, but was concerned that the difference in our abilities would be an insurmountable problem.

I thought a tandem might be the solution. I stifled my natural impulse to run out and sign a sales contract that very day. Instead we took a stay-cation, rented a co-motion periscope, and rode a 100K loop through Sonoma wine country. We both were hooked from the very first mile. The tandem wasn't just an equalizer, but a multiplier. Whether it was hammering up hills, bombing down them, or cruising in the flats; we were able to go faster and easier than I could alone.

Just as we thought everything was settled and had visions of earning the RUSA R12 award (riding brevets/permanents of at least 200K each month of the year) together and maybe even doing Paris Brest Paris (PBP) when it next occurs in 2015, reality struck. We have an 11 year old daughter, and the issue of different cycling capabilities is even greater, especially if my wife and I are on a tandem and my daughter is on a single.

Let me say that my daughter's no novice. For example, we all did a pancake flat 100K this past weekend. But she doesn't yet have the strength, speed, or endurance when hills, distance, or both are added to the mix.

So this brought in thought of a triplet instead of a tandem. But most of the discussions I've read about families with triplets and quads have been with very young children as stokers riding relatively short distances. Is having an older/larger/stronger second stoker, at least for the next 4-5 years while she matures, a viable option? She really likes the idea, as she recalls the times when we bombed by singles down hills while riding the trail-a-bike. But she's really to big for that now, it flops around too much.

A triplet seems like it just might be the answer to this rando-fam's dilemma. I appreciate any advice.
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Old 11-14-12, 09:41 AM
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My wife and I have two sons and all grandchildren are male, but I'll take a guess that your daughter's interests may stray away from riding a triplet with mom and dad over the next couple of years. Teach you wife to captain with the daughter and you ride the single for a bit.
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Old 11-14-12, 10:19 AM
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On a metric century ride, I met a family that had a triple pulling a trailer:






Their youngest son was 7 and they thought they were going to move him out of the trailer and either get a single quad or two double tandems. The older son was 9 and finished the 75k route with a smile on his face.

My personal opinion is that the longer the distance you are planning on going, the more it makes sense to have the weakest rider coupled to a stronger one. To me, this either means getting the triple or having your wife and daughter ride a tandem and you ride the single. I think I'd go with the triple.

Cheers,
Charles
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Old 11-14-12, 10:22 AM
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From a physical point of view, the triplet will be fine. There were 2 teams at the Southern Tandem rally with a male captain, and 2 adult female stokers.

As rdtompki alludes to, there's a good chance your daughter will not be caught dead on the triplet in 1 to 3 years. So you need to factor that into the equation from an economic point of view. (having ridden a tandem with our daughter as she grew up, i have first hand experience in this regard.)
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Old 11-14-12, 10:25 AM
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You might consider the Co-motion Trident convertible. https://co-motion.com/index.php/tande...nt_convertible
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Old 11-14-12, 11:37 AM
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The teams that tend to have a teenage stoker on a tandem or triplet have more often than not raised their kids on the back of a tandem, where tandem cycling has played a pretty significant role in family vacations and/or recrational time spent together. The triplet was typically not their first tandem.

My gut-instinct is to consider starting out with a second hand tandem and do some rides with your wife and some with your daughter on the back of the tandem to see how it goes with each of them. For a full family ride, just pick some relatively easy rides and ride them at a pace where your daughter can tag along on her single. If the enthusiasm from all three of you is still as high after a few months, consider looking for a second hand "convertible" tandem (aka, one like the PeriScope mentioned above) that can be configured as either a tandem or triplet or consider having one built. In the mean time, continue to enjoy the tandem and put it out on the market such that you can recoup some or all of your initial outlay.

There are a lot of tandems and triplets on the market today because they were purchased by a parent who wanted to share their love of cycling with a child, where timing worked against them. Our triplet came to us from a family where dad -- a strong and fit athlete and cycling enthusiast -- had the best of intentions and a vision of family cycling with a spouse and an 11-year old daughter who were at best recreational riders. They put a few hundred miles on it right away, to include doing a major tandem rally, but the vision really never materialized and after a the first year or so the tandem sat unused until we purcharsed it for about 45 cents on the dollar.

Best-case scenario would be to see if you could find a used convertible as that first tandem, such that you would have a lot of flexibility right up front and be able to 'strike while the iron is still hot" with regard to introducing your daughter to the triplet scenario. If nothing else, perhaps y'all could have a couple good seasons together on the bike before she hits her teens and begins to have other interests.

Just some food for thought.
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Old 11-14-12, 02:38 PM
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We've had a Santana Cabrio triplet for three years now, and our seven-year-old son can do pretty long rides on it. We did a week-long bike tour in Austria this summer, for example, and did a 100k day loaded with panniers. I agree with the other comments about getting a convertible triplet like the Cabrio or a Co-Motion. You'll pay more than a tandem, but you'll have the flexibility of a triplet now and a tandem now and later. Plus they are a lot easier to transport if you don't have a vehicle to fit a big bike.

A friend of mine rode her triplet with her two teenage sons for quite a few years, and they all enjoyed it. She even rode up Alpe d'Huez on it with them. I keep telling my wife and son that's our goal, but they think I'm crazy.
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Old 11-14-12, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
You might consider the Co-motion Trident convertible. https://co-motion.com/index.php/tande...nt_convertible
Since your 11 year old can do 100K now I would hate to miss out on that year or two before she might lose interest. Since you mentioned a new tandem I guess that price is not too big a hurdle so I would suggest a convertible triple/tandem. Ride it as a triple now and maybe a tandem later.

Then again if you have the room you might be able to buy a used tandem and a used triple for the price of a new tandem.

Last edited by waynesulak; 11-14-12 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 11-14-12, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by briwasson View Post
A friend of mine rode her triplet with her two teenage sons for quite a few years, and they all enjoyed it. She even rode up Alpe d'Huez on it with them.
That would have been Lillian, aka. Lil.... and she's not exactly your "average" cyclist or person by a longshot!!!

I'm pretty sure the boys were pre-teen in '03 when they rode up Alpe d'Huez the day before the Tour raced up.

A very special lady and a very special family....
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Old 11-14-12, 03:24 PM
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Here's a variation on a theme others have mentioned. Put you and your daughter on the tandem, with your wife on a solo bike. My guess is that your cruising speeds will be more alike that way.

If your daughter is normal and healthy, within a couple of years she won't be interested in riding on a tandem or triplet, at least not with Mom & Dad! When that happens, you and your wife can ride the tandem.

Last edited by mwandaw; 11-14-12 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 11-14-12, 03:56 PM
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Or contact this seller? I have no association with them, just saw the ad.

Comotion triplet - $3000 (Glastonbury Ct)

Comotion Periscope triplet for sale. Has couplers which allow it to be made into a tandem.
• Location: Glastonbury Ct
https://hartford.craigslist.org/bik/3394089579.html
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Old 11-14-12, 05:39 PM
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Teens and Tweens tend to lose interest in cycling as they discover boys/girls/cars/parties.
The Co-Mo Trident convertible sounds like a good option.
Or, as others suggest, get a tandem and either spouse + daughter ride whiie the other rides single bike.
A Co-Mo Periscope would easily fit either mom/daughter on rear as they are super adjustable.
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 11-14-12, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by WheelsNT View Post
Comotion Periscope triplet for sale. Has couplers which allow it to be made into a tandem.
Location: Glastonbury Ct
https://hartford.craigslist.org/bik/3394089579.html
Be very careful. I seriously doubt this ad is legit. No specs, no pic, nothing. Just "gimme three grand". Probably an email collector, but if not, tread carefully.
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Old 11-15-12, 07:01 AM
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I'm pretty keen on PeriScope Trident Convertible, they can build it as a Quad as well.
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Old 11-15-12, 08:31 AM
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Yes...

From Precision Tandem's multi-seat tandem gallery...




And, from Precision Tandem's Co-Motion Pricing List.

CO-MOTION PERISCOPE QUAD $8,475.00

CO-MOTION PERISCOPE QUAD CONVERTIBLE - 6 Couplers $10,925.00
Has 6 couplers, full convertible
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
periscopequad.jpg (20.1 KB, 29 views)

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Old 11-15-12, 01:08 PM
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^ awesome bikes.
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Old 11-15-12, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
You might consider the Co-motion Trident convertible. https://co-motion.com/index.php/tande...nt_convertible
That looks like a cool idea, but, man, it ain't cheap.
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Old 11-15-12, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
That would have been Lillian, aka. Lil.... and she's not exactly your "average" cyclist or person by a longshot!!!

I'm pretty sure the boys were pre-teen in '03 when they rode up Alpe d'Huez the day before the Tour raced up.

A very special lady and a very special family....
Well, I never said she was "average"! :-) I think her oldest was a teen in '03, as he's almost done college now. I met both boys in Paris in 2004. Really nice kids. They also rode the triplet across the USA together, or most of it, as her youngest rode some of it on a single. (Another advantage of a convertible triplet, being able to quickly regroup and make it into a tandem.)

She and I worked the late Len Caplan's TdF group tours together in 2004 and 2005. It was fun to see her put the hurt on all the macho biker guests who clearly underestimated her at first.

To increase the mythology of this Alpe d'Huez feat on her part, I learned from talking with her that not only did they ride up Alpe d'Huez on their triplet, but they did it AFTER riding up to Bourg d'Oisans from the Grenoble train station (a pretty long, all uphill slog on its own) all on the same day. Most folks, myself included, have only ridden the Alpe from Bourg d'Oisans, not Grenoble.

We stayed at the foot of Alpe d'Huez in Bourg d'Oisans a few years back, with our tandem and Burley child trailer. One day we rode up to the first switchback for the novelty of it, then turned around and started heading off to our ride in the valley. As we were coming down a small group of racer-types were heading up the mountain. Clearly thinking we were on our way down after an ascent, they shouted out "respect!" We just laughed to ourselves.
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Old 11-15-12, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
From a physical point of view, the triplet will be fine. There were 2 teams at the Southern Tandem rally with a male captain, and 2 adult female stokers.

As rdtompki alludes to, there's a good chance your daughter will not be caught dead on the triplet in 1 to 3 years. So you need to factor that into the equation from an economic point of view. (having ridden a tandem with our daughter as she grew up, i have first hand experience in this regard.)


Our 13 year old won't be caught dead on our's. Even though she has many miles on it in the past. Social matters are more important now...understandable.
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Old 11-17-12, 07:40 AM
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Thanks for all your responses. I sense a common theme that riding a triplet with mom and dad just possibly may not represent the pinnacle of a young teenagers' desires.

We've gone back to the original plan of a getting a tandem, but one with enough sizing flexibility so we can achieve a good fit for both. A co-motion periscope seems like a strong choice, as we would have the additional option to set it up for my wife to captain too.
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Old 11-18-12, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by johntconklin View Post
We've gone back to the original plan of a getting a tandem, but one with enough sizing flexibility so we can achieve a good fit for both. A co-motion periscope seems like a strong choice, as we would have the additional option to set it up for my wife to captain too.

https://sacramento.craigslist.org/bik/3416151438.html
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Old 11-19-12, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by johntconklin View Post
Thanks for all your responses. I sense a common theme that riding a triplet with mom and dad just possibly may not represent the pinnacle of a young teenagers' desires.

We've gone back to the original plan of a getting a tandem, but one with enough sizing flexibility so we can achieve a good fit for both. A co-motion periscope seems like a strong choice, as we would have the additional option to set it up for my wife to captain too.
From the standpoint of 'reality', I think you'll be happiest going this route.

Have fun and let us know how it progresses.
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Old 12-10-12, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
Be very careful. I seriously doubt this ad is legit. No specs, no pic, nothing. Just "gimme three grand". Probably an email collector, but if not, tread carefully.
I'm in Connecticut and have gotten a reply to an inquiry I made about sizing. The reply was curt, but legit.

I do not think this is an email collection thing or a scam, just a listing from someone who doesn't realize how important uploading a photo is. That said, being wary is always wise on CL.

The periscope convertible is the smaller of the two. Co-Motion lists the smaller captain position as usable to 6'2". I'm 6'4"

I'd still love to have it, though. But it gets harder to justify a big purchase like that when there's a compromise to be made on sizing.

Still might go up to look at it, since it's only an hour from here.
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Old 12-11-12, 02:24 AM
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+1 on the periscope convertible tandem. we have a regular trident periscope and i wish i would have gotten the convertible. it's not cheap, but really it's two expensive bikes in one, so really it's not that bad. funny enough i wish i had gotten more so my wife and daughter could use it around town as a double more than for my wife and i.

we ride with an 8yo stoker in the caboose so i can't give the teenage experience, but if your daughter is into the idea now, do it. to me even if my daughter bails on the tandem in 2 years it was totally worth it (and would have been more so if i had gotten the convertible). even tho my daughters reasons for not want to ride is usually out of general laziness, we still got her little but to ride 500 miles to disneyland

finally to combat the general consensus i'll only say this. i post pics on instagram and i have a few follower who are tandem riders. one of them is a high school girl in kansas that races with her dad. i don't know if my daughter will ever get to that point in cycling....but god dammit i'm gonna do anything and everything i can to make it happen (aside from forcing it, which of course wouldn't work). i totally envy that dad and i'm sure at one point he wondered if his daughter would want to keep riding as she became a teenager. i guess my point is, it's gamble, maybe it won't pay off in full, but it she's willing to ride it now, it will pay off.

plus, triples hold value sell it when she bails on you and get a nice two up tandem
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