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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2

    Tips for our first tandem tour

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    My wife and I are planning to do our first tour on our tandem. We will be riding from Santa Cruz to SLO in early April. The plan is to take 4 days for the trip.

    We have a Cannondale tandem and will use a BOB trailer.

    She has a Terry Butterfly saddle, PI shorts and jersey, Sidi shoes, etc, so from an equipment standpoint, I think we're okay, but your suggestions are appreciated.

    I know I need to take our time, stop frequently for sightseeing, take it easy on the descents and not crash.

    I would like any tips that you can provide to help make this an enjoyable trip.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Vancouver, BC
    Posts
    3,936
    Hi Auburnrider and welcome to TE! Please feel free to send us your wife, too.

    Having the right gear seems like a good step, but just a quick question:

    You don't say anything about how much you've ridden the tandem together before. How many trips have you done together so far? On separate bikes? On the tandem? How much do you ride on your own? And her? Is the Terry Butterfly her regular saddle?

    I don't ride a tandem but I've looked into one a few times and I know my partner and I are not ready for that currently, we're just two too different riders. My understanding is that tandem riding is a pretty delicate thing and that at times the captain may not quite understand how the stoker feels (and vice versa I guess).

    I found this online, I thought I'd share: Guideline by the Supreme Council of the United Stokers Union http://www.bikeaholics.org/CaptainTraining.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822
    Welcome! I am an avid tandem rider with my DH - started out on an MTB tandem, but now we only ride on the road. We also race.

    Tandems are a GREAT way for a team to ride together. HOWEVER, as already noted, you haven't said how much you have ridden together already. You may or may not know that tandems can also be a BAD thing for a couple.

    As a stoker, here are some things that you need to remember:

    1. Your wife is giving up all control - think about how you would feel in her shoes.
    2. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE! Tell her when there are bumps in the road. Tell her when you are making a sharp turn. Tell her when you are going to stop pedaling, shift, stand, etc. Tell her, and tell her again. Likewise, she needs to communicate to you, and you need to pay attention. She may ask you to coast, or to stand at some point.
    3. Make sure you have lots of spare chain and tubes. Four days is a lot of riding, and you don't want to be stranded with a broken timing chain or a flat (or worse - we once had to "scooter" our tandem home from 13 miles out because of a blown hub...).
    4. Never ask, "Are you pedaling?" or "What are you doing?" Both things that will get you the silent treatment.
    5. Remember that a gear that is comfortable for you to push/your comfortable cadence may not be for her - check in from time to time to see how she is doing.
    5. HAVE FUN! Make the experience enjoyable for both of you. I hope that you will both love it as much as we do.

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    Camping or credit card touring?

    One of the things we discovered on our tour around Hawaii is that going out to dinner at night can be difficult if restaurants are not nearby.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822
    Quote Originally Posted by Grog View Post
    I found this online, I thought I'd share: Guideline by the Supreme Council of the United Stokers Union http://www.bikeaholics.org/CaptainTraining.html
    While this was a good read, as an ES (Experienced Stoker, according to this), I would have to disagree with several things listed. The starting and stopping procedures, for example, will work, but is likely not described in a way that an inexperienced tandem couple will be able to master off the bat.

    I also don't agree that in a paceline, the tandem should always be in front with single bikes always behind. Depends on the situation and the riders. I have been in very smooth pacelines on the tandem, with single riders in the front, and all has worked well. Plus, there are times when the tandem needs a break from the wind, too.

    The advice on standing is sound, but takes A LOT of practice. DH and I, with our tandem, weigh about 350 lbs. With both of us standing, that is a lot of torque on the frame and parts. We have broken hubs, cassettes, chains... We now can do this pretty smoothly, but it has taken about 5 years for us to get to that point.

    Lastly, the section on communication runs contrary to my last post. I will say that more communication is BETTER than less, especially for new tandem teams, or someone who is not as comfortable on the bike.

    Just my $0.02, FWIW. But I do put on about 1500 miles a year on the back of the tandem...

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    When Thom and I first started riding, he would tell me about EVERY little bump in the road. It drove me crazy. Between the Thudbuster and my Brooks saddle, most of the bumps were no big deal. We finally established a level of bump he needed to tell me about. It's pretty much the size of railroad tracks.

    It's important to figure out what will work for the pair of you. Every couple has their own little idiosyncrasies. We like to freak out local club members by standing without talking. I've captained our tandem and I never could manage to stand with me on the front. personally, I found being the captain VERY stressful. I much prefer being the stoker.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    2
    We have only ridden togather a couple of dozen times. My wife is a non-rider for the most part, but she likes to cross country ski, hike, and camp (she can walk me into the ground). I have been riding road bikes for about 25 years. I typically ride 4-6k miles/yr. I know I must change my outlook on riding from, how fast and how far, to what did we see along the way and what did we do off the bike.

    The Terry saddle is her primary saddle. It seems to be working pretty well. She has been riding a stationary bike with another.

    We plan on camping but most meals will be at restaurants.

    The tip on communicating and not asking the stupid questions is spot on! It's definately something I need to work on.

    Our son will pick us up in SLO. If there's a problem along the way, since he is at UCSC he can rescue us.

    Thanks everyone for your input.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    105
    My husband & I took our tandem on honeymoon to New Zealand!

    Here are a couple of touring learnings -

    1. however you do it, keep it as light as you can. I am a real pack rat w/ packing - but it was actually pretty fun to devise glam off the bike looks when I had 6kg of luggage total!

    2. Am assuming she has a suspension seatpost? Stoking is hard on the butt (whether or not all the bumps are 'called') - I would have a Thudbuster if I could, but I don't even have enough clearance for a short-travel one.

    3. If you can think of a good reply to 'She's not pedalling' - let me know. I just wished I had a 1 for every time I heard it. People are usually just trying to be friendly - but boy does it get annoying!

    4. You can get great pictures & movies from the stoker seat!

    I love touring on the tandem - it's a really great feeling on teamwork on a journey that you just don't get with single bikes. Have a great time!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    510
    Don't forget to allow coasting "butt breaks"- on the tandem its harder to move around on the saddle (my captain notices it) so he needs to remember to allow a coast so we can adjust ourselves.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,213
    Before you go, make sure your stoker can ride comfortably for the daily distances you estimate.

 

 

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