Tandem Trikes

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
mw3230
Posts: 1162
Joined: 31 May 2007, 11:22pm
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Tandem Trikes

Post by mw3230 »

Recently I had the opportunity to ride a Longstaff tandem trike - a beautiful machine but one with a mind of it's own. With a little practice I began to get the hang of steering and making it go where I wanted but there are a number of issues on which I would be grateful advice

1. What is the secret of cornering. In my limited experience it seems that cornering must be very slowly and carefully done

2. On narrow country lanes with pronounced camber the easiest place to ride seemed to be in the centre of the road with the rear wheels straddling. Moving to a position to the left of the road seemed to induce unwanted steering (into the verge) Is there a knack I'm unaware of?

3 The trike had disc brakes on each rear wheel controlled independantly by the stoker and two sets of canti brakes on the front wheel - one to the front and one to the rear of the forks, these being controlled by the captain. Is this usual on a trike and is there any braking techniques to be learned

Any advice or tips would be most welcome. I've also added this message to the Tandem Club forum
TRMillar

Post by TRMillar »

Unlike a bike, one endeavours to keep the trike at right angles to the road leaning the body to counteract drifting (because of camber) or overturning. It is essential not to 'chicken-out' on a sharp corner but not really necessary to slow unduly.Image
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speedsixdave
Posts: 817
Joined: 19 Apr 2007, 1:48pm
Location: Nottingham, UK

Post by speedsixdave »

I rode a trike once at the York rally and couldn't get it to go anywhere. I started veering towards a tent and was unable to steer away again. The man from the tricycle club shouted "turn the handlebars!" at me, I said "I'm trying" and he shouted back "No you're not, you're leaning. TURN THE HANDLEBARS!" I did, and lo, the trike steered.

I'd always fancied taking one over the Alps but those three minutes put me off for life. It seemed entirely counter-intuitive. Turn the bars, don't lean into the turn. In fact I think you have to lean out over the inner wheel to keep it down. But I may be entirely wrong on this, I'd ask someone who knows and not listen to my idle ramblings.

2. Don't know, sorry.

3. I expect the discs are recent additions. Braking on the trike axles has always been a bit of an issue because you can't really use caliper brakes. Drums have not been greatly favoured, I don't know why. Traditionally one often sees trikes with two front brakes but no back brakes. Discs are no doubt a great boon to the trike world as they can be fitted to one-sided 'forks' easily. However independent stoker control sounds a tricky thing to safely co-ordinate!

There is a Tricycle Club but I couldn't easily find their web presence (if such a thing exists) on Google. Perhaps someone else can help here.

Best of luck, it sounds like terrifyingly good fun!

d.
Big wheels good, small wheels better.
Two saddles best!
glueman
Posts: 4354
Joined: 16 Mar 2007, 1:22pm

Post by glueman »

I had a trike for a few years and did up to 80 miles in a day without ever learning how to ride it. A terrifying and marvellous machine. Saying steer is all very well while a wheel lifts. Basically, I never learnt what information coming through the bars and saddle was road noise and what was listen up or I'll throw you off.
Following experienced trikies suggests you ignore all movement short of downhill hairpins.
gerry36

Post by gerry36 »

My brother had a tandem trike 50 years ago, which I stoked occasionally. High speed cornering involved me hanging off to the inside of the curve, inside foot on the inside pedal, the the knee of the other leg hooked over the saddle, inside hand on the handlebar, other hand holding under the saddle.
reohn2

Post by reohn2 »

Eye of newt ,foot of toad
grey bearded merlins
go on the road

At dead of night they slither out
dressed in black they pedal about :shock:

Its sorcery and no good will come of it,Its unnatural I tell ye UNnatural.

Don't go near one they're one step away from,from ..........a recumbent.

They don't call them 'bents for nothing. :?

Keep to the straight and,well, err,upright :)

PS A tandem trike is twice as bad (two merlins or one and a merliness). :wink:
Last edited by reohn2 on 6 Jun 2007, 7:30am, edited 1 time in total.
TRMillar

Post by TRMillar »

The Tricycle 'Club' is an Association - www.tricycleassociation.org.uk

Some photos on their galleries will show you how to lean. Not as precarious as it looks!

Good luck.
mw3230
Posts: 1162
Joined: 31 May 2007, 11:22pm
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Post by mw3230 »

Thanks everyone for the messages. Since my original post I've had another go and the secret is in the stoker leaning into the bend to keep the wheels down, while the captain forces the front wheel around. Sounds strange but with a little practice it's gets to be easier - picture motorcycle sidecar racing crews!!. By the way, trikes are great at junctions - no balancing problems as with two wheel tandems
thirdcrank
Posts: 31366
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Post by thirdcrank »

I can't let this one go without mentioning that the Lands End to John o' Groats RRA record for a tandem trike is 2 days 4 hours 26 minutes, set by Messrs Crimes and Arnold in 1954

http://www.rra.org.uk/

I seem to remember reading in those far off 1950's that the duties of the stoker on a tandem trike included braking using heavy gloves on the back tyres. Presumably the stoker-operated drum brakes followed the same principle.
cpedw
Posts: 48
Joined: 16 Jan 2007, 11:35am

Trike riding tips

Post by cpedw »

Remember how difficult it was to make that transition from 3 or 4 wheels to 2, without falling off as Newtonian mechanics would suggest is inevitable? You've got to unlearn all those automatic responses, especially the continuous adjustment of the bars and your weight which keep you upright. The three wheels keep you upright instead. You need to move the bars like a steering wheel, just to alter direction and for no other reason. Weight you need to move only on sharp corners, to try to keep all wheels on the road (but see below).

A tip I was taught when learning to ride a trike (second time round) is to hold the bars with crossed arms (right hand on left bar, left hand on right bar) and go very slowly initially. After a while, I was able to abandon bike reflexes and steer at speed using left to left and right to right hand/bar connections. It was good! Then I realised it took a lot more effort to go any distance so went back to two wheels.

The trike (sometimes known as a barrow to the cognoscenti) I learned on was a quite fiendish machine, single speed fixed and differential drive to both back wheels. On sharp corners, the inside wheel can lift so, to maintain drive, the rider was expected to catch the inside wheel as it lifted to stop it spinning in the air. I never mastered that technique, and trying to learn it nearly led to the end of my piano playing career.

I never found the extra effort wothwhile, except on very icy roads when falling off was avoidable though the trike could still lose grip and once again become unguidable.

Ahh, you can't beat a good reminisce...

Derek.
9494arnold
Posts: 1129
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 3:13pm

trikes

Post by 9494arnold »

Had brief experience on Tandem trike but many miles on solo trike.
If it's got drop bars try riding with right hand on drop and left hand on top to counteract deep cambers until everyone gets used to it.
Corners are lean and steer as you seem to have discovered ,take it slowly at first .
Might be woth investigating linking the rear brakes through a separate lever. (I suppose if they are independent you could brake steer,depends how brave/stupid you are)
I have seen rear brakes linked to a ratchet or index gear lever to provide a "Drag Brake" that can be put on and left on whilst you are fighting with the steering,you don't have to think of braking as well particularly on a long descent.
Whatever you do don't give up. Reality is only a state of mind.
I read somewhere ,"Why ride a trike" ? The conclusion was so you can stop in the middle of a ford and roll a cigarette without falling off or getting your feet wet,which is as good a reason as any as far as I can see .(And I dont smoke!!)

PA
richardirving
Posts: 59
Joined: 10 Jan 2007, 1:28pm

Barrow (trike) riding

Post by richardirving »

I ride regularly with my 3 year old son, both of us on trikes, he on a Pashley Pickle and me on a Longstaff 653. Exclusively bike paths at the moment but he's quite happy to ride up to 5 miles a day with a 15 minute break in the middle. I learnt to ride my first adult trike about 18 years ago and that was because I had bought a second hand one and had to learn on the road. Take it slow and don't lean too far at first. Depending on how hot headed you are you can then do the far out leaning bit on fast downhill bends; hook one knee over the top tube (keep the outside foot on the pedal at 12 o'clock) the inside foot on the inside pedal at 6 0'clock and hang your buttock out over (but not on) the rear inside wheel and you will freewheel at speed round the bend on all 3 wheels - it also makes the steering easier. Great fun and one of the secret things we trike riders like to do...
rower40
Posts: 385
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 5:44pm
Location: Somewhere on the NCN

Trikes etc

Post by rower40 »

reohn2 wrote:Eye of newt ,foot of toad
grey bearded merlins
go on the road

At dead of night they slither out
dressed in black they pedal about

Its sorcery and no good will come of it,Its unnatural I tell ye UNnatural.

Don't go near one they're one step away from,from ..........a recumbent.

They don't call them 'bents for nothing.

Keep to the straight and,well, err,upright

PS A tandem trike is twice as bad (two merlins or one and a merliness).


:lol:

Shoulders hunched, and nuts so sore,
Upright Bikes should be no more.
Follow Ye the recumbent creed,
Built For Comfort, And for Speed.

Sorry, the voices made me do it.
"Little Green Men Are Everywhere... ...But Mostly On Traffic Lights."
keepontriking
Posts: 472
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 9:40pm
Location: Hampshire
Contact:

Post by keepontriking »

I've still got a tandem trike in the garage, but it doesn't get used very much these days as my stokers have grown up.

It is a Bob Jackson with kiddiecranks attached and it has been trundled over much of Europe and the UK with a daughter pedalling away on the back and tents and gubbins on the rear rack.
Haring down off the Alps or the Massif Central, fully laden is an experience I will never forget.

The feel of riding a long barrow at speed is something that just beggars belief, as leaning into the bends to keep the wheels on the ground often needs the skills of a circus contortionist. However, a one-wheel drive trike is pretty hard going with the reversed camber on continental roads.
It didn't take tooooo much getting used to, as I used to race an upright single trike in TT's (I still hold all the Club records from 10 to 24 hours). Much fun was letting other club members have a try and watching them go round and round in circles :lol:

Most triking these days is on the Trice - a completely different machine and virtually impossible to turn over - and my daughters are forever trying to nick it while I'm not watching :wink:

A trike is for life.
thirdcrank
Posts: 31366
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: trikes

Post by thirdcrank »

9494arnold wrote: I read somewhere ,"Why ride a trike" ? The conclusion was so you can stop in the middle of a ford and roll a cigarette without falling off or getting your feet wet,which is as good a reason as any as far as I can see .(And I dont smoke!!) PA


Any of the confirmed trike riders got an explanation for doing it?

9494a - any relation to the Arnold who stoked in the End to End record and several others?
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