Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Heltor Chasca
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Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby Heltor Chasca » 24 May 2015, 10:39pm

...Or is it down to anatomy or something else?

It just seems the male is always the pilot and the female the stoker. I get that normally males are larger, but what if you are similar in height or the lady is taller. I'm yet to see the gentrified amongst us taking a rear seat and I think I've only happened upon 2 chaps riding together once. Is it the geometry of a tandem that needs the tallest at the front?

What about same-sex riding? Who goes in front? Or is that taboo? Tallest again or the 'leader'? As in The Fonz type leader. Alpha.

I'm intrigued. It's not that I'm short or suspicious. Is it tradition or necessitation? Do tell your tandem secrets

(Can you tell I've never ridden a tandem? I'm also inquisitive as to why there are always tandems available 2nd hand?)

reohn2
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby reohn2 » 24 May 2015, 10:55pm

I've seen a couple of tandems with females as captain,and male as stoker,though it is unusual.
It's not sexist,usually the male is the taller and so it makes sense for him to captain the team.
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kylecycler
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby kylecycler » 25 May 2015, 12:52am

Feast your eyes on this beauty - a 1896 Crescent Model 25 Tandem. The photos might take a while to load if you have a slow connection but they're worth waiting for.

http://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vinta ... andem.html

At first sight, it looks as if the lady is the captain, the gentleman the stoker, until you notice the linkages leading from the fork - steering linkages - it's a rear-steering tandem.

According to oldbike.eu, "The ‘rear-steering’ machines were known In America as courting bikes. The chap who could afford such a unique contrivance would be able to ride to the house of the lady of the day and collect her for an outing."

I don't know what Vorpal and other female members of this forum will think, but the lady was evidently just expected to sit there, holding on to the bars, admiring the scenery, pedalling but presumably not considered competent to steer. Now, that's sexist! :roll: :)

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Sweep
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby Sweep » 25 May 2015, 7:23am

This OP might elicit some interesting responses in the barmier depths of yacf.

Also, always possible of course that the gentleman of 1896 might have had somewhat ulterior motives for arranging to sit at the back.
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby Vorpal » 25 May 2015, 8:44am

There used to be some tandems made for a smaller pilot and larger stoker, but tandem manufacturers now generally assume that the pilot is the larger of the tandemers.

Steering a tandem is a bit harder work than a normal bike, and I expect that if the stoker were much larger than the pilot it could be very hard work indeed when a team is first learning to tandem. So, that is one reason; simply making the larger person do more of the work. However, I think with practice piloting a tandem is well within the capability of most women, as a team gets used to each other, this becomes less of a factor. So, I'm sure that there is an element of sexism in it, as well. Aerodynamically, it should be more efficient to have the smaller person in front, though I doubt it would make a noticeable difference to the average tandem team, I expect it could make a difference to a racing tandem team.

Sheldon Brown's site has a relatively non-sexist explanation of tandeming and the differences between piloting and stoking. I think one can see, even from his explanation, how it is that in sexist cultures, we find most male-female tandem teams are split the way they are.
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greyingbeard
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby greyingbeard » 25 May 2015, 9:22am

Its lovely - never seen one like it - thanks for sharing this
seems the lady can steer too, must be entertaining with a decent downhill speed, play in the linkage and the people wanting to go in different directions :)

kylecycler wrote:Feast your eyes on this beauty - a 1896 Crescent Model 25 Tandem. The photos might take a while to load if you have a slow connection but they're worth waiting for.

http://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vinta ... andem.html

At first sight, it looks as if the lady is the captain, the gentleman the stoker, until you notice the linkages leading from the fork - steering linkages - it's a rear-steering tandem.

According to oldbike.eu, "The ‘rear-steering’ machines were known In America as courting bikes. The chap who could afford such a unique contrivance would be able to ride to the house of the lady of the day and collect her for an outing."

I don't know what Vorpal and other female members of this forum will think, but the lady was evidently just expected to sit there, holding on to the bars, admiring the scenery, pedalling but presumably not considered competent to steer. Now, that's sexist! :roll: :)

ferdinand
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby ferdinand » 25 May 2015, 9:50am

I think I prefer "Captain and Rear Admiral" to "Captain and Stoker".

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meic
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby meic » 25 May 2015, 10:11am

I think that they probably are sexist.

My wife kept saying that she would like a tandem, as I did not fancy being her beast of burden and losing my freedom to do as I choose with my body at a level of micro-management of my every little move, I always politely declined.

Out of interest I never went on the back of our motorbikes but I was normally the passenger in the sidecar. This was partly because I am a better motorcyclist and she was a better sidecar pilot. Also it is because I am considerably heavier which makes me better suited to where I was.

I dont mind being a beast of burden for my daughter so I am looking for a tandem for us to use, which no doubt makes me a paternalist or patronising, like most parents. :lol:
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby foxyrider » 25 May 2015, 10:15am

ferdinand wrote:I think I prefer "Captain and Rear Admiral" to "Captain and Stoker".


When i used to race tandems we had a Pilot and Stoker. The pilot was generally the owner of the machine (no idea why) so they ranged from small stocky individuals to tall and rangy, i was stoker doing the graft at the back! I have ridden the front, it can take a lot of upper body strength to control.
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Freddie
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby Freddie » 25 May 2015, 10:30am

Heltor Chasca wrote:I get that normally males are larger, but what if you are similar in height or the lady is taller.
It is something called sexual dichotomy. Males, even those not as tall as women, will usually be stronger. This is why you see no direct competition between men and women at elite levels in sport. It is not because one sex trains harder than the other, but because males are naturally advantaged with respect to strength (and according to scientists, spatial awareness and other aspects too).

Heltor Chasca wrote:What about same-sex riding? Who goes in front? Or is that taboo? Tallest again or the 'leader'? As in The Fonz type leader. Alpha.
There has been same sex tandeming since before mixed sex. The larger and stronger man will almost always be at the front. You seem to be coming at this from some kind of modern psychological angle, but it is purely a case of efficiency. The stronger person is better suited to captain a tandem, as it requires more strength than the stoker position.

Vorpal wrote:There used to be some tandems made for a smaller pilot and larger stoker, but tandem manufacturers now generally assume that the pilot is the larger of the tandemers.
Manufacturers or the market? No manufacturer wants to be lumped with tandems they cannot sell and I think one can safely assume 9 out of every 10 tandems are bought by the husband/male partner, who is a cycling enthusiast (and 9 times out of 10, the larger and stronger of the two), in an effort to get his female partner more involved in his hobby and able to come along for longer or faster rides to an extent she previously wouldn't have been able to on a solo machine.

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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby Psamathe » 25 May 2015, 10:47am

Can't say I've seen enough tandems around to notice, but I am routinely disappointed when driving when I notice how many couples in cars seem to have the ♂ driving and ♀ in passenger seat. It is unusual to see the bloke as a passenger. And I can only explain that (to myself) as sexist behaviour.

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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby beardy » 25 May 2015, 11:04am

Even worse than that, I just did a mental audit of all my friends and neighbours and realised they all have their own cars!
Myself included, when we are in my car, I drive. In their car, they drive.

Not wishing to be sexist but which sex do you think hogs all the repairing and maintenance?
Leaving the other sex with nothing better to do than watch TV or go for a bike ride.

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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby Psamathe » 25 May 2015, 11:14am

beardy wrote:Even worse than that, I just did a mental audit of all my friends and neighbours and realised they all have their own cars!
Myself included, when we are in my car, I drive. In their car, they drive.
...

Maybe it's just people I know but often two car couples ♂ have the bigger, more expensive car whilst ♀ have the old somewhat more "beaten-up" car. My neighbours, "he" has the flashy BMW and drives every day to work leaving after 9am (which would be a fantastic 30 min ride on empty flat country lanes) whilst "she" has to leave around 7:30am and do a long horrible drive on main roads with horrible traffic in her old beaten-up hatchback. Equitable ? Sensible ?

So if "he" drives "his" car and "she" drives "her" car, then I can see why, when they go out together they would use "his" better more comfortable car and thus "he" drives (though I bet in such a relationship "she" get to drive them both home from the pub).
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beardy
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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby beardy » 25 May 2015, 11:22am

I am sure that you are right and that is the norm but again looking at my friends and neighbours.

The men have either a work van or a small commuter and the wives have typically a large car or people carrier for family duties. The BMW and the other flash car are driven by two wives.

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Re: Aren't Tandems Sexist?...

Postby tatanab » 25 May 2015, 11:22am

Kate and Bob Crisp, record breakers in the 1980s and Kate rode the front. Here's an article about them http://www.timetriallingforum.co.uk/?showtopic=29777