Tandem technique

DIscuss anything relating to non-standard cycles and their equipment.
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Robert
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Location: West Sussex

Postby Robert » 2 Jul 2008, 11:04pm

I can identify with a lot that's been said here. I've certainly found hill climbing on the tandem solo easier than with my partner - in the past. That's all changed now - we decided to do our tour to South West France - starting next Saturday, and that spurred her on to get fitter and loose weight. My preparations were halted for three months or so when I ripped a calf muscle, but she carried on going out on the bike, and when I got back to it we were level - actually she was doing more of the work as I was easing myself back into cycling gently and not putting too much effort in.
I was worried about whether the trip would actually happen, but the outcome has been very good. Riding the tandem is certainly a lot easier this year than it was in the past.

Willpower
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Postby Willpower » 3 Jul 2008, 10:40am

neil the wheel wrote:
was that a twin wheel or monowheel?
Mono wheel. Yes, hitching/unhitching was awkward, as is reversing /parking the bike. The other major annoyance is having all your gear in one big bag - deeply impractical especially if we have to sleep in separate dorms at hostels etc. We also felt we would probably also need a couple of small panniers in addition as the trailer didn't hold as much as 4 Ortliebs.


I can see that would be a problem. The other issue with monowheel trailers is that they still put about half the load on the rear wheel of the bike. Our system is very easy to hitch, the box on the back had the contents in seperate drybags (about 4 + tent) which made finding stuff easy. Parking is still a bit of an issue in that you need to find somewhere long enough, but we never had a problem. A drag/parking brake helps enourmously with a loaded tandem.
Seems you had the wrong trailer, in my view. Ours would easily hold 4 panniers worth and more than that would be far too much kit!

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Deckie
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Postby Deckie » 3 Jul 2008, 2:03pm

We use the Extra Wheel mono wheel on our tandem. Most of the weight is on it's own wheel as it is effectively a pannier holder with two 60L "water proof" bags plus space for a bit more loose kit.

The balance isn't an issue when connecting a trailer to a tandem as one can hold the bike while the other attaches the trailer.

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Si
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Postby Si » 3 Jul 2008, 2:37pm

Have moved this topic to the 'correct' board. Won't be moving all such topics there, just one or two live ones, as and when I encounter them, to fill it out a bit while it gets going.

Have left a pointer in its original position to it.

Hope that this does not cause anyone any trouble?

cheers.

pigman
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Postby pigman » 3 Jul 2008, 2:50pm

james01 wrote:I once dropped my wife at a cafe during a tour, & I continued solo on the heavily laden tandem for a couple of miles in order to get the tent pitched. To my surprise, the solo ride was faster & easier than when we were doubled up. My wife was not pleased when I informed her that she literally had not been pulling her weight. :D


how did you find it sleeping outside the tent that night, while she was wrapped up? :lol:

pigman
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Postby pigman » 3 Jul 2008, 2:57pm

Si wrote: you'll be riding slower on the climbs than you would be on your solo bike, slower than the speed that you are used to. Thus you might be trying to get the rig up to your normal cruising speed and putting more energy into it than normal, hence feeling so tired at the end.


so obvious, I didnt see it. I think thats the problem I'm having pulling the young un on the trailer bike. Im trying to ride the gears I would on a solo and pushing so much harder. Must try to slow it a bit on the climbs and gear down before absolutely necessary.

ps does the kiddy back trailer qualify for this new section of the forum?

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Si
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Postby Si » 3 Jul 2008, 2:57pm

pigman wrote:
james01 wrote:I once dropped my wife at a cafe during a tour, & I continued solo on the heavily laden tandem for a couple of miles in order to get the tent pitched. To my surprise, the solo ride was faster & easier than when we were doubled up. My wife was not pleased when I informed her that she literally had not been pulling her weight. :D


how did you find it sleeping outside the tent that night, while she was wrapped up? :lol:


I once had my wife fall of the back (into the mud) while we were squeezing past a gate...it was amazing how fast it then went up the hill. I spose it was adding insult to telling her that the lane was too narrow to turn the machine around in so she would have to run up the hill to where I was waiting. :twisted:

Retribution is swift and painful in the form of regular kidney punches!

neil the wheel
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Postby neil the wheel » 8 Jul 2008, 3:33pm

Well, it would seem that communication is the key! We discovered that because of the restricted view Mrs the Wheel can't actually always tell when we're going uphill. The problem's especially acute on cycle paths where the vegetation closes off any view of the lie of the land.

So now I give her warning when the road is turning upwards and we're climbing much better.

Advancing her transmission a couple of teeth doesn't seem to have done any harm either. I got back from our ride on Sunday feeling a good deal less wrecked than previously!

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CJ
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Postby CJ » 10 Jul 2008, 2:03pm

Another factor may be the cadence. Most men are taller and have longer legs than their wives. Most tandems have the same length cranks. So the husband's knee and hip joints articulate through smaller angles than his wife's. They must both pedal at the same rpm, so the wife has to accellerate her limbs faster to swing them through this bigger angle in the same time.

The man normally is in front and has control of the gears. He chooses a gear that gives him a comfortable cadence. But, given the same length crank, this cadence probably feels a bit quick for his shorter legged wife, so that much of her effort goes into just keeping up with the pedals and less comes out as useful propulsion.

Even without a difference in leg length, more experienced riders tend to have a higher cadence.

The solution is to give the husband longer cranks and/or shorter ones for the wife. That way either the man will end up selecting a higher gear and slower cadence or the wife will find her shorter cranks more comfortable due to the smaller leg movement needed to pedal them. Either way it becomes easier for her to keep up with the pedals, which may even be moving slow enough for her to feel like they need a helping push!
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

neil the wheel
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Postby neil the wheel » 10 Jul 2008, 4:50pm

Good point CJ. Not sure how widely available shorter square taper Hollowtech cranks are. I'll definitely have a look around though.

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CJ
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Postby CJ » 30 Jul 2008, 12:55pm

neil the wheel wrote:Good point CJ. Not sure how widely available shorter square taper Hollowtech cranks are. I'll definitely have a look around though.

Thorn (St John Street Cycles) cranks come in an ample range of sizes. Remember that giving the pilot longer cranks will also be effective, since the pilot will then voluntarily pedal a bit slower.
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

Willpower
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Postby Willpower » 31 Jul 2008, 11:15am

Curiously we had the opposite effect: I would select a gear too high and the noise at the back would be asking for a lower gear.
This is because I'm stronger than her so can cope with a higher gear.
Now I'm much more comfortable spinning, so we're both happy.