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Tandem - Once you stop its hard to start ...

Posted: 10 Feb 2020, 8:52pm
by zenitb
For our tandem we have 24 front 32 rear currently and I am considering going the littlegreycat route of 24 front 34 rear.

The point is with a tandem - once you stop its very hard to get going again - because of the issues trying to get the tandem started on a steep hill.

So typically once we stop .. we have to walk up most of the hill until its flat enough to START on.

The idea of the 24/34 combo would be to tide us over the very worst bit of the hill so we can carry on pedalling the rest of it.. maybe in the next gear up ..

Does that make sense ?

Re: Tandem - Once you stop its hard to start ...

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 9:04am
by iandusud
zenitb wrote:For our tandem we have 24 front 32 rear currently and I am considering going the littlegreycat route of 24 front 34 rear.

The point is with a tandem - once you stop its very hard to get going again - because of the issues trying to get the tandem started on a steep hill.

So typically once we stop .. we have to walk up most of the hill until its flat enough to START on.



Why not start off downhill and do a u-turn? :lol:

Seriously re starting off on steep hills, if we stop on a steep hill I always change up a gear or two before stopping so that we can give a good push to get started. We currently have a 30x36 (26" wheels) bottom gear on our tandem and I'm planning on changing the 30t chainring for a 26t. We've not yet been defeated but there are times when a lower gear would be preferable.

Ian

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 9:11am
by tatanab
I imagine this is due to a pause while trying to put your foot in the toeclip or clip into the pedal. I think it depends on how you manage the stoker. In my tandem days with various stokers of various abilities, I would never allow the stoker to put a foot down. This meant that the stoker was able to apply power for that second while I got my foot into the toeclip.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 9:23am
by pwa
tatanab wrote:I imagine this is due to a pause while trying to put your foot in the toeclip or clip into the pedal. I think it depends on how you manage the stoker. In my tandem days with various stokers of various abilities, I would never allow the stoker to put a foot down. This meant that the stoker was able to apply power for that second while I got my foot into the toeclip.

I think we all know that it is possible to be in too low a gear to start off, with that initial pedal stroke not pushing you far enough to give you time to get the other foot on a pedal. Your solution makes sense but relies on the stoker being sufficiently powerful.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 9:27am
by reohn2
tatanab wrote:I imagine this is due to a pause while trying to put your foot in the toeclip or clip into the pedal. I think it depends on how you manage the stoker. In my tandem days with various stokers of various abilities, I would never allow the stoker to put a foot down. This meant that the stoker was able to apply power for that second while I got my foot into the toeclip.

Yep,that's the way do/did it.
With a 24x34(700C x 35mm) lowest gear we could chug along up 12 to 14% hills at 2 or 3mph whilst taking in the scenery

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 10:30am
by iandusud
tatanab wrote:I imagine this is due to a pause while trying to put your foot in the toeclip or clip into the pedal. I think it depends on how you manage the stoker. In my tandem days with various stokers of various abilities, I would never allow the stoker to put a foot down. This meant that the stoker was able to apply power for that second while I got my foot into the toeclip.


We always start with the stoker with both feet on the pedals. I always assumed that was standard practice.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 10:31am
by [XAP]Bob
9" or so...

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 11:42am
by Ant...
9'' is that a gear or limboing? :lol:

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 11:42am
by niggle
[XAP]Bob wrote:9" or so...

Cycle camping in North Devon a few years back I decided to get off the main road and exit Combe Martin up a lane. The lane is hideously steep, the middle half mile section has you gaining 375ft with gradient peaking at 23% according to bikehike. I could not keep going despite my best efforts and a 19" bottom gear. It probably didn't help that I had already done a couple of longer but less severe climbs on the way from Ilfracombe and it was a blazing hot day. So there I was getting my breath back before attempting to push the bike up the hill, which turned out to also be very hard work, I was panting and sweating and at the steepest parts my shoes, a pair of Shimano SPD leisure shoes with ordinary treaded soles, were slipping on the bone dry tarmac. I would now prefer much lower than 19" for loaded touring to be able to pedal up hills like that, as I am sure it would be easier than pushing that bike was.

I did some other hills nearly as severe that day and the next on Exmoor and managed to keep pedalling, honking out of the saddle, my cadaence was very low and speed down to around 3.5mph. I was already starting to weave about to stay upright so I would think 3mph is about the lowest speed for riding a heavily loaded bike. This leads leads me to believe that gears much lower than 19" are desirable, though I don't know about 9": with a 24T granny ring you would need a 72T sprocket to achieve that, and you would need to pedal at 110ish rpm to maintain 3mph. I think would be happy with a 13" bottom gear, so at 80rpm you would doing 3.1mph, and this is more readily achievable, e.g. with a Spa 104 triple chainset with 22T granny and an 11-46T cassette.

BTW I have found that a Spa 104 triple will fit on a 107mm BB (with about 1mm clearance from the BB cup) to achieve a standard road triple 45mm chainline.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 11:58am
by [XAP]Bob
On three wheels there is no minimum speed, and getting off and pushing is even less desirable.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 12:22pm
by Ant...
19'' is my bottom gear touring,but maintaining steerage in that gear is not easy on 20%+ as I'm not a bees wing type of pedaler. I find it impossible to get my feet in from a dead stop on a steep hill I'm much happier in the next one down 22''.Pushing really is not an option when I'm fully loaded especialy on a saterday in France when I need to carry at least 2 days supplies.

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 1:51pm
by Morzedec
Whoof, I've missed nothing: perhaps you don't know the ramp alongside Coombe Junction station, nor have tried to ride it when loaded for touring?

It's all too easy to criticise ..................

Happy days,

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 11 Feb 2020, 1:56pm
by whoof
Morzedec wrote:Whoof, I've missed nothing: perhaps you don't know the ramp alongside Coombe Junction station, nor have tried to ride it when loaded for touring?

It's all too easy to criticise ..................

Happy days,


you asked a question I answered it. All too easy to miss the point. :D :D :D

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 14 Feb 2020, 5:35pm
by cycle tramp
LittleGreyCat wrote:
Vantage wrote:I can plug away happily at around 2.5 mph, weaving a little if necessary, and it still seems faster than anyone who has to get off and walk.
Given that 3 mph is a comfortable walking pace on the flat, 2.5 mph up a steep hill pushing a bike probably isn't that comfortable.


As with all things, walking up any hill, at a reasonable rate is falls to technique and practice. Short strides, sometimes putting only half a foot in front of the other helps as does getting your body used to walking for long periods. Benefits are less strain on your knees and transmission, the ability to take a couple of moments to look at the view behind you, resting your cycling muscles as well as increasing your bone density. Keep walking up hills, and you'll find that you're able to march at 6 mph on the flat and 4 mph up a hill, without any issues :)

Re: How low can you go? Gears.

Posted: 15 Feb 2020, 3:55pm
by LittleGreyCat
cycle tramp wrote:
LittleGreyCat wrote:
Vantage wrote:I can plug away happily at around 2.5 mph, weaving a little if necessary, and it still seems faster than anyone who has to get off and walk.
Given that 3 mph is a comfortable walking pace on the flat, 2.5 mph up a steep hill pushing a bike probably isn't that comfortable.


As with all things, walking up any hill, at a reasonable rate is falls to technique and practice. Short strides, sometimes putting only half a foot in front of the other helps as does getting your body used to walking for long periods. Benefits are less strain on your knees and transmission, the ability to take a couple of moments to look at the view behind you, resting your cycling muscles as well as increasing your bone density. Keep walking up hills, and you'll find that you're able to march at 6 mph on the flat and 4 mph up a hill, without any issues :)


Well, yebutt...

6 mph is a 10 minute mile which is a relaxed running pace.
Assuming your legs, knees and feet are up to even relaxed running.

I've used walking to increase fitness in the past, but 4 mph is about as fast as I can comfortably go after some building up days.
I have difficulty visualising walking at that pace pushing a loaded touring bike up a steep hill!