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Sheldon Brown website on Cycling

 There is a great website on all aspects of bicycle riding, lots of technical information and especially Tandems.  The site is written and hosted by Sheldon Brown who is with Harris Cyclery (www.HarrisCyclery.com) in Newton, Massachusetts.  I would like to share, with his permission, an excerpt from his article on Tandem biking.  His website is
www.sheldonbrown.com/home.

 

Why Ride A Tandem?

Riding a normal, single-rider bicycle is a very rewarding experience, but a tandem bicycle adds a completely new dimension to cycling. Different tandemists choose the long bike for different reasons:

  • A tandem allows two cyclists of differing strength and ability to ride together, pleasurably. The faster rider doesn't need to wait for the slower one; the slower rider doesn't need to struggle to try to keep up with the faster rider.
  • A tandem turns the basically solitary, individualistic activity of cycling into a mutual experience that may be shared by a couple.
  • A tandem allows handicapped people who couldn't otherwise ride a bicycle to share in the joy of cycling.
  • A tandem can allow a parent to share cycling at an adult level of speed and distance with a child.
  • A tandem is the ultimate rush for cyclists who enjoy the sensation of high-speed cycling.

Sheldon Brown website on Cycling (Part 2)

 There is a great website on all aspects of bicycle riding, lots of technical information and especially Tandems.  The site is written and hosted by Sheldon Brown who is with Harris Cyclery (www.HarrisCyclery.com) in Newton, Massachusetts.  I would like to share, with his permission, an excerpt from his article on Tandem biking.  His website is
www.sheldonbrown.com/home.

 

The Captain

The front rider is commonly known as the "captain." Other names for the front rider include "pilot" and "steersman." The captain should be an experienced cyclist, with good bike-handling skills and good judgment. In the case of a beginning team, the captain will need to use a bit more upper-body strength than is needed for a single bike. As the team learns to work together, this will become less important. The captain has two major responsibilities:

  • To control the bike, including balancing it whether stopped or in motion, as well as steering, shifting, braking.
  • To keep the stoker happy! A tandem isn't a tandem without a stoker. The captain must earn the stoker's confidence, must stop when the stoker wants to stop, and must slow down when the stoker wants to slow down.

Since the stoker cannot see the road directly ahead, the captain has a special responsibility for warning of bumps in the road, so that the stoker can brace for them.  When a couple fails to make it as a tandem team, it is almost always due to either the stoker being scared as a result of an incompetent/inconsiderate captain, or due to saddle soreness. The captain should also warn the stoker of shifts, especially shifts to a lower gear which may cause the stoker to lose balance if they come without warning. (Very experienced teams eventually get past the need to call out most shifts, as they learn each others' styles.)

Sheldon Brown website on Cycling Part 3  

 There is a great website on all aspects of bicycle riding, lots of technical information and especially Tandems.  The site is written and hosted by Sheldon Brown who is with Harris Cyclery (www.HarrisCyclery.com) in Newton, Massachusetts.  I would like to share, with his permission, an excerpt from his article on Tandem biking.  His website is
www.sheldonbrown.com/home.

 

The Stoker

The rear rider is commonly known as the "stoker." Other names for the rear rider include "navigator", "tail gunner" and "rear admiral" or "R.A." The rear rider is not a "passenger", but is an equal participant. The stoker has two main responsibilities:

  • The stoker serves mainly as a motor. Since the stoker is not called upon to control the bike, this rider should be able to actually generate more power than the same rider would on a single bike. Depending on the strength and endurance of the stoker, this may take the form of a steady output or may be held in reserve. If the stoker is acting as a "reserve," it is OK to take it easy for general cruising, so long as the stoker can help out with a burst of power for the climbs. Since starting up on a tandem is a bit trickier than on a single, the stoker should apply as much smooth power as possible when starting up, to get the bike up to maneuvering speed quickly.
  • The stoker's other major responsibility is a negative one: The stoker must not attempt to steer! Unpredictable weight shifts on the part of the stoker can make the captain's job much harder, and can lead to crashes, in extreme cases. The stoker should keep in line with the centerline of the bicycle, and lean with it as it leans through corners. When the stoker needs to shift position on the saddle, or adjust a toe strap, or take a drink, it is vital that they do so without disturbing the equilibrium of the bicycle. These activities should not be attempted at all while the captain is dealing with tricky traffic situations or narrow spaces.

The stoker can also do a bit of back rubbing now and then, as well as taking photographs, singing encouraging songs, reading maps, etc.

 

The Team

The team becomes more than the sum of its parts. An experienced tandem team develops a very special level of non-verbal communication, via subtle weight shifts, variations in pedal force, and general empathy. After a few hundred miles together, you will find yourself coasting at the same time, shifting without the need for discussion, and maneuvering smoothly even at slow speeds. This is not just a matter of each rider acquiring captaining/stoking skills; when two equally experienced teams switch stokers, something is lost, and this special communication doesn't happen...it really is unique to each couple.

 

twike.jpg
Twike

Twike  - Tandem Bike Inspired Cars

If  you’ve ever felt the desire to get in some cardio work while driving to or from work, you are going to LOVE this three-wheeled German-built contraption called the Twike. The rather unfortunate name is a combination of the two words Twin and Bike and effectively describes this light, two passenger electric vehicle. The Twike design has been around for over a decade, first appearing in Switzerland in 1996.Using a joystick to steer, drivers can select an all-electric version, or choose to use the pedals to save electricity, extend the range and provide exercise for the driver. www.ridelust.com/tandem-bike-inspired-city-cars/

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