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Drafted a tandem, for the 1st time, yesterday... (wow).(28 posts)

Drafted a tandem, for the 1st time, yesterday... (wow).aet
Mar 14, 2002 12:01 PM
it was wild. it was a couple, a baby in a chair and another child in a trailer. these people must have been pretty fit because they dragged me around at speeds between 30 and 35 for a little bit. i don't think we ever got below nineteen (some small hills). i have never gone that fast without going down a hill. can't wait to do that again.
A force to beholdMcAndrus
Mar 14, 2002 12:06 PM
A strong tandem team on gently rolling roads can be a force to behold. I speak as both a tandem wheel sucker and a tandem owner.

My best tandem experience was on a DALMAC ride in Michigan where about a dozen singles were drafting behind three strong tandems which were working in what was almost a rotating paceline. Woo-wee!

When the tandems decided to stop for a break, I felt like crying.
D#*n wheel suckers! ;-)MB1
Mar 14, 2002 12:10 PM
Sounds like they were just cruising. Man I miss drafting tandems, every so often we ride with another couple on a tandem. A double tandem pace line-a thing of joy, beauty and speed forever.

Let's ride!
Been on both sides of thatMcAndrus
Mar 14, 2002 12:36 PM
As a tandem captain I've pulled lines a dozen bikes long. I learned early on that a tandem is a wheel-sucker magnet and just got used to it.
Mar 14, 2002 3:49 PM
Who really cares about wheel suckers unless you're racing where it's part of the game. It isn't like they have any hold on pride or self respect. If they can't take a pull then it's the ultimate compliment, otherwise they're just weasles.

Remember: If you're not the lead dog then the view never changes. ;-)
you know you're strong when the tandem's drafting you...JS Haiku Shop
Mar 14, 2002 12:16 PM
or the tandem drivers just suck. took turns with a tandem for the first 40 of a double metric last september. i guess they were pretty strong, since they had one speed and i had 27...

another fun tandem story: on my first organized metric (62 miler), a hilly affair in the heat of early summer, i stopped at a SAG and talked to the guy i'd been riding along with since the first couple miles. a duo of tandems pulled in, took on stores, and pulled out. he was a wizened, older rider, and found it entertaining to wait for several minutes before encouraging me to catch them for a free ride. i suffered over the next 10 miles of hill and dale trying to just keep them in sight, before blowing-up at mile 40. that's when he pulled out of my draft and dropped me like a stone. :o)
you know you're strong when the tandem's drafting you...Ironbutt
Mar 14, 2002 3:14 PM
I rode the Pasta Bash in North Port Florida last November. There was a big group, with four tandems. We made a break for it, and I was the only single. After about 5 miles, the captain of one of the tandems remarked to his stoker that "drafting this guy's like drafting a semi-trailer." At 6'7" and 220 pounds, and as the current Chairman Emeritus of the American Tandem Wheelsuckers Association, I was greatly flattered!
How fast can a strong tandem team move on flats?aet
Mar 14, 2002 12:25 PM
as for pulling them, i would have destroyed the moment if i had taken a pull.
25-28 maybe fasterMcAndrus
Mar 14, 2002 12:39 PM
Like all things biking it depends on the team, the wind, and the terrain. I did a century once drafting a tandem (my buddies) the whole way and we averaged 25mph.

As you may have learned, the hardest part is when they go downhill. Sometimes a single doesn't have a big enough gear to stay with them.
i think these were faster. you are right about the hills(nm)aet
Mar 14, 2002 1:15 PM
You're right about the hillslaffeaux
Mar 14, 2002 1:36 PM
Last Saturday I rode an organized century (Solvang). Around mile 90 where was a long straight downhill. I'd passed a tandem on the climb up the hill. I was cruising down the other side in excess of 40 mph, and the tandem passed me like I was standing still. They were easily at 50, maybe faster.
a treasured memory (some IPRO stuff for Ahimsa)lonefrontranger
Mar 14, 2002 2:56 PM
1994 TOSRV (Tour of the Scioto River Valley), my third racing season for the Dayton Cycling Club (aka the Huffy team).

My roommate at the time was a pretty decent Cat III, and a particular friend to the LBS (IPRO) owner. He loved racing tandems, and we both figured that since I'd done a sub-hour 40K at '93 districts, I'd make a decent stoker for our major goal that year: to break the 40K mixed tandem TT record at the Miami Valley Stage Race. We did break the record, only to lose it a few minutes later to the tandem TT national champions...

We decided that doing the big tours, including TOSRV, would be the best prep for the 40K. The roommate borrowed a custom built lightweight aluminum tandem frame from the LBS owner, and built it up as an ultralight pure speed machine. Full Dura-Ace with 56/42-12/21 gearing and his Zipp TT wheels (front trispoke, rear disc). The final weight of the whole rig was less than my first mountain bike; just a tad over 31 lbs. Total rider weight was 260-265 lbs, so we assumed we could get away with just using caliper brakes like on a roadie single, which I heartily don't recommend in hindsight. On the club rides, we could out-climb the guys on the single bikes, not by choice but merely because we were forced to by the gearing ratio!

We rode the first day of TOSRV in 4:10. It rained, but for once there wasn't any wind, head or tail. About halfway through, we picked up most of TeamCOLUMBUS, rode with them on our wheel for about 20 miles, then dropped them. At the time that was a pretty decent Cat I/II squad, which in later years was spun off into Ariel and GoMart.

My roommate mentioned later that we were often cruising between 35-40mph on the flats, glad I couldn't see that cyclometer! It scares me now to think of what would have happened had something cut us off going that fast on wet road, with only those flimsy calipers to stop us. Ah, the joys of ignorance!
re: Drafted a tandem, for the 1st time, yesterday... (wow).Steven
Mar 14, 2002 12:43 PM
Man I had a tandem pass me the other day, like I was standing still.
I was just in awe. I couldn't even begin to catch up to even try and draft.
tandems are awesome both on and off roadRayBan
Mar 14, 2002 12:53 PM
Drafting them big rigs is quite an adventure! We have an off road tandem and that thing is a blast on the trails. Haven't ridden it in a few years but now that one of my boys is getting a bit older I'm wanting to show him how dad likes to have fun!
tandems are awesome both on and off roadbinladen
Mar 14, 2002 5:35 PM
Maybe it's just me, but the last sentence sounds like some incest porno spam e-mail.
tandems are awesome both on and off roadweiwentg
Mar 14, 2002 5:44 PM
a) you're misconstruing things.
b) for heaven's sake ditch the handle!!!!! it's half-acceptable when playing CS on the terrorist side. it's NOT acceptable anywhere else unless you ARE Osama Bin Laden.
it's just you...colker
Mar 14, 2002 5:53 PM
and your sense of humour s@cks, btw.
you suck (NM)RayBan
Mar 15, 2002 7:03 AM
I'll Bet You Can't Catch One!B2
Mar 14, 2002 1:54 PM
We had about 25-30 miles left to go on the RAMROD Ride (Ride Around Mt. Rainier in One Day – 152 miles and 10,000' Elev Gain). Our group was a tandem and about five other riders.

Our tandem didn't like it much when another tandem blew by so of course the tempo picked up and we had a friendly "competition" underway. Unfortunately for me, the guy in front of me let a small gap form and then (worse yet) I let it grow to about fifteen or twenty yards before I made a move. So there are two tandems going like a bat out of hell with two of our solo riders on their tail and me and another guy trying like to play catch up. I've never ridden so hard! Me and the other guy traded some the hardest pulls I've ever done for the next eight miles. and the gap slowly got larger. Never caught them, but I think that's the fastest 25-30 miles I've ever done.

The rest of the story. The tandems blew up after about 20 miles of 30+mph and the solo riders dropped ‘em. Brutal!

you'd be right!!!aet
Mar 14, 2002 2:39 PM
when i got back to my car, this guy said we passed him and he had tried to jump on but waited to long to make his move and could not catch us. i can believe it because i can't go 30mph on my own. for any reason. 'cept down hills.
re: Drafted a tandem, for the 1st time, yesterday... (wow).comedy-tragedy
Mar 14, 2002 2:58 PM
One of the best days I ever had on a bike was two years ago drafting three tandems riding in a pace line. It was real obvious that these three couples not only rode their tandems alot, but rode together alot too. I wheel sucked them for almost thirty miles and was just plain gassed when we got to the end of the road.

We averaged about 25 mph. When we hit a rest stop I told them I needed to pay them back for the tow by filling water bottles and they just laughed and said that if I could keep up they would be happy to pull me all the way to the end.

That's still the fastest thirty miles I've ever ridden, and not by just a little bit. What a kick.
re: An MTB experience..jrm
Mar 14, 2002 3:37 PM
Racing at AM Cup @ Big Bear. Passed the tandem going up only to have them pass me like i was standing still , in a monster two wheel drift on a fast fire road descent. Now that took some major balls..
re: Drafted a tandem, for the 1st time, yesterday... (wow).badabill
Mar 14, 2002 6:31 PM
Broke 5hr century time for the first and only time while drafting 2 tandems for the white lightning race team at the tour of palm springs. It was a site to behold, a line of about 10 riders drafting behind 2 tandems that worked like clockwork at the front. when we hit a hill we would take turns helping the tandems up to the top, regroup with the tandems at the front and hold on. Still get a smile thinking of that ride :-)
opposite experience: "drafting" a recumbentbianchi
Mar 15, 2002 4:59 AM
Don't bother -- it's like drafting a kid on a tricycle.
opposite experience: "drafting" a recumbentIronbutt
Mar 16, 2002 11:45 AM
Actually, drafting a recumbent's not bad, particularly if it is fitted with a front fairing. Most of the recumbents in my cycling club are high enough that the head of the rider is just below shoulder height when I'm in the drops. With the fairing, the air fairly shoots over my head. We do have one guy in the club who rides a Wishbone low-racer. His heas is about two feet above the ground, and he looks at the road over his toes. NO BLOODY DRAFT AT ALL!
Actually, most tandems are fairly easily caught.Spoke Wrench
Mar 15, 2002 6:08 AM
The reason why the vast majority of tandems are purchased is because an avid bike rider has a non-riding or slow-riding partner that they want to share with. Those bikes generally travel at a somewhat slower speed than the more accomplished rider would on his own. Of course there are exceptions. Pulling a baby in a trailer at 30 to 35MPH certainly qualifies as fast in my book.
Actually, most tandems are fairly easily caught.Mel Erickson
Mar 15, 2002 7:52 AM
I wouldn't pull a baby trailer at that speed. BTW my daughter and I were riding in Porcupine Mountain state park in the UP of Michigan on our tandem and she loves to travel fast. The responsibility of being a dad with her as my stoker (she's 19 and a Div II soccer player) was too much on one particular downhill. I started feathering the brakes when we got to 48mph and she was disappointed. I think we could have easily hit 55 but I was not very familiar with the road and could see a slight bend at the bottom. I was unsure of the surface and how tight the curve was so I slowed down. This year I want to try it with my buddy. We might hit 60, what a blast!
Worst tandem application I ever sawAlex-in-Evanston
Mar 15, 2002 8:31 AM
There was a team of two big boys riding an Ellsworth full suspension tandem at the Rockford cross series last year. It was painful just watching them haul that forty-five pound beast up the run-ups, jump over barriers, etc.