Sunday, March 22, 2009

A different tandem

After two seasons of riding, Maddie grew tired of her tandem. So we sold it a few months ago. I regretted it (as always) when we sold it. But it's one thing to stash a bike in the basement or sort of work around it in the garage, but a giant tandem that is not being ridden is really hard to justify in our space. So out it went.

The tandem in the picture is one that I got a pretty good deal on it a few years ago. It's a Burley Rock n Roll. A solid, 26"-wheeled machine. I made a few changes to its budget-mountain bike setup: I put drop bars on it, made the drum brake into a drag brake by putting a thumb-shifter-actuator on the bars. I also put some lights, racks, and decent saddles on it: a B-17 for me and the sprung version of the B-17 (champion?) for Liza. 

The plan now is that Liza and I will give this a go.

Tomorrow is our inaugural ride. I have the day off from work, Maddie will be at school, and we have some Paris-Roubaix fliers to distribute around town. I just hope it's not pissing down rain the entire day.

I'm really excited to try tandeming with Liza. We've both captained a lot with Maddie as the stoker, but we've never ridden more than a few blocks together on a tandem. My approach to the tandem is all about hanging out with Liza. It's not about hammering or doing a bunch of distance. Liza is a stop-and-smell-the-roses type. She's a cruise along and look around rider. Hence, the platform pedals on the captain's cranks. If we enjoy it, then maybe we'll seek out longer rides, but the primary goal is to enjoy each other's company.

If it sounds like I'm convincing myself or her here, it's because I kind of am. Liza is on the fence with the whole idea, but is willing to give a honest effort. So, we'll see how it goes tomorrow. Hopefully, I won't have a listing here for a tandem for sale tomorrow night.


Hank Greer said...

Have fun and remember--communication is the key. (I know, I know. It's not the man's strong suit.) But she will appreciate every time you give her enough warning about the bump so that you both can stop pedaling and get up off the saddle a bit when you hit it. Work out signals for stopping, turning, shifting up/down (if needed), coasting, etc., and it goes so much better.

FBC Spokane said...

Hank, I have applied all these techniques to married life. Seems to work.

Pat S said...

Way cool, John. Hope you guys have a blast.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the bullhorn for when it's interval time.

Anonymous said...

The pump will be happier down on the bottom tube. There are often pump pegs for them there, and even if there isn't the pump won't pop out.

Communication is key, even for shifting and braking. The bike might not seem so stable when you are first figuring it out, but you'll get the hang of it. If she is nervous it might be better to go recruit someone else for the first 3 miles of riding. Since you have a lot of experience with Maddie, and a little with me, I think you'll be okay.

I spent part of yesterday fixing up our tandem too. Same model as yours, just about 15 years newer.

Anonymous said...

John, I'd like to see how you have your lamp mounted on the front rack. I have same lamp and rack.

Speaking of communication, since you're running a generator on this bike maybe you could rig up one of those intercom systems that GoldWingers use. Now there's a project...


Kris said...

I'd love an update on how you are liking the tandem. A buddy of mine is going to GIVE us a Burley Rock n Roll that I am very excited about.