Category Archives: Tandems

Strange Things People Say: I’m Thinking About Getting a Tandem Bike

When people see Felkerino’s and my bike, they often comment and ask us questions. These comments range from funny or insightful to head-shakingly odd or irritating.

One of the comments I’ve heard, not infrequently and only from the mouths of men, is some version of this, “How do you like your tandem? I’m thinking about getting a tandem for me and my wife/partner.”

Felkerino and I are wise to this question now and our immediate response is to ask if the person’s wife or partner rides. Nine times out of ten, this is what we hear in response:

“I like to ride, but my (wife, partner) doesn’t. So I’ve been thinking about getting a tandem.”

This comment used to roll off of me like water off a stoker’s back, but over time it’s seeped under my skin. If someone’s wife or partner doesn’t currently like to ride a bike, why would a tandem bike change that?

It also makes me feel that the person is somehow inferring that the reason I’m riding a bike is because I’m out with Felkerino on our tandem.

Further, just because a guy can get himself down the road without incident does not mean that he would make a good captain. Hmmm, perhaps I should start administering some kind of tandem captain suitability test.

Co-Motion Tandem on Wolf Creek Pass
Co-Motion Tandem on Wolf Creek Pass

I would love to see more women cyclists, but I don’t think that the purchase of a tandem is a gateway drug to regular riding for most people.

When I met Felkerino, I was already commuting regularly, had completed RAGBRAI (the cross-Iowa bike ride), participated in multiple century rides, and I was training for a flèche (a 24-hour ride of approximately 225 miles). I was a daily transportation and weekend sport touring rider when we first began riding together.

I’ve definitely done a lot more cycling since Felkerino and I started hanging out, but it isn’t because we bought a tandem. My life was going in that direction, anyway. In fact, it was one of my female cycling friends who encouraged me to ride more, showed me good bicycling routes in our area, and introduced me to randonneuring.

If somebody wishes his partner would ride, a more thought-out approach would be to find out why she doesn’t in the first place. Is it fear of traffic? Is she intimidated about bike maintenance? Does no one else in her social circles ride? Is the bike just not her thing?

Perhaps this tandem chatter is more male-driven wishful thinking than anything else, but to assume a tandem will make a person suddenly want to hop on a bicycle (and ride with their partner on it) seems misinformed to me.

Only in the rarest of cases will the simple attainment of a tandem convert a non-cyclist into a rider. More commonly, couples will end up making a big investment that ends up as an unrealized dream sitting in a shed somewhere gathering dust.

More Tandems at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

After digging through the photos archives, I discovered more tandem shots worth sharing from the last edition of PBP. That is, they are not hopelessly blurry or otherwise terrible. Perhaps you will even recognize some of the randonneurs. Continue reading More Tandems at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

Tandem Bicycles at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

Events like Paris-Brest-Paris are difficult to unbox all at once. Some aspects can be, such as the immediacy of the ride experience and the emotions and physical states experienced.

Felkerino and me, bike inspection

Others take time to absorb and appreciate especially when, for many of us, PBP occupies a small space in between a flurry of other activities and responsibilities. It also happens after an intense period spent building our stamina through longer rides, including a full brevet series and summer training. Continue reading Tandem Bicycles at Paris-Brest-Paris 2011

Co-Motion Tandem Compare and Contrast: Java vs. Speedster

Co-Motion Java

It’s been just over one year and around 5,500 miles since Felkerino and I said goodbye to our Co-Motion Speedster and began riding our Co-Motion Java tandem.

Now that we’ve put both of these tandems through their paces, I wanted to compare the two bikes and revisit the choice we made to replace our Speedster with the Java.

Continue reading Co-Motion Tandem Compare and Contrast: Java vs. Speedster

Coffeeneuring Rewind: Paul and Maureen’s Tandem Ride to a Coffee Shop Without Walls

I wanted to send us into the weekend with some coffeeneuring inspiration so I called upon two coffeeneurs to help. Paul and his wife, Maureen, are doing the Coffeeneuring Challenge in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Their first stop to a Coffee Shop Without Walls looked so inviting I asked Paul if he would write a guest post about it. He agreed and here is a behind-the-scenes look at their first coffeeneuring outing.

Continue reading Coffeeneuring Rewind: Paul and Maureen’s Tandem Ride to a Coffee Shop Without Walls

From Middletown to Monterey: Two Days, 255 Miles

Felkerino and I have been making the most of our weekend warrior lifestyle with two straight weekends of bike overnights on our Co-Motion tandem.

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This past weekend we toured with our rando-friends John and Cindy, who also ride a Co-Motion tandem– a 650B Speedster. Isn’t it beautiful?

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Both days included plenty of climbing and stunning views. We are lucky to live so close to such great cycling.

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Felkerino put together a complete summary of our ride here so check it out.

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It was an awesome weekend of bike touring.

Dialing in our New Co-Motion Java Tandem

Earlier this year, Felkerino’s and my new tandem arrived from Co-Motion. Some of you may remember that  a crack developed in the stoker seat tube of our previous tandem, a Co-Motion Speedster, which required either a mend or a replacement frame.

We ultimately chose to replace the frame and, rather than another Co-Motion Speedster tandem, Felkerino and I decided on a Co-Motion Java, which is their 29-er frame.

Co-Motion Java on Whites Ferry

Co-Motion worked out an arrangement with us for the new bike which was primarily financed by the sale of my 1996 Nissan Altima.

That’s right. I sold my car to buy a tandem. Righteous bicycle purchasing!

Continue reading Dialing in our New Co-Motion Java Tandem

Reviving the Lead Sled: our Cannondale Tandem

Due to unforeseen circumstances (to be discussed in another post), our Co-Motion tandem will not be around for a while. In the meantime, Felkerino and I still want to tandem together so we decided to put our original brevet tandem, a Cannondale mountain frame, back into service for some summer rides and any upcoming fall brevets we do. Because of its industrial dark gray hue and bulky aluminum tubing, Felkerino nicknamed it the “lead sled.”

Cannondale tandem, back in service

Felkerino invested some serious time this past week to make the Cannondale rando ready. He put on new tires, transitioned our saddles and handlebars over from the Co-Motion, and measured and remeasured to mimic our Co-Motion measurements as much as possible.

This weekend we took the lead sled out for a 73-mile shakedown ride to see how it- and we- would fare. While it’s quite a switch to go from riding a steel tandem that’s been made especially for you to a stock Large-in-front, Medium-in-back aluminum-frame tandem with 26-inch wheels, our ride went better than I expected.

Continue reading Reviving the Lead Sled: our Cannondale Tandem