[Yak] transporting a tandem and braking
nota at albanylaw.edu
Fri Sep 12 15:36:57 CDT 2008
I bought a used Family Tandem three years ago to ride with my slightly disabled grandson. He cannot balance a bicycle alone, so the tandem is perfect. The little wheels are/were great b/c he didn't feel like he was so high when he was very small 7-year old (US size 4-5 clothes) or now as a slightly bigger 10 y.o (size 7 clothes). The bike has a sram hub and v-brakes. There have been times that I've wished we had a drag brake -- long steepish descents in Maine, NH and upstate NY. But instead of risking a blow out, we just stop along the way down to let the rims cool off. Besides, I don't like speed much. It can get tricky on really steep hills b/c you have to negotiate the constant braking to avoid going too fast in order to stop and then stopping -- which means you're going to build up heat on the rims. In any case, it beats going up the hill -- imagine a stoker who acts as the drag brake b/c he can't really generate power for more than 20 rotations.
We did almost the entire XOBA ride this year (390 out of 420 miles) -- Maysville KY to Sandusky OH along a modified Underground RR route, but skipped the hilliest part of the ride. It was a fun ride and the one other BF owner on the ride saved us after we blew a sidewall when we slipped into a bridge expansion thingy -- even with relatively fat Marathon Plus tires we slipped in and yards farther down the road heard the load backfire.
In order to get the bike from Albany NY to OH, I loaded it into my Honda Fit. When I need to transport the tandem, I remove the front wheel and attach the fork to a fork holder or whatever they're called that I've attached to a small board. The bike fits inside the car so you can lock it up at night and it doesn't get wet. You can leave bags attached without worrying about wind resistance. Plus, I don't have to worry about lifting anything over head. Once you get to your destination you just roll it out the back, attach the wheel and brake and you're off. Some of you taller folk might have to lower your seat. I use those giant twist ties to keep the bike in place. My Fit gets from 34- 38 mpg depending on how I'm driving.
At some point, I'll look into getting a lighter maybe folding tandem, but for now I like the sturdiness of the FT and the chains on the same side of the bike. We have crank shorteners and we've moved up a notch since we got the bike as legs grew a bit. I'm hoping that this growth eventually turns into some physical ability as a stoker!
(we've got NWT, Crusoe, & Family Tandem in the house)
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