Tandem beginners

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New Member
Not seeing a section on here for tandems, or have I just not spotted it admin?

I thought I would start a Tandem thread.

It's in beginners as I have the giddy heights of three tandem hours so far.

That I suspect makes me a beginner.

Got a tandem? Got a hint or a tip to ease the way?

Please share..



Cake connoisseur
We've got a tandem, but it's in bits in the garage and is a bit too big :?:

However, back in the mists of time I used to ride tandem with my brother and one thing I'd say when you're starting out is always tell your stoker when you're changing gear, about to stop pedalling or if there's a pothole coming up.

Fun, isn't it? :tongue:
Riding a tandem is teamwork - yes the captain can see where you're going, has the brakes, gears and steering, but the stoker can do the looking behind for traffic without wobbling the whole bike about, can indicate, can navigate (I saw one couple where the captain had a map pinned to his back for the stoker to read...)

Most importantly, work-out how you're going to start and stop, otherwise one or both of you will lose skin from your shins and you'll hate one another.
Then talk to one another - the captain needs to keep communicating with the stoker, who can't see what's coming.

It all just becomes automatic very quickly, but...

To start :-
- captain gets on bike, straddles it with both feet on floor and holds it steady
- only now does stoker get on bike, gets on saddle both feet on pedals, gets comfy
- when stoker is ready to go, rotates pedals so the captain's preferred start pedal is top-of-stroke
- captain puts one foot onto pedal and asks stoker if it's clear behind from traffic
- when stoker says yes, captain pushes off
- if captain struggles getting into cleats, stoker can pedal strongly and captain with one leg until upto speed : particularly useful for pulling out of junctions, hill starts, etc

To stop :-
- captain tells stoker you're stopping, brakes to halt
- captain puts both feet down, straddles bike, holds it steady
- only now does stoker put feet down and get off

To stop temporarily, e.g. at a junction
- captain puts one foot down to steady bike
- stoker stays clipped in, rotates pedals ro top-of-stroke
- then like starting above

To turn right, pull-out to pass a parked car, etc
- captain tells stoker that's what's happening
- stoker checks behind for traffic, tells captain if it's clear, sticks arm out to indicate

For captain to irritate stoker
- bump through potholes, etc without warning stoker
- start to brake or change front ring without warning stoker
- swerve or change direction sharply without warning stoker
- get out of saddle and 'honk' without warning stoker (i.e. stick your bum in their face...)
- fart, with or without warning stoker

For stoker to get own back
- jab captain hard in kidneys

I think a tandem's great. Mrs wrx isn't as keen a cyclist as me, so if we go out I keep having to wait and she keeps feeling I'm not waiting. But go out on the tandem and we can ride together, talk to one another.

It's like a big powerful but lumbering truck - tons of grunt, fast in a straight line but without sprint accelleration, fairly unmanoevrable.
Far faster than a solo on the flat, for a given amount of effort, goes like stink downhill, pretty quick up long shallow drags.
Just a bit of an effort on steeper stuff, but that does get a lot better with practice, as you learn to work together in time rather than fight one another - first time you try to honk up a steep hill you'll spend more effort on balancing the thing than climbing, but it gets better.


New Member
We found..

Tandeming is a completely new experience.

People smile at you, some to be fair bloody laugh, but they treat you in a quite different way, a better way it seems on short experience.

Tandems seem to do something to people, to tickle them is some way.

It's all good. :tongue:



Fun sponge
DE4, Derbyshire
jacob said:
Does anybody know how tall the stoker needs to be.I have a 9 year old daughter who is about 4 foot tall .A tandem could be fun !

Jacob, at the risk of stating the obvious, depends on the frame size. It is not uncommon to see childback tandems on the road, but even if you have a 'standard' small frame, kiddy cranks or crank shortners are available. My boy was 7 when he first went on the back of our tandem.

At the risk of upsetting admin by sending you elsewhere, try this site:


A very nice bunch.


Legendary Member
My Dad has a tandem and we took it to France the other weekend, so I have a bit of experience. I do agree that people LOVE tandems, it brings out the best in people, they all say hello or wave. As the stoker though, I found it a bit dull. I couldn't see anything but what was harder was not having control over my gears. Dad's legs are stronger than mine, so he made me use harder gears than I would choose...and I hated that!!!

But it's great fun in other respects. It's good to be able to speak to each other without shouting...and I loved the lack of headwind, being hidden behind dad. There is ANOTHER kind of wind which becomes a problem though....

For kids there are two options....

1. Adapt your present tande
2. Buy a specific tandem

Keith Oates

Penarth, Wales
Where I'm working at the moment is also a holiday resort town and there are many tandems for hire. They seem to be very popular and most nights there are a stream of them going along the sea front!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keith Oates

Penarth, Wales
At Hanoi Airport yesterday I saw two European middle aged couples just leaving the airport area on fully loaded Tandems. I couldn't stop to talk to them but they did look good along the road and they certainly were getting plenty of looks from the locals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


New Member
Hey Mr Paul. What does that "cute" on say on the cross bar (ie make?) ??

I can't make it out - even in Photoshop (like that was actually going to increase the resolution!!!!:biggrin:), but wonder if you know what it actually is??
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