Tandem Decals; Yes… We Still Have Them!

Just in case anyone had forgotten, we continue to be your source for tandem decals!  Yup, the “classic” tandem decals that you see so many of when you go to tandem rallies.  And, believe it or not, in 15 years we’ve never changed the pricing: $2.50/ea (min of 2).

decalsIn fact, after discovering that I’d just about ran out, our friend Charlie at ATOC quickly sent out a fresh batch and we would love nothing more than to see these all quickly leave our home en route to tandem enthusiasts across the nation!

So, if you’re new to the tandem community or if you’ve changed “tandem haulers” and don’t have a tandem decal on the new tandem support vehicle, there’s not better time than the present to rectify that situation!

As always, you can find all of the details along with installation videos and examples of how you can morph your tandem decals into triplets, quads and quints at our partner website, TheTandemLink.com by clicking HERE.  Remember, even though the images on the web page are black, the decals (or, technically speaking the transfers) are white!

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Evelyn Hill Cycling Apparel by Sommerville Sports

I received a note this past week from our dear friend Barbara Kornbluh at Tandem East in Pittsgrove, New Jersey.  It’s not all that unusual to get a note or a  call from Barbara or her husband Mel, but it is always exciting since it usually means there’s something new coming: a get-together, a special event, a tandem tour, a new tandem components or perhaps even a new tandem bike offering.

melscyclesThis week it was breaking news on a new line of women’s apparel designed by Barbara and produced in partnership with Sommerville Sports.  For those who don’t know, this is truly a family affair in that Sommerville Sports is a cycling gear company that Barbara & Mel’s son Jed plays a major role in as it’s National Sales Manager  That inside track may explain where Mel and close friends end up with really cool jersey’s like the one at right, and how Evelyn Hill Cycling Apparel came to be.  And, without giving up any state secrets, I would also note that they name of Barbara’s clothing line also has a family connection; very cool!

So, without further delay, here’s the announcement:


Over 35 years in the making, Barbara Kornbluh’s apparel line is here!

We’re very proud to introduce our women’s clothing line! Evelyn Hill Cycling was created by Tandems East’s Barbara Kornbluh, a bicycle industry veteran with over 40 years and 100,000+ miles in the saddle. Confounded by the lack of clothing choices for women not interested in pinning on race numbers, Barbara engineered a product line to meet the apparel needs of real women – everyday cyclists and commuters – with a cut that’s both comfortable and flattering.

Over the past year, Barbara has been working hard with production partners Sommerville Sports to engineer a clothing line to meet the needs of women in all sizes. From fabrics to colorful prints, each item has been carefully selected to meet the needs of our customers. It has been our goal from the beginning to produce cycling apparel that looks and feels good both on AND off of the bike, and with a wide array of colors and prints we’re certain you’ll find something that fits your style.


Our website and social media will be updated in the following weeks with online ordering details, trunk show dates, and upcoming events we will be attending to show off our new line. If this isn’t for you, please feel free to unsubscribe via the link below – However, we hope you’ll remain subscribed, spread the word, and try out the goods!


Barbara Kornbluh
Evelyn Hill Cycling

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Public Radio & Podcasts: A Perfect Match

I’m not a public radio junkie, but public radio does have a special place in my media consumption habits, even though it becomes a love-hate relationship during election seasons when the wonderful on-air personalities and producers political leanings tend to become a bit more obvious.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s far more balanced than the more obvious infotainment networks that I refuse to look to for “news”; thank goodness for NPR and BBC America is all I’ll say.  But, the recent elections were not the catalyst for this entry.  Instead, I was moved to “pen” this entry by the passing of Tom Magliozzi a couple of weeks ago.


While I wasn’t a Car Talk addict who listened every Saturday, I collected every episode on Podcast and would pull those Podcasts out when we made our 12-hour road trips to Pennsylvania twice a year.  Yup, it was those hours of back-to-back Car Talk that has made those trips seem faster than they were as time would fly by while being entertained by Tom & Ray Magliozzi, aka, Click & Clack… the Tappet Brothers.  For those who listened to Car Talk, you’ll no doubt understand what I’m talking about. To those who don’t recall or truly never heard them, here’s a very nice remembrance from Car Talk’s home station, WBUR, that our friend Dr. Gabe Mirkin brought to my attention is his weekly update.  Gabe used “Tommy’s” passing due to complications with Alzheimer’s disease to educate readers about dementia and what they can do to reduce their risk of becoming afflicted; it’s a very enjoyable watching experience:

Other public radio programs that are regular staples in my Podcast diet include “A Prairie Home Companion”, “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me” and our friend Diane Lees show “The Outspoken Cyclist”.

DianeLeesI’ll confess that I’m drawn to Diane’s show when they feature builders more so than the other wonderful subjects and guests who shared thoughts on advocacy, health, competition, politics and a myriad of other topics.  I’ve previously shared a few lists of favorites here in the blog that I will confess that I revisit from time to time.  Some of my favorite of favorites include:



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You Mean Cycling Tights Don’t Really Last Forever?

tandemtimeThe weather gods were kind and granted us a weekend with cool temps, but sunny blue skies that beckoned us to hit the roads on our tandem.  Debbie has been less than enthusiastic about heading out to ride before the thermometer tickles 60°F but with the warming rays of the sun and cycling tights, long-sleeve jerseys and gloves she was good to go at 52°F on both Saturday & Sunday.

During Saturday’s ride I finally decided that my Pearl Izumi bib knickers had to go.  They’d always been a bit too big from day 1, but over the years had not gotten any smaller (not necessarily a bad thing, by the way).   Saturday afternoon I went out in search of some new ones and much to my surprise, I found only one of the four local bike shops had any bib knickers and tights in stock.  Oh, sure… they all offered to order some for me.  But, if there’s one constant in cycling apparel it’s the lack of consistency in sizing from manufacturer to manufacturer.  So, being able to try on cycling shorts, tights, jerseys, jackets and even things like arm warmers is a must.

castelli_knckThe one store that had a selection of bib knickers in stock was the Performance Bike shop and after trying on small, medium and large house-branded Performance and Castelli bib knickers I narrowed the field to the Large-size Castelli Ergo’s and the Small-size Performance Thermals: like I said, you gotta try ‘em on.  I bought both the Castelli and Performance knickers as I figured it would be a good idea to have a couple of pair since we tend to ride twice a weekend when we can.

castelli_tightAfter getting them home I tried both on again and decided that the Castelli’s were definitely keepers, the Performance ones… not so much.  So, I decided I’d return those and order up a second pair of the Castelli’s off the Performance website since they only had the one pair of Large Castelli knickers at the store.  While I was at it, I decided I’d also replace my bib tights, as they also seemed to be getting a bit long in the tooth.

Out of curiosity I decided to go and see when I bought my bib knickers and bib tights as I knew it was a while back, but wasn’t sure just how old they were.  Yes, as alluded to yesterday, I’m pretty anal about some things and another one of those things is keeping track of purchases & expenditures using Quicken and ledgers before then that all got transcribed into Quicken.  Doing a quick search yielded a pretty amazing discovery:

  • My Nashbar bib tights were bought back in 1996 when I was commuting to work and/or riding during my lunch hour year round, pre-tandem.
  • My Pearl Izumi bib knickers were a bit more “fresh” in that I didn’t buy those until 2000, making them 14-years old.
  • Turns out Debbie’s REI tights which are also due for replacement have truly delivered a lot of life for the money, as they were bought right after we started tandeming during fall 1997.

I must say, I’m really impressed with how well all three of these garments have held-up. I suspect their thicker material have given them longer life than the typical tights and shorts that become pretty darn thin as they age.  Pretty sure all of these tights and knickers will be “retired” once the new ones arrive.  Well, and once I get Debbie out to shop for some new tights.  I almost bought her a pair and had to remind myself about my own sizing experiences; never assume!

Posted in Bloggishnish, Technology & Equip. | 7 Comments

Preserving Your Bike Fit… Capturing Those Dimensions

skatesI am admittedly a bit more anal about certain things than many of my peers on a broad range of subjects; cycling equipment is one of them.  Not so much the training, fitness or racing stuff…; I’m truly an equipment freak.  The same was true when I was actively involved in alpine skiing (I travelled with a tool box, waxes, iron, ski vices, files, etc), speed skating (sharpening jig, files, wet stones, oils) and, well, you get the idea.

Tool BoxSo, when we travel to cycling events it should not come as a surprise that I bring along a work stand, a well-stocked tool box, a spare & replacement parts box, battery-powered drill, Dremmel tool and various bolt extractors, drill bits and cut-off tools, mud guards and a spare wheel set.  Interestingly enough, the majority of my time spent fixing bikes at rallies has been on other folks bikes, not ours.

However, one of the most important things that I keep in my tool box is a diagram of our tandem that includes most of the key dimensions needed to make sure our riding positions can be accurately replicated if a saddle, seat post, stem or other key component needs to come off the bike, or if we need have an opportunity to ride another bike and want to make sure a poor bike fit doesn’t take away from the riding experience. The three dimensions along the bottom are the stoker set-ups for our triplet which I updated just before the recent Southern Tandem Rally in Columbus, Georgia.

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It was this second set of fitting dimensions and Debbie’s saddle nose to handlebar distance that caught my attention this past week.  I’d pulled out the dimensioned drawing of the tandem for another project and noticed the discrepancy in the saddle nose to handlebar on the original tandem image and the more recent update I made when preparing to move Debbie’s saddle from the Calfee tandem to our triplet at STR.

After thinking about it for a minute and thinking back to some of my observations about the new Selle Anatomica Titanico saddle it dawned on me that Debbie’s Titanico truly had gotten longer over the past two years: 2 cm longer.  It was one of those “you’re an idiot” moments when it finally dawned on me that the old and new Titanico saddles were exactly the same length… when new!  However, as you begin to extend the saddle nose bolt to tighten-up the leather saddle cover as it stretches the saddle nose moves closer to the handlebars and, in effect, the saddle becomes longer.  I confirmed this when I pulled the new old stock (NOS) Titanico that a member of the tandem community sent to me after reading my quandary in an earlier blog entry about the Selle Anatomica redesigned rails.

Speaking of the Selle Anatomica redesign, for those who didn’t follow the comments that followed that blog entry, the folks at Selle are aware of the limitation on fore/aft saddle adjustably that their 2014 saddle rail design change created and they will be making another change in 2015 that will correct that.  I also checked and confirmed that while the saddle we purchased will not work for Debbie on our tandem or triplet, it will work for me… noting that I’m under the 160# threshold for the need to move to the X-model.  So, the saddle may not go on the block as I’ve always wanted to give it a shot.  If it fits well I may put the Titanico on the triplet and get an X-model for the tandem just so I get a bit more life out of the cover.

Anyway, my take-away here is… I’ve found that it’s a good idea to keep your bike fitting dimensions written down somewhere for all of your bikes.  In addition to making it easy to get your bike fit sorted out if the saddle or other key components get moved and something doesn’t feel right, and can also be used to see how much you’ve changed things over time… remembering that as we continue to age or change our riding habits bike fit can also change.   And, in case anyone has bikes with different crank lengths, I always recommend using the pedal axle to saddle top dimension for setting saddle height vs. crank axle.  It’s amazing how uncomfortable a sudden 5mm +/- in saddle height change can feel.

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5th Annual Florida Rally Report, by Kathy Foster

Once again we are pleased to share a Florida PANTHERS Post-Event Report from our guest contributor Kathy Foster.

Tandem rallies seem to be stretching from two days to three. The fifth annual Florida Tandem Rally in The Villages opened registration on Thursday afternoon and offered various rides and routes Friday for the 50- some couples attending.

My husband and I led a 26-mile ride at 8:30 a.m. introducing riders to the newest areas of this sprawling retirement community where the rally is held. After 10 miles, we stopped at Brownwood, the new town square designed to look like an early Florida cow town. We posed for a group picture and then Kerry H., our tallest rider and one of the newest PANTHERS, gave us a tour. The life-size sculptures of cows and horses at the entryway amazed us. Kerry said they cost $10,000 a piece and had to be hoisted into place with cranes. There’s even a cow grate.


Jane S., left, and Cindy S. right, at the entrance to Brownwood in The Villages, FL.

Later, another 6 or 7 teams, taking advantage of Friday’s perfect weather, rode the 44-mile Sunday route around Lake Weir. In the afternoon Dr. Gabe and Diana M. and Joe S. led another ride along the golf lanes and wide boulevards in The Villages.

Meanwhile Bob Thompson, club president, and his wife Jan were handing out registration packets, which included salmon-colored polo shirts monogrammed with the PANTHERS logo, and showing folks where the ice cream social would be held that evening,

By Saturday morning the temperature was dropping and the wind was increasing but that didn’t appear to deter the 50-some tandem pairs. They just bundled up, except for Laura A., who had a jacket but no socks to add to her sandals.

The mass start got off in grand style, with at least 4 police cars clearing the roadways. For 4 miles, we pedaled behind a police cruiser. Then at four–lane U. S. 301, two sheriff’s cars held up north- and south- band traffic while a parade of tandems pedaled across the highway.


Tandem riders head out for the Saturday rides at the Florida Tandem Rally.

Then we were in the country with virtually no cars. After a mile or two, the routes split. Those of us choosing the 47-mile ride to Lake Panasoffkee got about a 15-mile stretch of flying with the 20 mph wind at our backs. Of course when we turned north again, we had some rough patches of open road where the wind was fearsome. We were all happy when we arrived back at Sumter Landing for a hot lunch chosen from a menu printed just for the rally. While original plans were for us to be seated outside overlooking the lake, the cold, windy day canceled that. Instead we were cosy at tables inside. Saturday’s festivities continued with a banquet Saturday night at Lake Miona Recreation Center. Bob and Rose J., dressed in tuxedo bike outfits, greeted us at the door, where the price of admission was the rally name tag.

Sunday’s ride was 32 miles over hilly terrain. With the early morning temperature at 44, my husband and I decided we’d cut the ride short. We knew from taking a preparatory ride two weeks before that the route went within 2 miles of our house. Before that point, we had an exhilarating ride through a woodsy area with a thrilling downhill followed by an uphill that wasn’t quite as steep. We were enjoying the ride so much we almost decided to stay the course, but a warm house beckoned. We quickly pedaled the two miles back to our house, added some layers of clothing and took off in our Miata convertible to retrace the route and serve as an unofficial sag wagon.

Taking a slightly different return, we encountered two tandem couples who were lost. We were able to direct them back to the right road. Then we drove back to Sumter Landing, the village square, to get a late breakfast at Paneras and greet the others as they returned. Out-of-towners and newcomers raved about the scenery on the route, which from the hilltops, offered a panoramic view of Lake Weir. The two couples who had the energy and time for the 44- mile loop saw the northern rim of Lake Weir as well.

Everyone we encountered said they’d be back next year, when the FTR will he held Oct. 23-25, 2015 in The Villages. Watch www.floridatandemclub.org for details.

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“Life In Tandem: Tales of cycling travels” by Jackie Winter

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share a guest contribution with our readers from Jackie Winter, tandem enthusiast and author of “Life In Tandem: Tales of cycling travels.”

JackieWinterI live in the UK and I’ve written a book about the 40 years I’ve spent riding a tandem with my husband, Allan. I’ve never learned to ride a bike but on the back of the tandem I’ve pedalled more than 100,000 miles.

This is my cycling life, seasoned with chunks of Real Life, such as marriage, children, work, friends and serious illness. Throughout all the good years and a few inevitably difficult ones, the tandem remains a constant thread.

I once cycled 124 miles in one day and can still be seen hurtling downhill at 40 mph, sometimes even with my eyes open!

“Life In Tandem” incorporates traveller’s tales gleaned from a lifetime of cycle touring holidays in the UK, plus observations on people and places encountered en route. There are numerous anecdotes from eventful, amusing and sometimes downright painful years as a stoker.

Top Tandem Tips and Trivia include essential insider advice to help couples remain on speaking terms, plus little known tandem related facts, such as which Royal couple were given a bicycle made for two as a wedding present.

“Life In Tandem: Tales of cycling travels” by Jackie Winter is available from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback.


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