Just for Tandem Newbies… and just in time for Spring

In case you haven’t explored my companion Website, thetandemlink.com or read my “What’s the Point” page here on the Blog, my original reason for creating “The Tandem Link” back in the late 90’s was to share various links to tandem related information I had discovered on the Internet a few years earlier while doing my own ‘first time tandem buyer’ research.

As the weather turns warmer around the nation I’ve seen the seasonal increase in postings from first time tandem buyers looking for advise on what a good price might be for a used tandem, how much do tandems cost, will attempting our first ride on a tandem lead to a divorce, etc.

Frankly, these are all great questions and ones that have been asked by just about every person who has considered tandems.  With this in mind, and because so many of the visitors to our Web site went straight to the “Tandems” page,  a year or so ago I added some extracts of tandem articles I had linked off of my “Learning Center” page to the Tandems page that pertained specifically to first time buyers.  Although it is listed under the following extracts on my Web page, perhaps one of the best places for tandem team wannabe’s or newbies to start doing their research is the wealth of general information and articles on the actual act of tandeming that can be found by clicking on this link:

Other Reading Material Hosted on Various Other Web sites

For tandem shoppers, the following links with extracts are yet another source of what I think is still some useful information, even if it is a bit dated.  I’ve also thrown in some historic info on tandems, lest you get the impression that they were invented in the 1970’s based on some of your other readings regarding tandems and tandeming.  As a quick scan of the catalogs and guides from the 1890’s illustrates, much of what is sometimes considered or pitched as “new and improved” may be improved, but not necessarily new, e.g., bamboo was used for bicycle frames over a 112 years ago and anatomic cut-outs in saddles are also something that the world first saw before the end of the 19th Century.

Information For First Time Tandem Buyers

Tips For First Time Tandem Buyers: A few things to do before making any real decisions about buying your first tandem

Tandems: Why Some Teams Just Don’t Click: It’s unfortunate but true that not everyone will have an enjoyable or successful experience riding a tandem. This article shares my thoughts on why some teams just don’t work as well together as others.

Custom Tandems: A Primer: Jumping into a first tandem with a custom frame can be a tricky proposition since many teams really won’t have enough practical experience riding tandems to know what they like, don’t like, or feel comfortable with. This article offers some things to consider if you’re in the market for a custom-made tandem.

Tandems: First Time Buyer’s Sticker Shock & The Relative Costs of Cycling: For many recreational cyclists, just walking into a bicycle specialty shop can be an eye-popping experience. Top-end racing bikes once selling for perhaps $2,000 back in the early 90’s, have been replaced by models that cost upwards of $6,000. Similarly, even the more affordable premium tandems can often times cause first time tandem buyers to experience a serious case of sticker shock. This article attempts to offer some thoughts on the costs of cycling and tandems.

Triplet, Quad and Quint Buyer’s Guide (FAQ): This list of Frequently Asked Questions was compiled back in 2003 and it attempts to address some of the more common things folks ask when they are considering the purchase of a multiseat tandem that carriers 3 or more riders.

The Unofficial Used Tandem Price Estimating Tool: Perhaps one of the most frequent questions asked on internet tandem discussion boards has historically been the same question but from two different groups: potential tandem buyers and sellers. In 2002 I decided to capture that curve with a spreadsheet tool and some guidelines to help buyers and sellers understand ‘Fair Market Value’.

A Technology Retrospective on Bicycles And Tandems: I was reading through a number of very old publications dealing with bicycle history, technology, construction, and repair and in doing so, I was once again reminded that with bicycles almost everything old is new again. In fact, even most avid cyclists might be surprised to find that what they thought was a relative new innovation — bamboo bicycles or bicycle saddles with anatomic cut-outs — were first introduced before the 1900’s. I’ve culled a few snippets from some of these old manuscripts to read and ponder.

Finally, there’s this gem from the Tandem@Hobbes archives that I dug up today whilst attempting to address someone’s question regarding Bill McCready’s “The Proper Method” of starting and stopping as a tandem team as first posted to Hobbes in December 1994.  As noted in one of my replies to this BikeForums.net topic, back in July of 2005, Tom Hudgins and his wife Deb had their daughter Carly shoot a video of them demonstrating “The Proper Method”. They did a very good job of capturing the basic process, less any customizations. For example, I mount road bikes track bike style by swinging my right leg up and over the handlebars and I typically start and stop with my right leg in the down position and left foot on pedal. I always immediately move to the saddle with the first downstroke of my left foot. Anyway, I’ve added a link to this video to my First Timer’s info at TheTandemLink.com and have dropped it in here for anyone who might be interested in “seeing” how the “Proper Method” works vs. just visualizing from the written word.


About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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