Memorial Day Weekend at Club Fred… (Monday)

This is the fourth of four parts. You can find the others here: FridaySaturdaySunday.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words….  Well, how about a short intro and then couple pictures instead of my usual long-winded prose for the Monday update.

As mentioned in the Sunday update, Brenda had to head home so we were most likely going to be back on our Calfee tandem for Monday’s ride chasing Tim on his single bike with Smith & Claude and Eric & Linda not too far behind Tim on their respective tandems: a suffer-fest to be sure depending on where we rode.  However, somewhere along the line Tim suggested that it might be fun to stoke on the triplet in middle position.  Had I brought along some of the extra parts that I’ve started to amass from the re-fresh, i.e, 130mm 1.25″ stem, 175mm cranks and a longer seat post I probably could have set it up so that Tim could have captained.  The “trip kit” is now on my list….

Anyway, as you can see from the first two photos below, we were able to wedge Tim into the middle position by using the 400mm seat post from his and Sharon’s Co-Motion Robusta tandem and the super-wide bull horn bars that Sharon normally uses.  In all honesty, we needed about a 3″ stem riser attached to the stoker bars to really make it a “better” fit, so that’s yet another item for the “trip kit”.

But, as anyone who knows Tim will attest, he’s game for anything, seems to be either impervious to pain and discomfort while “living in the moment” or perhaps a bit of a masochist, and always turns anything he’s involved with into an adventure filled with laughs and good times. Our day with Tim on the triplet was certain a fun-filled adventure!!!


Again, as you can see from these profile photos taken by Linda, Tim was clearly riding in a sub-optimal position with his bars well below where he’d normally have them.  The reach afforded by the 29″ stoker compartment was purportedly pretty good, but the 170mm cranks were just a bit too short.  Despite all of the fitting issues, Tim P. turned into Tim Turbo for us and we were able to ride a ride like we’d never had before through the rolling foothills of the Smokey Mountains.


The triplet handled our combined rider weight of just under 450 lbs and Tim’s tall stature without even a hint of stoker steer, even when he reached way down to grab a water bottle … no easy feat on our low-slung Precision triplet.  Turns did take a lot of steering effort which is still something that I’m working to get used to.  There are definitely some trade-offs that come with the shorter steering trail, but that rock solid straight ahead handling in between the tighter turns is pretty sweet.  We’ll see… perhaps there’s a steel fork out there in our future for use in the twisties; I’m sure Hill could get a good match with the Black Pearl color of my end of the triplet.

As for having power-to-go, good grief.  As much as I’d like to think we could give our other friends a run for their money on a tandem, it’s usually just not in the realm of the possible.   However, with Tim Turbo on board we had what Phil Ligget and Paul Sherwin love to describe as “the ride of our life” on Monday.  We were hammering up the hills, bombing down the hills, and just blasting our way through the farmland and foothills. Imagine how much power Tim would have been able to produce if he wasn’t riding with his torso doubled-over on cranks that were too short and a cadence set too slow by yours truly!   Yeah, I’d adjusted our pedal stroke & cadence for Brenda who prefers a somewhat slower cadence and never thought twice about Tim’s preference to spin 90-100 most of the time; whoops.   Mental note to self: check with the guest stokers about ride tempo before heading down the road.

All-in-all, we had a blast!  The more we ride the triplet the more we prefer to ride the triplet!!  Just gotta start doing our best to book guest stokers for the rallies and other rides in advance so we don’t end up trolling for tail gunners….

After the ride we had our final gourmet meal back at Club Fred, where we polished off most of the left-overs from our previous two days lunch and dinner feasts.  As much as we wanted to stick around, the road beckoned as we still had a few things to do when we arrived home after our 180 mile / 2.5-hour return trip to Kennesaw.

As you can tell, it was a grand weekend in every respect. We wish a few other friends could have joined us, but then again… with the smaller gathering I think we may have ended up being a little more relaxed and got to spend a lot more quality time with the folks who were there.

Can’t wait to do it again!!  Oh, that’s right… Tennessee Tandem Rally is just around the corner!  We’ll be down the road at the Hilton instead of Club Fred, but the Hilton’s not a bad place to stay…. just nowhere near as nice as Club Fred!  And, we couldn’t be blessed with better friends! Is it any wonder why we’re so passionate about tandems and want others to have a great tandem experience…


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?
This entry was posted in Bloggishnish, Events, Tandem Folks. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Memorial Day Weekend at Club Fred… (Monday)

  1. Kevin Vinson says:

    Mark, excellent write up again on the Memorial Day tandem weekend. Just out of curiosity, now that Debbie has ridden in the middle and rear position on the triplet, which does she prefer? You did a helluva job accommodating Tim on the triplet. Have a great time at the Tennessee Tandem Rally this coming weekend. Have a safe trip as well.


    • TG says:

      The jury is still out on which position she prefers.

      Riding with Tim Turbo in the middle didn’t really afford her the chance to find out if the tail gunner works harder or deals with more road fatigue from sitting over the rear wheel than the waist gunner to gets to enjoy the plush if not somewhat ‘suspended’ position in the middle. In fact, I don’t think either one of us ever got close to our max heart rate given the power Tim was generating.

      That said, I think she found the rear position over the wheel to be a bit more familiar with it’s road feel vs. that somewhat springy ride the middle rider feels, some of the suspension coming from the tires and some probably coming from the long frame’s vertical compliance.

      Tim gets all the credit for doing most of the accommodating. Looking forward to our weekend and hoping that you and Linda will be getting some quality time in the saddle too.

  2. Betsy Pfatschbacher says:

    Sounds like a great weekend had by all. Good for you!! Did you build this bike yourself? I have never seen one like it before. xox to you and Deb

    • TG says:

      It was, and how about that: a three-seater! They’re actually not all that uncommon “within” the tandem cycling community; I think there are about 4 or 5 of them within our closest circle of tandem friends. In fact, there’s even a four-seat (Quad) tandem that can be converted into a three-seat or a regular two-seat tandem:

      WoodGood Triplet

      We acquired our triplet second hand back in April and had it refinished; more details begin in this blog entry:

  3. Kevin Vinson says:


    Thanks for the reply regarding my question about Debbie and which place on the triplet she prefers. The familiarity of sitting over the rear wheel definitely makes sense. Personally speaking, I have only ridden as the stoker on a tandem one time and I have to say, it was a much better experience than I thought it would be. With that said, being in the middle on a triplet without having a wheel underneath would be different.

    As for “Turbo Tim”, the feeling you were getting with all 3 of you powering that triplet had to be something special. That is impressive. Again, I think it’s great you and Debbie are really enjoying the triplet. Thanks again for taking the time to reply back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s