Dear fellow cycling friends:
My husband and I usually do Cascade events on our tandem. Back in the day, I also did events on a tandem with our kids. After more than ten years of tandem riding, I have some things for you to be aware of when you're riding with tandems in the mix.
- We typically accelerate more slowly than singles from a stop. On a steep hill, we'll need to come out a bit maybe to get ourselves going - we'll do our best to make sure it's clear.
- We aren't quite as maneuverable as you all on singles because of the long wheel base.
- We may need more room to stop, too.
- We go quite fast on the flats and the downhills. We make a big slip stream. You may be tempted to draft. Many tandem teams do not like other cyclists drafting them because it is difficult for singles to reciprocate; often, the singles simply drop the tandem on an uphill. We don't mind you drafting, but please ask first. We just pull - we'll never ask you to. It's just too hard with our different pace. Enjoy.
- Never, ever, ever say "She's not pedaling" to a tandem team. You think you're being so clever, so original. This year, on Flying Wheels alone, four people said to us some variation of "she's not pedaling". We hear it ride after ride, mile after mile. It is not clever, and it is certainly not original. I try to maintain a good attitude, but really, it's sexist crap. When you say that, I want to smack you across the head with a U Lock, and then leave about 50 tire tracks on your back. Many years I have ridden about three or four times more miles in the year - like, thousands and thousands of miles more - than my husband, and I'm the one doing events like High Pass Challenge, so the suggestion that I'm just free-loading in the stoker seat is especially irritating. Further, I know someone who rides tandem with his kids, both of whom are on the map of autism. When he did a tour with his daughter with Aspergers Syndrome, and people said that same tired joke, "she's not pedaling", she broke down into tears. "Daddy, I am pedaling! Why are they saying that?" Indeed, why are you saying that? Just don't. Don't. Don't.
Fellow tandemistas, anything else you'd like to add to this?