Mrs. Bgddy and I took our tandem out last evening.
We went out with a plan though… It was time to start working on actually working together. Every tandem couple we’ve talked to has said that the keys to enjoying a tandem are efficiency and working together. One breeds the other but I don’t know which is the chicken and which is the egg… let alone which came first.
Before we left I swapped saddles with my Trek. I’ve got almost 30,000 miles on Specialized Romin saddles and the Selle Italia X1 that came on the tandem wasn’t getting it.
We started easy but quickly ramped up the speed to an easy 19-1/2 mph. Speed wasn’t the agenda though. Efficiency and working together was. We went through what it felt like when I was putting the power on and when I was soft pedaling to make my wife work. Then we worked on matching power. Finally we got to a real trouble spot.
My wife, it turns out, is a masher. I once was too, before I saw the light (and it was a while coming, I’m not blaming my wife) but now that I know how to use the gears efficiently, to push a lighter gear faster, trying to go back to mashing sucks. So I showed my wife how I like to spin up an easier gear so the transition to an up shift is smooth and easy. It seemed like she really took to it as well, once she got to feel the difference.
Funny moment of the night: My wife asked me why it is that I get to pick the cadence.
Surprisingly, we did find an excellent compromise that we can both live with and works (I didn’t expect this). I simply shift about a second earlier than I normally would when we’re spinning up to a higher a gear. It’s not enough that I can’t muscle through it in one pedal stroke and it’s slightly before my wife starts bouncing in her saddle to keep up.
We stopped once to adjust saddle heights, once to check the front brake that started grinding (long story, took 10 minutes to fix it when we got back).
Throughout the ride we did one thing that we’d failed to do in that last several miles. We talked about everything that we were doing – and more important, what we were going to do. Communication is key and sadly, one of the few flaws of becoming competent on a solo bike first, you never have to constantly communicate with another cyclist about riding… You simply do it.
Anyway, when it was all said and done, even with several stops, extra caution at intersections, and wobbles along the way, we pulled into the driveway with an 18.3 mph average. I would have been happy with 15 or 16… All things considered, yesterday’s ride was MUCH more fruitful than I anticipated it would be.
Once we get this locked down, we’re going to fly.
P.S. The title is a tad misleading. There was no pandemonium. It just sounded cool in my head when I thought of it.