The Bulletin Board Archive


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Ididarod On A Tandem Not To Be - Jon and Denise Whyte established a very ambitious goal for themselves and that was to compete in the 1,000 Ididarod Trail Invitational; a trans-Alaskan cycling adventure race that follows the Ididarod dog sled trail.  However, desire gave way to the realities of just how demanding conditions are and the 50-year-olds who are accomplished distance racers.  You can read their story and learn more about the Ididarod HERE.

Tandem folks in the Blogosphere: the Days - In anticipation of tackling the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) in 2009, the Day's gave themselves a Trek T900 for Christmas.  They plan to make the trans-Georgia journey together with their son and daughter in a double trailer. You can find a short mention of their plans and see the family with their tandem and trailer HERE.

Those Wandering Wickershams - Remember seeing those commercials about retirement planning where, well, the couples featured in those semi-humorous sport didn't do any of that planning?  Art & Judee Wickersham didn't have that problem and have been touring the world on their tandem since 2005.  We received a nice Christmas greeting from them this week noting they're taking the month off down on the Costal Del Sol in Spain.  You can learn more about their journeys at their Web site by clicking HERE.

North American Handmade Bicycle Show "Original Six" - The North American Handmade Bicycle Show's (NAHBS) founder, Don Walker, has decided to mark the show's fifth anniversary by celebrating the "Original Six" as in the six frame builders who have exhibited every year since the first NAHBS in Houston, Texas.  Tandem connection = Craig Calfee & Don Walker have built some pretty cool tandems over the years.

Tandem folks in the news: The Calzaretta family does the Transcontinental - An NPR affiliate recently aired a story that focused on the Calzaretta families 4,000 mile journey from Oregon to Maine on a pair of tandems.  You can listen to the story at NPR by clicking HERE and you can visit the Calzaretta's web site HERE.

Tandems in the Blogosphere: Petesblog & More On Tandems - About a month ago I posted an item on Petesblog, aka Taxi777 regarding some unexpected tandem connections. Pete recently posted some really neat profiles of his tandem friends entitled the tandem couples of NorCal that you can find HERE. NOTE: As previously noted, Pete has an awesome playlist / audio track running on his blog.


How About Giving Your Tandem Partner A Tour For Christmas? Instead of finding an update on their tours in my mailbox, this year's update from Santana came via Email. Entitled "Tandem Holidays!", Santana's digital flyer starts off with a very compelling and well-timed pitch for their upcoming tours:

Here's a last minute idea for a great gift to share with your favorite tandem partner. The perfect holiday present is healthy, romantic and doesn't require a trip to the mall. A tandem getaway is an escape from everyday stress that you'll anticipate now, share later, and remember forever. While you don't need our help to plan a simple weekend that combines a comfy inn with scenic cycling and guilt-free dining; here are pre-wrapped ideas that can be ordered by phone.

There are a series of short descriptions for each of their tours with links back to their Web site's touring pages. Nicely done and quite timely. Unfortunately, if you're not already on Santana's mailing list and/or they don't have a current Email address, you probably won't see one of these messages. However, as noted, the information is available on their website: It would appear a new tandem information site has recently been launched, or that the Google spiders have just found it. Looks like I'm way behind the power curve or maximizing the revenue-generating potential of my web traffic. Oh well, cest la vie.

Yet Another Macchiatto from KGS Bikes - Wowzer. Yet another Macchiatto has hit the pages of the KGS Bikes Blog. The high-end tandem market certainly appears to be doing quite well as I've read quite a few postings where folks are discussing their new Calfees, new Santana Beyonds and of course the more recent Co-Motion Macchiatto reveals from KGS. However, in a follow-up Email with Kevin Saunders about the new Co-Mo I was deeply disappointed to hear that Campagnolo is no longer offering the Chorus or Record rear derailleurs in a long-cage model, noting that these have been our rear derailleurs of choice since 2002 when they were first introduced. While I'm sure the Comp Racing T is mechanically sound as a substitute, the loss of that very nice touch of carbon on the rear derailleur comes as a big disappointment. Anyway, less I digress, it's nice to see that someone else has just gotten their dream-machine in time for Christmas.

Idaho History: Bicycles were all the rage in Idaho in the 1890s - Just a really neat article in the Idaho Stateman's on-going history series that includes a mention of a tandem ridden by Miss Edna Shaw and Harry Shellworth in the account of a 1896 Fourth of July parade that had some 100 bicycles. You can read the article HERE.

Miscellaneous Ramblings: Bicycle saddle or bicycle seat? - Over the years the term saddle and seat has been used interchangably for that thing you sit on when you ride a bike. Now, just looking at the history of the bicycle and the etymology of the terms, saddle does seem to be the most appropriate term for that thing you sit on when riding an upright bicycle or tandem where the top tube is analogous to the spine (aka, saddle) of a horse's back (look it up). In contrast, even though a recumbent bicycle has a spine, they clearly have a 'seat' instead of a saddle. Now, here's the interesting part: when's the last time anyone ever bought a saddle post?


Oh the Rallies they be a comin! - It's that time of the year again when many are forced off the roads by snow or cold weather and struggle through endorphin withdrawal. However, it's also that time of year when web sites for the next year's rallies start to pop up and registration opens! During the past week or so we've learned the Midwest Tandem Rally's web site is now on-line (LINK) and so is the Eastern Tandem Rally's (LINK). As always, you can check the dates, locations and find links to a plethora of the major regional tandem rallies in North America as well as the UK and it's neighbors at our Tandem Rally Web Page.

Tandem folks in the news: Shelly and Emerson Stern, Belmont, VA - The local NBC news station recently carried a story that highlighted how Shelly & son Emerson have turned the morning drive to school and commute to work into a tandem cycling opportunity. You can read the story and see the video clip HERE.

Tandem folks in the news; Pat & Andy Baxter of Midmar, Scotland - Pat and Andy decided to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary by taking a nice ride on their tandem: a 950 mile ride to be exact, cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats over 21 days. And, to make it worth their while they also raised £3,470 for Breast Cancer. You can read their entire story HERE.

Back-to-back recumbent tandems - OK, let me confess that I'm not the most open-minded guy when it comes to everything cycling. I'm something of a traditionalist who eschews things like "Critical Mass" as well as the transient cults and fads that seem to comprise a small segment of the cycling community. Recumbents have always been something that I've had more or less a passing curiosity in as they do appear to have their merits, particularly for folks who might not not otherwise be able or have any desire to ride a "wedgie" (aka, an upright bicycle with a saddle wedged into your tweeners). However, someone's going to have to help me out with the back-to-back recumbents. I think the first one I ever saw was a variation of the Opus Counterpoint called the "Waltz" that added a third rider facing backwards in a recumbent posture and, well, Ok that really was weird. Of late, I've seen several others including one couple from Texas who has a Barcroft and a Flavo and more recently a home-built showed up in the news that you can see HERE. I recently joked to the Flavo owners... so, are you coming or going when they posted this photo to one of the forums I frequent. Hey, as long as you're riding together, that's all that matters since it really doesn't matter what you're riding so long as you ride!!

Start Your Kids Out In Tandem - This may even be more exotic than the pint-size quad we introduced you to a few weeks back... How about a tandem, triple or quad tricycle for your brood? Kettler has started to market a tandem Insert for its tricycles: too cool. Oh yea, and while I was checking this thing out (these aren't cheap, by the way once you add in the $180 tricycle) I ran across a must-see bicycle site for any family with an interest in cycling and little ones: Tricycle Fetish - The Site For Everything Tricycle.

Tandem folks in the news: John Ansell, of Jannali, Australia - John Ansell, 66, of Jannali set off last Saturday in the rear position of a tandem bike and joined 41 other riders for a 900-kilometer Sydney to Melbourne Bike for Bibles fund-raiser run by Gymea Baptist Church. You can read the entire story and see a photo of John along side his stead HERE.

The Bicycle Pirate: Fashion Photo With A Flair - OK, this one's a bit off the beaten track for "tandem banter"; however, it's kinda like stumbling onto a great musical talent in a genre that you would have never been interested in... except for that one song. Her one song was a whimsical bio that I found on a different blog and, well, it captured my imagination despite the bad grammar:

"I am a bicycle pirate. I was born on a the back of a tandem bicycle and it is on a bicycle i have stayed. i have had many wonderful bicycle friends through my life . . . I have been on wonderful adventures with all of them through forests, across oceans, through suburban mayhem, and through fields of daisies. So join Mary Anne, Jack, Theodore (my trusty camera), Mr green bin (my trusty tripod) and i, as we embark on and adventure full of beautiful fashion, photography and words . . . "
You can see her Blog and bicycle / fashion / lifestyle photos HERE.

You might be a cyclist if.... The humor of By Joe 'Metal Cowboy' Kurmaskie was captured on THIS Blog. Definitely worth a read for a couple of good chuckles and, well, the truth sometimes hurts.

The Incredible Shrinking Wheel - This is a video has been floating around the web without a whole lot of background and, well, the back ground is far more interesting than the video. The riders on the tandem are sight-impaired stoker Anthony Kappes being piloted by Barney Storey and the tire/wheel failure occurred as they were preparing for the '08 Paralympic games. You can read more about them HERE (Pre-Paralympics) and see how they did HERE.

Netherlands' Deputy Social Minister Prefers Her Tandem - Although she will have a chauffeured car at her disposal, Jetta Klijnsma - the Netherlands new deputy social affairs minister - says she prefers to ride her bike with her tandem chauffeur' Rob Schroode, just like she's been doing, despite her disability while serving on the municipal council in The Hague. See the YouTube Video HERE.

S&S Bicycle Torque Coupling Stem? - Yes, that's what I said too. But, low and behold, it does exist . Stepping back from my station in life as a bicycle geek, I can see how it might be a lot easier to undo a single S&S coupler than loosening the three screws that hold a stem onto a fork steerer or removing 3 of the 4 screws that hold handlebars onto an open face stem. You can read more about it HERE.

The Vogels Are Back in the News - You may recall a recent posting regarding the Vogel family of Boise, ID, who are making their way from Alaska to Argentina by bike. You can find a recent update on their progress in this news story out of El Paso, Texas, HERE.

Tandem folks in the Blogosphere: Brian Jenks - Brian recently posted an update to his blog that offers some great insight into how tandems sometimes demand unconventional solutions to achieve the right balance of performance and reliability in a world where no one really makes tandem-specific components. His entry and photos of a new '08 Co-Motion Speedster 'touring' tandem can be found HERE.


From the Blogosphere: Wine and Wheels - I stumbled across this particular Blog on a day when it featured a home-made, rear-steer triplet for an adult captain and two kids. While I'd be somewhat concerned about ride qualities and front wheel stability, it's certainly an innovative design. If you explore the "Recent Articles" you'll find links to other tandem oddities, photos, and items of interest. Pretty cool.

Someone Got A New Tandem - While I'm not quite sure who Mike & Becky are, I do know that they now have a really slick-looking Co-Motion Macchiatto. Photos of their new ride hosted out on Flickr popped up on the KGSBikes Blog today and the paint job is really quite an eye- popper... in a good way. Take a look HERE, noting that there are a ton of photos if you scroll to the left. Of course, perhaps the real story here is Kevin G. Saunders and KGS Bikes; a truly high-end bicycle boutique / studio operation down in San Antonio, Texas. For all of those who have ever dreamed about combining a love for cycling, art, and photography in a high-end cycling business... this is it.

Brand Bias Disclaimer: You know, as I look back over the last few months of Bulletin Board entries it certainly appears as though I have a bias towards Co-Motion given all of the mentions that it receives. However, under the umbrella of "full disclosure" I must tell you that Co-Motion gets so many mentions on my Bulletin Board only because it gets so many mentions on the Internet. In addition to their new Blog, which accounts for at least one new item per month... sometimes two, my search engines consistently return numerous mentions regarding the brand on various Blogs and Internet news items. I'd also note, in addition to my generic 'tandem' search string I also have specific search strings for 'Santana', Calfee, Burley, and 'Co-Motion. The vast majority of Burley items that I receive are related to their trailers, Calfee items are dominated by the Bamboo bicycle articles and mentions, and the Santana items are far and few between. I can't explain why this is the way it is; however, it's what I have to work with and perhaps it does say something about the Internet and consumer demographics relative to tandems. I believe we've seen this in some of our Internet ownership polls over the years as well. Anyway, lest anyone who owns or favors one of the many other fine brands of tandems feel disenfranchised, I thought I'd shed a little light on this apparent bias that, well, really isn't anything I have control over.

Tandem folks in the news: Denise and John Compt in Australia - Denise and John got a mention in a recent article regarding this year's Great Victorian Bike Ride. You can read the article and find photos of the couple HERE.

In the Blogosphere: The Ragfield's fetch a Christmas Tree on Their Tandem - Believe it or not, Melissa and Bob Ragfield apparently opted to use their tandem and a trailer to fetch this year's 7' tall Christmas tree on a cold, damp day that saw a little sleet in Urbana, Illinois. You can read more about their journey and see photos HERE.

Katie Compton: Someone You Should Know About - Who is Katie Compton? Well, the best way to brush up is to check out some recent articles posted on BLOGs, VeloNews, and her Wikipedia entry. However, relative to tandem cycling, Katie teamed with paralympic cyclist Karissa Whitsell from 2002 through 2004, culminating in 4 medals during the 2004 Paralympic games. Karissa teamed up with Mackenzie Woodring for the 2008 Paralympics and brought home a Gold & Silver in road cycling events, plus a Bronze in Track cycling.


Co-Motion Launches Tool That Let's You Mix Paint On Line - The folks at Co-Motion have hosted out a new tool (see snapshot below) on their Color Options Page that allows you to see what color you'll get in the transition area when you select a fade for your tandem. As Dwan notes in the update, you really don't want to fade Red into White unless you are willing to live with a bike or tandem that's Red/Pink/White. Likewise, fading dark colors will usually result in a less than lovely brownish color. You can access the tool at their Color Options Page.

Note: My apologies to anyone who may have been confused by my poor segue to the anecdote and examples of the paint scheme tool I created back in 1998 that appeared in my initial Bulletin Board Update. As you can see, the Co-Motion tool is rather straight forward in that it allows you to see how two colors will appear as they overlap on a representation of a single frame tube. My tool was created using Freehand and overlayed a cutout of a tandem frame on a color palate that could be parsed into multiple color gradiants that could be rotated to represent an entire paint scheme... definitely not a user-friendly, web-based tool to be sure.


SF Bay Area's Adaptive Cycling Center: Beyond Tandems - For anyone with a disability who wants to experience the joy of riding a bike there are a multitude of different ways to do that. In addition to traditional upright tandems which provide the sight and hearing impaired with an outlet, to include elite level competition, some tandem enthusiasts are also aware that the Counterpoint / Viewpoint / Harmony semi-recumbent tandem provides yet another way for someone to experience cycling with the help of another rider. San Francisco's Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP) was recently the subject of a SFGate piece that highlights how their Adaptive Cycling Center provides yet another outlet for would-be cyclists who have loss the use of their lower extremities and, in one case, a cyclist without arms. You can read the entire SFGate piece, see photos, and a short video HERE. Kudo's to BORP for all their efforts and ability to see handicaps as opportunities not problems.

So, does this qualify as an 'Open Frame' tandem? Although photos of Jens Eichler's wooden tandem "Renovatia" have been floating around the internet since he unveiled it back in August of 2006, it and several other two-wheeled 'objects de art' were featured on the worldmustbecrazy blog this week that are worth a look. You'll find Renovatia about 1/2 way down the page at THIS PAGE.

In the Blogoshphere: Daisy, Daisy reprised in beautiful wedding invitation - For any tandem or cycling enthusiasts looking to tie the knot who want to build their wedding theme around cycling, Kristy at Momental Designs has come up with a fantastic invitation that really warrants your attention. You can see her creation HERE. While we're on the subject of weddings, I should probably make mention that anyone looking for a unique wedding cake topper with a tandem (or cycling) theme might want to check out Leo Lymans' website and the blown-glass toppers that he makes. You'll find links to Leo's website and a few other cycling-related gift businesses at our Website's Links page by clicking on THIS LINK.

A cycling version of Monopoly called Cycleopoly: Who Knew? I guess it's hardly a stretch since Monopoly games have been morphed into over 400 different "versions" including everything from the Alaska Iditarod special edition to Wineopoly and even a Stripoploy version for adults with the always popular Strip 'n Sip add-on game. Anyway, you can find this game all over the Web; just Google on cycleopoly.

3,000 Parts In A Chain??? How did I miss that! Last week you'll recall I included a short article on Trek's introduction of two new bikes that will replace the traditional chain drives with the same Gates Carbon Drive belt Co-Motion has spec'd for it's racing tandems. Fortunately, that article was written by someone who knows something about bicycles. I say that because I stumbled across the original article released by AP and it included this little factual error: Bjorling said the new belts are a low-maintenance solution to a chain, which has roughly 3,000 parts including all the links and connectors. What I'd like to know is how they came up with 3,000 parts in a bicycle chain and why so many news outlets simply ran with that number instead of asking themselves, "can that be right?" By my calculations, using a current bushing less chain that works out to be a chain with 375 links that's about 31' long... compared to say the 47 link chain that's on my fixed gear bike. Even doing a throwback to the days when chains had bushings you come up with less than 600 parts in a chain used on a multispeed / derailleur equipped bike.

Tandems in TV Ads: They're Usually Pretty Good - Like any tandem enthusiast I usually get a kick out of seeing tandem bicycles placed into movies, TV shows, and advertising when done so with class. Someone recently alerted me to a current Stella Artois beer commercial entitled the "The Race" where a 1930's 'tour de France-like" tandem race is taking place in, well, France. You can see it HERE. Here are a couple others that have caught my imagination:

* This is one of my favorites... Norman Rockwellian: In Walgreen's "Town called Perfect" series entitle Keeping up with the Joneses, about 2/3's of the way through the ad there's a couple on a tandem with a trail-a-bike (The Joneses) who get chased down by another family on a triplet / trail-a-bike as they cross a bridge: KEEPING UP WTH THE JONES
* This one from the UK is a soy margarine ad with a kid-size quad (four-seat) tandem that appears early in the ad; however, note that there are a few moments of static for the first 1/4 of the video clip: KID-SIZE QUAD
* This last one from Axe is like most Axe ads, it's pretty darn racy but still tickles my funny bone: AXE TANDEM AD

Tour de Tucson & Tandem Class Winner - 52-year old physician and ImaTX Therapeutics CEO Evan Unger teamed up with Dwight Nelson to capture the tandem class at this year's Tour de Tucson in a time of 4 hours, 32 minutes, and two second. You can read the entire story HERE.

Charles Tripp & Eli Bowen, consummate showmen - Again, it's truly amazing what I'll find in my Email each day and this was no exception. You can read more about Tripp & Bowen as well as the background on the photo HERE.


Tandems in the Blogosphere: Petesblog & Connections - Again, my little search engine picks up all kinds of interesting things and often times it takes me a few minutes of reading to grasp the tandem connection. Petesblog, aka Taxi777 was one of those where the actual blog entry my search engine found wasn't all that revealing, making some mention of doing local rides with some tandem folks. However, as I read and checked his archives I discovered that Pete has ridden with quite a few of the San Francisco Bay Area tandem teams who frequent the tandem sub forum: Rich & Mary Ellen, Chris & Deborah, Dave & Lisa, and Marco & Ruth. You can find the tandem specific profiles HERE and HERE along with photos of the four teams. NOTE: Pete has an awesome playlist / audio track running on his blog.


Trek Jumps Into Belt-Drive Market With Two Feet - You'll recall we had a series of articles on Co-Motion's new Gates Carbon-Drive, belt and pulley replacement for the conventional chain and sprocket timing chain on tandems a few weeks back. Interestingly enough, Trek has decided to introduce two belt-drive bike models in its line for 2009 and has put out a press release that is being picked up by various media outlets such as Bicycle Retailer and regional on-line news services. Now, Trek hardly sets the bar for fashion these days and is more or less trying to be all things to all markets with more models -- mostly produced off-shore nowadays -- than you could test ride in a year. However, it does suggest that Gates is really putting on the full-court press to capture a huge chunk of the bicycle parts industry. Too early to tell if their timing is perfect or will doom them to failure as we wait to see how the economic down turn affects bicycle sales.


Tandem Tech Talk: Just How Much Weight Is On Your Tandems Front Wheel? - During a recent discussion thread on one of the forums I frequent someone brought up a common misconception regarding tandems that suggests the front wheel stresses on a tandem are not much greater than those on a single. However, that's clearly not the case. Instead, the longer wheel base of a tandem and position of the captain causes somewhere between 40% and 50% of the tandem's total weight to sit on the front wheel, depending on the weight differential between captain and stoker. Several different tandem enthusiasts have actually taken the time to quantify this over the years and the results are always consistent. Looking at just one of these for a moment, the one by Ed Franks posted to Tandem@Hobbes back in the mid-90's, here's what he found:

In short, the captain's weight was split about 64/36 front to rear and the stoker's weight was split about 26/74 front to rear. For a notional team of 300 lbs where the captain is 160 lbs and a 40 lb tandem where the weight is split 45/55 front to rear you end up with this type of weight distribution.

160 lb captain = 102.4 lbs front & 57.6 lbs rear
140 lb stoker = 36.4 lbs front & 103.6 lbs rear
40 lb tandem = 18 lbs front & 22 lbs rear
340 lb loaded tandem = 156.8 lbs front & 183.2 lbs rear

Now, compare this to your notional single bike where the bike weighs 20 lbs and the loaded bike has a weight distribution of about 40/60 front to rear:

180 lb loaded single bike = 72 lbs front & 108 lbs rear

As you can see, there's more than twice as much weight sitting on the front wheel of a tandem as a single bike ridden by the same person captaining the tandem and, frankly, if you think about it a 36h single bike wheel isn't all that different in terms of design strength than a 36h wheel installed on a tandem. That a relatively standard 32h or 36h bicycle wheel holds up under the added stress and strain of a tandem is pretty amazing and stands as a testament to the strength of the basic bicycle wheel design. Just something to keep in mind for any future wheel building decisions or troubleshooting any handling issues you might be having if you're using a lightweight wheel that really wasn't designed for use on a tandem.


Tandem Folks in the News: Tucson's Roberts Family Gears Up For The Tour - Jon, while Jo, and now son Cole (10) have become permanent fixtures at the annual Tour de Tucson. Jon & Jo, both accomplished single bike racers in their own right, have also dominated the tandem class for many years. However, Jon has been teaming up with son Cole for the past few years and will do so again this year. You can read more about the Roberts in this recent profile story by the Tucson Citizen.


Tandem Folks in the News: Cambria's retiring Fire Chief a Tandem Enthusiast; Who Knew? - In in interview with Cambria California's now retired Fire Chief, Bob Putney, he revealed that one of he and his wife's interests that they'll pursue with more vigor in retirement is tandem cycling; how cool is that? You can read more about his career as a fire fighter and contributions to the safety and well-being of Cambria's citizens HERE.


Armstrong Peugeot Festival of Speed Features Several Tandem Events - In just four years, Christchurch New Zealand's Armstrong Peugeot Festival Of Cycling has become one of New Zealand's premier cycling events featuring the full spectrum of racing, from pros to kids and all classes in between. Featuring prominently in the events that will be held on Dec 6 & 7 are tandems. In addition to having tandem classes for the sight impaired disabled classes, tandem sport classes, and a celebrity tandem fund raising race for Cure Kids NZ. You can read more about this great event HERE.


Need a Little Motivation Before Setting Your 2009 Cycling Goals? - Although there is only one mention of a tandem in this story, it does qualify Tucson resident Frank Vasquez's story for a mention in the Bulletin Board. Frank is cut from similar cloth as fellow septuagenarians and tandem cycling icons Rudy & Kay Van Renterghem who will likely ride in the Tour de Tucson this year as well. However, Frank's story caught our attention since this year's event will also mark his 75th birthday. To commemorate the event he, two sons, two daughters and two in-laws are hoping to complete the 109 mile route in under seven hours. You can read the entire story HERE.


Tandems in the Blogosphere: The Muray's from Ventura, California - Mauny and Elaine Muray have been touring Italy by tandem bicycle since September and have created a nice account of their journey and other tandem adventures on their personal blog which you can find HERE.


Anyone Interested In Being A Part Of a RAAM Tandem Team? For those who don't know, RAAM is the annual Transcontinental bicycle Race Across America that takes place each June and for 2009 Kathy Urschel is looking for a pilot as well as a few other tandem teams with an interest in tackling this epic race. If you or anyone you know might be interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Steve Weschler at The following in an excerpted article by Kerry White that was included in the November RAAM Newsletter shared with us by good friend from the Chicago suburbs, Marvin Boehm who, along with monster stoker Mary, are probably thinking to themselves, "hey, that would be fun!".

November 18th, 2008
Kathy Urschel - Team Two Mixed-Up 1997 Tandem Team RAAM Finisher
By Kerry White

Does the phrase - I want to do RAAM "Just One More Time" sound familiar... anyone who has competed in RAAM has probably said this more than once and for Kathy Urschel - this is her current wish -to compete in RAAM with a team of Tandems. Kathy is a stoker and is seeking a pilot as well as a few other Tandem pairs to form a RAAM team for 2009.

Kathy has a list of accomplishments that would take several pages to list but if you had an opportunity to watch the 1996 Olympic Torch Parade through Central New York - that was Kathy bearing the torch and Olympic flame. She then became a silver medalist in the Olympic/Paralympics in Atlanta. She and her partner held the American record in 3K mixed-pair team cycling.

This amazing lady has an unbreakable spirit - she became blind due to "a vasculitis of an unknown etiology" plunged her into darkness at the age of 21, and along the way the strange virus also claimed her hearing. These conditions however, do not deter her, adding to her incredible ability to overcome adversity, after a horrifying crash in Colorado Springs in 1999 after competing in the World Track Championships - Kathy was in a coma for 4 days during which time blood clots formed in her legs resulting in a stroke. The Doctors told her she would never walk again - 9 months later she qualified for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic/Olympic games and placed 11th. Kathy was inducted into the Syracuse Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of her incredible achievements. This lady is the an example of unmatched optimism and inspiration.

If you would like to team up with Kathy for RAAM 2009 please contact Steve Weschler at



Tandems in the Blogosphere: Chris & Logan from NZ - Well, the subject line and subtext of their blog pretty much says it all, "Blind & Crazy (or how to tandem mountain bike). Chris is a keen, slightly lazy mountain biker. Logan is ex-army, blind, and madder than a box of badgers. Both live in Christchurch, New Zealand, with their demanding wives and children. Together, they are climbing onto a tandem mountain bike and hitting the mud and hills in an effort to learn all there is to learn about tandem mountain biking. The most recent blog entry includes what is essentially a primer on tandem cycling as well as some unusual videos they discovered on YouTube. You can check it all out HERE.


Tandems in the Blogosphere: Mike and Bernice of Ocala, Florida - There's just nothing better than the day you finally take possession of that first REALLY special tandem. Mike, yet another tandem list regular, shared some photos of their new Co-Motion Speedster Co-Pilot at his blog. Congrats on the new ride.


Motorist Temporarily Derails Pan-American Journey - The Vogel family -- two 10 year-old twin boys and their parents -- set off on a 30 month, 20,000 mile journey from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina along the Pan American Highway this past June 8th. While on a stop over in Albuquerque, New Mexico dad John and son Daryl were knocked down by a motorist while riding back to their guest's home after having their tandem serviced at a local bike shop. John was sore and Daryl was shaken but not harmed and the tandem is being looked at to see if it's been damaged. You can read the entire update at their Blog HERE. You can also read more about their journey and their tie-in with Reach the World, an educational 501(3)(c) non-profit organization with the mission of linking students in under-funded schools to online, global expeditions at their Website.


40 UK Tandem Teams Make Annual 2 Day, 434 Mile Run - Graham Adams, a former 24-hour tandem time trial champion, led 40 tandem teams on an annual round-trip journey from London to Shuttleworth and back this past week. They made the 434 mile trip in under 48 hours. The report of the trip came by way of the Northhampton Chronicle's website where they noted the group stopped by the Navigation Inn in Cosgrove for a pub lunch along their "double-quick-time" trip. In an interview with the Chronicle's reporter Graham gave the history of the annual journey, noting, "It really started after I and some friends went away on a tandem cycling holiday in 1965. We enjoyed ourselves so much we did it again the next year and ever since. It's great that it has grown so big but we do it for a bit of fun really."


Scunny Bunnies Raise Funds To Buy A Tandem For a Sightless Friend - Three young school girls, Holly Fincham (11), Bethany Ladlow (12) and Chloe Taylor (11) who dubbed themselves the Scunny Bunnies of Schunthorpe, put in over 1,000 hours of volunteer work over the summer and raised enough money to buy a fellow classmate a tandem bicycle. The friend, Jack Garner, lost his vision last year and wanted a tandem bicycle so that he could still compete in his schools triathlon competition. For their efforts, the three girls were selected as the winners of the Humberside Police Lifestyle competition. For their efforts, the three girls were rewarded with a holiday to Walt Disney World, in Florida. You can read the entire story and see a photo of all four kids HERE.


Santana Has Updated Their SafeCase Packing Instructions - At least, that's what I suspect happened. For whatever reason, my search engine discovered what appears to be a recent update to Santana's on-line information library and the 6-page, illustrated step-by-step (and I do mean step-by-step) instructions for disassembling / packing / unpacking / reassembling a Santana Stowaway tandem using their nifty but oversized Airliner SafeCase™ AND FTS™ Foam Tray System. You can find the .pdf document HERE.



Tandems on Sal Collura's VeloTV - Friend Henry of Webcyclery passed us a couple links to a special tandem series that Sal Collura produced for his show, VeloTV.  You can find the links to these shows at Webcyclery's site by clicking HERE or at Co-Motion's Blog by clicking HERE.  Webcyclery's site has all four parts of the show: the Intro, an interview with Henry & ace Stoker Amy as well as some footage from the Co-Motion Classic Crit, a Co-Motion tandem overview with Dwan Shepherd, and then a factory tour of Co-Motion where you can see how they build their tandems.  The latter was, of course, my personal favorite.

Mars Girl & Mike Do The Red Flannel Century - Blogger "Mars Girl" from Stow, Ohio, provides a wonderful account of her time spent stoking on tandem during the Lorain County Wheelmen's premier end-of-season ride, the Red Flannel Metric Century. Read her Blog entry HERE.

Tandem Folks in the News:  Tandems & Triplets in NZ - Bronwyn Torrie of the Manawau Standard caught up with Matthew Willey and 5-year old daughter Betty who rode the Tour de Manawatu on their tandem as well as Malcolm Vernon, Paul Gurran, and Chris Brownlie who tackled the tour on a triplet.  You can read the entire story HERE.

In the Blogs: Taking A Tandem To The Polls - Chad describes his efforts to get to the polls on his bike to vote early and eventually succeeds when Megs joins him on their tandem.  Read his Blog entry HERE.

In the Blogs: Nichole goes Night Cyclng - Nicole describes an outing with friends on her Blog, which you can read HERE.  Tandem riding, in any form and for any reason, is a good thing to do.


Ever Wonder Just How Popular Your Own Web Site Was Compared To #1 Yahoo? - Alexa Internet is a firm that collects information on Web traffic and then ranks Web sites in terms of traffic volume such that sites like come in at #50 whereas comes in at #227. Our Website came in at #2,635,683 which, while lower than Co-Motion at #1,771,404, was higher than Santana at #2,901,556 and significantly higher than the Tandem Club of America at #13,262,881. Anyway, as you can guess, I've created a spreadsheet that lists the Top 10 Websites along with some of the more well-known businesses and then 82 cycling and tandem cycling related Websites ranked from most visited to least. You can find my spreadsheet HERE.


Survey Said? Tandem Cyclists Are Probably More Self-Sufficient Than The Average Cyclist - Well, maybe not. I've stopped watching the data coming in on the Survey tool and captured the first 291 responses in a spread sheet that you can find HERE. You'll notice the data in my spreadsheet is a bit different than what you saw on line. For Questions #5 - #9 I added an 11th data point to account for the non-responses such that the percentages reflected for the other answers was normalized. I've also extracted the write-in replies and captured those in a separate spreadsheet that also provides my feedback to each of the comments provided you can find HERE. For future reference, these survey results have also been added to the 9 different surveys already contained on my Survey Archives Web page.

Summary of the Fall '08 Maintenance Poll: What the data seems to suggest is, the 291 folks who frequent Tandem@Hobbes, the Tandem sub-forum at, and Double Forte (Off-Road Tandem Enthusiasts) and who were inclined to take my little survey are on average able to deal with most of the routine and even some of the more advanced bicycle maintenance tasks. More than 1/2 (53%) are pretty good about keeping up with the maintenance on their tandems, giving it a once over before major events, rides, or tours. Almost a 1/3 were able to buy their tandems from a relatively local dealer and about 1/2 of the respondents can get their tandem serviced locally, although 6% are struggling to get help. Interestingly, only 51% of the respondents reported a minor failure with 27% reporting a serious failure. Drive (21%) and sync (16%) chains accounted for most of the minor issues and broken seat posts or handlebars (12%) were the most reported of the serious issues. The serious failures resulted in injuries to 7% of the respondents.



Tandem Folks In The News: Tim & Marilyn Jones - Tim Jones wrote a nice account of a late fall outing he and his stoker Marilyn took along the Cape Cod Rail Trail System. This was not some blistering fast time trial but a very nice "12-mile-per hour, almost four-hour ride on the 22-mile-long" journey meant to enjoy the late season and togetherness. You can read the article HERE.


Tandem Folks In The Blogs: The Sneathen Family - The Sneathen family was granted the use of a neighbor's tandem recently that allowed them the opportunity to share cycling with their autistic son in a way that can only be experienced on a tandem. You can read their first impressions HERE.


Just how small is the Cycling World? Pretty darn small - While going through the blog items captured in my daily Google search engine results imagine my surprise when I saw a collection of off-road tandem cycling photos taken by friends here in the Atlanta / Tennessee area on an Aussie's Blog entry? Why yes, even we were there. The photos were poached from good friend David H's account and, well, I must confess I too have poached some of his photos with either tacit or explicit permission. Anyway, it is amusing to see once again how the Internet brings folks with like interests ever closer. You can see the Blog entry and photos HERE.


Tandem Folks In The News: Anne Baron & Annie Corner - Known locally as "The A Team", Great Habton resident Anne Baron and Annie Corner have teamed up on a tandem to raise donations for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance. This particular article caught the duo after recently completing a 28 mile ride that raised an additional £2,000 for the charity. You can read the full article HERE.


Goondiwindi Launches new tandem cycling program for the disabled - Cycling Queensland and Sports Connect (coordinated in Queensland by Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association) have formed a joint effort to promote inclusive sporting opportunities for school students and community members with a disability to participate in the sport of cycling. A two-day tandem bike ride from Toowoomba to Goondiwindi will officially turn the wheels on Goondiwindi's new tandem cycling program. You can read more about the program HERE.


Tandem Folks In The News: Dan & Cheri Bradley - Indiana State University president Dan Bradley and wife Cheri rode their tandem bicycle in this year's ISU Homecoming parade. You can read the entire article HERE.


2009 Co-Motion Catalogs Are On The Street! I was thrilled to see a large while envelope bearing the Co-Motion logo on the counter when I arrived home from work yesterday as it could only be one of two things: an unsolicited job offer package or the 2009 catalog. Thankfully, it was the catalog (thanks Gary!) because after the week I had a downwardly mobile career change (income-wise) was looking pretty attractive. Anyway, as always great stuff... noting that it's the Periscopes and the new 26" Pangea single touring bike that have really captured my imagination of late. Look for them at your dealers or request one on line, or download a .pdf version if you're in the market for a new tandem or single bike. However, I would note that just about everything you see in the catalog is now available on Co-Motion's recently re-vamped Website.


When is a tandem not a tandem? When the riders aren't sitting one-behind-the-other. A tandem is, by definition, a two-wheeled bicycle where all of the riders sit in a single line... regardless of how many riders there are. Therefore, even if the tandem has 10 riders as the 1890's Oriten did, it's still a tandem. A recent article regarding a "16-seat tandem" in the UK brought this detail to mind as what they really had was a 16-seat pedal car with two rows of 8 passengers sitting on a four-wheel, human-powered vehicle. It was all for a good cause and you can read about it HERE. Same thing goes for the German-made 'Twike", a zero-emissions side-by-side pedal car where another journalist / blogger sees two seats and thinks "tandem".


Tandem folks on blogs: Mary Ellen from the SF Bay Area - Mary Ellen's husband, Rich, has been a long-time contributor to the tandem forum at and my little search engine that could just stumbled over Mary Ellen's blog. Both are very focused cyclists who train hard (good grief they even have Russian coaches), kick serious butt on their single bikes and kick butt on the tandem; however, they have also become quite fond of Santana Cycles' lavish tandem cycling tours. You can read Mary Ellen's account of their most recent trip to Mallorca, Spain at her Blog HERE and Rich has posted his account along with photos HERE. We did one of Santana's more affordable tours many years ago at Asheville, North Carolina and it WAS lavish and spectacular. Given the time and resources, it's easy to see how many folks become regulars on Santana's tours.


Tandem Folks in the news: The Parents of Jennifer Schwartz - This is just a great article by Jennifer -- a BU grad and freelance writer -- about her parents and their discovery of tandems through a chance encounter with Mel & Barb Kornbluh of Tandems East at the Jersey Shore. Jennifer provides an entertaining, 3rd person view of how her parents went from angst filled single bike riding, through the sometimes challenging learning process of tandeming, before becoming avid tandem enthusiasts who headed off to Italy for a tandem tour this past September. You can read her story here.


Tandem folks on blogs: Tracey from down under - The short bio on her blog says it all: G'day, I'm Tracey... Mid 40s. One husband. 3 kids. Dysfunctional housewife. Still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. Some people I know think that I'm crazy. Sometimes I think they're right. Tracey's latest blog entry provides a colorful description of their recent tandem adventure: Around The Bay in a Day. A 210km bike ride around Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne to Melbourne. You can find her blog HERE.


Co-Motion / Gates Carbon Drive Update - Friend and tandem enthusiast (OK, he's more than an enthusiast) Henry of wrote to let us know that he's just finished upgrading his own Co-Motion Macchiato frame with one of the new Gates Carbon Drive belt & pulley sync drive. You can read his account of the installation and see photos of the final results HERE.


Tandem folks in my Email In-Box: Brenda & Larry of NJ - Friend and off-road tandem enthusiast Malcolm Boyd wrote to let us know about Brenda & Larry's record-setting finish during the sixth running of the Iron "Cross in the Micheax State Forest near Carlisle, PA, on October 12. As two of the 270 participants in what is billed as "Americas Longest Cyclocross Event", they blistered the 62 mile course with its 6,300' of vertical gain in 6 hours and 43 minutes. You can read Malcolm's entire account and see some photos HERE.


Robert Crampton of the Times On Tandems - Timesonline Columnist Robert Crampton shared his tandem experience in a recent article that you can find near the bottom of THIS PAGE. In short, whilst left without the family car and the need to transport his son to school he decided to give it a go on a tandem. Not just any tandem, but a rented relic of the golden age when men were men and tandems weighed 75 lbs and had one gear. It's a very entertaining read and his closing remarks are, in fact, the very essence of tandeming: Tandems, I realise, are all about trust.


Tandem folks in the news: Bruce and Gay Castle of Forest Meadows, CA - Bruce and Gay nabbed a mention in an account of the 2nd Annual Mr. Frogs Wild Ride and BBQ at Murphy's California. You can read the entire article HERE.


Smiley El-Abd on his Dual Disc Equipped Tandem - Co-Motion's blog included a guest entry this week by Smiley El-Abd who recently completed tours of Mallorca, Spain, and the Finger Lakes region of NY, with his new dual-disc equipped Co-Motion Periscope. You can read the entry and see photos HERE.


Rumors of 2009 World MTB Tandem Championship - The NorCal MTB Racing Blog reported a rumor that a World MTB Tandem & Unicycle Championship will be held in October '09.  Details can be found at their blog HERE.


Got Stokid Kit? - Once again, more breaking news from Co-Motion via their blog. This most recent entry was posted to let Co-Motion owners know they now have Child Stoker Kits back in stock for both their Steel (1.25") and Aluminum (1.375") tandems. Hey, if anyone else in the tandem biz was updating Blogs you can be they'd be featured here too.


Tandems Grace The Pages of - I'm not sure it's anything more than coincidence and timing, but during the past week two different stories about romance and tandems have appeared at's website. You can find them HERE (Why is this couple so cute) and HERE (Tandem figures into frugal, fun wedding).


Tandem Folks in the News: Tim & Edie King - Tim & Edie of Middleport, Ohio, rode their tandem to Marietta, Ohio, in pursuit of John McCain's Straight Talk Express and Sarah Palin this past week. They stuck with their search long enough to finally catch the bus and scored a picture of Edie with Gov. Palin. Read their story and see a short video HERE.


Tandem Folks in the News: Ian & Jade Mansfield (UK) - Ian Mansfield and his six-year-old daughter Jade joined some 600 other cyclists for this year's Cycle for Cynthia fund raiser in Northamptonshire benefiting Cynthia Spencer Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support. Full story HERE.


Co-Motion's Dwan Shepard & Chuck Wood Hard At Work - Chuck Hood posted a great photo on Co-Motion's blog this past week of himself and Dwan hard at work during what I believe was Interbike. I'm really enjoying Co-Motion's blog entries which amazingly come up almost immediately on my pre-programmed daily searches of the Internet.


Ironman Fights ALS And Looks To Tandems As A Way To Keep Cycling - Ryan Van Praet has been progressively losing his sight over the past several years but has not been deterred from competing in a wide variety of athletic events... until now. Following this year's Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, Ryan plans to look for a tandem and pilot so that he can continue cycling. Read his compelling story HERE.


Frodsham Couple's Tandem Stolen: Sentimental Value = Priceless - Michele and Chris Hardwick only wanted one thing as a wedding gift two years ago and that was a tandem bicycle. Their friends and family obliged them with a custom-made tandem that they used on their honeymoon in New Zealand and other memorable holidays since then. On Sept 22 that tandem and three mountain bikes were stolen from their home. You can read the entire story HERE.


Tandem Folks in the News: Henry Able & Amy- Well, they're not actually in the news this time unless this entry counts; however, Henry sent some photos taken while he and Amy were tackling a cyclocross circuit with their Viscious Cycles 29" Jeepster set up in single-speed configuration. You may recall they were the subject of another Bulletin Board entry last month when they were caught playing around on a pier in Seattle and dumped their tandem in grand fashion. Larger photos of the cyclocross outing are HERE and HERE.


Tandem Folks in the News: Geri Migielicz & Liza - Two wheels across Nova Scotia is a great article about cycling, well, across Nova Scotia. If this a destination that you've thought about or if you're looking for a possible destination for a tour, this may be worth a look. Full story here.


Tandem Folks in the News: Ralph Dadswell & Paul Mace Shatter Tandem Tricycle Record - Who knew? Ralph Dadswell of Longwick is a tandem tricycle specialist who, along with stoker Paul Mac of High Wycombe, covered the 262.5 mile route between Lands End to London in 13 hours, 37 minutes, and 35 seconds. See photo and read the entire article here.


Cargo Bikes Continue To Draw Interest - When you say 'quad' or four seater bike to a tandem enthusiast I'm not sure this is the image that comes immediately to mind. Juli Maus gets her two daughters, Eleni and Dani, as well as friend Elli Traxler-Menz, on her mountain bike, augmented by an Xtracycle, and including a Bobike on top of the Xtracycle. I'm also not sure if this configuration is one that could be ridden legally in a place like Cambridge, MA (See prior item on Arcane Bicycle Laws). Anyway... direct from Portland, OR, and for your consideration was the original article (HERE).


Bobike Child Seat: This is Cool - It's been a while since I've seen a child's bicycle seat that looked 'fun' As a very small child I can vividly remember riding on the back of my mother's bike in one of Schwinn's folding child seats: basically a padded seat with a padded back and tube side bolsters with foot rests that perched me over the rear tire of her blue Columbia bicycle. Some of the contraptions I've seen over the last decade have looked more like personal safety cages which, to be frank, seem to reinforce the idea that cycling is dangerous. However, the Bobike looks to be a design that eschews the risk-avoidance approach and, instead, provides a 'fun' way to share cycling with kids short of using a trailer, trail-a-bike or tandem. More info HERE or just Google on Bobike.


Fabulous Farkle* - Sterling Silver Co-Motion Headtube Badges - I really don't mean to be pimping Co-Motion and Webcyclery, but at the moment they're the only firms who keep popping up on my search engines with, well, really cool stuff. First it was the Gates Carbon Belt Drives and now.... wait for it, sterling silver, hand-made Co-Motion headtube badges. While Henry mentioned it to me yesterday, today it showed up as an entry on Co-Motion's Blog Those of you who are gram-watchers may want to affix it to your Robusta or Macchiato with some R/C tape or velcro so that you can remove it on race day.
*From Wikipedia, Farkle: In use at least by the late nineteen- nineties, circa 1997, thought to be a combination (portmanteau) of "function" and "sparkle" attributed to a member of the Honda ST1100 user group or perhaps a Honda Goldwing riders group. Also considered a backronym found in a Kawasaki Concours Owners Group forum: Fancy Accessory Really Kool & Likely Expensive.


Kidz Tandem Pulls Double Duty as Cargo Bike - I hadn't thought of this until just now, but in looking at the Kidz tandem it's really a modern-day re-incarnation of one of the earliest tandem configurations: the courting tandem. A courting tandem placed the passenger (stoker) in front of the pilot (captain) who steered the machine via a linkage to the front wheel. Less I digress, this is just a small blog entry that caught my eye and it does appear that the Kidz tandem doubles nicely as a cargo bike (Photo).


Reflections On The Lack of Buzz Over Interbike Intros - As the tandem forums buzzed about the Gates Carbon Drive system introduced by Co-Motion this past week I wondered why Santana's new offerings -- hybrid frame materials including ExoGrid down and boom tubes with carbon stays, headshock on enduro models, etc. -- just didn't get any traction or spark any interest. I mentioned this in a note to a long-time friend and fellow tandem enthusiasts who's very much involved in the bicycle industry and his comments really struck a chord that I hadn't even considered given my short-attention span is pretty much fully focused on tandems, "All of these '09 Santana features are OLD. If you walked into a booth of single bikes at Interbike and they were showcasing carbon stays, exogrid, and Headshocks - you'd think you'd gone back in time. These are definitely neat looking - and definitely cool items to have on a tandem - but if it wasn't a tandem that these things were on you'd guess that it was a 5 or 6 year old single bike." Even so, while that explains why the broader bike industry noted the 10-seat tandem but little else, it doesn't seem to shed any light on why the tandem enthusiasts and Santana watchers didn't light up. Perhaps once the new Santanazine hits the street with their always interesting spin on these technologies things will heat up a bit.


Tandem Folks in the News: Lem & Christina Stevens - Lem & Christina Stevens of Franklin, TN, got a nice mention in a recent article regarding Tennessee's annual Bike to Jack and Back bike tour, one of about 100 nationwide MS150 fund raising bike tours.Full story is here.


Tandem Folks in the News: Calzaretta Family Does the Northern Transcontinental - A great read about the Calzaretta's family's epic, cross-country tandem journey. The family of four from Walla Walla, Washington -- Dan, Alison Kirby and kids Gus and Sonia -- rode from Oregon to Maine and part of their story is captured in this article.


Tandem Folks in the News: Ken & Kaydi Swinkosky - Ken & daughter Kaydi-14 took part in the PNC Legacy Trail Ride "Pedal to the Point" relay as part of Pittsburgh's 250th birthday celebration this past Sunday. Full story is here.


Tandem Folks in the News: Three Generations of Metz Family Go Triple - Rick Metz, recounts the 175-mile journey he took along with his father Darrel-68 and son Michael-5, on their Co-Motion triplet over this past year's July 4th weekend. Full story here.


Note: Photo host site may have bandwidth constraints that have caused photos to go bye-bye..

04 Oct ­ Co-Motion Replaces Sync Chains With Gates Belt Drives (Updated) - As mentioned last weekend, Co-Motion Cycles has introduced a productionized Gates belt drive system that replaces the traditional timing rings & sync chain. In addition to the photos posted of the Macchiatto displayed at the convention center last week, some new photos of the system installed on a Periscope Torpedo have emerged. From Co-Motion's Blog it was noted the introduction of the sync belt system is an exclusive collaboration between the folks at Carbon Drive / Gates and Co-Motion Cycles. Also as previously noted, Co-Motion will be offering the new timing belt system as standard equipment on their top 3 race tandems: Macchiato, Robusta and Supremo.  However, as evidenced by the belt-equipped Torpedo, Co-Motion will also offer the belt system an upgrade on many of their other tandem models. The cited advantages include a 283 gram reduction in weight compared to a sync chain system, increased service life, and nearly maintenance-free operation. For kicks I weighed just the sync chain on our Erickson tandem tonight and it was 437 grams whereas the two 71t gear pulleys (aka, drive rings) and belt that comprise the Gates Carbon Drive system weigh just 363 grams!! Price? According to WebCyclery, the belt and two pulleys sell for $525.

For those interested in ease-dropping on some on-going technical dialog regarding the pros and cons of belt vs. chain drive systems, you can find a lively but very civil discussion thread at Tandem@Hobbes (tandem enthusiast listserve) by clicking HERE. The thread is chronological, beginning at the top of the search page with item number 3 by Mark Livingood on 10/5/2008. A companion thread can be found HERE and, as before, is chronological beginning this time with Item #4 posted by Bill Franklin on 10/6/2008.


4 Oct - New Stuff From Santana Too - While Santana's 10 seat tandem grabbed all the attention in my update last week, I do need to note Santana has also been busy tweaking it's produce offerings. Some of the things I noted just in looking at the photos posted out to the Web include:

- Off-road models appear to be sporting a new suspension fork offering reminiscent of the old Cannondale 'HeadShock" design, where a single piston unit has been incorporated into the fork's crown and steerer tube.

- Beyonds appear to have some translucent top coat color offerings instead of just clear coat so that the flagship models can be personalized.

- The full range of tandems appear to be available with Vyatek's ExoGrid down and boom tubes integrated into the base material (i.e., steel, aluminum, scandium-aluminum, and titanium) frame sets as either standard (team models?) or an as upgrade: just guessing here.

- A REAR carbon "fork" (integrated, one piece seat stays & brake bridge) appears to be available and, again, I would presume it is standard on exotic / team models or an available option for others.


30 Sep ­ Ellsworth Introduces Tandem Version of Award Winning "Ride" - Ellsworth recently received a number of awards for a highly stylized take on the retro cruiser with it's new bike concept: "The Ride". Of course, what made it all that more interesting was Ellsworth's use of the NuVinci Continuously Variable Planetary (CVP) drive and that they actually brought it to market as a new produce line. For 2009, Ellsworth not only keeps the Ride in their product line, they have added what some have called a, "seemingly over-the-top Ride 2 tandem". You can find more photos and short articles on the Ride2 here.


4 Oct - 2nd Santa Cruz F/S Tandem Sighted - You may recall we posted a spy-shot of a Santa-Cruz one-off, full-suspension tandem built for an employee back in November of 2006 sitting at a shopping center in Whistler, British Columbia.  At that time is was thought to be one of two, er.... I guess that makes it a two-off. Anyway, my search engine recently snagged a blog item from this past April's Seat Otter where the second bike was caught on camera characterized as being built for a 'special client'. There are actually a few very unusual one-off off-road tandems out there in the world, often times built as a show-bike like the Intense M1 with 8" of travel that keeps coming back to Interbike and wowing the crowd.


4 Oct - Tandem Folks in the News: Andrew & Mark Rowe ­ Andrew Rowe and his father, Mark, drove from Austin to participate in the 19th annual Valero Bike to the Beach ride. This is a two-day, roughly 160-mile ride from San Antonio to Corpus Christi held as part of the nation wide MS 150 cycling program. It was Mark Rowe's second year to participate, but the first for his son. Full story here.


4 Oct - Longtail Cargo Bicycles: Beyond The Fashion Statement - Last week I introduced you to the Xtracycle vis-a-vis a netizen who seemed to be smitten with the practice of affixing Xtracycle long-wheel base cargo extensions to high-end cruiser bikes and tandems... which really look cool. However, having now done some additional homework on the subject through blogs such as Bike Hugger that's not the story at all. While self-expression and being chic may bring cargo bikes to the attention of bicycle industry watchers like me, as is often the case there is a far more pragmatic application at the root of the movement and in this case it's the longtail and in come cases rear-drive cargo bike movement designed to permit folks who don't own cars to haul loads -- cargo and passengers -- weighing up to 200 lbs on a pedal-powered bicycle... sometimes with the assistance of an electric motor like the clerverchimp StokeMonkey. Sometimes referred to with tongue in cheek as sport utility bikes, the longtail versions are fitted or designed with welded-on racks designed to haul big, bulky cargo, whether it's a 200-pound load of bricks, surfboards or three or four bags of groceries. Here's a recent article that looks at a few different models. To be frank, it would appear that a lot of the folks buying the longtail cargo bikes and power-assist devices really don't need them and, in some cases, are making it very hard for folks who do to get the darn things. Moreover, part of the double-edge sword in popularity is price increases and new competitors offering lower-cost alternatives... including Trek who showed off a longtail cargo concept bike at Interbike that will be marketing the bike under its Fisher brand as the El Ranchero (no doubt an homage to Ford's old Falcon-based sport pick-up truck).


4 Oct - Economic Stimulus Includes Symbolic Tax Incentive For Bicycle Commuting - Buried in the "The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act" (EESA) signed into law this week (aka, the golden parachute for speculators or financial bailout package if you prefer) was a bicycle commuter tax provision that has been sitting on the shelf in Congress for seven years. While on its own merits its nice to see, IMHO any real value is diminished because it's now just the bicycle ornament on the EESA Christmas Tree. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to see some positive bicycle legislation passed into law; however, one has to question both the motives of appending it to THIS deeply flawed legislation given the timing of this debacle. Oh well, that's why it's called politics... not business management.

So, what were some of the other Christmas ornaments or "artificial sweeteners" that added ~$112 billion to the original $770B Bill? Without passing judgment on their validity, here are the larger ones...

- Exempt ~24 million mainly upper-middle income taxpayers from the ~$2,000 tax adder for alternative minimum tax (AMT) originally targeted to affect only the very rich (those earning more than $200k a year).
- $19 billion in R&D credit extension.
- $17 billion in renewable energy incentives.
- $8 billion in tax breaks for disaster victims.
- $5 billion for higher education tuition deductions.
- $3.3 billion for extending two programs that fund rural schools and rural communities that have been relying on declining income from logging on federal land or have low property tax bases because they are located on or next to federal lands (major Western US issue).
- $3 billion in deductions for residents of states without income taxes that have state and local sales taxes, e.g., an average of $520 per filer claiming the deduction in Texas.
- $1.3 billion for enacting President Bush's proposal to erase the debt of the black lung disability trust.
- $758 million for a new tax credit ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 for purchasers of plug-in electric-drive vehicles (remembering that 50% of US electricity is generated by coal-burning power plants).
- $478 million for increasing production cost deductions that film and TV productions may take if the costs are incurred in domestic, economically depressed areas.
- $400 million in deductions for teachers who buy school supplies with their own money.
- $192 million to extend expired provision that gives Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands a rebate against excise taxes charged on imported rum.
- $148 million for extending program that reduces import duties on some wool fabrics.
- $100 million for extending depreciation timetable that NASCAR and other motorsport racing facilities have had for some years, the same tax break that amusement parks enjoy.
- $49 million to allow commercial fishermen and others receiving damage payment awards stemming from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska to average that income over 3 years instead of paying the IRS for a lump-sum payment (major Western US issue).
- $33 million for extending tax credits that expired at the end of 2007 for certain domestic corporations involved in American Samoa economic development.
- $4 million for extending a credit of up to $10,000 for the training of mine rescue team members.
- $2 million for exempting wooden practice arrows used by children from an excise tax of 39 cents per arrow to undue an earlier mistake by the Oregon senators and Wisconsin Congressmen who only wanted to target the more expensive archery arrows with the excise tax.
- $2 million for allowing employers to exempt from taxation what they spend on some fringe benefits for workers who commute to work by bicycle.


4 Oct ­ Tandem Racing Results: East Anglian Time Trial


4 Oct - 3rd Annual Cycle for Parkinsons & Frazier Cycling - A few weeks back we ran an item regarding some break-through Parkinson's disease research by researcher Jay Alberts. We noted the had been following Jay's research since July of 2003 when he teamed up with Cathy Frazier and others for Pedaling for Parkinson's -- Cathy's 450 mile ride across Iowa to raise awareness for Parkinson's research. The Gwinnett Daily Post recently ran a very nice background piece on Cathy's family which you can read HERE. The article coincided with this year's Allgood Cycle for Parkinson's Criteruim & Road Race on Oct 4 & 5, an event that has raised over $10,000 for the Georgia chapter of the American Parkinson's Disease Association.


4 Oct - Attention UK Tandem Enthusiasts: Stoker Wanted For TV Role - From the UK comes this solicitation, "If you would like the opportunity to get you and your bike on the telly, now's your chance! Midsomer Murders are looking for cyclists to be extras for filming in Surrey, South Bucks, and Berkshire between 10th and 28th October. All extras will be paid and meals will be provided. There is also a starring role for a female Tandem stoker in her late 50's / early 60's. For more information or to sign up please contact Andrew Jackson at Cyclefleet." More Info Here


4 Oct - Vale of Glamorgan Launches Program For Disabled Cyclists - A new program has been launched in Vale of Glamorgan, UK, to provide sporting opportunities for people with disabilities in the Vale. For anyone who would like to learn more about the program you can read an article that appeared on the Vale of Glamorgan website HERE or contact Linda Ruston on 01446 704728 during weekday mornings or email


4 Oct - Tandem Folks in the News: Rick & Megan Laws, Gil and Henry Adams ­ Father Rick & 10-year old daughter Megan Laws of Granite Falls, NC, teamed up on their tandem with sister Ashley (13) on her single to tackle the seven-day Mountains to Coast bike ride from Black Mountain to Oak Island, North Carolina. Also riding in the even were the father and son team of Gil & Hen Adams. Full story here.

4 Oct - Tandem Folks in the News: Brian and Linda Gilligan - Brian and Linda Gilligan, of Sherrill, Iowa participated in "Oktoberfest 100" -- the Potosi Brewery Great River Road Bicycle Tour last Saturday. The event attracted 215 riders. The Gilligans opted to ride the 60 miles / 100k which entailed hauling their bike across the Mississippi River in a flat-bottomed motor boat from Finley's Landing in Iowa to the Potosi Point.Full story here.


27 Sep ­ Co-Motion Replaces Sync Chains With Gates Belt Drives - Co-Motion Cycles has introduced a productionized Gates belt drive system that replaces the traditional timing rings & sync chain and is beign offered on their high-end racing tandems. The cited advantages include a 283 gram reduction in weight compared to a sync chain system, increased service life, and nearly maintenance-free operation. We first learned of the belt drive from a friend at the Southern Tandem Rally before Interbike opened who had discussed the new system with the folks at Co-Motion. With a little sleuthing, we were able to locate some photos of the system, which you can find linked HERE. A good friend, Bob T. from Florida, had previously developed and produced his own working prototype 'sync belt drive system' several years ago which has worked very well for him. It will be interesting to see how the production model performs, how it is embraced by consumers, and any spin Co-Motion's competitors might put on the system.


27 Sep ­ Santana Shows Off Cabrio-10 / 10 Seat Tandem At Interbike ­ Someone floated out a few photos of what I'd describe as a Santana Cabrio-10 displayed at Interbike this year. What a hoot! The bike appears to be a 10-seat tandem comprised of front & rear sections from a 26" Cabrio 3 with 8 additional cabrio mid-sections joined by -- gasp -- 30 couplers. Just looking at the bike and comparing it to the Penn State 6-Pack built a few years back and actually ridden at events like New York's Five Boro Tour, I'm left to assume the Cabrio-10 is not ridable as built. Again, it appears to have a rather standard- sized triplet tube set, rear triangle, and fork vs. the much more robust frame and dual crown rigid fork Santana uses on its Quads & Quints and the drive train and wheels would be seriously over-matched for the loads generated by 10 riders. Regardless, it's a way-cool visual that warrants a standing-O for the folks at Santana because it's just FUUUUUUUUN! More photos HERE, HERE, and HERE. For those who are thinking there was another 10-seat tandem built at some point in the past, you're most likely thinking of the 1896 Oriten that now hangs in the Henry Ford Museum or perhaps another one that's on dispay in the Toga Bikes shop in Nyack, NY.


27 Sep ­ Electra Tandems & Xtracycle....I Want One! ­ Since we're discussing fun and visually interesting I thought I'd throw out one other recent discovery: xtracycles. A contributor to bike forums has attached an xtracycle kit to an Electra Swing Tandem and it is just wild. These are apparently the hot ticket out West and I must admit, these things look way cool and also incredibly practical as an alternative form of transportation, e.g., a grocery getting and round-about-town bike. In fact, I find myself wishing we lived in a more urban area where we could actually use one of these machines to run errands and commute to work. Anyway, words don't do the machines justice so I'll get out of the way and simply provide some links to resources where y'all can see and learn more about this new design. [BikeRubbish] [BikeForums]


27 Sep ­ Arcane Bicycle Laws & Tandems ­ Some time back I discovered my home state of Georgia's bicycle laws were woefully out of step with current cycling trends, still including certain laws that were intended to outlaw the Ordinary (aka, high wheeler or PennyFarthing) bicycles by limiting the maximum height of a pedal crank axle. Of course, some of the laws when written didn't anticipate recumbents which, at least for some designs, clearly violate this part of the law and it would be interesting to know why a provision precluding "ape hanger bars" was adopted. Anyway, Cambridge, MA, recently published a set of their Bicycle Laws as an FYI for citizens and it was interesting to see tandems were specifically mentioned, to wit:" A bicyclist shall not carry another passenger on his/her bicycle except on a tandem bike; or a child between one and four on a child safety seat attached to the bike, equipped with a harness and protection from the feet hitting the spokes of the wheel of the bicycle. A bicyclist shall not transport any person under the age of one year on a bicycle". There are a host of other intersting provisions in the Cambridge bicycle laws, but not tandem specific so I'll leave those alone.


27 Sep ­ Yak Attack: The Ultimate Off-Road Experience? ­ A good friend, entrepreneur, and tandem cycling enthusiast from Washington state was recently interviewed by his local public radio station regarding one of his many interests: breeding Yaks for racing. You can hear the very interesting interview at KUOW's Website by clicking HERE (Note: you'll probably want to fast-foward past the discussion on Cello's to the segment about Mystique Ranch in Issaquah, some 15 minutes into the audio program). The tandem connection here is somewhat timely, in that Jim happens to own a stable of Ventana off-road tandems, to include what is certainly the ONLY 5-seat, full-suspension off-road tandem ever built.

Like Santana's Carbio-10, the Ventana-5 is a one-off machine that can be configured as a tandem, triplet, quad, or quint but unlike the Santana the Ventana is rideable. However, at this point I'm not sure what makes for the more mind blowing visual: a family of 5 riding an off-road tandem together or a man on a Yak riding through a pizza parlor during lunch hour.


27 Sep ­ Tandem Folks in the News: Philip & Scotty Wallace ­ Father & 8-year old son team of Philip & Scotty Wallace will join 3,000 other cyclists for this year's Valero Bike to the Beach MS150 ride. The ride begins in San Antonio on October 4th and finishes 160 miles away in Corpus Cristi, Texas on October 5th. Full story here.


27 Sep ­ Props To Big Dam Bridge 100 for Family & Tandem Pricing ­ Just sending proper respects out (aka, Props) to the organizers of the Big Dam Bridge 100 near Little Rock, AR, for offering special event pricing for families and tandems. As a way of making their event more accessible to families, a family of up to four members can participate in the 14-mile ride for $60 instead of what would have been $120 based on a $30 per person fee. Tandem teams of two can sign up for the longer 32, 50, 75 or 100 mile rides at a cost of $80 instead of what would have been a $90 fee based on a $45 per person fee. Full story here.


27 Sep ­ It's Called a Sociable, Not a Tandem ­ A local Portsmouth newspaper recently posted an on-line story in advance of the upcoming Portsmouth Criterium to let readers know about a display of antique bicycles at the Warner House in Portsmouth. Like many folks, they mistakenly identified a "Sociable" bicycle that allows two riders to sit side-by-side as an early tandem. It's clearly an esoteric point but, for tandem enthusiasts I do believe it's important to point out a tandem is, by definition, a bicycle where the riders sit one behind the other "in tandem". Therefore, even the Santana Cabrio-10 is a tandem. You can read more about the Portsmouth events and see a photo of the beautiful Sociable bike that was on display by clicking HERE.


19 Sep ­ Tandem Folks in the News: The Damakaju's - Dr. Srikanth Damakaju teamed up with son Aneel on their tandem with his daughter Sarica on a single bike for Portland, Oregon's Sunset Challenge. Full story here.


18 Sep ­ Tandem Folks in the News: Allen & Beth Richard - Allen and Beth Richard, like many avid cyclists, have found and continue to enjoy tandem cycling along the Natchez Trace and on other rural roads in Natchez. Full story here.


18 Sep ­ Tandem Folks in the News: Ken & Cindy Rosiek - Ken and Cindy Rosiek of Glen Arbor area with Roger gear up for silver anniversary of the Leelanau Harvest Tour in Traverse City. Full story here.


14 Sep - B&VI* Tandem Cycling Events Award More Medals ­ The tandem duo of Andrzej Zajac and Dariusz Flak from Poland won the gold medal in the B&VI Men's Individual Road Race while Iryna Fiadotava and Alena Drazdova of Belarus won the gold in the B&VI Women's Individual Road Cycling Race. Both events were held at the Triathlon Venue during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games on September 14, 2008.

*B&VI = Blink & Visually Impaired: Cyclists with a visual impairment compete on the rear of tandem bicycles, with a sighted pilot, in one of three classes: Men, Women and Mixed (male and female). The decision to compete in the Mixed Class is that of the athlete. During any IPC competition, the athlete is only allowed to start in one class and the changing of classes is not permitted. Minimum disability is class B3.


13 Sep ­ Tour de Rev Trial Run Underway ­ As mentioned in our last update, three three Evangelical Lutheran ministers plan to tour the US on a Calfee bamboo triplet next year to raise awareness and donations for world hunger. This article shows all three on the Calfee during last week's 800 mile trial run around West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. Full story here.


12 Sep ­ Tandem Folks in the News: Karen & Bob Workman ­ Actually, this would more correctly be Off-Road Tandem folks in the news, as a photo of Karen & Bob Workman blasting through the woods on their Ventana full-suspension tandem bike in Allamuchy State Park headlining an article about the inaugural JORBA Bike Festival, A Celebration of New Jersey Mountain Biking. The Festival was to be held at Waterloo Village Concert Field in Stanhope on Saturday, Sept. 13 and you can read the entire article here.Full story here.


12 Sep ­ Tandem Folks in the News: Sean & Jen Bethel ­ If you should find yourselves riding on the Washing & Old Dominion Trail near Washington D.C. and see another couple cruising along on a tandem be sure to say hi; it could be Sean and Jen Bethel of Arlington, VA. Full story here


12 Sep ­ Tandem Folks in the News: Anne & Graham Manners ­ More than 80 friends and family members recently threw a surprise 50th anniversary party for Anne & Graham noting that the Manners cite their tandem cycling as one of the keys to the success of their marriage. Full story here


10 Sep ­ Politicians On Tandems: Member of Parliament Grant Shapps - Member of Parliament for Welwyn Hatfield, Grant Shapps ­ was caught aboard a tandem bicycle during a 10-mile long fund-raising bike ride this past Sunday. You can read the short article about the MP's outing here; however, the WHT indicated a more comprehensive article regarding the ride will be published in the coming week. Full story here


11 Sep ­ Tandem Folks in the News: Guy & Jared Baillargeon- 21 year-old Jared Baillargeon and his father, Guy, are training for a 20-mile fund raiser to benefit the Massachusetts Special Olympics. Read the entire story Full story here


This special update looks at three major updates from Calfee Design

11 Sep - Calfee Introduces Carbon Crossover Cranksets For Tandems - As further evidence of just how small the tandem market truly is, there has been a severe shortage of tandem cranks over the past 18 months as most off-shore manufacturers have been focused on meeting market demand for anything but tandem cranks, regardless of material. Moreover, if someone was in the market for carbon tandem cranks they would have found the offerings from FSA or even Santana's own house-brand of carbon cranks to be limited in crank length options. Having run into the same crank shortage problems even as an OEM tandem builder, Calfee took it upon themselves to develop an ISIS compatible crossover tandem crankset and, most importantly, also spec'd the cranks with a range of crank arm lengths for both the Captain and Stoker: 170mm, 172.5mm, and 175mm. Fitted with 7075 chain rings and steel chain ring and crank arm fixing bolts, the triple version of the Calfee carbon tandem cranks weigh in around 1,375 grams without bottom brackets. Coupled with some lightweight Ti ISIS bottom brackets, that weight would put them on par with FSA's SL-K carbon cranks which are only offered in the Mega Exo bottom bracket design and with 175/170 crank arms lengths. The Calfee cranks can be ordered with either 130mm BCD double chain rings or 130/74mm BCD triple chain rings and are available in their standard clear coated finish or with an optional finish to match your tandem. Price is $599 and they are available directly from Calfee Design OR Tandems East.


11 Sep - Calfee Reduces Price of S&S Coupler Option By $900 - Clearly, Craig Calfee and his team at Calfee Design never take time to rest on their laurels or current designs. We recently learned S&S Machine completed their development and testing of new 1.75" and 2" aluminum Bicycle Torque Couplings (BTC) as a lower-cost alternative to titanium couplers previously spec'd for use on Calfee's S&S equipped Tetra Tandems. This was actually something we'd talked about with both Calfee and S&S Machine last September; however, at that time the idea had not yet gotten off the drawing board. However, things have apparently moved forward and this change in coupler material now allows Calfee to offer the S&S travel tandem option for $1,995.00, a 30% savings over the previous $2,895.00 price tag for four titanium couplers. Calfee has addressed the potential issues associated with galvanic corrosion by insulating the aluminum coupler inserts from the carbon tubing with fiberglass and differences in the material's coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) through the use of knurling... something they had already addressed with their new eccentric design's aluminum sleeve: more evidence of a strong commitment to continuous improvement at Calfee. Below you'll find a series of photos of our Calfee's retrofitted eccentric which is now large enough to accommodate a Bushnell eccentric.


9 Sep - Calfee Bamboo Triplet Is Readied For A Mission From God - Seriously... Calfee has created an open-framed Bamboo Triplet (i.e., a tandem with 3 saddles) for a year-long journey by three Evangelical Lutheran pastors to raise awareness and funds for world hunger relief. The three pastors have an average age of 60 and plan to travel some 13,000 miles in 100 days, stopping in each of their church's 65 US councils. You can read about their journey here in a recent article at the Charleston Gazette or learn more and make donations at their Website:

You can find photos of the REAL Bamboo Triplet here.


7 Sep - B&VI* Tandem Cycling Events Award Medals To Australian & UK Duos - Australia's Kieran Modra and his pilot partner Tyson Lawrence broke their own world record by almost one second to take gold in the Men's B&VI Individual Pursuit held in Laoshan Velodrome on Sunday, September 7. It was Britain's Aileen McGlynn and pilot Ellen Hunter who won the day for the British. Aileen, also the Athens gold medalist in the same event, stormed to victory in the Women's 1km Time Trial (B&VI 1-3) going under 1 minute 10 seconds for the first time ever and ensuring the Paralympic crown remains firmly in her possession. In addition to updates at the official Paralympics website links above, you can find an article on Aileen McGlynn from the Scotsman here.

*B&VI = Blink & Visually Impaired: Cyclists with a visual impairment compete on the rear of tandem bicycles, with a sighted pilot, in one of three classes: Men, Women and Mixed (male and female). The decision to compete in the Mixed Class is that of the athlete. During any IPC competition, the athlete is only allowed to start in one class and the changing of classes is not permitted. Minimum disability is class B3.



7 Sep - Topolino Hires Ed Cangialosi As Sales Director ­ I came across a press release posted to Bicycle Retailer & Industry News today announcing the hiring of Ed Cangialosi as Topolino Technology's new sales director. I take this to be a good sign for Topolino and their revolutionary hybrid composite wheels. We happen to have a set of their AX 3.0-T tandem wheels and have been very impressed with both the wheels and the company. Full story here.

Topolino Trivia: The company name pays homage to Mickey Mouse.



7 Sep - Focus On: Rodriguez Tandems ­ Rodriguez is the long-standing house brand name of bicycles sold by R&E Cycles in Seattle, Washington. The name belongs to one of the two founders of R&E, Angel Rodriguez... the other being Glenn Erickson. For the past 15 years R&E has been owned by Dan Towle who is committed to making R&E the best bike shop in Seattle, if not the whole world: to say he's ambitious and driven would be an understatement.

Anyway, while the Rodriguez tandems have always been some of the best you can find and great values, R&E's 'other' brand, it's uber-lightweight steel Trillium range of bicycles, now includes a 26.8 lb steel tandem: yes, 26.8 lb STEEL tandem... and that's with the pedals and water bottles attached. Pretty cool, eh? You can read more about the tandem on Page 8 of their Sep/Oct Newsletter. It was introduced in a Page 1 article in their May/Jun Newsletter entitled 'weight a minute' which calls into question how well-informed or articulate marketing types may or may not be when it comes to describing product offerings... particularly when it comes to weights. A little research yielded "the rest of the story" with regard to the encounter described in R&E's newsletter; however, the Trillium tandem remains an amazing example of what can be accomplished using the latest alloys and components. In fact, the Trillium tandem shares many of the same components that we used to build our 29.8 lb Calfee travel tandem which, without the couplers, would be about the same weight as the steel Trillium tandem: again, that's pretty amazing.

Now, for those who don't know, about two years ago R&E acquired Bushnell Cycles and brought master framebuilder and machinist extraordinaire Dennis Bushnell on board to bring all frame fabrication work in house. While Dennis has had a long-term relationship with R&E, this change added the Bushnell brand to R&E's portfolio. You will still find the Bushnell brand at Tandems East, Tandems Limited, and Precision Tandems.

Bottom Line: For anyone in the market for a new steel tandem or multi-seater (triplet, quad, etc..), you owe it to yourself to include the R&E brands in your research. In addition to featuring fantastic craftsmanship, the longest standard-length stoker compartments, and personalized service they're also an outstanding value.



7 Sep - Did You Know: Bushnell Eccentrics For Co-Motion, Santana & Cannondale ­ Anyone who's read anything I've ever written on the subject of tandem eccentrics* will know I've been an unabashed fan of the Bushnell eccentric design for over a decade... since first taking delivery of our Bushnell-equipped '98 Erickson. In fact, we've had two Erickson and two Ventana tandems with Bushnell eccentrics and recently had our Calfee retrofitted to accept the Bushnell. Along the way the question from many folks who've heard or read my rave reviews has been, "will it fit in my Santana/Cannondale/Co-Motion's eccentric shell? Well, as of just a year or so ago the answer has changed from "no" to 'Yes!" for Co-Motion and the newer Cannondales and this past summer a new shim was developed that will allow the Bushnell eccentric to work on Santana tandems. You can read more about the Bushnell eccentric HERE.

*Eccentric: An eccentric is the cylindrical component used to hold a tandem or single-speed mountain bike's bottom bracket in an oversized bottom bracket shell to facilitate the adjustment of chain tension. More information regarding eccentrics can be found at Sheldon Brown's Website.




4 Sep - Gary Koenig, Denver Cycling Examiner on Tandems ­ Literally and figuratively Gary Koening used what could best be called an attention grabbing title for a nice general interest article on tandeming: For a Quick Divorce, Try a Tandem Bicycle. No real revelations for current enthusiasts, but a nice primer for potential newbies. Full story here.



4 Sep - Tandem Folks In The News: DeAnna who? I guess I'm a bit out of touch since I had no idea who DeAnna Pappas and why a photo of her and her fiance Jesse Csincsak out for a leisurely ride on a tandem beach cruiser in, well, Venice Beach California. For those who know who she is (the bachelorette?), here's a link to the page with the photo.



4 Sep - Tandem Allows Blind athlete To Be A Triathlete - Tanis Hooker is a 16-year-old sophomore at East Grand Rapids High School who is sight impaired. In addition to being a member of his school's swimming and diving team, Tanis has been able to become a competitive triathlete through and the help of his dad, David, who pilots Tanis' tandem for the middle leg of Triathlons. Full story here



4 Sep - UK Olympic Cycling Success Spawns New Tandem Club - The Derbyshire Association for the Blind has established a Tandem Bicycle Club, coming on the heels of Great Britain's stunning performance in the Olympic Games. The association will work with the Cyclists' Touring Club, the UK's oldest cycling body, and Cyclemagic, a leading specialist in adapted bikes to launch the program. Full story here



4 Sep - 2008 Midwest Tandem Rally Photos Now on the Web

Hundreds of photos taken during this year's Midwest Tandem Rally at Springfield, Illinois, held over the Labor Day weekend are now posted to the Web:


2 Sep - BikeForums Netizen Dr. Jay Alberts' Parkinson's Research on NBC - The following is a must-see video that chronicles some fascinating research by tandem enthusiast and Parkinson's researcher Jay Alberts. We here at have been following Jay's research since July of 2003 when he teamed up with Cathy Frazier and others for Pedaling for Parkinson's -- Cathy's 450 mile ride across Iowa to raise awareness for Parkinson's research. You can still find a mention and photo of their first RAGRAI in our 2003 Archives and at the Frazier Cycling web site. Additional information can also be found by using this Google Search String. Jay is also a semi-regular participant in the tandem discussion area of where he has openly shared some of his work and otherwise chatted about tandems and performance measurements.

Pedaling away Parkinson's symptoms
Pedaling away Parkinson's symptoms



31 Aug - MTR 2008 In The News / - Ann Gorman of the State Journal-Register captured a lot of the personal interest stories that can be discovered when meeting the folks who attend major tandem rallies like this year's 33rd Annual Midwest Tandem Rally held over the Labor Day weekend in Springfield, IL. Just a really nice article that makes mention of several different folks. Full story here.



30 Aug - Trek Drops T1000 & T2000 From Product Line - After several folks mentioned seeing the 2009 Trek Product line-up and noting the absence of the made-in-the-USA premium level T1000 and T2000 road tandems I was able to confirm that their omission was not an oversight; Trek will limit its US offerings to the two sub $1k entry-level / import models: the Bike Path / T900 family tandem and the Cruiser / Cruiseliner tandem. However, neither of these offerings appear in Trek's international product line-up.


28 Aug - 2008 Best Buddies Challenge Set For September 6th - Best Buddies is an International, nonprofit that provides opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment to people with intellectual disabilities. One of the key components of the annual Best Buddies challenge are the many tandem teams where celebrities and cycling luminaries pilot for their Best Buddies. From their press release, "The Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle Friendship Ride is a 100-mile cycling event that takes participants along a scenic route on the Pacific Coast Highway from Carmel to San Simeon. First Lady of California Maria Shriver will serve as Honorary Chairperson and will ride in the Challenge, which also includes 62 and 15 mile courses. And, for the first time this year, cyclists will share the road with walkers and runners, who will be participating in the Carl Lewis Challenge, a 5 kilometer run /3 kilometer walk option, which will be led by the Olympic gold-medalist himself. These events will be followed by an exclusive celebration at the Hearst Ranch, featuring a barbecue and private concert by the Black Eyed Peas for all participants and special guests." More information can be found HERE.



28 Aug - Tandem Cycling A Key Part of Paralympics In Beijing - While the hoopla over the 2008 Summer Olympic Games grabbed headlines for two weeks, its noteworthy that the 2008 Paralympic Games will begin on September 6th. Tandem cycling remains a mainstay of the Paralympics with events held both on the track and road. The Vancouver Sun ran a nice article this past week that provided an excellent overview of Paralympic cycling that is well worth the read. You can find it HERE. For more about this year's events in Beijing, you'll want to visit THIS SITE.



28 Aug - Tandem Folks in the News /, SF Bay Area - Carl Decker caught a old friend Henry Abel and stoker Amy in a less than flattering moment when they found themselves and their 29" single-speed tandem sprawled across the pier at the marina during a single-speeder assault on the city by the Bay last week. Full story here.



28 Aug - ClifBar Co-Founder, Gary Erickson a daVinci Owner; Who Knew? - In a recent interview by, ClifBar founder and co-owner Gary Erickson was asked to describe his personal bicycle livery. In addition to everything from a Paramount road bike and Santa Cruz mountain bikes, Gary also noted that he and his wife Kit Crawford -- the other co-owner of ClifBar -- have a daVinci Design tandem with independent coasting. The very interesting interview is an excellent read and can be found HERE.



28 Aug - Relationship Building & Tandems: Humor By Racheal Phillips - The July/August edition of Today's Christian featured a very humorous extract from Racheal Phillip's book entitled Marriage Partnership from 2005 that described she and her husband Steve's foray into tandems and how they not only survived the experience, but how it strengthened their relationship. Regardless of your spiritual bent, this is a great read for any tandem team as much of what Racheal describes will be both familiar and funny. Full Article Here.



26 Aug - Tandem Folks in the News / Seattle Times, Seattle, WA - If you've ever heard of the Pike Brewing Company's "Tandem Double Ale" you've probably wondered what may have prompted the homage to tandems? A recent article in the Seattle Times regarding the popular walking tours provided the answer: Pike Brewery owners Charles and Rose Ann Finkel are in fact tandem enthusiasts who ride their orange tandem to work most days, Full story here.


26 Aug - Tandems Descend On Springfield For Midwest Tandem Rally - From the local Springfield paper we hear that some 400 tandem teams are expected to visit their fair city over the Labor Day weekend for the 33rd Annual Mid-West Tandem Rally. One of the local organizers, Alan Josephson, noted participation in MTR has grown considerably since it last visited Springfield back in 1988. You can read a little more here.


26 Aug - Tandem Folks in the News / LoHud, Putnam County, New York - 14-year old Andrew Grimes headlined an article regarding this year's annual Tour de Putnam held on Sunday, August 24th. Andrew teamed up with Ian Diamond for the 15 mile route on Andrew's Yellow tandem, a gift from his grandmother some 3 years ago. It's worth noting that Andrew is deaf and blind and developed a passion for cycling during summer camp. Full story here.


24 Aug - What is it about Tandems That Makes Them So Special? To anyone who has never ridden a tandem or who don't know anyone who has beyond doing so on a balloon tire cruise as a lark while on vacation, tandem cycling seems to be one of those things where much of what is assumed is quite simply wrong. Moreover, getting accurate and objective information is an even more daunting challenge. In fact, this Website was created because of the difficulty we had in obtaining useful information when we purchased our first tandem some 11 years ago. However, setting all of that aside, I was recently compiling a photo slide show for an employee exposition that will be held where I work in September, the purpose of which is to invite employees to share their non-work interests with co-workers as a way of demonstrating the breadth of hobbies and activities that our work force engages in. This year I elected to share my passion for tandem cycling and while bringing in a couple of our tandems will be interesting, I felt the slide show was needed to convey the true spirit of tandem cycling. Now, to be honest, if it wasn't for some good friends who are adept at shooting photos from the back of their tandem, none of the most compelling photos in this collection would exist and therein lies another part of the magic of tandem cycling: where else but on a tandem ride could someone (the stoker) safely take action photos mere feet from other cyclists? This particular compressed / thumbnail version uses music by Blues Travelers; there are three other variants featuring music by Yellow, Aerosmith, and DJ Pome & Drixxxe:

24 Aug - Black Bear Bicycle Bash September 5 - 7 @ Townsend, TN - The Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, TN, will hold the 5th Dancing Bear Bicycle Bash on September 5 - 7. The event is expected to once again attract a wide range of riders, from beginners and families to avid racers. There will be scheduled road and mountain bike ride, games, prizes, and demonstrations of equipment and accessories. Matt has teamed up with Tim and Sharon Patterson, directors of the Tennessee Tandem Rally, to create another exciting cycling weekend experience that offers some of the same great riding that draw rave reviews from tandem teams who attend the annual TTR event each June. For complete information, visit their Website.



Aug 23 ­ Circles In Motion @ Train Depot Museum in Grand Haven, MI ( As mentioned back on August 18th, "Circles in Motion: The American Bicycle 1860-2008" is presently on display at the Train Depot Museum. In this news article we learn more about the the principle bicycle restorer Dan Cleveringa and what he calls his "pride and joy"; an 1890's Gormully & Jeffries' Rambler tandem suspension bike, made in the 1890s. However, just as important that Dan not only restores tandems, he and his wife have cycled some 20,000 miles on their Cannondale tandem. Full story here.



Aug 24 - Tandem Folks in the News / Times Record, Wichita Falls, TX: Mark Vela decided this year's Hotter N Hell Hundred would be the perfect place to pop the big question to girlfriend and tandem stoker Julie Harper and did just that at the finish line after completing the full hundred miles on their tandem bicycle. Full story here.


Aug 24 - Tandem Folks in the News / Times Record, Wichita Falls, TX: In the same article that broke the news on the Vela / Harper engagement, it was also noted that Russell Zech, 50, and David Hasbargen, 62, made their way to Wichita Falls from Coral Springs, Fla., for the HHH.... their 12th HHH. Lest you think the HHH is their BIG ride of the year, it was noted Russell and David were simply using the HHH as a work-up ride for an upcoming 364 mile ride from Washington, D.C. to Pittsburgh, PA, over six days. Full story here.



Aug 24 - Tandem Folks in the News / Southtown Star, Homewood-Flossmoor, IL: Flossmoor residents Sandy Rude and Greg Byron, owner of Byron's Bike Shop and one of the sponsors for this year's Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's Progressive Bike and Dine event, garnered a mention after participating in the event on their tandem. This sounds like really cool event and one worth exploring given all the great restaurants here in the Atlanta area. Full story here.



Aug 21 - Tandem Folks in the News / Manchester Evening News, UK: 26-year old Dominic Gill of Oldham, England, rode from Alaska to southern most tip of Chile... some 20,000 miles, in an effort to raise more than £5,000 for the Hope And Homes For Children charity which helps orphaned, vulnerable and abandoned children in Europe and Africa. Traveling through 15 countries on his tandem, Gill had more than 500 "guest stokers" along the way on his two year journey. Full story here.


Aug 19 - Tandem Folks in the News / Capital Times, Madison, WI: Mentioned in an article about Corporate bicycle outings near Madison, WI, as networking opportunities were Dave Hepner, a salesman with Milwaukee-based Blueprints Inc., and fiancee Lisa Parent . Full story here.


Aug 19 - Tandem Folks in the News / Newton TAB, Newton, MA: Nice feature on father Steve and daughter Celina Siegel, 12, who have become very involved in raising funds for a post-9/11 cause that benefits Afghan widows. This article catches up with them as they prepare for the 160-mile New York to Boston fund-raising ride. Full story here.


Aug 18 ­ Circles In Motion @ Train Depot Museum in Grand Haven, MI ( For those who live near or who will be traveling through Grand Haven, Michigan who have an interest in all things bicycle, "Circles in Motion: The American Bicycle 1860-2008" is presently on display at the Train Depot Museum. Many of the antique bikes on display belong to Jack Crawford, owner of Loose Spokes bicycle shop in Grand Haven Township, and include a rear steer 'courting tandem." Full story here.


Aug 18 ­ C'dale Engineers Turn To Tandem Tubing For F/S Street Prototype (Bike Mag): Cannondale engineers helped Aaron Chase of Crankworx. in the development of a new full-suspension street bike. One of only two prototypes, one of the interesting design elements is the massive down tube fabricated from Cannondale's tandem tube set, noting it's the most robust tubing in Cannondale's kit. Full story here.


Aug 13 ­ Team Daugherty 1st In Leadville 100 Tandem Class (Leadville Times): This year's first place finishers in the Leadville 100 tandem class were Kevin and Terri Daugherty, of Colorado Springs. Congrats! Their time for the event was 11 hours, 46 minutes and 53 seconds. For context, the record-setting time of race winner Dave Wiens was 6 hours, 45 minutes, and 45 seconds... with Lance Armstrong coming in 1 minute and 56 second later. Full story here.


13 Aug - 2008 Co-Motion Classic Is History - However, you can find a collection of Blog Entries at the totally re-vamped Co-Motion Website (highly recommended reading for fellow tandem-geeks) and the results can be found posted on the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association's Website. Full story here.



13 Aug - Gateway Bicycles Closing Its Doors - Portland, Oregon's Gateway Bicycles is closing its doors. From their Website, "We are sorry to say that the time has come for us to change paths and we are shutting the shop down. Starting August 9th at 10am we will begin our going out of business sale. Everything in the shop is for sale. We do plan on keeping the tools around for a couple of weeks to help get bikes out the door. We will post when the tools and fixtures go up for sale. Thank you to everyone who has continued to support us."



12 Aug - Calfee Journal Update #11: The Penultimate Update - For those who are interested in learning more about what all is involved in the design, build-up, and dialing-in of a high-end, exotic tandem like a Salfee Tetra, our personql experience has been documented in what is0now0an 11-Page (Web page, that is) on-line zournal.0You can start at the beginnyng with an overview of the thought process that led us to commissio~ a Calfee or you can see where we are today with Update #11. In eitler case, you'll0find an index of all the pages at the top or bottom of uach Journal update.

Our most recent update, #11, will most likely bu the next to last jurnal entry I mqke before the final 'Yeqr i~ Review' this December. This is actually a good thing, as it indicates I've finally finished fiddling around with the new tandem and have otherwise resolved all of the little nits and noises that often times come with a new bicycle or tandem.


12 Aug - HOOTERS!!! - OK, now that I have your attention, let it be known that Indiana's Tandem Club, Hoosiers Out On Tandems (HOOTS), is back. A new Web site has been launched which you can find HERE. Jay & Linda Hardcastle has got things going against and are looking to grow the 19-member club.



25 Jul - Gold Country Cycles Develops Carbon 'Bent - Good friend Rick Steele of Gold Country Cycles near Sacramento, California, wrote a while back to let us know he and another friend in the Bicycle / Tandem biz from Arizona have collaborated to create a lightweight carbon fiber recumbent tandem.  A prototype was created (pictured at left) with seed money from a GCC client According to Rick's blog entry at the GCC website, the prototype 'bent tandem with Ti S&S couplers less pedals weighs 35 lbs.  Rick is presently in the process of securing the necessary trademarks for the new house-brand of carbon recumbents.



02 Jul - Introducing Tándem Club del Río de la Plata - Martin Aboitiz wrote to let us know he has formed what he believes is Argentina's first and only tandem club. The Tándem Club del Río de la Plata is based in Buenos Aires and also claims Montevideo, Uruguary, as an associate region. They've even started work on their Web site: While we're excited to see a new club on a new continent, I'd forgotten just how many Web pages here at have to be updated when that happens. Yikes. It may be time for a make-over of our 8-year old format.



12 May - ETR 2008 Host Recalls First Encounter With Sheldon Brown - Susan Hollinger wrote to share this anecdote regarding a personal encounter with Sheldon Brown after recently learning of his passing.

As do many in the  New England cycling community, we have a  quintessential Sheldon story that will always serve in memory as a tributute to him as a fellow tandem rider, bike mechanic, and true "road friend".David and I were fairly new to tandem riding in the early 1990's and decided to atttend the Eatern Tandem Rally out in Lenox , Ma. on  our Burley. What a great weekend, meeting other tandem riders, enjoying some "bike envy", amazing food and beautiful rides. At one point we passed a family on what appeared to be the most bizarre cycle tootling along. Dad and Mom in front pedaling with a chain  set -up that looked like it shouldn't be working, and popped on the back, facing backwards and playing with a "my little pony" and spinning her cranks, a lovely little gal. She looked happy, mom was fit, and the guy...well, looked like a wild man; crazy hair, big grin, and a wave to any team passing by. It was on the final climb up to town that we had a cable snap. As we stood looking at the bike and thinking "didn't put a spare one of those in the repair kit", along came the triple with the wild he hops and in a flash, had openned his repair kit, snaked a new cable onto our rig, and resumed his ride with a chipper "no worries there folks!".

Of course, it was our first encounter with the magic of Sheldon Brown and family. In the years since, we have come to rely on Sheldon's website for advise, tech tips, and humor only a bikie can appreciate.  

This year we are privledged to be organizing the Eastern Tandem Rally in Durham, New Hampshire August 1 to 3rd.On Sunday morning, University of New Hampshire campus minister and fellow cyclist Larry Brickner-Woods will take a moment before we set out to offer a non-denominational "Blessing of the Bikes" and there will be a moment of silence and rememberance for this great contributor to all things bicycling.  Here's to Sheldon Brown! There is still time to join ETR 08, for the entire weekend or just Sunday's rides and lunch.



12 Apr - Longbikes Looks To Re-Engage - Greg Peek of Longbikes has been quietly building some of the nicest short and long-wheelbase recumbent singles and tandems for several years now, with the occasional customer upright tandem order. For trivia buffs, Longbikes acquired Ryan Recumbents several years back and has been working to refine those orginal models ever since. However, what many folks may not realize is that for a short time Longbikes was also building some exceptionally well-engineered upright steel and aluminum tandems, ranging in size from childrens models all the way up to sextuplets. It was unfortunate that Greg's entry into the market was made with the help of a self-professed tandem industry expert who used some questionable marketing techniques that didn't serve the best interests of his enterprise. With any luck, that will be water under the bridge and this re-engagement and re-emphasis on upright tandems will allow his products to be measured on their merits as tandems. More details will be made available as things develop.



06 Apr - Lynskey Performance Gearing Up For Titanium Tandems (Update) - As mentioned back on Feb 23, after about a year of being lobbied by a local tandem enthusiast, the Lynskey family is getting back in the tandem business. We have now seen some photos of the very first custom Lyskey tandem. The attention to detail and workmanship is perhaps some of the finest I've ever seen on a titanium tandem. Well endeavor to make photos available as soon as we can. However, to give you a sense of where Lynskey is headed with their high-end bikes and tandems you need to look to the custom motorcycle builders who have elevated fabrication and finish to an art form.



04 Apr - Tandems East Expo Report- TandemsEast's annual spring Tandem Expo was held on Saturday & Sunday, March 29 & 30. We were fortunate enough to be in the area for a family visit which afforded us the opportunity to attend the Expo on Saturday, the 29th. A detailed account of our day with Tandems East can be found in our Calfee Journal which you can access by clicking HERE.

15 Mar - TanDemo returns to Mt Airy, Maryland March 30, 2008 - Fuel costs are soaring, waistlines are bulging, the climate is changing...... Experts agree: those that get regular exercise and those that enjoy quality time with a soulmate lead longer, happier lives. Tandem bicycling does it all!
Join hundreds of enthusiasts and wannabees for the special 17th annual day of bicycle rides, food, displays, demos, and fun. Rides from the Family-friendly (and New-to-tandem-friendly) 6.8 miler to the 'two-for-a-challenge' 38-mile roller coaster will treat participants to some of the area's finest scenery and smooth, low-traffic country roads.
Those interested in trying out tandems as well as seasoned tandemists looking for an upgrade can try out dozens of classic and cutting-edge tandems,including recumbent and trike tandems, tandems that go into suitcases, and bicycles built for three, four....up to SEVEN!
Special needs equipment, accessories and apparel will be on display. Tandems through the ages will include a rare 1903 triplet. Representatives from the local tandem clubs will help the newbies get in gear.
Hosts Larry and Linda black will provide a complimentary luncheon from the legendary Viets Aroma, famous for their healthy vegan, fowl, and Vietnamese dishes; regular attendees usually bring pot luck desserts , snacks, and beverages to share.
Volunteers arrive at 7am to get previews of the new goodies and first picks of the fresh coffee, baked goods, fresh fruits, and juices. Rides head out at 10:00 am and demos start at 11.
Also featured will be a selection of recumbents, special Needs bikes, folders, and sporty trikes - both tandem and single.
Swap meet/flea market space is free for any individuals.
Bikes and donations will be collected for Bikes for the World, a Washington Area NonProfit helping get bikes to developing countries and impoverished persons the world over.
Caterers arrive at noon and attendees hang out 'til they've had enough food and fill of bikes and bikefolk
Location: Mt Airy Bicycles, 4540 Old National Pike, Mt Airy, Md 21771


23 Feb - Lynskey Performance Gearing Up For Titanium Tandems - After about a year of being lobbied by Tim Patterson (close friend, tandem enthusiast, TTR co-founder, and manager of Cycology Bicycles in Maryville, TN), David Lynskey is putting the final touches on a new tandem jig which, as you'd expect, means the Lynskey family is getting back in the tandem business.

David built the jig from 3/4" plate steel welded to 2x4 square tube frame, then ground flat on a 5' wet grinding wheel by a vendor. The once fully assembled the jig holds the frame in suspension using an easel-like design with bearings on each end so that it can spin 360 degrees. It's balanced so that it can be stopped at any angle to facilitate access for welding. The welder can weld the entire frame without moving the frame. The new tandem jig will move on casters so that each tandem frame will move through the mitering shop and then into welding without being removed from the jig fixture to preclude any alignment issues throughout the fabrication process: pretty cool. The jig will support various custom geometry configurations and the first frame (a coupled model) will be delivered to some very good friends up in the Knoxville area within a few weeks. Look for it at the Tennessee Tandem Rally in June.

As Tim notes, David is one of those brilliant people who can make just about anything. He's a very down to earth humble guy wh truly has a feel for the way bikes are built and how tube shapes work. The rest of his team at Lynskey are also great folks.

For anyone not familiar with the Lynskey name, this is the family who owned Southeast Machine near Chattanooga that started building titanium bicycles as a side-line in the early 80's. The side-line eventually grew into Litespeed back in 1986, and then became the American Bicycle Group (Litespeed, Merlin, Qunitanna Roo, and Real Designs brands). The Lynskey's sold a majority stake in ABG to JHK Investments of Westport, Connecticut, in 1999 and subsequently left the bicycle biz as ABG installed its own management structure. In 2006, the Lynskey family decided it was time to start a new company using the family name and has reestablished itself back in Chattanooga, TN, with an entirely new line of titanium, hand-made in the USA bikes. Anyone who'd like to know more should contact Tim directly: (865) 809-2476 or by email:



15 Feb - 2008 Tandem Club of America - Membership At A Glance - I received my '08 TCA Membership Roster and, as I have done for the last five years, I thought I'd share a quick look at the Tandem Club of America's (TCA) demographics as a way of getting a feeling about how US States stacked-up against each other with respect to TCA

In summary, and based on what was published in this year's '08 Membership List, TCA membership at approx 1,006 is down about 8% (net change -91 members) compared to '07: a little less erosion than last year's 9% drop (net change -109 members).

Looking back and comparing membership to '02 when I first started following the data, overall TCA membership is down 31% (-451), with no much indication that this trend will be reversed any time soon. States like Ohio have dropped dramatically from 74 members in 2002 to just 47 this year. California has gone from 111 members in 2002 to 72 members this year. Pennsylvania is another state along with Florida that have also seen quite a drop-off in membership.

Instead of re-keying the data into an Email, I have opted to simply cut and paste the data from my spreadsheets into a Web page that you can find HERE.

Like my surveys, consider this unscientific. I "collect" the data by hand count from my membership list so there is certainly room for some errors. However, I believe the overall trends are what they are, which is to say consistent with previous years findings.


22 Feb - Tandems East Expo, 29 & 30 March @ Pittsgrove, NJ - TandemsEast's annual spring Tandem Expo will be held on Saturday & Sunday, March 29 & 30. The party begins at 12:00 noon on Saturday, March 29 and will feature five hours of seminars with special guest speakers you won't want to miss...
Gary Formanof Co-Motion Cycles
Craig Calfee of Calfee Design: Manufacturer and inventor of carbon tandems and single bikes. Craig is the leading expert on bamboo bicycles.
Brian Davis of daVinci Design: Brian traveled the world as a Class One Status skilled mechanic for the USCF (United States Cycling Federation) before his partnership as an independent pedaling tandem expert and manufacturer.
Mel Kornbluh ofTandems East: Mel will stir your interest in tandems with his talk entitled "Tandeming 101", a primer in starting out with fit and riding techniques.
Rafe Schlanger of Topolino Technology: Rafe has worked for several bicycle companies as a mechanical engineer and inventor before creating his well known Topolino wheels. Attend this seminar to learn about this leading new technology
For more details visit their Website: who knows, WE may even be there.

03 Feb - Registration Now Open For Eastern Tandem Rally - Susan & David Hollinger wrote to let us know that registration is now open for the 2008 Eastern Tandem Rally. ETR will be held on August 1-3 at Durham, New Hampshire and is described as, " a great  gathering of tandem riders of all levels: experienced hard cores, fitness fans, happy tour pedalers; this rally has something for everyone. Each of three days has rides of varied length with great food, companionship, and scenery." More information and registration information can be found by going to the official Eastern Tandem Rally website by clicking HERE.



04 Feb - Cannondale Acquired By Doral, Parent Company of Pacific Bicycle - Dorel Industries, based in Montreal and parent company of Pacific Cycle, bought Cannondale Bicycle Corporation today in an all-cash deal that is estimated to be valued at between $190 - $200 million. Pacific Cycle is better known by some of the more famous brands it had acquired before it was acquired by Dorel: Schwinn, GT and Mongoose. Connecticut-based Cannondale along with it's apparel company, Sugoi, was previously acquired by Pegasus Capital Advisors in 2003 for about $80 million ($25m in invested capital before it went bankrupt + $55m for the final acquisition). A pretty tidy profit for Pegasus, to say the least. According to VeloNews and other sources, Dorel's recreational/leisure segment will be split into two separate divisions. The Cannondale Sports Group (C'dale, GT, Sugoi, & perhaps Schwinn & Mongoose) will target the independent bicycle dealers and be separate from the mass-market line, Pacific Cycle, InStep, Playsafe and Roadmaster. Read the VeloNews story HERE.



03 Feb - 2008 Tandem Owners Survey Analysis - Having noted that responses to my 2008 surveys had falled to zero for nearly a week, I opted to go ahead and conduct an initial analysis of the data as it stood on 27 January. If you'd like to read my impressions, you'll find them linked off of the Survey Central Page or you can go directly to them via THIS LINK.



01 Jan - Tandem Owners Survey Archive Now Up. Probably long overdue, I've created a Tandem Survey Archive to provide a consolidate set of links to this and the past 5 years Annual Tandem Owner Survey results to make doing research a bit easier. You can find the archive HERE.



30 Jan - The Canadian Tandem Rally's Website is Up And Going - David & Brenda Vandevelde of MBS Tandems wrote to invite everyone to, "come and join them for 2 or 3 days of tandem riding May 23-26 in beautiful Gananoque, at the centre of the 1000 Islands, in the UNESCO Frontenac Biosphere Reserve." Going further, "We have a great weekend planned to show off this great cycling region. Ride the 1000 island parkway with it's paved bikeway, lunch at the locks on the Rideau Canal, and top everything off with a Dinner Cruise on the Gananoque Boatlines as we cruise the 1000 Islands. Sign up on line and we look forward to seeing you there." You can find more information at their Website by clicking HERE.

27 Jan - Alabama Tandem Weekend, April 18 ­ 20, 2008 - This year's Alabama Tandem Weekend heads to Anniston, Alabama for a low-cost, low key introduction to the riding season with Saturday & Sunday spent riding on the Chief Ladiga Trail from Anniston, Alabama to Georgia's Silver Comet in Cedartown, and then back. Friday's ride will be a more traditional loop on rural roads of a 50ish mile route or a shorter 30ish mile route before checking in to the bicycle-friendly Victoria Inn and socialize by the pool. There will be an optional dinner at The Classic on Noble Street. Saturday enjoy your country breakfast and shuttle your car to Anniston's Tucker Park. Unload your bike, load your gear into the sag vehicle and prepare to ride the Chief Ladiga Trail to Cedartown, Georgia. Those who want more than the 40ish miles that will be logged between Anniston & Cedartown can continue riding East on the Silver Comet before doubling back to spend the night in Cedartown. More information is available in their flyer which you can download by clicking here.

26 Jan- Dancing Bear Bicycle Bash April 4-6 @ Townsend, TN - Recently featured in Bicycleing Magainze, Matt Alexander's Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, TN, wwill host their annual Spring-time version of the Black Bear Bicycle Bash on April 4-6. The event is expected to once again attract a wide range of riders, from beginners and families to avid racers. There will be scheduled road and mountain bike ride, games, prizes, and demonstrations of equipment and accessories. Matt has teamed up with Tim and Sharon Patterson, directors of the Tennessee Tandem Rally, to create another exciting cycling weekend experience that offers some of the same great riding that draw rave reviews from tandem teams who attend the annual TTR event each June. For complete information or to register visit their Website.

26 Jan - Georgia Tandem Rally (Filled as of 31 Jan; Waiting List In Use) Roger Strauss & Eve Kofsky are hosting their tenth GTR and to celebrate, they are taking GTR to another new city, Albany. From their Website: "To honor the hundreds of Floridian teams who have attended past GTRs, we are pleased to offer a weekend of tandem-friendly, fast riding featuring fabulous social events. With STR in Kentucky this year, GTR 2008 goes to the southern part of Georgia and will be the largest tandem rally in the deep south, the "true" Southern Tandem Rally. You will want to register early for all of the fun..."

You can find more information and links to the downloadable registration form at the GTR Website. For those who'd rather cut to the chase, here is a direct link to the registration form.

**Please note: Event registration will is limited to paid registrations received from the first 85 teams. This rally filled in 6 days last year. A waiting list will also be maintained.

21 Jan -Tennessee Tandem Rally - (Filled as of 28 Jan; Waiting List In Use). Hosts Tim & Sharon Patterson (Team Inseam) welcome you and yours to join nearly 100 other tandem enthusiasts at the Tennessee Tandem Rally for three fantastic days of riding in the beautiful foothills surrounding the Great Smokey Mountains on June 6 - 8. For those who have not yet experienced it, the Tennessee Tandem Rally's reputation for outstanding rides, food, and camaraderie has made it a perennial rally favorite. Many of the teams who will attend will be returning to Alcoa for their sixth consecutive Tennessee Tandem Rally. If you've been thinking about attending your first tandem rally, or your first Tennessee Tandem Rally, stop putting it off and making excuses: just do it!

You can find more information and links to the downloadable registration form at the TTR Website. For those who'd rather cut to the chase, here is a direct link to the registration form.

**Please note: Event registration will is limited to paid registrations received from the first 50 teams or 100 registrants, which ever occurs first. A waiting list will also be maintained.

20 Jan - Ya Snooze, ya loose - Tandem Rallies Can Fill Up Quickly Based on a check of the Tennessee and Georgia Tandem Rally website registration listings, I must note that BOTH have seen INCREDIBLY fast sign-ups again this year. In the case of GTR, 80% who have signed up are past event attendees with a similar percentage of TTR registrants also being prior year attendees. These folks have a leg-up on most other would-be TTR and GTR attendees in that they receive pre-notification Emails advising when registration will open and links to the registration form download sites as a courtesy by the organizers. Moreover, I suspect several new teams who signed-up for these events are acquaintances of other previous rally attendees who have, in turn, been alerted to the registration dates so that they too will be assured a space.

The unfortunate downside is that, some events must impose upper limits on registrations due to seating capacity at their Saturday banquet facilities and many potential new-comers looking to have their first rally experience at one of these get shut out before they even realize registration had opened.

If you fall into that category, don't be disheartened. Instead, you may want to consider adopting a few strategies to ensure that you can get a taste of the rally experience sooner rather than later, as I truly believe getting involved in the rallies greatly enhances a couple's appreciation and enthusiasm for the tandeming lifestyle:

1. Check our Website's Event listings beginning in the Fall of the prior year. I update the rally informaiton with the dates, locations, and links to the rally Websites as soon as they are made available. You can also check out the Bulletin Board as I'll make special notices for the smaller rallies that fill up quickly.

2. Consider subscribing to the Tandem Club of America (TCA) so that you'll receive the Doubletalk newsletter that lists the dates, places, and contact information for all of the major upcoming rallies. Most of this information is also available on the Internet at TCA's Website as well as my own,; however, receiving that big paper newsletter in the mail serves as a great reminder that it's time to check and see what rallies have been added and when registration will open.

3. Put a 'rally registration reminder' on your calendars for November or December, as most of the following year's event organizers will begin to finalize locations, dates, hotel information, stand up their Websites, and pass that information to TCA and folks like me during December to update the event calendars.

4. Decide early which rallies you'd like to attend and send an Email to the organizers to find out when registration will open and if there will be any limits on the number of attendees. The REALLY BIG events (100's of attendees) like the Midwest (MTR), Eastern (ETR), and Northwest (NWTR) tandem rallies don't usually impose any limits; however, Southwest (SWTR), GTR, TTR, and even the Southern (STR) tandem rallies do.A note on cost: Different rallies use different pricing plans. There are no-frills club events that have no or nominal fees and some, like TTR & GTR, with a basic rally event fee of around $160 per couple, (+/- 10%) that usually include lunch & dinner on Saturday, with all other meals on your own. Hotel costs (~$85 - 100 night with tax added) usually cover a continental breakfast. So, for one of these events where you spend only two nights you can see that your basic cost would be on the order of $330 - $360. There are other events -- like most ETRs, STR '02 at Callaway Gardens the upcoming STR '07 in Chattanooga -- that package the lodging, meals, and event costs into a single "fee" that appears to make it far more expensive than other rallies. There still others like MTR and NWTR that have used "ala carte" pricing to allow teams to pick and choose how many of the available event activities or offerings they are interested in, e.g., pass on T-shirts and the banquet. Also, if you see what seems to be a very pricey event check to see if you are also going to be receiving a pair of rally jerseys as a premium, polo shirts vs. T-shirts. Price can also be affected if the event is being hosted out of a high-end resort or conference center vs. a Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn Express. Frankly, the Resort and Conference Center events while more expensive, are really neat in that all of the rally activities and meals are usually held on-site and eliminate the use of your car for the entire weekend.

5. Get your vacation calendars updated so that you'll be able to arrive for the first day of the event -- often times a Friday -- and all the way through to the end which is sometimes a Monday when the events cover a holiday weekend, e.g., NWTR on Memorial Day or the 4th of July Weekend and MTR on Labor Day weekend. You'll also want to clear away any needed travel days if the event is beyond a 1/2 days drive. You really don't want to have your first tandem rally experienced diminished by travel-lag, unexpected traffic, or the need to leave early causing you to miss out on any of the activities. I would note that a Sunday post-ride lunch with new friends is often the icing on the cake for these events as that's when many of the follow-on rally plans are discussed.

6. Get the registration form and releases filled out and ready to mail along with your registration fees so that you can pop it in the mail one - two days before the date that registration opens. This will ensure it will be one of the first to arrive, guaranteeing your spot for the event.

7. As soon as hotel information is available, figure out if you're responsible for your own reservations and, if so, get your rooms reserved as early as possible. There are often times limited numbers of room blocks for an event at the host hotel -- which is where you really want to be -- and then secondary blocks of rooms available at nearby hotels to cover the balance of attendees.

Now, if you had your heart set on one of the events that has been filled there are a couple things you can do. The first is to establish if the event has a waiting list. Often times, events will have cancellations or may even have some "pad" in their limits that will afford folks who didn't make the initial cut to move from the waiting list onto the confirmed list. The second is to immediately set your sights on the next most attractive rally event that you can attend. In other words, if you missed the boat for TTR and GTR, consider the Mid-Atlanta Tandems Enthusiasts (MATES) event in North Carolina, SWTR in Lagrange, Texas, ETR in Delroy, Ohio, or the Southern Tandem Rally in Chattanooga, following the guidelines I've already provided.

Bottom Line: Get to a rally sooner rather than later as it really could open up an entirely new perspective on what the tandem lifestyle really has to offer. After all, there's a reason these events have filled up in just under a week or two and that so many of the folks who are attending have done so year-after-year-after-year.

18 Dec - Tandem Sales in Decline - Follow-up. Having poked on this a bit , interestingly enough it turns out none of the US tandem speciality builders like Santana, Co-Motion, Rodriguez, Bilenky, or builders like Calfee, Ventana, etc... belong to the Bicycle Products Suppliers Association. Therefore, it is unlikely that their production numbers have been taken into consideration in the BPSA's reports: I'd ask to confirm but I'm not a member either and BPSA appears to exist to generate revenue from members and non-members alike. In checking their membership rolls, Cannondale and Trek belong, as does KHS and Pacific. For a complete list go here. Ignoring BPSA's reported state of the market, feedback from various sources suggests that premium / enthusiast-level tandem production is at least stable on units, in some cases growing on a dollar basis, and growing in volume + dollars in a few others. There is also a very strong secondary / used market being fueled by existing owners who sell and/or trade-up to S&S or higher-end models that is off-setting some of the entry-level new market. There are only a few reports of fall-offs in tandem sales from economically, very-hard hit regions.

11 Dec - Tandem Sales in Decline?. Apparently the December hard copy edition of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) included some information pertaining to trends in bicycle sales. It was reported that tandem sales were purportedly down some 24% this year. Having been in contact with some of the major US builders who are reporting strong sales volume, I'm not sure what to believe. Is this simply the by-product of inflated sales numbers for the various "Tandem Shaped Objects" sold on Ebay and the like falling off, or are even the premium US builders struggling behind optimistic production bravado? If you have some hard data on the subject we'd love to hear from you.



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