Author Topic: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle  (Read 2664 times)

fd3

Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« on: April 09, 2019, 09:29:34 pm »
#1 Child is 9 and is too timourous to take on the roads without a massive strop (on both our behalves).  As I don't drive I was considering the option of a tandem to be able to ride him to clubs/stuff that are too far to walk and require more than minimal on-road miles.  I am concerned that:
* I have never ridden a tandem so this is stupid
* My son has never ridden a tandem, so even more stupid
* It will be an expensive mistake

I thought this would be the best spot for advise (apologies if I should have posted this in kidsstuff)
[/I could be wrong]

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2019, 09:32:09 pm »
Paging CrinklyLion.  CrinklyLion to the white courtesy phone please...

(Short answer is probably for you both to have a go on a tandem, or three, and take it from there.)
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

arabella

  • no se porque yo no lo se
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2019, 09:43:48 pm »
I never had a problem with a littly on the back, though they were each only 3 when starting.  Do what you would normally do, their feet/legs follow.

Or look at a tag-along (we also had Hoening Add+bike I think it was called, special rack and attachment point behind the rear axle, very stable iirc, though as it was on the back of the tandem the resulting setup was quite long), meaning pedaling is independent of yours from cadence pov etc.  Though link looks like yours may be a bit large/old.
In the dark, all views are the same.

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2019, 10:08:54 pm »
Yeah - borrow one and give it a go.  Ride round the block a couple of times without them on the back to figure out how it feels and get the hang of the turning circle then bimble somewhere quiet for a practise.

I'm completely shit at riding a bike and the SmallestCub (now 11, so I reckon he was 6 or 7 when we got it) and I have happily pootled around all over on the Helios.

Whereabouts in the country are you?  Chances are someone can point you in the direction of a test ride.

Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2019, 12:37:17 pm »
Mr Lardy, OTP, have done something very similar. With a little bit of fiddling around the handlebar, Lardy Jr was very happy of his new school bus:

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=79688.msg1631392#msg1631392

The good point with childback tandems is that the parent can ride the tandem back home with no stoker, which is not always possible on a normal tandem.

A
 

Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2019, 05:25:21 pm »
I agree with the above. The advantage of a Circe Helios is that it is really stable and easy to ride, with or without a stoker. Circe themselves have a rental side Blue Yonder if you wanted a longer try. My stepson (TGL) has asbergers and was very nervous on roads, but coped on the back of the big tandem (700c), for touring. I used to ride his bike so he could ride on the quiet roads.

If you are in our vicinity, you would be welcome try ours. Our Circe Helios has E-assist which is brilliant. Our larger tandems (700c and 26") are in storage at the moment, but are likely to be out in the fairly near future.

If you want to try a big variety, a day at JD Tandems in Gargrave is worth the effort.

Another advantage of the Circe Helios is that they are highly customise-able and if you can choose what suits you. This applies to a certain degree with their other model, the morpheus, which suits some people better for various reasons.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2019, 11:01:06 am »
The disadvantage of the Helios (and what finally dissuaded me from getting one and getting a 26" wheel tandem instead) is that it uses the inner ring of a triple for the timing chain and so reduces the range of gears available. You need a big range of gears on a tandem, and for anywhere as hilly as where I live it needs to be enormous. Just to give you an idea, I have mine set up for 20 - 104 inches and could do with a wider range on occasion.

It is, however, quite possible to have a child on the back of a normal tandem, though for mine I added crank shorteners when they were small. Remember that their feet don't need to touch the ground on a tandem, just reach the pedals. And it is quite possible to ride with no stoker, though it feels very flexible on the steeper climbs.

Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2019, 01:37:25 pm »
The disadvantage of the Helios (and what finally dissuaded me from getting one and getting a 26" wheel tandem instead) is that it uses the inner ring of a triple for the timing chain and so reduces the range of gears available. You need a big range of gears on a tandem, and for anywhere as hilly as where I live it needs to be enormous. Just to give you an idea, I have mine set up for 20 - 104 inches and could do with a wider range on occasion.

It is, however, quite possible to have a child on the back of a normal tandem, though for mine I added crank shorteners when they were small. Remember that their feet don't need to touch the ground on a tandem, just reach the pedals. And it is quite possible to ride with no stoker, though it feels very flexible on the steeper climbs.

Ah, we have the hub gear so don't have that problem (and now have e-assist so it is even less of a problem), and Crinkly is in a flat place. It is why it is important to try different options, because what works for me may not work for you. I cannot pilot our big tandem and I find the middle sized one quite hard. Stability is more useful to me than gears.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2019, 01:56:58 pm »
I had a standard Dawes Horizon Twin with a ladyback and the seat down as low as it would go, for 9-60+ year olds on the back.

If you're already a strong cyclist you won't have an issue riding a tandem. It's harder on the shoulders/torso, but only if you're riding for hours. Delivering primary school age children will not be any trouble at all.

[I think the Circes are fugly, but I see there is a niche for them. I just never had that niche- I've always had enough room to store a proper sized tandem.)
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2019, 02:17:43 pm »
Ah, we have the hub gear so don't have that problem (and now have e-assist so it is even less of a problem), and Crinkly is in a flat place. It is why it is important to try different options, because what works for me may not work for you. I cannot pilot our big tandem and I find the middle sized one quite hard. Stability is more useful to me than gears.

Crinkly's has dual-drive.  The ability to shift while stationary is useful, as at some point you're likely to have to stop in a hurry, and need the lower gears to get moving again.

I don't have much tandem experience on account of an incompatible stoker and nowhere to store a tandem recumbent trike, but the Helios's main win (other than overall size and versatility) is stability and forgivingness of shorter captains.  I played deliberately-badly-behaved-stoker[1] for nikki OTP at one point - me being fairly tall, and nikki not so much - and she managed much better than I ever did captaining the 26" wheeled tandem-shaped-object that barakta and I owned for a while.


[1] To see if she could safely captain for a visually impaired relative with no tandem experience.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2019, 02:27:53 pm »
and Crinkly is in a flat place.

...and bought the dual-drive which has a frankly epic gear range.

[I think the Circes are fugly

 :o How very dare you?!?

Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2019, 02:40:00 pm »
and Crinkly is in a flat place.

...and bought the dual-drive which has a frankly epic gear range.


Does it? I didn't know that! I haven't ridden it. The level of customiseability of the Circe is very helpful.

Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2019, 02:42:31 pm »
My sister had a Dawes toucan which was very distinctive and can sometimes be found for a reasonable price secondhand.
Quote from: Kim
^ This woman knows what she's talking about.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2019, 03:14:34 pm »
and Crinkly is in a flat place.

...and bought the dual-drive which has a frankly epic gear range.


Does it? I didn't know that! I haven't ridden it. The level of customiseability of the Circe is very helpful.

CrinklyLion and SmallestCub did epic 10-mile-a-day loaded touring (featuring at least one Proper Hill™) on it a couple of years ago.  Admittedly the captain was swapped to an energetic EldestCub for the steep bit (having already deposited his solo at the top of the hill), but at no point was the lack of gear range a problem.

I think they got to the top at about the same time I did...   :thumbsup:
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2019, 07:03:36 pm »
I don't have much tandem experience on account of an incompatible stoker and nowhere to store a tandem recumbent trike...

You might have room for a Hase Pino though? Maybe not compatible without some fettling - but it's a solution for some.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2019, 07:11:00 pm »
The OP doesn't say where they are located. If you would like a try on a hub-geared leccy-assist Helios you are welcome to try ours - we are in Saarfend. I have ridden it quite happily with my (then) 7-yo grand-daughter. Even then, she was able to put in enough effort to keep both of us moving on a flat tow-path. I weighed at least 4 times as much as she did. I would think that most 9 year olds would find it a breeze.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2019, 07:57:30 pm »
I don't have much tandem experience on account of an incompatible stoker and nowhere to store a tandem recumbent trike...

You might have room for a Hase Pino though? Maybe not compatible without some fettling - but it's a solution for some.

We've tried a Pino, and barakta - who is used to tricycles - found the bicycle lean distinctly unpleasant (I found stoking it a bit like a self-driving Streetmachine).  She was having a bad vestibular system day at the time, though, so we decided it was inconclusive.

I'm somewhat reluctant about the whole wedgie aspect of captaining the things, too, though that's unlikely to be a real problem unless we went touring on it.

On the gripping hand, she can't ride anything at the moment on account of her hip dysplasia, so no risk of n+1 until the NHS make some kind of decision to give her more cyborg upgrades; some other miraculous recovery; or the heat death of the universe - whichever happens first.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2019, 09:14:58 am »
Should be fine.  Remember, even those of us with a tandem had never ridden one before!

I started taking MiniQ to school in the next village on the tandem when she was about 10.  You may need some luggage options to bring back the child's helmet or other cycling specific stuff if they can't lug it around wherever they're going.  MicroQ was just big enough to start stoking the tandem as a 9 year old and now rides on it with me for shortish leisure rides.

We have a Landescape touring tandem which must be about 11 years old now.  Whilst fairly fugly, it benefits from a lower step over and is fairly flexible for smaller stokers without going down to a specific child-back model.  Looks a bit like this: https://www.thetandemshop.com/product/landescape-touring-tandem-frameset/  Can be built up as 700C or 26" (we went 26" for the extra strength and specced a SON dynohub, mudguards and a rear rack so that it's always "ready to use").

I learnt on the first ride that toeclips were just not sensible for the stoker.  Fine while they're riding to keep the stoker's feet located on the pedals - if you forget to announce a gear change.  However, not helpful when you try to ride home solo and the pedals flip upside down and drag the clips on the ground as you corner.  Soon switched to one sided SPD pedals (Shimano M324).

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2019, 10:57:11 am »
I learnt on the first ride that toeclips were just not sensible for the stoker.  Fine while they're riding to keep the stoker's feet located on the pedals - if you forget to announce a gear change.  However, not helpful when you try to ride home solo and the pedals flip upside down and drag the clips on the ground as you corner.

The classic solution to this is a length of Mk1 knicker elastic between the toe end of the clip and the back of the captain's pedal.  Keeps them the right way up at all times, preventing rubbing and making for an easier entry.

Alternatively, quick-release pedals.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2019, 02:59:36 pm »
We love our Circe Helios. Great for an adult and child and more than serviceable for Mrs GC and I to pop round to friends for a couple of drinks. 

The Circe also has the advantage of taking the Brompton luggage block on the front.  The school run is easy and then I can ride on to work.  It’s reasonably nippy in traffic for a solo rider. 

GrahamG

  • Babies bugger bicycling
Re: Advice: using a tandem as child delivery vehicle
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2020, 08:15:10 pm »
I'm missing the helios school/nursery run,  the older one (5yo) is a proper winging git when it's cold so have agreed to use the trailer over winter to save myself from the moaning. Everyone else loves it though, nothing quite like big wide overtakes complete with cheering/encouragement from white van men. Hope the youngest is a bit more enthusiastic about it.


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