Author Topic: Tandems on Trains  (Read 25151 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2012, 07:28:09 pm »
Is that a Swallow tandem? As built by Pete Bird, formerly of Essex fame (IIRC he was a silversmith working in the Brentwood area when he lost his job under the Thatcher purges and took up frame building). I thought his tandem was called a Toucan.

I have an early tag-along which he built, and that has been hanging in our garage for the past 25 years waiting for a grand-child to grow large enough to ride on it!
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

jogler

  • mojo operandi
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2012, 07:41:16 pm »
Pete Bird had an arrangement with another chap to build frames for retail by Swallow Tandems Ltd.These built-by-another frames were called Toucan's.
A tandem carrying the Swallow name was built by Mr. Bird.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2012, 07:48:58 pm »
It is indeed a Swallow tandem, as built by Mr Bird of Essex fame.

It belongs to Assassin of this parish, who has very kindly lent it to us to save it from a shed-bound retirement, and support our nacent tandem career.

It has considerable history that we have so far completely failed to live up to - but, y'know.... early days.

I believe its hallowed past includes the Tour de France, 24 hr TT records, LEL, PBP and other L33t stuff.

Tim Hall

  • I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2012, 08:02:04 pm »
Pete Bird's brother diid a FNTRTTC last year - the one down to Newhaven.

Anyway...

Back to Tandems on trains. Today we went by train from Three Bridges to New Cross Gate, changing at East Croydon.  The Three Bridges-East Croydon leg was  easy, as expected. Class 377(?) with gert big space by the tardis loo. However, identifying which way round the set of four coaches is, is tricky. And as the tardis loo is either in coach 2 or coach 3 this can make for entertaining running down the platform. I know from the side it's easy to tell which door, by the two red stripes either side, but I'm after a method of identifying it from the front as it hoves into view.  Any gricers got any tips they'd care to share?

The leg from East Croydon to New Cross Gate was a bit trickier. Dunno what class, but the bike space was only long enough for a solo. We did a bit of diagonal jibbling on the way out, and I stood with the bike in the door space looking helpful on the way back. I think a full length tandem would be getting on for impossible.
There are two ways you can get exercise out of a bicycle: you can
"overhaul" it, or you can ride it.  (Jerome K Jerome)

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2012, 08:16:53 pm »
Nice Swallow Chris. We stick to our Ibis tandems with their handjobs. Last year at this time we took to Malmø from Helsingør, across Øresund, to a 200 km brevet with the train. No problems and sleeping good at the way home...
Carsten & Dorte

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2012, 08:36:22 pm »
I think that, much like our beloved NHS, our railways have become sausage machines intent on moving as many people for as little cost as possible.

Passengers on trains with Tandems are as inconvenient to this as patients with (say) unusual dietary needs, or three legs.

.., and like the NHS, the exact basis for the rules are lost somewhere in the mists of time.

I'm guessing, that like getting bikes over the Dartford crossing, at some point in the past, when bikes as a form of transport were more common, and more acceptable, the government of that time put some legal requirement into the legislation that forced companies that run train services to carry bicycles.

Over time, they seem to have managed to bend these rules to a degree, to stop carrying bikes when the trains are busy, and only provide facilities for a minimum number.

I wonder why tandems and tricycles seemed to get left out of that legislation? Presumably they have always been relatively rare, so someone just forgot about them or ignored them.

As has been said, children are one way to make people more likely to help, and recumbent trikes also often succeed in getting where strictly speaking the rules don't allow them, because people assume that the users are disabled (and sometimes they are, but not always).

In some respects it would be nice if the rules were clarified and organised across train companies, but there's always a risk that this may just allow them to universally refuse to carry tandems. :-\
Actually, it is rocket science.
 

chris

  • (aka chris)
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2012, 09:07:05 pm »
East coast trains: "What's a tandem?".  Eventually they agreed it'd be fine in their guard's van (which is massive).

First Great Western: "Tandems are not allowed on any services." "What, even though your website says otherwise?" "Oh yes, so it does. Well I don't know which services do, and it's up to the discretion of the train manager anyway whether to let any bike on."

They put me through to after-sales, who have no idea, and failed to get through to someone who might. I've to call back at another time.

 :facepalm:

Total contrast to the Danish railways where the guards moved people out of their seats so that we could get our triplet, tandem and trailers on to the train!


Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #32 on: February 27, 2012, 04:25:25 am »
East coast trains: "What's a tandem?".  Eventually they agreed it'd be fine in their guard's van (which is massive).

First Great Western: "Tandems are not allowed on any services." "What, even though your website says otherwise?" "Oh yes, so it does. Well I don't know which services do, and it's up to the discretion of the train manager anyway whether to let any bike on."

They put me through to after-sales, who have no idea, and failed to get through to someone who might. I've to call back at another time.

 :facepalm:

Total contrast to the Danish railways where the guards moved people out of their seats so that we could get our triplet, tandem and trailers on to the train!



We have not tried to be showed out of the train. We have only used them before and after the brevets where there are not so many other users. The main reason why they dislike tandems is that the regulations for fire-escape-ways in the trains makes is ner to impossible to make room for a tandem, after what they say. On the other hand they have made an agreement with the visually handicapped that they can have  tandems on trains if they members of their organisations. All us others non-handicapped have to work on in the pedals and become in a better condition!

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2012, 10:39:23 am »
Simon, are you in the Tandem Club yet? They have some more details on their website for FGW, including some pictures of tandems in-situ on the HST 125s. It's in the members only bit of the TC Website, which is a bit odd - dunno why it's a seekrit  :-\.


Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2012, 11:54:27 am »
Simon, are you in the Tandem Club yet? They have some more details on their website for FGW, including some pictures of tandems in-situ on the HST 125s. It's in the members only bit of the TC Website, which is a bit odd - dunno why it's a seekrit  :-\.

Yes, I joined us both up. We haven't really looked at the members area of the site yet, thanks for the heads up! 

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2012, 12:41:39 pm »
We’ve booked tickets back from York finally. I had to take a later than ideal train, but it goes direct to Yatton from Paddington rather than to Bristol then either change (can be tricky to get the tandem on the regional services). I had a look in the HST racks and by booking two spaces we have the advantage we can push the front or rear wheel through the rack between two slots, this giving us more length.

When I actually booked, the guy on the phone line was completely unfazed by the word ‘tandem’ unlike the customer services I spoke to last week.

We also decided after Saturday’s experience that lifting the tandem onto the high roof of Feline’s car is impractical.  The slide on carrier doesn’t fit Feline’s bars so we ended up going to SJSC and getting the hydraulic lift. This was complicated to put together and caused some head scratching when the amount of force required to pull the lift down ready to load the tandem was excessive, however this is a known and easily fixed issue (you stick the lifting arm in and pull with all your weight, and it comes down and once you know how, you can release the hydraulic mechanism for stowage so that it can be brought down with no effort and only engaged when the tandem is to be lifted). Rather unimpressed with the handlebar clamp, though. Why has no-one in the bicycle industry heard of oversize bars?



Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2012, 04:32:24 pm »
Good news, Feline and Simon!


I love that photo! I liked it the first time I saw it and it still makes me smile now.  :) I especially like the way the little one at the back of the triplet is turning round and rummaging in the panniers as you ride, perhaps for a secret mid-ride snack.  8)
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2012, 07:39:36 pm »
We also decided after Saturday’s experience that lifting the tandem onto the high roof of Feline’s car is impractical.  The slide on carrier doesn’t fit Feline’s bars so we ended up going to SJSC and getting the hydraulic lift. This was complicated to put together and caused some head scratching when the amount of force required to pull the lift down ready to load the tandem was excessive, however this is a known and easily fixed issue (you stick the lifting arm in and pull with all your weight, and it comes down and once you know how, you can release the hydraulic mechanism for stowage so that it can be brought down with no effort and only engaged when the tandem is to be lifted). Rather unimpressed with the handlebar clamp, though. Why has no-one in the bicycle industry heard of oversize bars?
That sounds like the BTS tandem carrier, which we've used for many years.  Seems very flimsy, but I've driven to Lucca (in Tuscany) and back with two of these on the roof, and you'd hardly know they were there until you looked at the fuel gauge falling like a stone!

You only need to use the "brute force" option once.  After that you just flick the little flap at the bottom of the upright and everything moves easily.  The handlebar clamp is indeed the weak point.  One of the guide pins on the sliding part of the clamp broke on mine ages ago - doesn't appear to have compromised security.  Spare parts can be purchased from the manufacturer direct.

One word of warning.  The wheel support bar is very long.  It is very easy to mount the whole unit a little too far back, and then it adjusts the shape of the tailgate (if you have a tailgate, of course).  Don't ask how I know that!  I have cut the bar short fore and aft, to fit the bike (plus a little)

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2012, 08:38:08 pm »
fitting a  longer adjuster  bolt is a  bodge for oversized bars.  The lift lock can come undone, leding to droop when under way, a friend found that out! he now adds a strap.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2012, 09:23:45 pm »
fitting a  longer adjuster  bolt is a  bodge for oversized bars.  The lift lock can come undone, leding to droop when under way, a friend found that out! he now adds a strap.

We looked at the bolt but could not (yet) work out how to replace the bolt with a longer one. It needs the correct type of cross-piece on the end that sits inside the handlebar clamp, I'm not sure what that'd be called.

Unlocking in transit I already identified as a possible problem, and a strap seemed to be an eminently sensible precaution to prevent unwanted movement.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #40 on: March 08, 2012, 07:29:22 am »
The lift lock can come undone, leding to droop when under way, a friend found that out! he now adds a strap.
That surprises me - I have always found the locking mechanism very sound (and I ALWAYS check it is engaged).  It's only a piece of wire in a slot, but the forces on it are not great.

Part of the strength of the system is its geometry - if all the bike/rack interfaces are secure it shouldn't droop far!

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #41 on: March 16, 2012, 10:07:46 am »
With a new operator in this region (Greater Anglia), there seems to be some clearer guidance for tandems on their website:

http://www.greateranglia.co.uk/travel-information/your-journey/cycling

The owner operator is a Dutch company, so one might hope for a more sympathetic approach to cyclists than previously. We shall see.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #42 on: March 16, 2012, 10:21:15 am »
Useful link :thumbsup:
Getting there...

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2012, 01:53:50 pm »
fitting a  longer adjuster  bolt is a  bodge for oversized bars.  The lift lock can come undone, leding to droop when under way, a friend found that out! he now adds a strap.

We looked at the bolt but could not (yet) work out how to replace the bolt with a longer one. It needs the correct type of cross-piece on the end that sits inside the handlebar clamp, I'm not sure what that'd be called.

Unlocking in transit I already identified as a possible problem, and a strap seemed to be an eminently sensible precaution to prevent unwanted movement.

My fettle for the bar clamp involved elongating the bolt using a long nut


and a length of M5 threaded studding.



It seems to be a nice strong bodge :)

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2012, 03:17:34 pm »
It’ll get its first use in anger getting the tandem to the start of The Dean. :)


Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #45 on: March 16, 2012, 03:20:06 pm »
It’ll get its first use in anger getting the tandem to the start of The Dean. :)

Can you remember if the car park has a height restriction on the way in? Even lying down in a Helton Stylee, we can't get under some height restrictions  :-\.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #46 on: March 16, 2012, 03:54:19 pm »
It’ll get its first use in anger getting the tandem to the start of The Dean. :)

Can you remember if the car park has a height restriction on the way in? Even lying down in a Helton Stylee, we can't get under some height restrictions  :-\.

The park and ride or the travelodge? The park and ride does, going by this street view pic:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=oxford+peartree&hl=en&ll=51.792665,-1.284059&spn=0.005395,0.013915&sll=51.28442,-2.819352&sspn=0.04343,0.111322&hq=peartree&hnear=Oxford,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=17&layer=c&cbll=51.792746,-1.284109&panoid=Cp-5nkpddq23-XZ5chmMhQ&cbp=12,55.63,,0,4.93

You can get off the d/c if driving direct to the start before you need to stop and unload.

Not sure about the travelodge.

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #47 on: March 16, 2012, 03:58:01 pm »
Thanks for that. I'll make sure my Stoker is (a) awake, and (b) primed to yell STOP! :).

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #48 on: March 16, 2012, 04:15:59 pm »
I'll make sure my Stoker is (a) awake
After more than 20 minutes in the car? Hopeful, that.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Re: Tandems on Trains
« Reply #49 on: March 25, 2012, 07:52:34 pm »
First Great Western update:

We had to take the dead Swallow back to Oxford from Bristol Parkway after The Dean Situation.

BP to Didcot: HST Paddington service (probably from Mens Pants). Two other cyclists present, all guards van spaces vacant. Helpful man with a torch who's single contribution was "Put the tandem on first please...". No problemo.

Didcot to Oxford: Commuter-type train with no bike spaces at all. We stood in the vestibule with the bike and kept it out of everyone's way at stops. No problemo.