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2010

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OCTOBER 10th UPDATE

Now looking for 2011 Calendar Updates: Jo Cahill just sent me the 2012 SWTR rally info, which made me look at the 2011 calendar and realize that a lot of the Winter & Spring Rally dates haven't been published as of yet. So, if you are aware of any major rallies being held in 2011 that now have firm dates and locations, by all means... please pass them along so we can post them.


JUNE 14th UPDATE

So, What's the Future Hold For The Bulletin Board? I'm not really sure. The Blog has been much easier for me to use for my miscellaneous ramblings so I don't see the Bulletin Board being used for those types of updates. Moreover, I'm not a real big fan of cross posting so I don't see myself replicating blog entries here. So, for the most part, I suspect this will become an events and links update section, with perhaps occassional industry updates. I'm also toying with the idea of migrating the whole site to the iWeb software to gain access to some of the more advanced web tools and design options. Stay tuned.


APRIL 21st UPDATE

2010 Harpeth River Ride Focuses On Adaptive Athletes: Les Wooldridge, HBC River Ride's Adaptive Athlete Coordinator, wrote to let us know the HBC will once again invite and focus attention on adaptive athletes during its annual River Ride. The 2010 Harpeth Bicycle Club (HBC) River Ride will be co-sponsored by Nissan and expects to draw 1500 riders to middle Tennessee on June 12th. Les came to us on a referral from Sue Buckley, a visually impaired cyclist and tri-athlete whom we've come to know through tandem-related cyber-discussions.  Sue, Les and Mike Willman, the 2010 River Ride Coordinator, have all attend one of the Paralympic Training Camps at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs where Sue trained as well. It was that experience that inspired Les & Mike to make adaptive athletes a major focus for the River Ride.You can learn more about the River Ride by visiting their Web site HERE


Who's on Facebook? I've heard rumors that suggest FB is pretty popular with a lot of other folks and have found that at least one tandem club -  Tailwind Tandem Club in North Carolina - has migrated away from its Web site format and is now hosting a FB page instead.  More recently I also stumbled onto Co-Motion's FB page when someone let me know my little Blog had been mentioned, causing a rather large spike in 'hits' on my Blog: 355 to be exact. Yikes.

Anyway, since I'm not a FB member I had to use something of an end-run with Google to find the Tailwind page on FB and while I was surfing the FB pages I found a few other tandem-centric pages that I thought I'd include in a short compendium that will eventually get incorporated into a redo of our Tandems page and Tandem Club page, as appropriate.

* Bilenky Cycle Works
* Bob Brown Cycles
* Bohemian Bicycles (Blog)
* Calfee Design
* Co-Motion Cycles (Blog)
* daVinci Designs
* Erickson Cycle Tours
* KGS Bikes (Blog)
* Rolf Prima Wheels
* Ruegamer Sports
* Santana Cycles
* Tailwind Tandem Club

I would note, there are several other tandem personalities who have personal FB pages such as Craig Calfee, Sherwood Gibson (Ventana USA), etc who I have not included here.  I suspect that most of these folks would rather leave their personal pages focused on personal friends with their 'fans' using their business' FB page.


Still Openings for the Tennessee Tandem Rally & MATES Rally in Warrington, VA: As often times happens, a couple of folks have had to cancel their plans to attend the Tennessee Tandem Rally in June. Therefore, if anyone had considered attending and was disappointed to learn that the 50 rally registration slots had been filled, two of those team slots have now opened back up. Registration and rally information can be found HERE.

It was also noted the Mid-Atlantic Tandem Enthusiasts (MATES) rally in August had just a few registration slots left open as well. For more information, visit the MATES Web Page.


MARCH 13th UPDATE

Team LM & Team TG Team-Up! Excuse the use of my Bulletin Board for personal fund raising, but so be it....

As you can see from the hot-linked image of our Personal Page at the Tour de Cure Web site, several fellow employees have formed a corporate cycling team and we have been recruited as members.

The team's goal is to support two major fund raising rides each year; the one-day Tour de Cure in the Spring (diabetes) and the two-day MS150 Tour (multiple sclerosis).

Therefore, given my wife and I are likely in this for the long-haul, it is my hope I can encourage many folks to make a couple modest contributions vs. making those somewhat more substantial donations we all often times reserve for religious and community groups, cancer research via the 3-Day Walks for Breast Cancer and LiveStrong, never mind our AeroClub, March of Dimes, Children's Health Care and disaster relief contributions.

Therefore, I humbly invite you to visit my personal Blog with links to our Tour de Cure donation page.

http://main.diabetes.org/site/TR/TourdeCure/TDC218008030?px=5721655&pg=personal&fr_id=6865

Yes, it all adds up... but all for a good cause and it serves to remind those of us who are more fortunate than others that we can still have some control over where our 'contributions' go vs. those somewhat less voluntary ones.


MARCH 5th UPDATE

Tandem Rally Updates & Announcements

Road Tandem Events: http://www.thetandemlink.com/http://tandemgeek.wordpress.com/tandem-rallies-event-listing/

- PANTHERS Lake Wales Ride on Apr 9 - 10, Lake Wales, FL

- DATES Stoker Appreciation Ride on May 22-23, Dallas, TX

- PANTHERS Vero Beach Ride on Jun 4 - 6, Vero Beach, FL

- Canadian Tandem Rally on Jun 4 - 7, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, eh?

- Paired Iowans Going Somewhere Rally on Aug 6 - 8, Ankeny, IA

- Walloon Lake Tandem Weekend on Oct 2-4, near Petoskey, MI

Off-Road Tandem Events: http://www.thetandemlink.com/dfevents.html

- Appalacian Off-Road Tandem Adventure (AORTA) on May 21-23, Asheville, NC

- DOGS Allegrippis Weekend on Jun 11-13, Lake Raystown, PA


MARCH 3rd UPDATE

Registration for 2010 Southern Tandem Rally Now Open - Jack & Susan Goertz, hosts of the 32nd Southern Tandem Rally, wrote to let us know registration is now open! STR '10 will be held in beautiful Florence, Alabama on Oct 15-17. The STR '10 Web site has links to the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa for advanced reservations (which works just fine, by the way) as well as the downloadable Rally Registration form and various other useful information and links to local attractions. Florence is located in the extreme Northwest corner of Alabama.


Only Five (5) Spots Remain Unclaimed For the 2010 Tennessee Tandem Rally - Tom Spears wrote to let us know that 45 of the 50 team openings for the 2010 edition of the Tenneesee Tandem Rally have been filled, leaving only 5 spots open. The 2010 edition of TTR is being held in Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville on Jun 4-6. Visit the TTR Website for more details and a downloadable registration form.


Hey, You've Updated The Banner & Bulletin Board? - Yes, we did. We are pleased to add Israel's flag to our line-up of nations with tandem clubs to recognize the CanVelo - Israel Guide Dog Center Tandem Club. You can read more about this new club in our Feb 6th Upate, below, or at their Website. Although their website is written primarily in Hebrew, it can be translated using Google. I will also be updating the more detailed US and international tandem club pages in the not too distant future to add CanVelo as well as the new San Diego based U.S. Blind Tandem Cycling Connection's club to the rosters.

We've also added buttons to the upper right hand corner for our new Blog and the always useful Captain Bike Website created by the late, great Sheldon Brown. You will also find a link to the Tandem sub-forum at BikeForums.net where yours truly hangs out and posts under the pen name (nom deplume) 'TandemGeek'. Links to Tandem@Hobbes and Double Forte remain in place, although I must warn you that the once always useful search engine hosted by Alex Wetmore stopped archiving Hobbes posts about two years ago and is no longer able to pull up more recent postings. Although I have made several personal pleas to Alex for a fix, I fear his interests in cycling have migrated away from tandems and towards touring, randonneuring, 650B classic bicycles and the like. Of course, at the moment, it appears his entire server farm has suffered a failure that has taken everything from his search engine to blog off-line.


FEBRUARY 23rd UPDATE

The Tandem Survey - Winter 2010, Part Deux

Ok, it's been a really long and somewhat more wintery-winter this year in most parts of North America. While my 2010 Survey was interesting as always, it wasn't really FUN.

So, here's a bonus survey that looks at what we ride: tandem stuff. You know, what do you ride, what kind of computer (if any) do you use, do you buy into (literally) the high-tech cycle racing stuff or is it all a bunch of hooey.

Here is the link to this year's 2nd survey:
The Annual Tandem Cyclists Survey (Winter 2010, Part Deux)

Note: The second response to Question #9 on off-road tandems should have been:We own and ride a rigid off-road / enduro tandem

Graphed results to questions #1 - #9 will appear at this link as they come in.

Question #10's write-in comments & my feedback can be downloaded here (.xls)

Mind you, if you are one of the first to submit instead of the 150th the results page / graphs won't be all that revealing. Therefore, and in the mean time, if you'd like to see the results from the eight (8) previous year's surveys, you can find them HERE.

NOTE: The server will only register one survey submittal per computer and, as before, let me remind you that these surveys are intended for entertainment purposes only and responses are not being collected for commercial purposes. Additionally, no names or identifies are collected or associated with the completion of the surveys on the OpinionPower.com website or by me.

FEBRUARY 20th UPDATE

Survey Says... Interesting Stuff, As Always - Well, it's been about a month since I launched my annual Tandem Survey back on January 17th and with just a few responses trickling in now, five in the last week and the last on February 17th, I figured it was time to give the results a look see and offer up my analysis. Because the questions covered more or less a potpourri of topics there's not much to summarize at a macro level, other than in spite of the economic down turn tandem cycling has seemingly held it's own this past year. Steady growth is the norm, folks are riding as much or more and while we hear a lot of chatter about problems with tandems, the reality is that quite a few folks don't have many issues with their machines (or themselves). The latter suggests what we always expect to be the case, which is for every problem or complaint you hear about on the internet there are 4x - 10x as many folks who have no such problems.

Anyway, I've compiled a snap-shot of the results as of February 18th and provided my analysis of the responses to each question. You can find the results HERE.

If you'd like to see the results from all eight (8) year's worth of surveys, you can find them HERE.

Finally, because it's been such a sensational winter for so many folks, we may launch a second survey here in the next week or so. There were a number of things that came to mind and that many folks who wrote to us suggested that might be 'fun' to explore to melt away winter blues. More to follow.


Spring Is Just Around The Corner... Really! I say this because Don Walker's North American Handmade Bicycle Show is next weekend and the Mid-Atlantic States' tandem specialty dealers have firmed up the dates for their annual Open House & Demo Days events.

Mt. Airy Cycles Spring Demo day on April 11 at Mt. Airy, Maryland. You can find all the details at their Website or by going directly to their flyer by clicking HERE.

Tandems East's Open House on March 28 & 29 at Pittsgrove, New Jersey. As mentioned in an earlier event update for Tandems East, this year's guest speakers on Saturday the 28th will tentatively include tandem industry folks like Co-Motion's component buyer Chuck Hood, daVinci Design's Brian Davis (always entertaining), ATOC/Thule & Draftmaster rack-master Charlie Buchalter.  More info can be found on their Website.


We Told You So #2; Tandem Rallies Are Filling Up Quickly - As mentioned just two weeks ago, if you plan on attending a tandem rally this year where sign-ups or hotel rooms are somewhat limited you really need to jump on it.

- Southwest Tandem Rally in Paris, TX (Apr) has FILLED their rally and registration is now CLOSED.

- Georgia Tandem Rally in So. Carolina (May) is FILLED and the waiting list is pretty long.

- Tennessee Tandem Rally near Nashville, TN (Jun) opened registration on Feb. 15 and is nearly FULL.

- Midwest Tandem Rally at Shipshewana, IN (Sep) has now opened registration.

- Mid-Atlantic Tandem Enthusiast Society (MATES) rally at Warrenton, VA (Aug) has opened up registration and only has room for 40 teams.

- Tandem East's Weekend at Cape May, New Jersey on Sept 10 - 12 is 50% filled.

There are many other tandem rallies across the US and around the world that are now open for registration or will be soon. As always, we try to keep most of them listed on our events page which you can find HERE.


Belfast Racing Team's Team Tipping Taking On Mt. Washington Hill Climb For Charity: Friends John & Sonja Tipping from the granite state wrote to let us knw they have signed up to take on the Mt. Washington Hill Climb in August with their tandem. The hill climb is also a fund-raising event for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center and they need YOUR help in generating proceeds for their effort. So, please visit their fund raising page where you can see a nice photo of this awesome team and consider sending a few $$ their way.

 


Bloviation & Ignorance On The Web, Which Is Worse? As many readers have figured out by now, each night I have a little search engine that runs and provides me with a collection of news stories, blog entries and other RSS-type feeds on the internet pertaining to tandem cycling and some of the brands I follow more closely. As a result I see a lot of different types of web sites, blogs and postings from internet discussion forums each week and some grab my attention more so than others.

In some respects, I think the tandem community was better served by the pioneering listservers like Tandem@Hobbes than the proliferation of 'forums' and tandem groups. With Hobbes, you clearly had a critical mass of no-kidding tandem experts and enthusiasts from whom reliable information could be obtained. You also had industry insiders -- quite a few in fact -- who volunteered their time to weigh-in on matters. It was really a special place that is now a mere shadow of what it was. But I digress.

I have my own adopted home on one forum where I try to moderate and share my insights with a larger audience in the hope that the lurkers will have access to information that is on par with what Hobbes used to provide on a daily basis and, for the most part, this particular forum has remained very civil, objective and useful for both the regulars who post, newbies and lurkers. There are, however, the occasional passers-by who lower the bar but, for the most part, they move on to other forums where dubious suggestions and advice are not quickly called into question. Admittedly, I do tent to write in a very matter of fact way that carries an arrogant tone, perhaps even bordering on bloviation: hey, we all have our crosses to bear.

In some cases I suspect I suck the air out of the room and cause folks who would like to be a resident expert to move on to other forums. In most cases that's goodness in that as I read their posts on the other forums most of what they offer seems to be based on what they've learned from good sources or personal experience and is offered objectively.

However, there are still a few too many folks looking to 'share their opinions' who lack the objectivity and knowledge needed to be of any value to readers and I can only hope that readers either challenge writers who drift into areas where they are truly ignorant or heavily biased in the hope that they'll either 'get it' and clean up their act or move on to some other forum vs. gaining a foothold and otherwise tainting every tandem-related discussion with their misinformation and self-serving commentary.


Bloggishnish

The snow has melted and we'll be headed out to ride in a couple hours as the temps have also sneaked into the 50s and may even hit the 60's today: good grief; it may be too hot to ride! Tomorrow looks like it will also be a nice day so, butts willing after today's ride, we'll get in some descent albeit slow miles this weekend. And, yes, for those who follow my postings on Hobbes and BF, we're still running our daytime diNotte tail lights as a hedge against the risk of a semi-distracted driver NOT seeing us which seems to be a growing problem for cyclists. I have not yet adopted a front light for daytime use if only because we tend to ride in suburban and rural areas where the right and left hook type collisions are rare.

In other news, we learned this week that dear friends Mel & Barbara Kornbluh have a new grand baby to celebrate; they've almost caught up to us at this point! We also heard from good friend Larry Black who is headed down to the NAHBS in Richmond, VA: here's hoping that Don Walker brings this amazing show closer to Atlanta so that we can indulge ourselves as hobbiest in this amazing display of hand-made cycling art and innovation. Today's mail also brought a postcard from Maui, Hawaii sent by our friend Rob Templin of Second Summer Tours where they just finished up this year's Maui Triple Challenge.

As always and as mentioned from time to time, we also hear from various other friends in the cycling and tandem community, both business folks and enthusiasts each week and those notes are the ones I look forward to the most. We have amassed an amazing list of friends through our passion for tandem cycling and I remain ever thankful for those friendships. Aside from our blood family, our tandem-family remains our greatest interest and focus and I wouldn't have it any other way.


February 14th UPDATE

Tandem Club of America Membership: I've Fallen And I Can't Get Up - I received my 2010 TCA Membership Roster and, as I have done for the last seven years, I thought I'd share a quick look at the Tandem Club of America's (TCA) demographics. As always, my hand-tabulated counts from the membership listing were entered into my spreadsheets and looked at on a state-by-state basis in comparison to data from last year's Membership Roster and for reasons I explain in my more detailed report & analysis, the January 2008 membership roster. You can find my highly unscientific analysis HERE.

In summary, and based on what was published in this year's 2010 Membership List, TCA membership at approx 765 is down 16.3% compared to last year, with a net reduction of 149 members.

Sadly, the prediction in my editorial from last year's analysis was correct and this was the largest single drop-off I've seen since keeping track of the membership trends.

Looking back and comparing membership to 2002 when I first started following the data, overall TCA membership has fallen by 692 or about 47.5%.

Editorial: Just as I noted last year, unless TCA abandons its laissez-faire approach to managing the club and develops some type of vision for how it will deliver value to members in the future, I would expect the continued slide in membership to continue until the revenues from memberships will no longer cover the cost of printing and mailing out DoubleTalk and Web hosting fees. At that point, I'm not sure what happens. Just looking back two years 25% of the long-time TCA members have dropped from the roles (22 of 87) and of the 273 or so newer members who joined TCA during 2007, 131 (48%) of them have not renewed their memberships.


February 6th UPDATE

The Tandem Curmudgeon Gets Ready For The Valentine's Day Tandem Blitz - Yes, it's time for the happy-news reporters and columnists to pull out those ubiquitous lists of suggestions for how couples can show their love for each other to include "Ride a Tandem"! Never mind that February 14th falls in the middle of winter or that finding anything other than a 60lb tandem-shaped objective to rent is nearly impossible even in those places where it's not below 40°, raining or snowing on February 14th each year. Ah yes, and if a couple did happen to find themselves in a warm sunny place with dry roads and a tandem at their disposal how long would it be before a self-appointed safety-expert told them that they'd need helmets to be safe on that thing because, after all, cycling can be dangerous... and they'd need to find a bicycle path because they certainly shouldn't ride on public streets; not only is it unsafe for the cyclists, it's irritating to the motorists. Well, and if that weren't bad enough, didn't you know that bicycle seats can impair you ability to have sex! Heck, even that cycling racer Lance Armstrong developed testicular cancer and has called these things 'Divorce Machines'! Why on Earth would you want to put your gonads or relationship at risk like that on Valentine's Day! So, by all means, just get some chocolates for your lover, go out to eat and then settle in for a nice movie or perhaps an Episode of the Biggest Loser: yeah, that'll stir the love juices.


We Told You So; Tandem Rallies Are Filling Up Quickly - As mentioned earlier this year, and as noted in our tips for first time tandem rally goers, you really need to make plans to attend rallies early so that you can be sure to get a room at the host hotel and secure a registration for the event.

- Sebring Tandem Weekend in Florida is just a few weeks away and has 30 teams signed-up.

- Southwest Tandem Rally in Paris, TX (Apr) had just 15 slots left as of last weekend.

- Georgia Tandem Rally in So. Carolina (May) limited to 100 teams is essentially sold-out.

- Tennessee Tandem Rally near Nashville, TN (Jun) opens registration in Mid-Feb.

- Midwest Tandem Rally at Shipshewana, IN (Sep) has now opened registration.

- Mid-Atlantic Tandem Enthusiast Society (MATES) rally at Warrenton, VA (Aug) is now setting up shop.

There are many other tandem rallies across the US and around the world that are now open for registration or will be soon. As always, we try to keep most of them listed on our events page which you can find HERE.


Co-Motion's 2010 Dual Disc Brake-Through - In addition to doing a re-vamp of their Website, blogging, opening up a Facebook page and sending a team on a field trip to Taiwan, the good folks at Co-Motion also found time to make some changes to their 2010 line-up of tandems. Perhaps the boldest change was making dual discs standard on their steel and aluminum 'Performance' tandems, e.g., Speedster, Mocha, and Roadster as well as their Periscope Scouts & Torpedo models.

What also caught my eye was their new rear disc I.S. mount location; bravo! This is where I have always preferred the rear disc mount for a number of reasons. Anyway, good friend and co-owner of Co-Motion Dwan Shepard offered up the following additional information on some of the 2010 changes to a posting at Hobbes:

After a gentle provocation from [your's truly], I thought I'd chime in on this topic of disc vs. cantilever brakes. As observed, disc brakes are standard on many of our [Co-Motion] tandem models, including the Speedster. I believe it has also been noted that the Arai drum brake is no longer being produced. That's a game-changer for anyone looking at tandem touring, as the Arai brake was long relied on to fulfill the role of supplemental brake in situations when the rim brakes became overwhelmed: Namely long or steep descents, especially when the tandem is heavily laden with touring gear.

Of course, rim brakes are simple and mostly reliable, and familiar enough to most of us that we feel comfortable with them. However, for many people, rim brakes are inadequate for tandem touring. So, why not combine rim brakes with a supplemental disc brake? That argument has played itself out many times here on Tandem@Hobbes over the years. If you've been sitting back and observing, you may recall claims by one tandem expert or another stating that discs were not "tandem specific". That myth got its start back when people like myself and Bill McCready began querying disc brake makers Hope, Avid, Hayes and others about using their brakes as a supplement to rim brakes. Without exception, these brake makers shuddered when they heard how tandem riders used the Arai brake. It's true- no disc brake can take that kind of punishment.

But, let's not forget, the Arai brake itself has never been a very good brake on its own. It's an old warhorse, sure. Because it has so much mass, you can apply it and let it drag forever and it will get nice and hot, but to its credit, it won't fail. By itself however, it does a lousy job of slowing your bike, which is why you've probably never seen a bike equipped with front and rear Arai drums.

Now, back to those disc brake manufacturers: Every one of them stated unequivocally that their brakes should be used as the PRIMARY brakes on a tandem. While they all expressed concern over their brake's use as a "drag", none were concerned about their brakes being used to stop a tandem. If you've tried a good disc brake on a tandem, you know it doesn't take long to discover why disc brakes have become more commonplace than cantilevers on all kinds of bicycles.

Maybe the question we should be asking ourselves today is why it has taken for tandems to become available with dual discs. Well, we tandemists are a conservative crowd, aren't we? We embrace innovation in one hand and eye it with suspicion in the other. Here at Co-Motion Cycles, we began offering Avid BB-7 disc brakes as a published option on a regular basis about 6 years ago. Getting to that point meant having confidence in the brake, lots of tests on the toughest descents here in Oregon, and many reports from early adopters. It didn't take long to discover that the Avid BB-7 with a 203mm rotor was the way to go, and we soon developed new tandem forks specifically for disc brake applications as well.

The mounting points for the disc brakes are integral with the dropouts we make here at Co-Motion on our CNC equipment. For 2010, we redesigned our rear dropout to orient the disc adjacent to the chainstay, and reconfigured the dropout eyelets to make rack and fender mounting easier and more accommodating to more rack types. It's just another step we've taken to ensure that our bikes are easy to get along with, and do the things you need them to do.

I've shared with you all on T@H several times over the years how our customers have driven the development of our bike line. We listen to what our customers are asking for, and we strive to provide what will make the most people happy. Making disc brakes standard on more tandem models is one of the decisions we've made based on those observations. On the Speedster, the vast majority of our sales of the model were shipping from here with optional dual disc brakes in the past two years.

Yes, you can still get a Co-Motion tandem with canti- or v-brake mounts. Our Primera tandem comes with linear-pull Avid SD-7 brakes. Or, you can order a custom version of any of our tandems with any kind of brake mount you'd like. Also, we do offer framesets, a nice option if you'd like to work with your dealer on selecting all components from start to finish. What would I recommend? A Speedster or maybe a Mocha with discs, no question. We have lots of choices, and as always, we're happy to help you make the choice that works best for you.


Not Everyone Who Rides A Bike Does It Because They Enjoy It Or To Be Green - When ever the subject of cycling safety and accident statistics comes up it's common for most cyclists to simply project themselves into those numbers in terms of just what type of cyclists are represented in those numbers. The assumption often is that they were cyclists just like themselves, doing everything right who were clipped by a careless motorist. Now, clearly, there are way too many collisions and fatalities that occur just that way. In fact, one of the more high-profile ones that we reported on last year involving a couple run down and killed while riding their tandem near San Antonio, TX, still remains under investigation four months after the fact. Anyway, an interesting blog entry from a tandem commuter couple in the Carolina's came to my attention that speaks to the often-time not mentioned bicycle commuters who simply don't have a choice between a car or a bicycle that is worth a read. You can find it HERE.


An Electric Tank For Two? - Call me a tandem elitist if you will, but what's the point of creating a $2,300 electric-powered tandem that weighs 75 lbs? Does this replace the family car so that the kids can be given a ride to school or does it allow someone to simply ride on a bike path without getting any exercise? Wait a minute, can you even use 'motorized' bikes on bike paths? Don't get me wrong, there are clearly some very cool electric-powered commuter bikes coming on the market that will make bicycle commuting far more practical for anyone who lives where there is challenging terrain and/or to make longer commutes by bicycle more practical. But this surely isn't one of those more practical applications and, good Lord, what happens when this $2,300, 75 lb behemoth runs out of Juice leaving the riders on their own to pedal it up a hill?


CanVelo - Israel Guide Dog Center Tandem Club - Moti Regev wrote to let us know about the CanVelo Tandem Club in Israel, a part of the Israel Guide Dog Center (Can = Canine / Velo = Bike). From Moti's note, CanVelo is a "team of 20 visually impaired stokers and 40 captains with 14 Cannondale MT tandems, 3 Cannondale RT tandems and 3 Cannondale street tandems that ride as a team every weekend. Although their website is written primarily in Hebrew, it can be translated using Google to learn more about the group or you can just check out the photo galleries.



JANUARY 24th UPDATE

Tandem Bike: Those Darn Accordions Provide Tandem Enthusiasts With A NEW Musical Standard - Let me be the first to admit that I have never been all that enamored with Harry Dacre's 1892 Daisy Bell's lyrics, although the music still lends itself to some very nice renditions like Will Fly's solo guitar piece. It's just that, as a tandem enthusiast, it never captured the spirit or 'fun' of tandeming. So, you can only imagine how excited I was when a fellow Hobbsian (i.e., a Tandem @Hobbes list subscriber) shared a link to a contemporary, upbeat and fun song about tandem cycling by a San Francisco-based accordion quartet called Those Darn Accordions hosted on YouTube. In fact, I was so taken by the song that I contacted the band leader for Those Darn Accordions, Paul Rogers to learn more about the song's inspiration and how it came to be. It's a great story and I've now posted all of the information about the song's origin, links to the YouTube video, the group's website and the lyrics to a new Web page here at TheTandemLink.com. . In the interest of equal time I also included a link to an authentic 1920's - 1930's audio recording of Harry Dacre's 'Daisy Bell and the lyrics for anyone who may have never heard it or who have forgotten it. You can find the new Web page HERE.


Virtual Tour of the Co-Motion Factory - With yet another tip of the hat to a fellow Hobbsian, this time Brian Wasson, we were also treated to a multimedia tour of the Co-Motion Cycles facility in Eugene, Oregon with a written narrative and many, many photos by Neil Gunton, aka, Crazy Guy on a Bike. Neil's article provides readers with an in-depth look at what goes on inside the Co-Motion factory from a December 14, 2009 visit with Dwan Shepard, co-owner of Co-Motion. Although not specific to tandems, as Brian noted in his posting to Hobbes, it provides all kinds of insight into what all goes into making our beloved tandems.


U.S. Blind Tandem Cycling Connection Web Site is Now Live - The U.S. Blind Tandem Cycling Connection is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation whose purpose is to, "increase the participation of individuals who are visually impaired or blind in the exhilarating sport of tandem cycling by connect blind and visually impaired cyclists with sighted cyclists, educating people about tandem cycling, disseminating information about cycling clubs, events, and opportunities for visually impaired cyclists and otherwise addressing the needs of the blind tandem cycling community. Christine Tinberg had contacted us a few weeks back to let us know about the pending launch of her organization's Web site so we're thrilled to see that the site is now up and running. You can visit the site by clicking HERE.


Anyone Need Any Tandem Decals? - During the early years of 'TheTandemLink.com' we used revenues from the sale of tandem decals to defray the costs of hosting the site and it worked out pretty well. However, we may have saturated the market early on, as sales of the decals have fallen-off quite a bit from the 'boom' years right after they were first introduced. More recently what had become about the norm for annual sales fell by 40% in 2008 and then another 60% in 2009. So, to those who have asked, 'Why the Google Ads?' for things like tandem-shaped objects... it's simply become an alternative source of revenue for the site. Since we are essentially non-commercial and don't do much in the way of promotion or advertising those Googe AdSense revenues aren't all that much, perhaps 1/3 to 1/2 of what we generated in decal sales back in 2000-2002. So, please accept our apologies for the ads if they seem bothersome or don't always align with the values or views of TheTandemLink.com, it's just a necessary evil to keep the fires buring, so to speak.


So, how goes the Survey? - Well, it's been over a week since we launced this year's survey and about 270 folks have been kind enough to take some time to be respondents. If last year's survey is any indication we'll probably get perhaps another 20 or so responses. In four of the eight previous surveys we did get some pretty big response rates; however, in those instances it appears that the survey audience extended well past the normal Hobbes / BikeForums/Double-Forte on-line communities and beause the questions were more consumer-based, e.g., how many bikes do you own, what types, etc... Anyway, I won't delve into any of my armchair analysis just yet. There are indeed some interesting trends in the data and, at least for me, it has been insightful to see the results. Speaking of data, just for kicks I took a look at when the 270 responses came in following the launch of the Survey last Sunday night. Monday was a big day with 140 responses and it's tailed off from there. More to follow.


Central Florida Now Has A New Tandem Club: The PANTHERS - Per their official 'press release' this afternoon, the PANTHERS Tandem Club, Inc., was organized by nine teams in Central Florida.  The club will hold weekly tandem rides in and around The Villages with additional organized events held in other locations throughout Florida. The PANTHERS Web site is now up and accessible at the following URL: http://www.floridatandemclub.org/ The club hopes to promote safe cyling and to encourage the cycling sport of tandem riding.


Tandems East Announces 2010 Events - We received our annual event notice from Mel & Barbara Kornbluh at TandemsEast.com this past week... who probably just finished up leading a 3-week tour in New Zealand.  Anyway, their annual Open House will be held on March 28 & 29 in Pittsgrove, New Jersey and this year's guest speakers on the 28th will tentatively include tandem industry folks like Co-Motion's component buyer Chuck Hood, daVinci Design's Brian Davis (always entertaining), ATOC/Thule & Draftmaster rack-master Charlie Buchalter.  More info can be found on their Website in a few weeks after they return from New Zealand and make the updates.  The TandemsEast Tandem Weekend will be held at Cape May, New Jersey on September 10 - 12.  


Santana's 2010 Tour Calendar Firmed-Up - We also received a nice Email from the folks at Santana announcing their 2010 tours.  The ones that aren't already filled up include Feb 15-20 Valentine's Week - Hawaii Three Island Tandem Tour, May 6-9, Mother's Day - Colonial Williamsburg Tandem Rally, Aug 9-12, Family Friendly Durango Tandem Rally, Aug 26 - Sept 2, King Ludwig's Castles - Euro Tandem Tour, and Sept 6-9, Napa-Sonoma Wine Country Tandem Rally.  A bit too rich for our modest means, if you like to be pampered and can swing it these are really wonderful events.   You can find more information HERE


Calfee, Calfee, Calfee - I tell you, there's no shortage of articles, blog entries and other web content regarding the Calfee bamboo bicycles these days. Every once in a while a video interview pops up as well.  Here's one from the San Diego Custom Bike Show back in April for anyone who may have never had the opportunity to see or hear Craig Calfee speak. 



JANUARY 17th UPDATE

It's Time for the Annual Tandem Owners Survey

Given the weather was still not cycling friendly and the playoffs were on, I've gone ahead and used last year's write-in suggestions for future topics to create this year's annual tandem owners survey.

As always, the annual survey is your chance to anonymously share and compare information about your tandem team, experiences, and riding habits with other tandem enthusiasts.

Here is the link to this year's survey:
The Annual Tandem Cyclists Survey (Winter 2010)

Graphed results will appear
at this link as they come in.

Mind you, if you are one of the first to submit instead of the 150th the results page / graphs won't be all that revealing. Therefore, and in the mean time, if you'd like to see the results from the seven (7) previous year's surveys, you can find them
HERE:

NOTE: The server will only register one survey submittal per computer and, as before, let me remind you that these surveys are intended for entertainment purposes only and responses are not being collected for commercial purposes. Additionally, no names or identifies are collected or associated with the completion of the surveys on the OpinionPower.com website or by me.


JANUARY 10th UPDATE

The Influence of Generational Shifts in Behavior on Tandem Clubs & Rallies - As you'll note below, links for the older Florida clubs we've had listed here at www.thetandemlink.com for many years were recently removed from the site as these clubs have quietly retired. As we wait for more updates during our annual update of rally and club information I'm also reminded that Pennsylvania's TOYS disbanded a couple years ago when founding members were unable to attract newer members to fill cub leadership / organizer roles. We recently heard from another club who report membership as well as registrations for one of the historically more popular mid-size tandem rallies has been in steady decline since 2003, with club membership down from 112 to the mid-60's and rally attendance falling from 125 to 57 in '09. I suspect this year's Tandem Club of America membership list will also show a continued decline from last year, a trend that's not changed in the 8 years or so that I've monitored it.

Now, it's not all bad news as we've learned a new central Florida tandem club based out of The Villages is nearly ready to 'launch', with members made up of folks who have retired from their primary careers or who are making that shift and migrating from northern climates. We've also noted that as tandem clubs fade away, the more active members realign themselves with larger, cycling clubs like the Florida Freewheelers or middle-Tennessee's Harpeth Cycling Club which could actually be a good thing given the added exposure of tandems to other cyclists on club rides with the single bike crowd. It's also noteworthy that the tandem tour business, to include the higher-end trips, continue to do a strong business and sales of high-end tandems remains strong.

Taken in aggregate this seems to suggest 'change' is a constant within the tandem community. Our own Georgia-based tandem club and inner-circle of friends has seen similar changes over the years that have caused us to see long-time friends with young children less often as school and extracurricular activities now have priority. Career moves and other life-events also thin membership roles and there definitely seems to be a general shift away from traditional 'club membership'. However, we've also gained new members because of those very same changes, e.g., new folks relocating to the region and/or 'new couples' discovering tandeming later in life.

In closing, it will continue to be interesting to see how rallies and club evolve. We may even need to find a different way of capturing information regarding tandem ridership since those traditional barometers such as club membership, rally participation and even internet discussion group membership become less meaningful indicators.


Yes, yes... we all know about Harry and Daisy. But what about C.C. Hassler and his tandem experience? In an item coming out of The Pantagraph, it was noted that in the late 1800's Bloomington, Indiana was home to local poet Charles Cunningham (C.C.) Hassler. Poetry was quite popular at the time, to the extent it was more or less a performance art practiced in various public places. Much of Hassler's work was characterized as homespun and humorous and became published in The Pantagraph under a column "Fun on Farm", to include a short poem in 1896 that captured his first experience with a tandem bicycle. I suspect his sentiment is still echoed by many first time tandem riders to this day...


Now I've rid a buckin' bronco, an' a mule that kicked an' balked
An' every four-legged critter that had ever run or walked;
But of all the everlastin' wabbly things that I have met,
This tandem wheel of ours is the most uncertain yet.
 

You can read more about C.C. Hassler HERE.


Team Wiggle Tandem... When Names Go Wrong - While I'm not sure there's anything they can do about it without changing sponsors, we've learned Dave Harmon and Jez Hastings from across the pond will be teaming up on a tandem in 2010 with the goal of breaking several tandem cycling records. Their sponsor is bicycle retailer Wiggle (who we have found to be a great source for great products at great prices, by the way) which means they are, in fact, Team Wiggle Tandem. Frankly, we've seen a lot of tandem teams over the years who easily fit the moniker "Team Wiggle", so I can't help but wince ever time I read the name. Nonetheless, for those who are interested, it appears Dave Harmon will be the keeper of the primary tandem team blog updates which you can find HERE.



Almost New Calfee Tandem $3,000; Too Good To Be True? Not necessarily. Bargain hunters rejoice, it's winter time and folks are tightening their belts all over the place. These two conditions can combine to produce all kinds of interesting deals on high-end or luxury items, to include tandem bicycles (Note: Unless you're using a tandem for transportation or competitive sport, it technically is a luxury item). Anyway, a couple of these high-end tandem offerings were recently brought to our attention by Ritterview on BikeForums, who has a proclivity for surfing the web to find all kinds of interesting and/or arcane things tandem. One was an older-model, fully-assembled Calfee coupled tandem being offered for $8,000 (perhaps a bit high) and the other was a frame & fork for $3,000, which is a heck of a deal given how Calfee's frame prices have skyrocketed over the past couple years (i.e., up about 20% since we bought ours in 4Q07).

While on the surface it might seem to defy logic that someone might drop $5,000 on a high-end carbon frame and then turn around and sell it just a couple years later, if you're really interested in one of these deals by all means ask the seller for the back story; there usually is one. In the case of the $3,000 Calfee frame, the seller is the second owner who actually got a good deal when it bought it on a whim from someone who simply wasn't happy with the frame. However, since they already owned a very nice tandem, there wasn't a real sense of urgency to build up the Calfee. As time passed the owners realized they were actually quite happy with their current tandem and couldn't justify the expense of building-up the Calfee. So, it's on the market and someone's going to get a good deal if the frame fits.

Speaking of which, when looking at previously owned Calfee tandems, it's a very good idea to ascertain some details regarding the original owners, i.e., were they really strong or heavy riders? An even better idea it to get the serial number and contact Calfee to verify that the frame is suitable for your team's weight and to learn anything else about the frame's history that might have a bearing on your planned purchase.

For example, our Calfee was designed to accommodate us, a 280lb team. If we had been a bit heavier, our tandem would have needed a larger diameter top tube to provide the necessary stiffness. So, if we were to sell it, the frame would not be a good fit for a team that weighed, say, 350lbs. Now, not even all Calfee buyers realize this so by all means, ask the seller or Calfee for that additional information. Again, if you call Calfee they'll also have the history for that frame which could reveal that it was damaged and repaired (no big deal since Calfee is one of the few firms that knows how to repair composite frames) or modified in some way that may be of interest to a buyer.


Link Updates:

Rally info added for:

- Sebring Weekend in Feb, downloadable application/info added
- Alabama Tandem Weekend in April upated
- Appalachian Off-Road Tandem Adventure (AORTA) in May added
- Saranac Lake Tandem Rally in June added
- Co-Motion Classic Stage Race in July / Aug, dates added

Others added:

- U.S. Blind Tandem Cycling Connection on the Links page (Website under development)
- http://www.gorgeousjewelrydeals.com/Bicycle-Necklaces offers a nice, inexpensive
tandem necklace and has been added to our Gifts, Jewelry and Collectables links.

Tandem Clubs added / removed:

- Updated - WABITS now listed for Virgina, Maryland & DC
- Added - PANTHERS of Central Florida
- Added - Tandem Wing of the Harpeth Bicycle Club
- In Limbo - Many clubs we've not heard from in a while
- Removed - Florida's FLaTTS, TASTE, Flyers & FLIRTS and Ohio's GOATS


Bloggishnish

Dang, it's cold! That about sums it up. Atlanta -- like many places in the US -- has been subjected to a blast of cold air coming out of the Northwest instead of warmer air from the South and Southwest. Our temps while mild compared to more northern climates have been fully 20 to 30 degrees below normal for Atlanta. Adding insult to injury, after a week of below freezing temps it warmed up just enough to drop freezing rain and snow and then went back to sub-freezing temps leaving all of our roads iced over most of Friday.

Will the Bulletin Board survive? Good question. My guess is, it may not make it as a weekly update. It takes a lot of time to create since I actually read and summarize instead of plagiarizing or listing RSS feeds. And, as noted, overall interest in the arcane aspects of tandeming, clubs and broader items of interest seems to be in decline.

Annual Poll, will that happen? Again, not sure if the juice is worth the squeeze. I need to look at the suggested questions I received last year and see if there's a common thread and if it ties in with things that interest me. I'm tempted to use more write-in answers this year, if only to draw out insight that you just can't get from multiple choice, one-of-ten or similar canned responses. Time (and weather) will tell.


JANUARY 1ST UPDATE

Note: This is a catch-up collection of items dating back to July 13th, when I made my last true update.

Cycles of Life, by Scott Sutton: Cyclist, tandem enthusiast and long-time tandem discussion forum contributor Scott Sutton has published a collection of short stories entitled, Cycles of Life. A self-described celebration... of the merits of the cycling lifestyle for all readers conveyed through short stories and essays about tandems, club riding, the romance of the bicycle... The book is published LuLu.com. and ordering information can be found HERE. You can also find an extract of Cycles of Life and a preview of Scott's wife Nancy's book, Ride Safe With Lil' Nancy, HERE.


Hold The Date - 2009 Tennessee Tandem Rally: Tom Spears wrote to let us know the dates for the 2010 Tennessee Tandem Rally are June 4 through June 6. The location will be in middle Tennessee, which is a change from previous years. The TTR website will be updated with additional details in early February.


What If You And Your Spouse Were Seriously Injured or Killed While Riding? It's a terrible thought, but sadly it can and does happen. We've had several friends who have been struck by cars while riding their tandems over the years and it makes you give pause to consider the question: are we prepared to deal with the consequences?

Remember, unlike with a single bike where one of you is at risk, if a car strikes you and your spouse while you're riding your tandem either one or both of you could find yourselves incapacitated or worse. If both of you were seriously injured, who will help care for you, your family and your home? Do you have sufficient insurance, to include long-term disability or perhaps deep cash reserves to call upon? What if you were both killed? Do you have your wills in place and/or have you addressed who would care for your dependents? Who, if anyone, will be able to navigate the insurance and legal systems on your behalf or the behalf of your dependents to ensure just compensation is secured when appropriate? Again, while not a happy topic as we enter the new year I'm reminded that tragedies do happen.

Case in point, back on Oct. 1, Gregory and Alexandra Bruehler were doing everything right while riding their tandem. They were riding on a two-lane road with a wide shoulder in broad daylight in Helotes, outside of San Antonio, TX, when a 40-year old motorist failed to keep his vehicle in the travel lane, drove off the shoulder of the road and then ran down the couple as he attempted to return to the road. Alexandra was killed by the collision and Gregory died enroute to the hospital. At home was their 7-year old daughter, Kylie. As if often the case, law enforcement officials were quick to dismiss wrong-doing on the part of the motorist before a proper investigation had been performed. The local DA interceded and the Sheriff's Office stepped back from the original statement but, as of this writing, no charges have been filed against the motorist for failing to maintain control of his vehicle. A civil wrongful death suit has been brought by the family to both ensure Kylie is provided for and to raise awareness regarding distracted and negligent driving practices. As is uniformly the case, the motorist's attorney has responded by making the claim that it was just an unfortunately accident. And, so it goes... A trust fund has been established in Kylie's name. Donations should go to the Kylie Bruehler Benefit Fund, c/o 24165 IH-10 West, Ste. 217-720, San Antonio Texas 78275-1160

So, are you prepared?


Daytime Tail Lights; A Good Idea Or Overkill? OK, so we all know a bright tail light is essential for cyclists who ride between dusk and dawn, right? In fact, it's typically required by law in most states. However, have you considered if running a tail light during daylight hours may also be prudent? We have and now we do. Yes, it scores fairly high up on the Fred Curve, but given we're riding a tandem, are middle-aged, non-competitive cyclists who wear mirrors attached to our helmets... we're fairly-well stuck in the middle of the Fred-Curve anyway.

But, seriously, given the recent rise in collisions where motorists have rear-ended cyclists in which all indications point to a distracted motorist (see above for an example), we have finally come to the realization we need to do what we can to remove the "I didn't see you" defense from motorists.

To that end, we were introduced to the DiNotte line of lighting products in a very dramatic way at a tandem rally when we found ourselves about a 1/2 mile back from good friends Bob & Jan Thompson. There was no way we could not see them up ahead even on a dead flat road in full daylight. I was impressed, but not yet moved to act UNTIL this past fall.

I should note, in addition to the rear-end collision that took the Bruehlers' lives, a friend and company executive was also killed while riding his bicycle on the shoulder of a road. Once again, for unexplained reasons, a motorist drifted out of the lane and struck him from behind. To the best of my knowledge, neither of these investigations have been closed nor have charges been filed.

Regardless, look for us on the road... Please!! Hopefully our bright red DiNotte tail lights will make that a bit easier for all concerned.


Rolf's for Santana: Mark Johnson of Precision Tandems wrote to us back in September to let us know Rolf Wheels has released a 160mm rear-spaced version of it's Prima Vigor Tandem wheelset called the "Perfect Vision" (Geez-o-pete, I guess Perfect is the new Mega at Santana these days).

The Santana-compatible 160mm rear-spaced tandem wheelset at 1768g per set (w/o q.r or rim strips) is about 1/2 a pound lighter than the Shimano/Santana Sweet 16 at 2055g per set (w/o q.r or rim strips). While not cheap at $1,495 (gasp) are priced to be competitive with the Sweet 16s. I should note, the 160mm "Perfect Vision" wheels have 20 spokes front & rear vs. the Santana-Shimano Sweet 16's with 16 front & rear. According to the folks at Santana, Sweet 16's will continue to be available to consumers.

Note Regarding Rolf: In case you missed it, Rolf Dietrich sold Rolf Prima Wheel Systems to Brian Roddy (majority owner and one of Rolf Dietrich's original partners) and two other long-time members of the Rolf team back in August. There are several articles on the web regarding the change as well as a press-release from Rolf.


Santana Offers Shimano Di2 Electronic Shifting - At this year's big bike shows Santana debuted tandems outfitted with Shimano's Di2 Electronic Shifting. Bill McCready was kind enough to share more details regarding the system to the readers at the Tandem@Hobbes list back on Sept. 26 in a post that you can find HERE. Bill also posted a follow-up to address gearing limitations, i.e., double-only no triple cranks that you can find HERE. The twice mentioned follow-up on pricing, compatibility and availability has still not materialized. In December Jack Goertz of Tandems Limited in Birmingham, AL, posted a review of the system after putting their first Shimano Di2 equipped tandem into inventory that you can read HERE.

What does the TheTandemLink.com think? Looking across the more recent technical offerings from the bicycle industry, this is yet another one of those things that makes me realize I'm really getting old. Does Di2 really do anything to improve the cycling experience? Not really. But it is cool and costs a lot so it will generate some much-needed revenue for retailers and give consumers bragging rights for a little while until the next great innovation comes along. Frankly, the smartest guy in the room is probably riding an aluminum or steel 90's model tandem with rock solid 9 speed components, conventional wheels, a steel fork and has a few thousand extra dollars sitting in his Scottrade account. The extra cash will allow him to retire a year or two earlier than if he'd gone out an bought a $10k+ tandem with all of the latest "innovations". That's not a slam on Di2, by the way. It's just my take as a connoisseur of fine tandems has traded a few extra years of work for a stable full of really nice bikes and tandems that really are only as good as the folks who ride and maintain them. Seriously, it's not about the bike it's about riding the bike and keeping it properly maintained.


Et tu, Alpha Q? For those who may not have notice, Reynolds quietly got out of the carbon fork business a while back so no more Ouzo Pro Tandem forks. In fact, John Slawta of Land Shark cycles apparently bought up a lot of Reynolds' remaining inventory and blew them out on Ebay at about 1/2 price. More recently I've learned that True Temper (aka, Alpha Q) is also exiting the carbon fork market so, again, for those who had tandems built around an Alpha Q X2 tandem fork, replacements may be hard to find as current inventories are exhausted. Now, on the bright side, I have it on good authority that a well-known bicycle design and fabrication house has approached True Temper regarding the possible acquisition of Alpha Q fork technology and tooling. More to follow IF something develops.


Specialized Shiv Tandem Concept: Certainly by now, most tandem enthusiasts who surf the web on at least an occasional basis have stumbled across a video or photos of the Specialized Shiv Tandem Concept. The latest creation by Robert Egger of Specialized was first revealed in a short Twitter Video from Specialized back on December 7th. For those who have been tandem enthusiasts long enough to remember, Egger had produced a similarly, visually stunning track tandem concept bike back in 1992. Like the '92 bike, and being skeptical by nature, I suspect that this truly is a visual exercise and the bike itself is not functional, right down to the brakes and purported shaft drive (noting the '92 tandem concept also claimed a shaft drive). However, it has likely had what I suspect was it's intended effect by stimulating a lot of Internet buzz in the cycling community and the buzz still seems to be making its way through the various blogs, magazine columns and discussion forums replete with the ubiquitous "I gotta have one" comments from folks who have never ridden a tandem in their life. Again, that's one of the reasons why designers like tandems: they are eye catching in a way that even a radical single bike like the S-Works TTR prototype for the Shiv Time Trial bike will never be.

Anyway, while I'm hopeful Mr. Egger will return from the holidays and reply to my questions about his Shiv tandem concept, I ain't holding my breath. They included:

1. The design appears to be time-trial specific; Yes?
2. The frame appears to borrow molds from the TTR Prototype, e.g., head, fork, rear stays; Yes?
3. What percentage of the frame is organic vs. borrowed from other prototypes or current bikes?
4. Is the shaft-driven sync mechanism a modified production model from a 3rd party, a one-off outsourced model, fabricated in house or perhaps a spare from the '92 exercise?
5 Are the brakes functional, i.e., is there a master cylinder buried in the frame for each brake that transitions the mechanical cable pull from the SRAM Red levers to hydraulics... or just part of the 'conceptual' package?
6. It appears to have a conventional dual chain ring drive but no front derailleur; was this intentional and is there a conceptual application here or....?
7. What is the actual weight of the concept bike in it's current configuration?
8. Is the tandem fully functional such that it could be ridden by two adults in an actual time trial or is it purely a visual exercise?

Of course, the internet being what it is, some details have come out such as a posting on the slowtwitch.com forums from Specialized's Mark Cote who noted:

"Awesome model from the Specialized design master, Robert Egger. Robert worked on this concept piece for a couple of years and finished it last spring. Pretty killer concept bike. You can see how concepts like the fork on this bike have made it into real bikes (like the Shiv).

Mostly made of alloy, wood, bondo, and paint but looks ready to race."

So, as Mark notes, concept bikes are what they are; awesome-looking designs that often times provide a glimpse of what may be in store on future designs.

The last comment I feel compelled to make is the timing of the '92 concept bike which may or may not have anything to do with the timing of the '09 bike. Although Specialized never produced the swoopy '92 time trial tandem, some will recall that 1991-1992 was a watershed year for big-brand tandem offerings. As noted in a New York Times article from September 7, 1991, it was in 1991 that Specialized introduced its only production model tandem, the 1992 Deja Two. Likewise, it was also in the 1992 model-year that Trek introduced its first tandems, the T100/T200 models. And last but certainly not least, it was also the 1992 model-year when Cannondale began to sell it's tandems as fully-assembled bikes instead of as frame-only offerings. Again, I doubt there will be a watershed moment like that in 2010 based on the very weak showing of tandem manufacturers at this past year's Interbike show in September.


2010 Rally Dates & Calendar Update: As the 2009 Tandem Rally Season draws to a close it's time to start making your plans for 2010. We've recently rolled the Tandem Rally Calendar forward to 2010 and are starting to populate the dates and places for next years events. As usual our very organized tandem brethren across the pond in the UK have already posted up their entire 2010 calendar, beginning with the Annual New Year Rally on Dec 29 - Jan 2. Dates & locations for the Southwest Tandem Rally, Midwest Tandem Rally, Georgia Tandem Rally, Northwestern & Eastern Tandem Rallies are also posted. So, if you plan to do a rally in 2010 -- and I highly recommended it to anyone who has not -- start making your plans NOW by checking your calendar and penciling in an event or two. you can find the full rally calendar HERE.


Here's Your Chance to Shape What You Read Here At The Bulletin Board in 2010: I'm almost at the point where I feel I can start updating on a more regular basis. However, before doing so I'd like to give any regular followers a chance to let me know what you'd like to read about. Is it industry news that captures your attention, or the more personal tidbits that pop up around the world. Would you rather see my rantings on whatever happens to trip my trigger in a given week, or is there something else regarding tandems you'd like to hear more about that you just can't find elsewhere on the web, at least without being inundated with all kinds of commercial stuff. Speaking of which, would you just as soon see the Google Ads vanquished from my site given that there are clearly some advertisers (whom I really don't control) that you're rather not be bothered with? Now's your change to let me know....

Send me your thoughts via Email to: mark@werlivingood.com.


Bloggishnish

I'd like to think I've gotten over my writer's block, but we'll see. This entry was only possible due to very cold weather here in Atlanta coupled with a concerted effort to try and publish a few updates to cover the past 5 1/2 months. Of course, if writer's block wasn't enough of a barrier, I also had a bit of a computer meltdown on the old '99 Mac G4 400mhz tower running OS9 that I've always used to update my site. A new to me G4 500mhz dual processor model how houses the hard drives from my old Mac so I'm back in business. Yes, yes... I should move over to iWeb on OSX on my newer G4 or G5 platforms, but I just haven't made the time to start over. Perhaps I'll try to update at least my home page in 2010.

Anyway, speaking of being a bit of luddite, I've ended my brief foray into Facebook. So, if anyone who had friended me was wondering if they'd been un-friended the answer is no, but... well yes. I like to stay connected to my friends, but not that connected: call me old-fashioned. So, if anyone's looking for me, Email still works and, well, I'll continue to offer up snippets regarding behind the scenes goings-on here.

Let's see, what else is new since July? Well, we've added another tandem bike to the fleet. Well, OK. It's got an engine, but it is truly a two-fer... our first sport touring two-fer. Right now we're trying to figure out when exactly we'll find the time to ride it as the best days to ride the motorcycle are always the same best days to ride the tandem. Note: For new readers, it's the silver one sitting behind my white & blue daily-driver.

 


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