Tandem trike?

Hello to everyone…

I’m thinking about doing something different this year: Riding with my 10 year old son on a tandem trike. Anyone thats done ragbrai on a tandem trike have thoughts or experiences that could help me think this through?

Also, I’m not seeing many of these out there on the market. I’ve found a Facebook classified group, but tandems don’t seem to be common. I’d appreciate any thoughts on where I might pick up a used one (I am in Pennsylvania if that helps).

Thanks for any guidance. I’ve always appreciated feedback from this group.

Take care.
Mark

9 Replies

Rodcrosgrove, February 15, 2020 at 2:41 pm

So my wife ride a traditional tandem with a trailer, just so you know. Catrike has a three wheel tandem and I think they have a group on RAGBRAI. Banana man has two trikes hooked together that he rides. It must be 15 feet long, so yours won’t be a problem.

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Jose Medina, February 15, 2020 at 7:11 pm

Ok , true story time. The secret on any tandem is harmony with the two riders. In 30 years of Ragbrai,I have seen loving couples and then couples that find out for real who the other person really is. True story. On one of my early Ragbrais , I was with a group that had two young couples on tandem bikes. About the 3rd day on Ragbrai we noticed that they had switched riding partners and tents. Yes, you heard right , Tents ! Like sleeping together . We woke up one morning and we were like , wasn’t he with her and her with him ,? We think it was one of those ” are you pedalling , yes I am , no you are not,yes I am fights. I have tried a tandem myself and it was not for me. My riding partner got sick and I had to ride the rest of the day by myself. You can’t imagine the insults and harassment riding a tandem by youself. Loser, nobody loves you, you must smell , ugly, what did you do to her etc. And that is only from the locals as you are riding by. Ragbrai on a tandem can be a challenge on hot days . Get to know your partner well . I think if you want to really know your partner , do a tandem on Ragbrai. Then get married. (Chuckle)

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Low Rider, February 15, 2020 at 9:29 pm

I can’t tell if you are looking for a rig to ride or are asking about doing it with a tandem trike you already have. If it is the former, Hasebike has trikes that can be joined together by taking the front wheel of the “stoker” and attaching it to the back of the “pilot”. During RAGBRAI several years ago I rode on a “tandem” with three units connected, with a visually impaired rider in the middle. There is a YouTube video of a bunch of Hasebikes connected, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nomRbWnyiKk the long “trike tandem” appears around 2 minutes in. I’ve heard the record was 55 units, 93 units or 99 units connected, (I wasn’t there and didn’t count them, and there are various reports with differing values) in any event you could get 2 together if you wanted.

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Anonymous, February 16, 2020 at 6:03 am

Jose Medina

You can’t imagine the insults and harassment riding a tandem by youself. Loser, nobody loves you, you must smell , ugly, what did you do to her etc. And that is only from the locals as you are riding by. Ragbrai on a tandem can be a challenge on hot days .

Jose, there are other reasons people are riding a tandem alone. And no, I can’t imagine the insults you speak of. You couldn’t imagine the ass kicking. People aren’t like that on Ragbrai, no way Jose

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Jose Medina, February 16, 2020 at 6:49 am

Yup , I am sure it was all in fun but true , lots of laughing. The story about the two couples was true too.

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Jboz, February 16, 2020 at 8:44 am

Mark Bauman – sorry this is a long post, but I have firsthand knowledge of both recumbents and riding with a young son on Ragbrai. I hope that some of this might be relevant to you.

I obviously don’t know your particular situation, however it’s possible that your dilemma could be that a 10 year old is in that weird zone of being too old for a tagalong, but maybe a little too young to make it across Iowa under his own power. Or you could be worried about getting separated, and having to make an awkward call home (Honey, I lost the kid.). Depending on his strength, conditioning and experience on a bike, he might surprise you. My son and I rode our first Ragbrai together in 2012 when he had just turned 13…yes, he was a little older then than your son is now, but he was an inexperienced rider and as a father I still had the those concerns going in. Well, he shocked me…he quickly proved that he every bit as strong as me, both physically and mentally. Maybe even a little tougher :) On an especially long and hot day (headwinds too), I was at the point of sagging and it was HE who coached ME to toughen up and push through, which we did. Every few hundred yards, he would slow down to let me catch up and check on me with a “you doing ok Dad?”, and a “cmon, one more hill…you can do it!”. I saw qualities in him then that I hadn’t seen before. There will be lots and lots of young riders doing the whole thing. You will see all ages, from 8 to 80’s. Try doing some increasingly longer training with him as soon as the weather cooperates where you are. 20 miles, then 30…then maybe make a day of it and push to 50 miles. Make that 50 miler a big goal, get him excited about it right now with maybe a big celebration when you accomplish it together. If he can do 50, he can do Ragbrai.

The ability to stick together with a younger rider is not insurmountable either. We had a simple plan. If we ever got separated, we agreed to go ahead and ride on to the next pass-thru town and wait at the very beginning of the town on the left hand side of the road. And as a fallback scenario, almost every town in Iowa has a post office with a big American flag out front. But the reality is you will quickly learn to stay together, even if you go for stretches with a few hundred feet separating each other. You will need to keep an eye on him, but you probably will soon find out that you don’t need to stick together like glue. A pair of matching brightly colored flags and mirrors are also helpful in keeping track of each other. A cellphone (texting), and even a pair of walkie-talkies are also a good contingency plan.

If you are still feeling like a recumbent trike is the way to go, here you go:

To source a tandem recumbent trike, look on Bentrider.com and go to their Message Board (forum section), then Classifieds, then trikes. There are a few for sale. One that jumps out is this one:

http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=148493&highlight=tandem

The seller is well known in the recumbent community, and is a published author.

A few notes of caution on the recumbent tandem trike idea:

Recumbent tandem trikes are cumbersome, large, heavy and long. No easy task to transport, and if you are needing to shuttle from the end town to the start town you may have difficulty finding a shuttle willing to accommodate it.

Once you get back home, they are not easy to store. In addition to an assortment of road bikes and MTBs, I have a recumbent trike, and it’s not easy to store. A tandem trike would be a few orders of magnitude more difficult to store.

And if you are thinking of just selling it after Ragbrai, important for you to realize that while recumbents are great, they are a niche bike with a relatively small market. Recumbent trikes are a sub niche of that, and recumbent tandem trikes are a sub sub niche. So it’s an extremely small market, and you will not be able to sell it easily down the road…and not very likely to sell it locally, so shipping also becomes a barrier to a quick sale. You might be sitting on it for awhile.

Best of luck to you!

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Jose Medina, February 16, 2020 at 10:40 am

Jboz. Great post. I remember a family of four that the parents wanted to get their teenage kids away from the video world and made them go on Ragbrai as a family. The kids were not happy about it . In a couple days, the kids were having such a great time that they were getting up BEFORE , Mom and Dad in the morning and on the road. I think they set up a way to stay in touch too. Kids will suprise you when THEY are having fun. They were also meeting up with newly made friends too. Mom and Dad told me that that was the best thing they had ever done.

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Jboz, February 16, 2020 at 11:06 am

Jose, yeah all my Ragbrais have been great, but that one was my favorite because of him. When I think about it, that ride was a pivotal moment for him. He matured so much on that ride, and when we finished, his confidence was off the charts. He has since moved way beyond me in his cycling ability, and has ridden several more Ragbrais, including done 3 Karras Loops, and once did the whole ride solo and bagging the entire way. He also did a self-supported ride about 1250 miles long from Maine, across eastern Canada and down to Michigan. Ragbrai 2012 started it all. Sadly, we can’t stay together these days because I’m getting slower and he’s getting faster. But he will be 21 on Ragbrai for the first time this year, and I’m sure he won’t want to hang with his old man anyway :)

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Jose Medina, February 16, 2020 at 11:42 am

Jboz , you should be proud. God Bless you both. I will probably be in the slow lane with you sometime. I will turn 70 on this Ragbrai. I have no plans on stopping.

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