How to Make or Break a Marriage.

Tandem Riding. Need I say more? I have been procrastinating riding Tandem with RL for quite some time now. Actually he wanted to ride the local mtn bike trails on our tandem bike. No thanks! The thought of having little control on a bike ride made me very nervous to say the least. But I was open minded to hitting the pavement with him.

This past Saturday we thought we’d give the tandem a good practice run. There is a long ride coming up in May that we are considering riding tandem in. So we thought we’d better try it first! We were going to get in a training ride with Moe but he thought we’d hold him back on tandem since he was going to ride for 2hours at a pace of 15-17mph. So he opted to ride solo. Oh wait, what’s that you say Moe? You slept in instead? Ahh, the shame!!!

I was surprised at how different the bike experience is on the tandem. Well on the negative side…I can’t see anything but the hubby’s backside. Not to say that the UPS calves aren’t nice to look at, but being able to see the road ahead brings me security. It was like bike riding blind folded!! I had to completely trust the husbands navigating skills! Arggh. I did lean over every now and then to look ahead which would lean the bike over and prompt the hubby to say “Sit down!? It took a little while but I became more comfortable ½ way through the ride.


Also, it took us some time to get our riding in sync with one another. He’s pretty good about calling out when he’s about to change gears, but when it came to standing up for hill climbing – well, that would bring out a little of the ugly in us. We haven’t quite got that down yet. We would end up leaning to the opposite sides or not communicate what when we were going to stand to pedal. Tandem riding requires lots of good communication. Yikes.

You also have to be patient with each others riding styles. RL is more of a short power stroker while I prefer consistence pedal strokes at a higher cadence. Compromise. Lots of compromise. Aye.

But after all was said and done. I actually really enjoyed the ride. For one thing, I think we were pretty darn fast for our first ride out. We rode about 20miles round trip within an hour. And that included rest stops for pics. Not too shabby. Eh?

We were also able to have some great conversation out there. We had considered bringing music along with us, but I think I prefer the talks instead. And as much as I hated the “blind? ride I surrendered after awhile and came to enjoy the thoughtless pedaling. I didn’t have to think about anything really, just pedal. Not so bad, kind of relaxing once I learned to trust my husband.

We survived our first tandem ride together, and no war wounds! Within a foot of each other for an hour and we still like each other! I count that to be a good ride. Looking to refine your marriage a little? No need to pay a $100 for an hour of marriage counseling, just go ride a tandem! The payoff in the end was well worth it for the both of us! 😀


  1. Ben C

    That sounded like a GREAT experience. WOW!!! Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Jayme Lynn

    Dominic and I ride our tandem quite frequently, I love it, we work pretty well together too. We haven’t done anything long distance (yet), but it is a lot of fun getting dressed up and going a mile or two to dinner on it.

    I must say though, there have been a few times where I’ve done a little unwanted off roading thanks to him, but I figure, if I’m going to crash, so is he.

    And remember, being the stoker requires you to take pictures and sing songs.

  4. Pete van Nuys

    On pedaling styles and cadence:
    This my sound weird, but consider putting the pedals 90 degrees out of sync. It works for some couples because it completely buries all the differences in the power strokes, except for RPMs. You still have to compromise on how fast to spin ’em.
    But because every down stroke is helping to kick one of your partner’s up strokes– and vice versa– the irregularities get dampened. One partner can even stand while the other is seated, something that’s pretty awkward on an in-sync tandem.
    And the power output to the rear wheel is steadier with four pulses instead of two.
    To do it, just loosed the eccentric BB, drop the chain off the front timing CR, and rotate the front pedal ahead of the rear one– on the same side– 90 degrees. Hold that while you put the chain back on, and re-tighten the BB.
    Give it two rides before you decide to stay “out of sync” or go back. It’s not for every couple, but it’s worked for my wife and me for over 30 years.

    On division of labor:
    Some people call that back chair the “stoker.” I always hated that. True, they can’t see straight ahead. But he/she can look ALL around, and can still see street signs and lights above the captain’s bulk. Which makes them perfect Navigator, able to study and think about the route, map, etc. Which means, when the Navigator says “turn left at the next light,” you damn sure better do it.
    And on centuries and fast club rides, they’re the perfect nutritionist, too, making bite sized morsels out of hard to handle power bars, oranges, and such, feeding themselves and the animal up front.
    They can answer cell phones, change CDs (remember CDs?), stash windbreakers, all sorts of tasks which bring real substance to the idea of a tandem “team.”
    Which is why I’ve always thought tandems were more likely to Make Marriages than Break ’em…

  5. RL Policar

    Thanks for the advice Pete.

    First thing we’re doing is getting some slicks on there. The current knobbies were from a tandem race my daughter and I entered back in fall.

    We’re also putting on a higher riser bar. Priscilla was leaning too far forward on the current set up. I’m probably going to swap out my bars and stems to make it more comfy.

  6. Ghost Rider

    “And as much as I hated the ‘blind’ ride I surrendered after awhile and came to enjoy the thoughtless pedaling. I didn’t have to think about anything really, just pedal. ”

    Sounds too much like riding an indoor trainer for my taste. Steering is half the fun!

  7. Clancy

    Divorce bikes…..hahaha

  8. patrick in chicago

    In flatland Chicago my wife and I love the beat-up old Schwinn we ride together. Once we made it through our “curve” we now have a great time and talking away is our favorite part of it. We have 2 tandems and taking them to Cubs games with friends is the best.

  9. Arnie

    Very cool. The wife and me tried tandem cycling early on in our marriage. Guess what? The tandem bike is history and we stayed married. 🙂

  10. Priscilla

    Thanks for the tips Pete. Very cool suggestions. 30years of tandem riding?! That’s awesome.

    lol Arnie. Happy to hear the tandem didn’t break the Marriage! =D

  11. fixedgear

    We’ve been riding tandems for about twelve years now. When we bought our first one our tandem dealer told us ‘whatever direction your realtionship is going in a tandem will get it there faster.’ It’s fun, we’ve gone 60+ mph and ridden 150 miles in one day. Bill McCready, who is the president of Santan Cycles, said ‘the stoker makes no mistakes’ and if you remember that you will never go wrong.

  12. Luke Manohan

    Well, sounds like you made some great tandem discoveries on your own. I used to sell them and it’s interesting to hear the arguments for and against.
    Here’s some examples:
    “Let him drive…are you crazy?!?”
    -you “let” him drive the car don’t ya

    “All I’m going to see is his backside and not the road”
    -Just like on a train, plane,boat…
    Actually you get a 300 degree view of everything else. You don’t have to worry about shifting,braking, the road,keeping the love of your life safe…that lets you really take in the scenery.
    “I’m not as strong as he is”
    -The tandem does not care who is stronger. You both pedal with the same force you normally use.
    “It’s cheap marriage counseling”
    -uh actually marriage counseling doesn’t always save your marriage but it hastens the inevitable.
    “They’re slow”
    -actually they’re faster. Anyone try to draft one can tell you.
    “I’ll just put my feet up and and let him do all the work”
    -HA HA HA… yes quite clever… I haven’t yet heard that one this hour (also goes with”She’s not pedaling back there!…hehe”

    Well Priscilla, glad you guys had fun.
    Thanks for the mac and cheese

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  14. FlynRyn

    thats my commute route that you guys were riding. I go from the stadium to the coast 14 miles one way. Cool pictures!

  15. Ken Sturrock

    Maybe we aren’t competitive riders, but both of us would prefer to go riding on the tandem than seperately. The tandem insures that we stay together and work as a team. I’ve tried getting my “back seater” to take a turn up front – but so far she has refused. Overall, we are able to go more places more quickly than we would ever go on seperate bicycles. Although a tandem is not for everyone, for us it’s a winner.

    If only we were as coordinated in our canoe as we are on our tandem bicycle….


  16. Ghost Rider

    Ken, glad to see you made it over here!

    I can attest that Ken and Amy really have a good thing going — I’ve ridden with them a couple times, and they both have a good time and communicate very well. They ARE a good team!

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