We feel one of the uses for your tandem bicycle that will bring you the most long term pleasure and that will most enhance your relationship long term is travel. Travel can be close to home or far away, domestic or international, tours or rallies. Sooner or later, though, couples traveling with their tandem or contemplating a new tandem to be used for travel will have questions about the bike, the act of traveling with it, and travel companions or tour companies.
As a part of our Tandeming 101 introductory course we put on for interested couples (more on that later), we focus quite a lot of time on traveling with the tandem - how to, with whom, and where. The information we provide is based mostly on our past experiences traveling with our tandems. We have a brief Power Point presentation. When we show the ppt we narrate, but most of the slides turn out to be self explanatory, so we are posting them here for your use.
We note that, when we travel, the bike and equipment we use are very much determined by the type of trip:
-- Our favored mode is "out the back door." This most often is a loop, probably aided by trains, ferries (we have a lot of water around here), and perhaps a lift from a friend. Mostly, though, we just ride a loop. We might do this with panniers, or we might use our Bob trailer; we prefer the Bob for trips that require significant clothing and gear, let's say a week or two on the road.
If we need to travel to a starting point, mode will be determined by distance: we drive to nearby rallies and fly to most everything else, including international trips.
For these types of trips, our choice bike and gear is again determined by the nature of the trip.
-- For a group tour with at least some on-the-road support and with baggage transfers, we use just a rack trunk to carry a patch kit, maps, maybe guide books, and clothing such as a jacket. If we drive to the start we will take one of our lightweight, go fast bikes, but if we fly we select a bike with couplers. Since we have entered the age of much more limited luggage weight (50 pounds per piece limit), we pack the bike in 2 S&S style cases and then take another case for things like rack, shoes, helmets, clothing, etc. Then a 4th bag will carry our street clothing, toiletries, and miscellaneous stuff. This way, all bags will be under the 50 pound limit.
-- For a loop tour we will travel with pretty much the same system as just listed above, with the exception that we will include either panniers or the Bob in the mix. We have a special case for the Bob, that holds not only the trailer but also shoes, helmets, rack, clothing, etc. While out riding the loop, cases are consolidated as much as possible and then stored with the starting hotel or B&B, an arrangement that is made in advance, to avoid surprises.
-- For a point-to-point tour, we prefer our Tandem TwosDay from Bike Friday. The bike travels in its 2 cases that convert to a trailer on arrival at the start. Clothing and gear travel in 1 or 2 soft side bags that can be folded up to ride in the trailer. The big advantage of this system is that it offers complete independence; plans can change, trains or planes can be used along the way, and an added bonus is that these bags fit into smaller taxis. The TwosDay can even fold and be tucked into a bus cargo hold.
-- Another option for point-to-point touring is to pack like for a loop tour, but send the cases to the ending point, hotel or B&B, via a shipping service or delivery service. This works very well, but does dictate that you have a defined end point, with no flexibility, and also precludes packing the bike for train or plane travel during the tour.
-- Although we love our tandem from Bike Friday, we have from time to time wished for a similar system, but with a bike sporting full sized wheels. We have been fortunate to work with Co-Motion on testing just such a machine, so look for a report in the future on the plausibility of using their new system.
So, with that in the way of introduction, we present you with the slides from our Tandem Cycling and Travel Power Point presentation. Again, hopefully the slides are self-explanatory. Why are we posting this? Well, to hopefully serve as information and valuable resource for anyone contemplating traveling with their tandem, or perhaps buying a tandem for travel, among other things. And please note that the slide content is oriented toward the Pacific Northwest since that's where we are located and most of our clients live. Otherwise, the concepts are applicable no matter where in the world you live and travel.
Please enjoy, and please email us with any questions or input you might have. We'd love to help if we can, and we would love it if you are close enough to come and go through our Tandems 101 course with us. Or maybe you are ready for Tandems 201, 301, 401, or 501? You can email us at email@example.com.
(Note: the bike cases are in the car already, so out of sight.)