Author Topic: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions  (Read 7125 times)

Danneaux

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Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« on: March 07, 2012, 07:19:50 PM »
Hi All,

I'm looking for a tandem stoker, which means I am looking for ways to find one, and open to any suggestions.

Backing up a bit, I purchased my tandem with the idea of sharing my joy of cycling with others at a level they might enjoy and for the usual benefits of a tandem:
- Couples of mis-matched ability can ride together pretty easily.
- You arrive at the top and bottom of a hill at the same time.
- Shared effort, shared joy, shared fun.
- (generally) faster speeds or further distance for about the same effort (barring uphills, and evenso you make it up on the downhills...).
- Easy conversation compared to riding two singles.

And, too, I kinda thought it would be a nice way to meet and share riding with a female cyclist.  ;)/ :) initially, hopefully leading to a pleasant cycling association ;D or even someday in the distant future, a good friendship beyond cycling :-* Who am I kidding? Just finding a suitable stoker would be nice (back to  :) ).

So far, my efforts have come to naught, and I find myself riding the tandem by myself-- even on longer 250km day rides.  :P

Here's what I've tried over the years (guessing I'll use the full range of emoticons in the description):
- Declining/ill health has prevented family members (father, sister) from riding with me.  :'(
- A visiting friend came from overseas and we used the tandem for touring and a short camping trip while he was here. :D Then he went home. :-\
- I took some non-cyclist family friends around the block once or twice so they could say they rode the Big Red Bike and take cellphone-photos of the activity to prove it to disbelieving friends. Once seemed enough, as they aren't cyclists. They do like the photos, however.  :-\
- I have used the bike to introduce the (generally female) half of several married couples to the idea of tandeming so they could decide whether or not to buy one (they did). I also used it to teach the (generally male) captain what good captaining is all about (i.e. it is poor form to a] remove the stoker's knees on path-entry bollards  :o, b] fail to call "post!" before bumps if they can't be avoided and/or exceed the damping range of a suspension seatpost  :-X, and c] fail to realize while they might be Captain, the stoker outranks them as Rear Admiral and is Always right. Always. If stoker ain't happy  >:(, no one is happy  :(). Success on both counts, but success meant they got their own Big Bike and didn't keep riding with me on mine.
- Took initially reluctant friends and acquaintances for rides, after which they decided they loved tandeming, but loved the autonomy of their single bikes more.  :-X Hearing, "I wouldn't mind a tandem, but I'd have to captain 'cos I'm *such* a control freak" was not what I had in mind  ::), especially as it would have also required me to buy a custom-made tandem and sell mine. I also found it is possible for a stoker to steer the bike using their own handlebars and sufficient body English. :o I also discovered some stokers remove their feet from the pedals and recline in the rear compartment in classic if somewhat cliche' poses. I knew it felt like a hill.... :-\
- Placed ads at local bike shops and alerted personnel I was looking for stokers. No luck there.
- Offered to partner with blind cyclists. 8)
- Contacted a local cycling club or two. Or three. Same for the YMCA/YWCA and a variety of outdoors clubs.
- Offered references and a resume as past professional tour leader.
- No one I know knows anyone who is interested in trying even a temporary stint as stoker...even if it means a gentle 5-mile ride along the riverside paths and a includes a decent picnic lunch.
- Certainly, no one is up for a 200-400km day ride on the Big Bike.
- I really don't want to loan-out the entire bike as some have suggested, 'cos then I wouldn't be riding it.  :-\
- Despite what may seem obvious  ;), I have been reassured the problem is not "me" but the concept of tandeming itself lacking appeal. Goes back to that autonomy thing, or lack of it for potential stokers. Those who have ridden with me reported they felt relaxed and comfortable with my captaining, but would have preferred it had been them driving instead of anyone else. Or remembered why they hadn't been cycling in years and commenting on how much work even tandeming is compared to other sports like, well, there were no other sports mentioned.

We're still having the occasional flurry of snow, but that can't last much longer and spring is on the way. It would be nice to get out on the tandem with someone occasionally. Someone pleasant and enthused who also wants to would be even better!

Suggestions for finding same?

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 08:04:04 PM by Danneaux »

JimK

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2012, 09:31:55 PM »
I have yet to ride a tandem!

Years back I knew a guy who had an incredible collection of bikes stuffed in his basement. Penny-farthings of every description. But also two 5-man bikes! I know the Smithsonian made inquiries after this fellow passed away - I'm not sure what happened to the bikes... ah, here is an obituary...

http://articles.philly.com/1989-09-26/news/26100548_1_bicycle-lanes-national-group-westinghouse

Seems to me that the easiest way to find stokers is just to go on group rides to meet people who like to ride bikes. Maybe then join a few such friends for smaller informal rides of three or four people. Then it'll be an easy step to a real tandem ride, not just around the block.

Danneaux

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2012, 10:01:03 PM »
Quote
I have yet to ride a tandem!
I can fix that!
Quote
Years back I knew a guy...
Oh, how sad to hear of the passing of such a remarkable fellow as Mr. McNair. Thanks for the obituary; it made a fascinating read. You don't run into people like that everyday, and their loss is surely that -- a loss.
Quote
...go on group rides to meet people who like to ride bikes. Maybe then join a few such friends for smaller informal rides of three or four people. Then it'll be an easy step to a real tandem ride...
Good idea, Jim; I like the progression, and it looks like a good way to "prequalify" the candidates. I'll surely keep it in mind. We have a first-ever (for around here) "Gran Fondo" coming up in Cottage Grove this June: http://dark30sports.com/events/the-oregon-gran-fondo-june-2-3-2012-3/ Opportunity knocks!

Any other suggestions, fellow Thornies? Thornites? Thornicians? Forum Members?

Best,

Dan.

jags

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2012, 10:47:21 PM »
Dan  buying a tandem you realise of course that would be the end to your solo touring carrear ;D ;D

Danneaux

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 11:01:35 PM »
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Dan  buying a tandem you realise of course that would be the end to your solo touring carrear
jags! Where were you two posts ago?!?  ;D Hadn't thought of that. Next post: "Tandem for Sale" (just kidding...). On the other hand, if the Long-Term Stoker Recruitment Scheme works as planned, she'll go with me! Hey! It worked for the "Blayleys": http://www.blayleys.com/ (John Bayley's an Irishman, too! http://www.blayleys.com/about/john.htm , while Pamela Blalock is 'Merkin http://www.blayleys.com/about/pamela.htm ).

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 11:04:09 PM by Danneaux »

JimK

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 11:24:27 PM »
You don't run into people like that everyday

His daughter was one of my housemates for a year or two when I was studying physics in graduate school and she was a veterinary student. One time I was up at their family farm in Vermont where they had a barn full of old horse-drawn sleighs and also an ice boat. It was winter and we took the ice boat out. WOW, a bit of wind and the thing takes off like a rocket! Ain't no brakes neither!

Bob was legally blind at that time but still rode his bike to work every day - of course he didn't have a license to drive! He worked with steam turbines. He carried a harmonica and would tune up the turbines by playing the harmonica, matching the pitch of the turbine to figure out the speed at which it was spinning!

Some of his children were national class white water kayak racers. The older daughter taught at Outward Bound. Her boyfriend was out cross country skiing in northern Quebec and discovered the radioactive Russian satellite that crashed up there, some time 1980ish.


jags

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 11:57:29 PM »
its a small world indeed , those guys cycled in my neck of the woods some of my regular routes around newgrange .hang on i'll see if i can post some photos of the exact route they were on.

ah can't find any more at present but its a lovely cycling route pity i didn't meet them i could have shown them loads more.

Danneaux

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 12:35:59 AM »
Man! What a fantastic shot and some more gorgeous Irish scenery, jags; exactly why I love this list.  Small world, indeed!

Say...I didn't know you owned two airplanes...!  Three, if you count that lovely Sherpa of yours in the foreground. It looks as if it could take off for the skies any moment. I can see as many of your photos as you'd ever care to post.

Best,

Dan.

jags

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 12:52:52 AM »
Thanks Dan that photo is on the exact same route that guy took lovely cycling but not great road surface.newgrange is just up the road the boyne valley runs all along that route .ok lets see if i can post another one .


it will be a mirical if i got this right but if i did.
well i love old grave yards for my coffee break, the guy on the horse wasn't to pleased i took his photo it was a big show jumping show i came across great days cycling. and the last is yours truly  getting ready for a tour up to northen ireland.
now if only i could find the lead for my camera i coud post loads more  ;D ;D

Danneaux

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 12:58:01 AM »
Absolutely fabulous, jags, and you got it right in "one"!  Great job! Boy, what beautiful country, and it touches a special chord for me 'cos it is where my own relatives lived before they left Ireland long ago. I don't mean "generally" where they lived, but right spot on the money. You can bet I'll be showing these to my Dad as well. At 94, he's deep into the family genealogy, so your pics couldn't have been more timely.  "Well done" from me and him as well.

Please, will you start a gallery page, jags? Or expand the one you already have? These are too good to leave in the camera. The graveyard pic reminds me of a Frank Patterson sketch from back in the day, and that horse-jumping shot would take a prize.

Best (and thanks!),

Dan.

jags

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2012, 01:06:00 AM »
Dan the guy on the horse gave me a very stern look  just as he landed  but man he was brilliant such control over the horse. ah where i live on the north east coast is full of history if ever you get over her i'll take you all over it you would love it i'm sure.
say hi to your dad for me and find out what part of ireland he came from.
i will be touring the south to the north (mizen to malin ) come may never been to that part of the country i'm ashamed to say but will give you loads of photos when it all happens. ;)

JimK

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2012, 01:27:25 AM »
I'm still catching up on the exploits of the McNair family. Here is the sister of my house mate:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matty_McNair

jags

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2012, 01:33:02 AM »

dan this is something you see all over ireland these days bunglow bliss this is what the celtic tiger did for ireland houses popping  up everywhere you look spoiling the view of the cooley mountains in the distance.yet another great place to cycle.
my beautiful granddaughter sorting my packing out for me ;D

that is a feel club member  Rich, he came over last summer and we toured the Mourn Mountains  nice trip.
well thats all Dan the rest is just family shots.

Danneaux

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2012, 02:47:19 AM »
Quote
I'm still catching up on the exploits of the McNair family. Here is the sister of my house mate
Eye-popping exploits, Jim! "World-Class" does not do her efforts justice. For a heart-stopping moment, I thought we'd found the perfect back-seat occupant for the tandem...till I read about the two kids, meaning she's probably got a tandem partner already.  ;) Keep looking!  :D She has more siblings, right? ;D Dog-sledding, skiing, and an association with anyone from TopGear puts her near the top of the stack, nevermind her incredible exploratory/athletic feats.  What an individual!  Her Dad was sure a neat guy. All kidding aside, thanks so much for bringing these amazing people to light, Jim. For someone like me who appreciates intelligence, self-sufficiency and the Romance of Adventure, they harken back to the Glory Days of exploration and classic innovation. I'd begun to fear such feats of athleticism and intellect/innovation were a thing of the past. There's hope for the future -- the kids are in it, too. Man, that's neat! Made the hair on my arms stand up reading about what they've done and the lives they've led.

jags, those photos make me want to ride cross-country, then swim to Ireland towing Sherpa with a rope in my teeth, before riding over to the northeast corner to pay you a visit for a ride. These will keep me busy for awhile, coming back for yet another look-see!  :D

jags, I'll PM you off-forum with a brief summary of the family history so we don't bore everyone else to tears. Given how small the world is, we're prob'ly related.

Best,

Dan.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2012, 05:04:31 AM by Danneaux »

Mike Ayling

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Re: Wanted: Tandem stoker recruitment suggestions
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2012, 11:19:08 AM »
Dan,

How seriously did you explore the vision impaired stoker situation?

Here in Melbourne Australia there are always vision impaired riders looking for sighted pilots and I am sure the same would apply in your country unless you live in a very small town.

I started tandem riding following an appeal for front riders from Vision Australia and enjoyed a great friendship and lots of riding with Dave, the bloke I was introduced to by Vision Australia. Dave has now moved to Queensland but I still ride at the Come and Try days organised by Vision Australia.

If I had not had this experience I would never have started tandem riding with my wife of 40 years who had never ridden a half bike in her life (our 40th anniversary present to each other was a pre owned entry level tandem) and our new Thorn is now in transit to Australia. 

Mike