Today i got back on the bike with Dad, we worked out the kinks int he system and had a really fun 50 mile day. You would think that riding a tandem would be so easy all you have to do is pedal. Well i will tell you it is very difficlt todo and it really does take some good team work and communication. It starts with just getting on the bike. We use one of two methods, we either do a rolling start where both riders push off and then hop up into the saddles together. This has some advantages in that you have a little more power to get the bike rolling. However more often then not someone pushes done on the pedals before the other person is ready. This can cause some minor issues but usually works itslef out. The other method is to have the stoker (person in the back) get up into the saddle and get ready then the captian (frnnt rider) just pushes off and gets the bike going. You loose the power start but dont have to worry about timing or an accidental ill timed pedal.
Once you are up it gets a bit easier but then the balance has to start. I did not think that it would be that much harder than riding your own bike. But each movement you make the other rider feels and affects how they ride. if i shift the gears to quickly i can throw off the stoker, if they pedal out of sink or lighten there pedal i can feel it. So we talk, i say shifting, call out bumps, let them know if there is a hill comming, and they tell me if they need to move or grab water. As you get more and more used to riding like this some things become second nature.
Since mom and i have ridden a lot together she knows how i am going to pedal going into a corner, or how i am going to shift on the hills. Both of which make those things so much smother. I have asked many couple i have met riding tandems what they think of the experiance. all of them have said how much fun it is but warn that it can make or brake a relationship. riding will eaither bring you closer together or tear you apart.
Although at times it is difficult i really do enjoy spendin the miles on the bike with my parents it is so much easier to have a good conversaiton with them enjoying the time on the road. If you ever want to try riding a tandem bike let me know.