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Different take, stoker does the shifting

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Different take, stoker does the shifting

Old 01-12-22, 12:32 PM
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motochick
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Different take, stoker does the shifting

My captain came to me with the idea that I do the shifting, I wasn't thrilled. I want to just zone out and make circles, not think and stuff. Besides, it can't be done... Since the bike is set up for Shimano ergo shifters on the front, this was going to be a challenge. We did try to do research, but it isn't common and when it does happen the bikes are custom made for it. We even called some of the builders and realized it was not normal and we were gonna have to fabricate something ourselves. I thought maybe there is another team out there that might want to know that this is doable and that it really does work and works very well.

So here is our new-to-us 2002 Co-Motion Speedster that we modified so the stoker does the shifting. Why? Because we do everything different, against the norm, we gotta be complicated and change stuff, and because the captain wanted me to have a job other than the bell. We found some scrap metal lying around the shop and soldered on some cable stops, bolted it to the water bottle mount and it worked. We probably should have found some nicer pieces of scrap but when it actually worked we just threw some paint on it and called it good. The shifters are Campy 10sp bar ends, Campy derailleurs, and a Shimano 10sp MTB cassette, yes they work together with the shift mate. We also ditched the V-brakes for Paul Neo-retro Canti's, why? Because you guys said they were easy to set up....you were right, and they work great in our mountain filled riding area. We also opted for shorter than normal cranks, DaVinci 150mm F/R. Capt. is 5'11.5" and I am 5'4" and we absolutely love them. We can't imagine riding anything longer! We wouldn't be different if we didn't run longer than normal platform pedals, these are Pedaling Innovations Catalyst pedals. They were designed to let you put your foot into the correct position for optimal pedaling performance, your arch goes over the axle. This allows your arch to be supported at both ends, your ball and your heel, allowing your power to come through your hips, the most powerful muscles in your lower body. The pedals combined with the short cranks have made climbing the long steeps a breeze, no more lactic acid build up, no more being out of breath, no more having to stop. Plus wearing comfortable flat shoes is soooooooo nice! I also included a pic of our water carrying waist packs because I don't see much discussion on how people drink on these things. Yes, our bike came with 4 water bottle cages but I could not reach mine and I would rather my captain not be fiddling around with water bottles, BOTH HANDS ON THE WHEEL please! LOL! We had used minimalistic backpacks in the past but they are hot and very uncomfortable. These Source packs are perfect, they carry 50oz of water, have a wide mouth opening for easy ice fill, have storage pockets on the sides and back and an optional suspender strap. They pack is thin enough that I can be in the drops and not hit the pack on my captain, and I use a visor! Even when the bladder is full, you cannot feel the weight at all, even w/out the upper suspenders.

We have really enjoyed the building process of our new steed but the riding part is way more fun! We are doing 40-50 mile rides almost every time we go out and we have never been so comfortable, some of that might be the 38mm tires at 55/60 psi, tho. I was never able to comfortably do rides over 20 miles on our old tandem because the bike was just too small so I set some goals with this new one. The first goal was a half century and we did that on our 5th ride so now I want to try a metric century. (I didn't know how comfortable a tandem could be!) I guess the next step would be 75 miles, because that is a nice number. Then maybe a full century? The thought of that right now is crazy! If any teams are ever in the Sedona area, give us a holler, riding with another team would be a hoot! Hope you enjoyed the write-up of our weird bike.



Thanks postal lady for taking our pic!

Stoker shifting adapter for Campy bar-ends

Up close of the cable holder mount

50oz water carrier by Source
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Old 01-12-22, 03:25 PM
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I can think of 2 things that might make this difficult:

1) Steering, braking and shifting need to be coordinated with each other. Adding the communication from the captain to the stoker could complicate this coordination and might cause a problem in an emergency situation.
2) Normally when shifting the team needs to ease up on the pedaling to make shifting easier. As captain I often put a little back pressure on the pedals to let my stoker know that I'm about to shift and/or call out "shift". This could probably be done by the stoker but it would take a while to make this second nature.

Good luck with your pioneering experiment!
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Old 01-12-22, 03:35 PM
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Whilst it will possibly work well for a team that always rides together makes it impossible to ride solo when needed
So Good luck
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Old 01-12-22, 04:25 PM
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Those packs look like a great idea!! My stoker said she doesn't want to shift, but it was a fun story to read, good luck and fun riding!!
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Old 01-13-22, 12:35 AM
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That's interesting the hydration pack on your hip We use the (Camel Back) and havn't seen this style
Shouls stay a bit cooler and the weight lower is a bonus.
What are they called?
Thanks
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Old 01-13-22, 09:37 AM
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I am the captain on this setup. The packs are Source Hipsters and they were purchased directly from the manufacturer during a sale before Christmas. They were nearly 50% off. Definitely more comfortable than backpacks.

The shifting is working out great. There’s no more communication required then if I was doing it all. It’s really convenient when doing a quick stop that requires braking and shifting simultaneously. I work the brakes and say “easy pedal” while she gets the shifting done. I have a stand that allows me to test out the drivetrain so I don’t need to ride the bike solo other than very short distances.

my stoker’s happy so that’s all that matters right?
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Old 01-15-22, 03:31 PM
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Wow! Amazing! Good that you were able to work this out! Looks as if extra-long shift cables are no longer needed.
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Old 01-17-22, 09:31 AM
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The one (unlikely) instance where I see that this could be a problem is:

You're approaching an intersection. The light turns yellow. You as captain decide to power up to get through before the red (an instant decision). She as stoker isn't aware of this and decides to shift. This winds up being a split decision and things might not work out well.
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Old 01-17-22, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
The one (unlikely) instance where I see that this could be a problem is:

You're approaching an intersection. The light turns yellow. You as captain decide to power up to get through before the red (an instant decision). She as stoker isn't aware of this and decides to shift. This winds up being a split decision and things might not work out well.
Even when I was shifting I would communicate my intentions. So no change there.
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Old 01-20-22, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by oldacura View Post
The one (unlikely) instance where I see that this could be a problem is:

You're approaching an intersection. The light turns yellow. You as captain decide to power up to get through before the red (an instant decision). She as stoker isn't aware of this and decides to shift. This winds up being a split decision and things might not work out well.
We have encountered this many times already and we powered thru with me upshifting while we turn! And then there are times when the captain decides to stop instead of go....and we are in a hard gear. He communicates, I simply downshift and put us into a good take off gear. It really does work awesome, I think better than the old way. He can brake (while easy pedaling) while I am putting us into the right gear. With me shifting, I am MUCH more in tune to what is going on, it makes the ride more enjoyable. BTW, we did our metric century yesterday, (after doing 50 two days before) it was a breeze.
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