Tandem ride reports
Was thinking it would be nice to have a repository for tandem ride reports. (Sticky?) Some outings/events deserve their own threads, but I'd like to be able to check in on the regular tandem MTB action in a single location. And of course I would encourage everybody to post any psyche you can. Group rides, missions, quickies, bails/fails...it's all good fodder.
What say ye denizens?
We conjured up with the idea of riding from the lowest to highest points in Orange County, CA. Sort of a super-light Badwater-Whitney affair. I was determined to do it without car assistance, which seemed natural since we live near the beach.
The high point would be Santiago Peak (aka Saddleback) in the Santa Ana Mountains, where mountain biking is popular. From the beach it's a 40-minute drive through suburban sprawl to the base of the trails up Santiago. We live near the mouth of the Santa Ana River, which has a convenient path that allows keeping away from traffic for a big chunk of the ride. Connecting the Santa Ana River with the mountain area required riding through the city of Orange.
We gave it an initial go, wanting to do it with a couple of bivouacs (tricky since no camping outside of campgrounds is the rule). I failed to replace my Steripen batteries beforehand, so we made one quick (and cold) bivy, used up our fuel purifying water, and cut the ride short by skipping over the range without tagging the summit.
The high point at Four Corners:
We beat it home, unsuccessful.
I began to think doing this ride in a push would be do-able, maybe easier than with bivouacs. So we planned in that direction, thinking we might be able to ride it round trip in 16 hours. I did stock the mountain with a couple of 50/50 (half water, half Powerade) caches a few days prior, as there are no reliable water resupplies high on our route. This turned out to be a boon; it eliminated the needs to purify/purchase/grovel water.
With two caches of four liters each in place on the mountain, we set out at 4:15am from Huntington Beach. A stop at a coffee booth for hot tea in Orange pushed me through the coldest part of the day, just before sunrise. We rode up Silverado Canyon to Maple Springs Road, arriving at our first cache with a good amount of 50/50 still on board. Forced hydrating in the cool shade didn't seem natural, but paid some great dividends. We felt good on the climb and pushed past Four Corners to our last cache, which we stashed most of for the return trip down.
We hit the summit at 1:30pm and celebrated with a quick snack. The descent…need I say? A joyous break for certain muscles.
We stopped at Irvine Lake near the base of the Santa Anas for some comfort food. A couple burgers later, we were again pushing for home.
We finished a short while after dark, at 6:30pm, happy with our time and feeling (relatively) good due to low temps and lots of hydration. No singletrack, but a "mountain bike ride" to be sure...
Nice report and good idea for a topic. Quite the long day on the tandem for both of you.
Ed and Pat Gifford
the Snot Rocket tandem
Now that's my kind of adventure, but how do I get my stoker to see this as a fun way to spend the day? Nice write up, thanks for sharing.
Thanks giff & M-T.
M-T, you know the drill...taking steps toward more committing rides. Keeping tabs on the fun meter (and comfort meter) is my standard MO for stoker mojo maintenance. Favorite snacks, tons of hydration, comfy seat/grips/clothing, sufficient incremental training beforehand, frequent breaks, music if that helps, taking pix or just enjoying a view. Bring a thermos with hot beverage or stop at a decent restaurant, coffee stop, et cetera. Travel light. Use a sag wagon. Cache beforehand. Don't try to do too much too soon and be happy with cutting it short. Relish every minute outdoors with your other, because (as my climbing bros say) yer gonna die!
We couldn't have done this ride a couple months ago, but we did a handful of tough-for-us rides, and the last one with the bike loaded provided a fantastic (if inadvertent) pre-req training sesh. Strike while the iron is hot
Phil's Trail System, Bend Oregon
I'll add a ride report from a couple years ago when we visited Bend, Oregon...
To avoid this turning in to a novel, I'll only detail one loop we made up. This
loop was ~27.5 miles and covered area beyond Phil's system. We started at 1,
the Phil's Trailhead, and rode west towards junction 4 where we took a short
connector to junction 5, Ben's Trail. We rode Ben's through junction 16 and 17
to junction 24. To this point the trail was relatively snakey, tight in spots,
and climbed somewhat. IMO not the best tandem trail, simply due to the
tightness of some of the curly-que trail meandering. Still fun, and quite
different from what we're used to.
At junction 24 we were at the bottom/end of Lower Whoops, which is a one-way
trail (down). We took FS road 310 up to junction 29, then branched north on
Skyliner's Trail. This trail elevation stayed about even as it skirted a
ridgeline and exited Phil's system. It junctioned at a Sno-Park parking lot and
we took Tumalo Ridge trail and climbed. There were some rocky switchbacks that
we didn't clear, but the trails here pretty much mirrored the trails in Phil's.
Smooth, clear, good traction, and views, views, views as we climbed. We made it
up to a winter log cabin shelter maintained by the nordic community for a
well-deserved rest and snack, then back on the bike.
There's a chunk of private land between where we were and where we wanted to be.
Fortunately there's a trail, Sector 16, that flows around the property lines.
And, as before, this trail was tight, something you could rail on a single but
something that requires a slower speed and setting the bike up with the rear
brake on a tandem. Sector 16 leads you back to Phil's system and, the point of
the whole loop according to my stoker, the top of Upper Whoops. Doing this loop
is the only way to the top of Upper Whoops without riding a few miles on FS Jeep
roads. Upper Whoops didn't have many whoops, but it was a much faster section
of trail and while it had many twists and turns, they were better-sighted
corners and allowed me to stay off the brakes more. Upper Whoops led to Lower
Whoops and, given the signage at the junction, was where the fun was about to
I'd figure that this section would be killer on a single bike or a tandem teamed
by crazy people; it would also be much less stressful right after the rainy
season. The trails throughout, as mentioned, were soft and in places were like
sand pits. This was compounded by the 1.7 miles of berms and jumps on Lower
Whoops. I don't want to imagine the speed necessary to attain air there on a
Lower Whoops ends back at junction 24. We had met a group of middle-schoolers
with a few local leaders back at the ski hut, and we caught up with them at the
bottom of Lower Whoops, to their astonishment. We got some local trail-side
advice to hit Phil's trail, a short jaunt of fire road 300 to the south.
Junction 25 began Phil's trail, which led, eventually, all the way back to
junction 1. We would later ride Phil's again, along with a couple stints on
Kent's trail, and I couldn't decide my favorite between the two. These are my
kind of tandem trails. Twisty, turny, trees, but more open, more big-ring
flying which is my most favorite type of riding.
I have only touched the surface of the Phil's trail network here, and we only
scratched the surface of the entire system during out stay.
"the big red train"
Thought I'd throw in our "date" ride last night. We had a sitter last night for our son and the weather was so nice we decided to go on a quick night ride on the Fullerton Loop. The temps were nice and the skies were clear and full of stars. We started out around 6:45 after the wife came home from work and the sitter arrived. We had a nice pace and had to watch for a few mud spots as the rain Monday had left some spots muddy. We did good to avoid the mud until the end of the ride. Of course my stoker was stoked to get muddy, nothing like a bit of mud she said. After our ride we headed downtown for some burgers and beers, nothing like date night!
Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!
Photos at the start area / parking area of Tour de Felasco 2012.
Three Fandangos and one coupled Ventana ECdM.
Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!
Sunday 01.22.2012, Left from home and did our typical out and back trail for a short Sunday ride. 44 miles, about 10 paved and the rest off-road double track.
Most times we see wildlife. Often Alligators cruising the canals, all kinds of birds from Bald Eagles, Sand Hill Cranes, Woodstorks, and smaller birds such as Rosiette Spoonbills and Ibis. Sometimes deer, otters and wild pigs.
This is one 12 foot gator that had us reconsider speeding by him. We decided to walk past him, but I decided as the distance got to less than 20 feet from his teeth to us, I opted the idea of banging the front wheel on the ground to get him to move. BTW, none of these photos are zoomed in.
He was one of about 15 gators along the ride. Most were on the banks sunning themselves and well off our path.
Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!
Totally cool entries! Awesome photos. Nice...
i've been meaning to write this up for a few months now. About one year ago our group of road tandem friends came up with the idea of doing the White Rim trail in Canyon Lands Park outside of Moab. The only problem this presented was none of us had mountain tandems. We come for all over the country and were undaunted by this and over the next six months or so we all acquired mtn tandems with the last one completed 2 days before the trip. 3 ECDM's 1 Fandango 29r, and 1 Ellsworth. What we do to have fun with other tandem riders. The White Rim trail is about 81 miles of jeep type double track and offshoots of single track. It has two significant climbs in route and a long climb to finish at the end. As this a National park a permit is necessary and the permit dictates in which direction you ride it. Due to logistics we decided to use a bike tour company to handle it all and make it a vacation for everyone. Maggpie Adventures out of Moab did an outstanding job making the trip memorable for everyone involved. They modified their van to accommodate the tandems to ferry us to the start and finish. We did the 4 day 3 night option which meant the days ranged from 14- to about 26 miles. The all organic food they prepared was plentiful and delicious. The wine and stories and lies flowed freely in the evenings. The scenery was spectacular, the riding was great. Not extremely technical but challenging none the less and both of the climbs in the middle were not entirely ridable by any of the tandem teams although Maggie cleared one of them on her single As guides they were second to none and incredible riders and coaches. Mike is a skilled mechanic and kept everyones bike in great shape for the days rides. We were able to navigate a slot canyon on day three that tested everyones agility and ability to handle exposure to drop offs and heights. The desert skies at night provided incredible lessons in identifying celestial constellations. We had a two days with some stretches of sand that were challenging and at times unrideable for short distances. We have never fallen on our road tandem but managed to crash about 6 times on this trip but fortunately all in the sand with no harm done except to our pride. BTW shimano spd pedals are not well suited for Moab sand and grit, everyone with these pedals no matter what model had release issues. Egg beaters or Time's worked well in all the conditions. All the camping is done in designated camping areas assigned by the park service and had pit toilets. All riders whether private or guided had vehicular support as you must carry everything including water. The geology and history of the area is well documented in books and experiencing this while riding was a highlight for everyone. Attached are a file of pictures from the trip and garmin connect profiles of the rides.
white rim day 1 by akexpress at Garmin Connect - Details
white rim day 2 by akexpress at Garmin Connect - Details
white rim day 3 by akexpress at Garmin Connect - Details
white rim day4 by akexpress at Garmin Connect - Details
Mohican SP trail - 8/16/08
I am sorry if I am double-posting this from before, but I still smile when I read it. I love the stories!
My wife and I, with another tandem couple, attempted the 24 mi. loop at Mohican State Park. We had high-70's with a slight breeze and dry trail conditions ("perfect" would be more concise). We had the trusty old Cannondale with a longer fork (still rigid) for more bottom bracket clearance while our friends had a 4"-travel full susp. GT with motorcycle wheels and tires and disc brakes (at least if you saw them off the bike, you would swear that's what they were from).
Despite a bobble on the very first gravelly switchback, we re-grouped and completed the opening 2-mi. climb in good shape. At the top we had to carry over a couple log piles that also gave the GT some trouble. After that we cruised pretty well and even caught the GT in the middle of a rock garden where they picked a bad line. At the hairpin turn into the climb at mile 7 we lost the bike when a tree root that the rear tire caught actually ripped out of the ground. Managing the restart on the climb was tricky, but we did it. The downhill switchbacks in general gave us trouble (uphill is no easier, but a hard fall is less likely), but we made all but 2 of them as the 2 scariest ones offered no margin for error so we walked them. I am still astonished that our front tire never washed out on us - must be the weight. We bypassed miles 12 to 16 and just climbed the road ~1-1/2 mi. to the top. From there it was some fun sailing through sweeping turns in the pine forest. We bogged on a short nasty steep climb at mile 21 which caused me to cramp a bit when we re-started, and the dirt mounds and upended trees that the course runs over turned out to be no big deal despite dragging bottom and leaving some wicked gouges out of the tops of some of them. Well, no big deal until about mile 22.5...
Despite riding the loop twice on my single to program my captain brain about the proper line for the tandem, I managed to entirely miss the rolling dirt mound exit on what is the final log of the entire loop and hung my wife's cranks on the log. The jolt was so fierce she was ejected from the bike on the high side of the trail. Since there is nowhere to stand up there she tumbled down across the trail and ended up laying on a log on the low side.
Mind you, in true comic style, despite the jolt, I thought she was still with me as I cranked over the log and continued down the trail saying "WOW! That was a close one!" As I didn't hear an immediate response I glanced back to see my wife stooping trailside, emptying the dirt out of her helmet. Uh oh. I was pretty sure I was in trouble. While nothing really serious, she did get a nasty knock on her knee which needed an ice pack later on and looked kinda purple the next day. And to add insult to injury her banana got squashed in her pocket. Of course, after that, we had about 1/2 mile to the trail exit and about 3/4 mi. on the road back to the parking lot - without further incident. Maybe about 3:40 total time.
Oh... and what of the GT? They broke their rear hub (Ringle') at mile 8 (we think the steel ratchet that is pressed into the aluminum hub body just broke loose and spun - the bike wouldn't even go on level ground). It took them as long to walk out 5 miles through the campground as it took us to ride the trail and we all got back to the cars at the same time. They were nice enough to coast down to the covered bridge and catch some video of us coming down to the end of the trail there. Now I'll get to see if my stoker really does ride with her eyes closed.
Ha ha! They're open! This is mile ~12. Old V-brakes were pretty toasty already.
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I've since put a 203mm BB7 up front.
Here's the GT w/ captain - in the thick of it and not having fun. Gorgeous day for a hike, though.
Last edited by Fleas; 01-27-2012 at 10:00 PM.
Love this thread! Keep em coming!
I will have to dig up something from one of our adventures...
Cool additions! TFPU!
We made it to El Morro this weekend. No great shakes, but a nice (if warm) day on the big loop (Park Ridge TH to Redtail, Rattlesnake, No Name, BFI, Missing Link, Fenceline, TH).
People never cease to be a source of amusement on the trail. A very concerned daughter who had just hiked up Rattlesnake: "Hey you guys, there are a lot of rocks down there where you are going!" Us: "Just what we were looking for, thanks!" Some HAB'ers coming up seemed incredulous we were on Rattlesnake...thankfully we got it dab-free, and they hooted us on. Many other wide grins produced at the sight of Black Magic.
Oddly (?), I have never seen another tandem mountain biking. Weird. Hope that changes. Those pix of the White Rim crew above look ridiculously fun!
Mike & the Weasel
White Rim Tandemonium
Thanks Kids! We had a BLAST operating our first multi-MTB Tandem White Rim 4-day Tour. Thanks for bringing the FUN group!!! We're looking forward to the Maze Classic 5-day Tour with you in April.
Peace, Love & Happiness,
I still feel new here, but I'll toss out a welcome! to you, anyway, MandM. Looking forward to more of your party's stoke.
Thats a picture of Maggi of MandM in our trip report suspended over the slot canyon in her flip flops. She is an incredible rider, fantastic cook and great guide. Just be careful not to challenge her as she will "chick" you in a heartbeat and never look back!! We will be doing a lot of trips with her and Mike over the next few years. Feel free to contact us or her if you are interested in joining us on some trips.
Can you start a new topic with some of the locations and dates for these trips?
Originally Posted by akexpress
While it will cost more, this may be a good way for some of us on the east coast to ride west coast and not feel like a burden.
A friend of mine once did a motorcycle tour similar to this. Difference was they supplied the bikes. He showed up with gear and rode. Had a great time for two reasons, time to enjoy it and great trails from a team that knew the trails and had great support.
Do these folks allow you to ship your tandem to them, then let you reassemble it when you arrive? How does getting the bike there work? With a non coupled machine, it can be a pain.
Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!
^^^^^ What he said...
Originally Posted by PMK
We are interested in participating in these multi-day trips!
MandM - you may just have a market here for "tandem only" tours... Please share your plans and potential dates.
Originally Posted by ds2199
BTW, we are tandem teams, obviously this can not easily happen on a whim or spur of the moment. Most times the stoker is female and offers some stupid reason for logic, common sense or being broke as a means to stay local.
Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!
Ok I am going to start a new thread on mtn tandem trips in Moab. I will address some questions that have have been brought up in this thread. First let me make it clear that I have zero vested interest in Magpie Adventures trips ,we just happened to have done two trips with them and think they do a fabulous trip. We did Kokepelli trail on singles with them and then contacted them about doing a tandem specific trip on the White Rim. They embraced the idea and really catered to the tandems including modifying their van to haul tandems safely. Basically they do everything, you provide whatever adult beverages you want. A couple of pair of bike shorts, some jerseys and whatever other necessities for your self and you just ride. You ride at your own pace , are truck supported and set up your tent at end of the ride. You can rent all the gear or bring your own. As mtn tandems are fairly rare as we all know there are not any to rent in Moab. they have a great arrangement with Poison Spider bike shop that you can ship your bike directly to and it will be ready to ride when you arrive or they will hold it for you to assemble yourself. We have had great great luck bringing our non coupled ECDM in a hard shell pedal pro case on the flights with us. The most we have been charged is $50 each way. In fact we brought our mtn tandem and road tandem back from Tucson for $50 total. Having said that because we travel with our bikes extensively we have just ordered a 29r ECDM with couplers so we have no fees or hassles. Bottom line it isn't that hard to get a tandem there. PK you will like Mike as he is sort of a suspension guru and top notch mechanic. After our White Rim trip everyone of the tandem teams was ready to sign up for another trip. There were two guys on singles that on trip that were amazed by the tandems and even rode one of ours on the last day and gave us all some laughs as they both tried to drive from the stoker position. PK for those stokers who try to employ logic or common sense or financial ruin tell them it keeps the captain healthier so they have longer to torment them or love them however they see it. Trips like this planned in advance give you both something to look forward to together and motivate to ride more.
Long Live Long Rides
Snuck out for a day trip to celebrate Heather's birthday. Moab was 60 and sunny! Rode Amasa back and had a great time. Truly one of the most scenic rides ever.
Nice Pics. And a Happy Birthday to Heather and many more!
Ed and Pat Gifford
the Snot Rocket tandem
So nice...What a b-day gift! For everyone
Lo'dare, looks like some awesome trips happening around here. My wife and I picked up one of the seemingly ubiquitous Cannondale MT1000's a few years ago to get our feet wet tandeming. We've really enjoyed it on the road and have just started to get it off the pavement, well more like we took the plunge and entered an ultracross race on it (we are both avid CX racers). My wife wrote a trip report from her pov on the back.
dirty foz, Southern Cross 2012