Singletrack snow ride on an 18 wheeler....... at night.-
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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    We the people ... Singletrack snow ride on an 18 wheeler....... at night.

    As some of you know, I've been working on resurecting my tandem mountain bike for the last few months. We did a shakedown ride Wednesday night... just a 30 minute spin to make sure everything was working correctly. Last night's night ride was the first real ride on the longbike in almost 3 years.

    Jason and I took the tandem out for a shakedown ride. He's been helping keep me on track to finish the bike. He helped out with the parts for the back brake. He's been a huge inspiration for getting this thing done. I just had a feeling that he'd really enjoy riding the tandem. With the bike being completed this week, I just had to take it out for a ride... even in these conditions. What conditions are those, you ask? We had pretty good hardpacked snow on all the trails with ice in many spots and added just short of 2" of fresh, sticky snow fall yesterday and last night. You can see the snowflakes falling in the photos.

    Here's the amazing part.... This was Jason's first time on a tandem. We were wobbly for the first 200 yards, then things settled down. We started getting used to the communication that you have to develop between captain and stoker. I've found over the years that you just need to develop how you communicate with each individual stoker. They're all different. Some things ring true with all of them. Coasting means that we're going to stop pedaling. 1,2,3 Launch is what i used when we first get rolling from a stop. But how I describe the trail and upcoming obstacles is different for each stoker because different people react to what I call out differently. In about 25 minutes on the bike, Jason and I got a good start on that vocabulary. He was very well balanced and got better every minute we were on the bike. We took some tight turns and some bumpy sections and had no problems at all. We did 2 of the three creek crossings on the loop and had no trouble at all. I wanted to keep it short and successful and that was exactly what we did.

    Julian showed up right on cue for the longer night ride. I honestly hadn't ridden with Julian on the tandem for over 2 1/2 years. He and I have such a history, that I knew we'd ride well together after a little shakedown. We'd ridden this bike together in some form or another for 9 years or so. He was rock steady from the first pedal stroke. I can't explain the bond that he and I have as captain and stoker other than to say that we've been doing it for so long and have so much built up trust, that even after a long time off, we're both right at home getting on the bike.

    About 1/4 mile into the ride, we had our first problem. I didn't get completely lined up for an icy bridge. I had to try and make a turn on a bridge that was so slick that it was impossible to walk across, much less ride. We slipped and tipped and fortunately had a soft landing. After that, the falls that we had were doing some pretty dang technical stuff. We did two really tough creek crossings, where the trail leading into the ravine had big rocks on either side and the line-up for it was not exactly straight. There were plenty of trees on either side of the approach to complicate the crossing. That was the first of many tough obstacles over the course of the 2 1/2 hour ride. For almost all of the ride, we had Jason riding right behind us with the helmet cam on. We'll see how the night video of the tandem ride turns out. There was enough snow to help with the ambient light.

    The ice and snow complicated many things about the ride. The scariest was descending. There were three downhill sections of narrow, twisting singletrack that had me worried. Hydraulic rim brakes are great. I had the wet weather pads on, but there's only so much stopping power that two tires can give. Cumulatively Julian, the bike and I came to more than 370 pounds. I ended up keeping the rear wheel on the edge of locking up and dragged it completely around corners to get it swung around. The snowpack kept it from doing any trail damage. I modulated the speed with a death grip on the front brake.

    In all, Julian and I fell 4 or 5 times. Each time it was a pretty easy tip over. They always seemed to happen when we were doing something that was pretty sketchy. I can't imagine a better first ride.

    Shut up and get to the photos!!!!

    1: The tandem after the shakedown ride.
    2: The front wheel after 3 hours of snow riding and blasting through drifts.
    3: Two stokers named J. Jason on the left, Julian on the right.

    We'll see how the video comes out. I'll post a short clip up when the editing is done.

    Happy Friday,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    If your

    taking requests, I'd like to see a decent bunnyhop.
    I will not tiptoe through life to arrive safely at death.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by trickten
    taking requests, I'd like to see a decent bunnyhop.
    We'll work on that. It is dang hard to get a bunny to stand still when a bike that big is coming towards it.


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