Chipping Camden-Stratford-on-Avon 102km

There were only two options: do we or don’t we? I was linking up with Jean and Alex from Shropshire, and they were tandem riders, and like 460 other cyclists at this festival, we were confronted with the same choices……do we set off in the pouring rain and hope for an improvement or, like so many of them, do we mooch around indoors waiting for better things? Many stayed indoors about the venue, but we……..yes, the heroic ‘we’…..we headed out prepared to get soaked in the morning and (possibly) dry out in the afternoon……and our calculations were spot on.

Even the sun broke through the gloom, zooming along an old rail track, having escaped the tourist-ravaged Stratford and breathed a huge sigh of relief. But the sting in the tail (and tale) was having to climb back into the Cotswolds. The hills round here may be short, but they ain’t half steep!

Alex and Jean are nifty tandem riders. They took full advantage of the many descents, gathering speed and hurtling down the hills. There was no way a solo rider like me was even going to keep up with them…..but then the advantage was on my side when it came to climbing the hills…..there’s some complicated equation at play based on weight, speed and strength……but I don’t fully understand it.

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on August 9, 2017, in Cycling UK and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. The way to keep up with tandems in the hills is to use tri-bars: They allow greater speed on the high-speed descents due to the streamlining/aerodynamics. That speed then carries you further up the hill before you have to resort to pedalling and changing down the gears.

  2. Well it probably does require experience to manage it safely, but the benefits are well worth it to give a vital alternative position on long rides such as PBP, and for dealing with headwinds.

    • But I would say the safety of others (not just the rider’s) is the main priority… matter the experience of the rider.

      • In over 25 years of riding tri-bars on Audax, club-runs and off-road I have never seen any accident that might be attributed to tri-bars. It is a myth that they can cause accidents. They are banned in PBP only to stop riders from the USA finishing first – then not speaking French to the TV cameras!

      • We can resume this over coffee……and let the caffeine speak….😁

  3. those Cotswold hills are like some of Yorkshires hill – I hate it when the last bit gets even steeper.

  4. Tandems and hills – my conclusion is that they have a lower mechanical efficiency due primarily to frame flex which is why they are harder to get up a hill. We once had a test ride on a fabulous £4k Al framed one and found this much easier up hills

  5. . Tandems and Hills – my decision is that they ingest a lower mechanical efficiency due(p) primarily to framing flex which is why they are harder to drive up a Hill.

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