February 11, 2006 – Yesterday (Friday) Velodrome member Chris Wood of Kitch/Wateloo asked me if he could bring a tandem and his visually impaired stoker Dave Johnson for some track time. Chris and Dave have travelled all over the world to handicapped games at all levels.
As the Friday Rec 2 session is usually sparsely attended I agreed and rg provided some tips for tandem riding on the FCV. Their main problem would be g-forces flexing the wheels or squishing the tires. I had some concerns when I saw their stock-standard solo bike wheel setup – 32h clinchers with regular tires and non tied & soldered spokes.
Their first lap provided some whoops & hollers from them as different dynamics from solo bikes are in effect on a tandem. What isn’t apparent is that for a split second, entering each banking, the pilot and the stoker are actually travelling in two different directions! Think about that. The pilot is turning left while the stoker is still going straight. They said they did notice this phenomenon.
For their first effort I gave them the whole track to themselves and called everyone else off (about 8 of us). They kept their speeds reasonable and where smoothly cruising the blue line before long. Bob Steer brought his big fancy cam and snapped many pics. I haven’t seen his results yet. The enclosed pics are mine.
I was crouched next to the banking looking closely for wheel/tire contortions but saw nothing at their speeds. Tire squish was a big concern but a non issue at their g-forces.
For their next laps on the boards I let everyone else ride at the same time and we all had a ball.
All-in-all it was a good experiment and I invited them back to any of my Friday sessions.
Note to rg – you have just GOT to talk them into being the Keirin pacer at your races! It would be too damn cool !!