Bike Friday Tandem Brakes….

5 04 2012

Note a front disc and v-brake posts...

I was asked about the brakes on our Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL over at my Flickr site and thought I would share the answer here for wider dissemination:

My Bike Friday tandem was ordered with disc brakes and v-brake mounts. I haven’t felt the need for extra braking at this point so we only have the discs mounted.

Like for any bikes there is no magic in v-brakes vs. discs. They both work. So you can pretty much pick whichever you prefer and use them.

Neither v-brakes or discs can take prolonged application before they’ll fail. V-brakes will heat up the rims and your tube will blow. Disc brakes will boil their hydraulic fluid, melt the plastic parts of the caliper and warp the rotor if overheated. Neither outcome will be pleasant with your GF on the back bombing down a mountain!

On a tandem the extra weigh without as much aero drag = extra speed on the downhills which can be a problem.

Are you saying we are so fat we need 4 brakes????

My suggestions are:

  1. if the roads are good sit up, take the lane and let the bike run without braking or minimal braking [I do this with my loaded touring bike frequently]
  2. if you need to brake a lot use pulse braking….slowing hard with front brake, releasing and then slowing hard with rear brake…then repeat. You’ll speed up to a top speed each pulse and then slow down to your bottom speed. Note the fast top speed allows a lot of air to flow over your brakes to cool them very effectively.
  3. add if a 3rd or 4th brake..in my case a v-brake front and rear possibly. Use pulse braking, but now you have 3 or 4 brakes to cycle through so you can brake more frequently without overheating.
  4. take a break or 3 on a steep descent to snap a picture or nimble something while your brakes cool.
  5. if you need more braking than you can get with pulse braking or you can’t be okay with the faster speeds of a pulse braking solution you can get a rear drag brake that will keep your speed lower since it’s on all the time. Keep in mind only a specially designed drum drag brake will do this safely. A disc or v-brake applied even very lightly, but constantly will quickly overheat and fail.

Our tandem team weighs ~300lbs + gear + bike…so probably close to 400lbs total on a ride with a lock and a light load of gear. My main strategy is #1 above….I just let the bike run as fast as she wants and brake only when I absolutely have to – which is infrequently. For a tour with full camping gear I’ll do some test runs locally and determine if I need an extra brake. If  so I’ll put a stoker controlled rear brake on.





OG CPR…

27 03 2012




The 70’s…

22 01 2012

So true...

I had a bike for at least a decade of great times before it became a dangerous activity that I needed to be protected from. I may have been born too late for the free love era, but at least I got to enjoy a childhood of carefree bicycling.





G-Form Pads…

27 12 2011

G-Form knee pads...

I wear knee and elbow pads on most MTB rides since buff singletrack is a thing of the distant past for me. My goto pads are taking a beating just from regular wear and tear of the elastic sleeve. They’ll need replacing in 2012. I found these G-Form low profile pads online and given the modest cost I may give them a shot. They don’t offer as much protection as my other pads, but for a lot of the riding I do which is just rocky/rooty techy XC stuff they may be perfect. They also look like they’ll keep my joints warm which in BC is another great reason to wear pads!

These pads got a Best Product of 2011 nod from PinkBike. So they probably don’t suck.

Photo: Wired

The SixSixOne pads I am currently using are shown below back when they looked nice and new. They are a great pad with a decent amount of protection for their size and don’t really get in the way when I ride, but at the same time you can’t help feel a little gladiatorial with them on…=-)

What I wear now...





Cyclist killed down the street…=-(

29 11 2011

Click here to read the whole story...

I don’t generally post cyclist accident reports. This one happened in my neighbourhood so I figured I would share it. It happened on a busy road I rarely cycle on, but at an intersection I cross a lot. I use some quieter secondary roads that are parallel to Burnside Rd if I need to head in that direction. It’s definitely a road that needs a bike lane if cyclists are to use it safely. As it stands I’d advise any local cyclists to avoid it when it’s busy at rush hour. Other than stating the obvious – cars/trucks shouldn’t hit cyclists – there isn’t much to say about this accident. The road in question is 4 lanes across and too narrow for bikes and cars to share the right most lanes. In theory vehicles should give cyclists the lane or cyclists should take the whole lane, but it’s so busy at rush hour that in practice that isn’t possible without sparking a road rage fuelled riot. It’s one of those roads that has been designed to kill cyclists unfortunately.

My thoughts go out to the family of the cyclist….=-(





Respro Hump Initial Review

30 09 2011

Hump details...

I received my Hump from Respro in the UK recently. Check out my initial post to get the lay of the land.

Small package - big visibility at night...=-)

Ordering was easy and the Hump arrived within a week with no customs charges or taxes. Shipping was free to Canada/USA.

No flash shot of Hump on my Ortlieb backpack...

The Hump I ordered is their highly reflective model made up of almost entirely reflective material. I love be reflective at night as it doesn’t need batteries and “activates” only when there is a car/bike behind you with their lights on. You never have to worry if it’s working or if you forgot to charge the batteries.

The Hump under flash power...

The Hump is a backpack cover. It has elastic trim and two straps with snap on fasteners at the ends. This makes it easy to install or remove from your backpack even with gloves on. It wouldn’t be easy to access your pack with the cover on so this is better for bike commuters than for folks running errands that require constant access.

My black Ortlieb backpack un-Humped...

You can move the Hump around between any backpacks you own that are ~15L-30L in size. That should work for most cyclists.

The same Ortlieb pack Humped...

The Hump comes in many colours including waterproof varieties and models with built in lights. The one I choose isn’t very bright in daylight which is okay as I am not looking to be a traffic cone, but for those who are there is a a Hump for you!…=-)

The other side of the Hump...

The Hump looks well made and durable. It should last many years. It’s thicker than the rain cover on my Camelbak Transalp backpack for example so it should be able to take some abuse.

Humping is a personal thing. Some choose to ump. Some choose not to Hump. If you do end up Humping send me some photos and a write up of your feelings about it…=-)

Update – Marcus commented and let me know there is a 25L-50L Hump as well…Let’s call it the Mega Hump. Fewer colour choices, but allows those who ride with big packs to Hump as well.Check out page 9 in this Respro Catalogue.





Respro The Hump…

20 09 2011

Respro Hi Viz Backpack Cover...

This is a backpack cover that adds to your visibility when on the road. It attaches to your regular backpack so you can move it around if you use different ones. Never needs batteries plus you can ride around with the word “HUMP” on your back letting the world know exactly where you stand when it comes to gender relations. They are sold in the UK by Respro and the price includes free worldwide shipping – I assume they use the VAT [now at 20%] that non-UKers don’t have to pay to cover shipping costs.

There are many different colour schemes for every taste. I’ve ordered the version shown above and will review it this winter in Victoria. I like the fact I can deploy it when I feel the need for more visibility and then put it away or leave it at home when I don’t feel the need and want to look like a normal human again.