Jeff and Louise with their new Custom Rohloff Micro Tandem

April 2014

Our 7-year old tandem, "Big Red," now has a baby brother, "Little Red."  Little Red came home today from its birthplace at R&E Cyles in the U-District, where Big Red and its predecessor Early Red also first saw the light of day.

  It was about 45 lbs at birth and just short of 8' long.  Within a pound of Big Red, and only maybe 2" shorter.

So, why a third tandem?
Like Big Red, Little Red comes apart (Early Red did not, hence its disappearance).  However:

Little Red also has a few improvements, such as a slightly more upright position for aging Jeff (Louise's area on both bikes is highly adjustable, so no change for her).  It also allows for a neat front handlebar bag that has a compartment for our smart phone.  We can even set it on Google Maps and have the gps function give us route directions, just like in most new cars.

The front and rear derailleurs are gone, replaced by a single 14-speed [Rohloff] internal gear rear hub.  This makes taking the bike apart much, much easier, and reduces on-road problems that can arise from derailleurs getting bent or out of adjustment, and chains getting stuck or falling off (we had a few instances of both in the past year).  Because it's an internal hub gear, you can change gears even when stopped.  So no more coming to a quick stop when a light turns red, then struggling to get started because we're in too high a gear!

Two more smaller but not insignificant improvements are a better drum brake to slow us on steep or twisty descents, and a better seatpost shock absorbing system for Louise, who (as on all tandems) has the seat that gets the worst of it when we hit bumps.

Little Red has all of 8 miles on the odometer as of tonight, but we're hoping to do a pizza ride tomorrow to meet up with the Sissons and show off the little one, and then a week-long trip riding to Victoria and spending a few days with Don and Erica Stenton.  In the 7 weeks remaining before the big summer adventure, Louise will finish sewing packing material to put Little Red into when it comes apart, and Jeff to find some destinations we can head to on Amtrak for a dry run with taking Little Red on the train and reassembling him for a 2 or 3-day trip.

Look forward to showing off Little Red 'in person' to the rest of you (Matt, you'll have to come here from Tokyo for that one . . .) in the coming year.

A few pictures are attached. More hi-resolution images of this bike are here.

Louise and Jeff