How We Got the Neighbor’s Tandem

IMG_5147We weren’t planning to get a tandem. Yes, we were mildly interested; and 2 years ago we borrowed one for a day and took a short ride. It was fun, but we never pursued it further. Then, about a month ago, my co-worker (and cyclist extraordinaire) Todd sent me a CraigsList ad. It was a 1995 Trek T200 tandem, in great shape, and for a very reasonable price.

It seemed a shame to let this opportunity slip by, so we decided to check it out. As it turned out, the seller lived just across the park from our house. His parents had bought the bike and almost never used it. It was almost like new. We didn’t hesitate long and bought it then and there.

Tomorrow will be our first ride. I made some upgrades and adjustments and that took longer than expected. Partly because it’s an old bike and bicycles have evolved since 1995; partly because tandems are designed just a little differently, so regular bike parts don’t always fit.

  • IMG_5149Shorter stem: This was the trickiest part. The steer tube is oversized (1 1/4”) and threaded. Nowadays they are all 1 1/8” and threadless. After much searching I found an adapter that solved the problem (Nitto MT Column 31.8mm)
  • IMG_5148Better brakes: The bike comes with old Shimano cantilever brakes, which are barely adequate. Unfortunately it is not designed to take disk brakes. I opted for mini linear pull brakes, which still ought to give us decent braking power (TRP CX9)

  • Tektro brake levers: We didn’t really need new brake levers, though the old ones did feel a little spongy. The real reason is that I lost a small part from inside one of the levers while working on the brakes.
  • 32mm tires to replace the old 25mm: it’ll make the ride just a little more comfortable (Panaracer Pasela)
  • Fenders
  • New bar tape

We’ll see how things work out tomorrow.

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