So, after thinking about it for a while, we decided to go ahead and purchase a new bike.  The reason it took some thinking is that it isn't a regular old bike with one seat, but has three seats, with room for three adults, or with the added child conversion kits, Noah and Jonathan can fit on it as well.

They aren't very common, and are hand-built, so they cost a ton when they are new, and so we gave up on the dream of a five seater, like the Harrisons have.  But, we thought a triplet would be more affordable, and we came across a used one from Tandems East, which looking at their name, you can guess how often you come across a bike shop that knows about tandems. I read a bunch of the stories from the family that owns Precision Tandems, but they are even farther away, and though it is neat to look at all of their bikes, the new ones that they have posted for sale are way out of our price range (as in, we could either buy two bikes or one of our old house...)

We decided to make a vacation out of the trip, and spent a couple days in New Jersey, testing out the bike, visiting Ocean City (I spent a summer there thirteen years ago), and playing at the beach.  We picked up the bike on Saturday morning, got it fitted for me and the kids and rode around a little to make sure it was working, and figured out hwo to get the rack attached to our car, and lift the 73 pound bike on top of the minivan...

We stayed at the Charlesworth Hotel in Fortescue, though it seems like their primary business is their restaurant, and just have five rooms, most of them having just one bed in each room, with a shared bathroom for all but one of the rooms.  They ended up giving us a deal on two rooms, so we did that, though it was a little odd having the kids in a different room.  We did keep their room locked, though that was also weird, since they need to unlock it to get out.  No one was in the hotel the first night, and the second night there was a couple there, but we hardly saw them.  The hotel is right on the water, as in, 15 feet away from the water, and the view was fantastic of the Delaware Bay.  We really liked the lady who owns the hotel, and it was a little strange that she wouldn't really accept money to stay there until the last minute (no deposit required, I offered to pay when we got there and she said, "Now or in the morning, whichever is fine") The next morning I realized that we weren't going to be there, since we left early for the bike shop, but I don't think she noticed.  We ate dinner at the hotel that night -- I'd say pretty good seafood, not spectacular, but I didn't mind (too much) the price that we paid, and when I went to pay for the bill, she asked if I wanted to pay the hotel bill too, though I think she would have let me not pay it then too, and then just taken off in the morning.  I guess the thing that is so strange is that most people don't trust anyone any more, and lots of hotels make you pay for things ahead of time, or at least have your credit card number, so they will charge you whether you show up to check out or not.

We walked down to the beach the first night, and that was nice, and the kids explored the beach for sea glass, shells and horseshoe crabs, of which there were the largest number I've ever seen in one place in my life.

The boys and I got up early (I think before 7) and went for a 10 mile bike ride around town.  I was pretty tired when we got back, and started wondering whether we would actually be able to go to Washington, DC in August with the three of us.

We did 15 miles yesterday, and that was also hard, though there were some significant hills between our house and the library, but no traffic, so we'll probably do that trip a lot.  We can get to the library, Target, Lowe's and Giant Eagle pretty easily by bike, but getting to Walmart will be too hard I think.  We went on Route 8 between Target and the Schwinn bike shop on Route 8, and the uphill climb before the bike shop was pretty bad, and the traffic did not like us being there.  That trip was broken into various pieces by stopping at the different stores, and we visited with the Weavers for a while because I needed to borrow a wrench to adjust one of the brakes.  I was pretty tired after that trip, though the way home is better than the way to the library.

We did a 10 mile ride today, towing Faith in the trailer and I don't think we really notice the extra weight, other than right at start-up.

We weighed all of our bikes last night:

  • Noah's pedaless: 10 pounds 
  • Faith's trailer: 20 pounds
  • A Trek SingleTrack 930 that I bought for a friend, that maybe I'll end up selling instead: 21 pounds
  • Jonathan's bike: 28 pounds
  • My 15 year old Nishiki hybrid: 29 pounds
  • Heather's recently purchased cruiser ($60): 40 pounds
  • Triplet: 73 pounds

We calculated the entire weight of people and bikes on our trip to Adam's Township Park, and the total is 400 pounds.

I'm looking into getting Heather another bike, as we should be able to find one that is half the weight, and that might help her out - she has been doing semi-daily bike rides of a mile or two, but is way out of breath when she gets home, so anything I can do to make that easier will be good.

I haven't decided if I totally like it or not, but I am now logging the bike miles on, which you can see a little chart on our blog. The main feature I wish the charts showed are what bike/configuration I used - the website knows that information, and if I login and drill down a couple clicks, it is there, but not easily accessible.  I've also thought it would be nice to be able to show Jonathan and Noah's (and Heather and Faith's) mileage separately, but there isn't a good way to do that, except having different logins, and that is way too much work.  But, I don't know if it is worth writing my own software to do what I want.

We get quite a bit of attention wherever we go - one tandem bike web page said the kids will grow up thinking that bicying and being in a parade are pretty much the same thing - everyone waving and talking about you as you go past.  I gave a kid a ride at the park today - he thought it was pretty neat, though about halfway through where I thought I would bike to, he started talking about walking back, so I turned around, but when we got back, he said he wanted to go again...

PS. If anyone is looking for a smaller men's bike (18" frame), the bike I got off of Craigslist feels pretty good.  I think $200 is a decent price for it - all the components look brand new, and are of good quality; if it were a women's bike and/or a bit smaller of a frame, it'd be great for Heather (and if it were bigger, I'd probably start riding it, instead of my regular bike).

Update: I forgot to add pictures.  Here is one with us on the bike and then you can see the rest (and our pictures from the rest of New Jersey).

Triplet Tandem!

Posted by Jon Daley on June 8, 2010, 9:21 pm | Read 65771 times
Category Reviews: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

Very cool. Are you bringing it to the Maggie?

Posted by dstb on June 9, 2010, 8:32 am

I'm not sure, haven't thought about it I guess. I'm not sure how much we would use it there, probably not enough to make it worthwhile. Particularly if I get the sailboat fixed - that's probably enough towing for the trip...

Posted by Jon Daley on June 9, 2010, 1:18 pm

We learned from experience that the salt air is REALLY HARD on bikes.

Posted by SursumCorda on June 9, 2010, 1:55 pm

So cool.

Posted by IrishOboe on June 12, 2010, 8:50 am
Add Comment
Add comment
E-mail me when comments occur on this article