Recumbent Tandem Trike Danube touring plan - ideas sought

by severs1966   May 22, 2014  

Here's the grand plan:

Ride the Danube cyclepath (one of Europe's most popular long distance routes apparently). If possible, from the start up in Germany right through to the sea.

But wait! There's more! Setting aside our usual early-90s Dawes MTB tandem (much modified), we want to buy a recumbent tandem trike (or rent one, but that seems even less possible) and do it on that.

If possible it would happen in the spring/summer/autumn of 2016, as a once-in-a-lifetime "do" for my 50th b'day.

The problems that need solving, and on which we invite suggestions, are as follows:

1. Which trike? The obvious one, simply because it might actually be possible to get one, would be a Greenspeed.

2. How do we get the damned thing to the start, which is in Germany (a place I have toured extensively)?
The source of the Danube is roughly in south-west Germany, which is a long way from my home in West Yorkshire.
Riding to the start line is technically possible but that's a huge extension to the trip, so is there a better way? We certainly can't take it on a train. It probably won't even go through the door.

3. How do we get it back? The mouth of the Danube is right over in the east of Romania, almost in Ukraine.
Even if we don't go the whole way we will still end up a fantastically long way away from the North Sea or English Channel, so it's hardly a case of renting a Hertz van and flinging it in the back and just getting the toe down.

All suggestions (and silly remarks, go on, get them out of your system) gratefully received.

4 user comments

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Tandems trikes are like hens teeth, because they don't sell alot, builders don't do many.

Greenspeed is on choice.
ICE also had one
TerraTrike
Calfee made a beautiful one off

There are options out there.

As for transporting it. You either need a trailer or a study roof rack, then build a custom mount for it like this http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s59/b_drachman/ttr6.jpg

There is NO way you are going to get it on any public transport in an "as is" form. Maybe think about getting S&S couplers fitted and you can break it down into two pieces.

First things first though. Have you ridden a recumbent trike before? Both you and your riding partner need to check them out first. You cannot just hop off an upright onto a recumbent and think you can take on such a trip. It takes a while for your leg muscles to get used to riding any decent distance on a recumbent.

If you cannot find a recumbent tandem trike for sale or rent (which as I said, is a rare thing) you can go to specialist builders who do recumbent projects. Someone like Ben Cooper at Kinetics in Glasgow http://www.kinetics-online.co.uk/ or Graham Sparey-Taylor in Wales

He'll steer you in the right direction.

As one of the few recumbent riders around Roadcc, you might have better luck asking about this one BHPC http://www.british-human-power.com/forum/default.asp

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8792 posts]
22nd May 2014 - 19:14

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I have an ICE X2 recumbent tandem trike. My wife & I, and latterly my son & I, have toured on it in the past, in the Netherlands, Denmark and France.

It is a great bike for touring in the right environment, but not without its problems.

Plusses:
* Comfortable.
* Can carry a camping load for 2 people
* Copes with headwinds well
* You don't have to find somewhere to prop it up whenever you stop
* Sociable
* Stoker has hands free, can take pictures, read maps, sort food out etc
* Everyone loves it

Minuses:
* Heavy (85 pounds unloaded). As you can see, we mostly used it in flat countries
* Difficult to transport. It can be dismantled into small enough bits (frame in 3 sections, seats and front wheels off) to fit into the rear of a reasonably-sized car in about 20 minutes once you have practiced. I ended up buying a trailer to tow it on.
* Everyone looks at you & it

As Gkam says, it takes a good while to get used to riding it a long distance. And it is slower than an upright tandem, although on a ride like the Danube cycleroute I suspect that there wouldn't be much in it.

posted by Tim Costen [1 posts]
23rd May 2014 - 10:27

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Try recumbents now, buy a 2nd hand one, whatever. Get used to it, get fit in that position etc. (Are both of you confident riding solo to acquire this fitness without the tandem?) Then, you'll probably need to commission a recumbent tandem build (£££) to be complete by, say, end of 2015 at the latest.

Are there any european van hire companies that will let you drive one way? I guess not, so how about roping in a third person to drive you over there, then act as a support vehicle? I know this isn't exactly touring, but that way you can just meet the van and driver at the end of each day, for example, to have your evening meals together, and you've got transport in both directions.

Or, DHL (or similar) it. If they can move an entire Formula 1 race's worth of kit every 2 weeks, they can move a big-ass trike twice in a few months. Admittedly it might not be cheap. You just need an address for it at the other end. Is there a storage facility or something where you could collect it near the start? You'd need to do the reverse at the end, obviously.

Sounds like it could be a great adventure though, and worth the money if you can afford it. Best of luck making it happen!

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3079 posts]
23rd May 2014 - 10:52

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I have friends who have two recumbent tandems and are thinking of selling one, a Greenspeed, if you are interested. They have done a lot of European rides and would be able to give good advice.

New Forester

posted by Forester [86 posts]
23rd May 2014 - 11:02

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