In the past years, I have enjoyed reading DoubleTalk…and I have to say over the last 10 years I have seen a decline in Tandem events and activities. As DoubleTalk transitioned last year, it was a wake up call for me to become more active in the tandem community. So please do count on me for volunteer work as needed. I might even try my hand at writing some articles 🙂
Over the years, I have been frustrated that there is no central calendar that shows race activities for tandems. BikeReg or even USA Cycling does not have a way to sort or filter tandem categories. By comparison, finding tandem rallies is easy, there are a number of tandem sites with that information but not a single one has a repository for racing category. So every year I have to go and “hunt” racing events to see which ones have Tandem Categories.
I am happy to volunteer to lead the racing group of Tandem Club and would volunteer (as I am now) to add races anywhere in the US, both road and mountain bike events. There are a lot of races with MTB or Road Tandem category…people actually participate in them! Right now I mostly focus on races to which I might go…so mostly within a 10-hour drive from our home in the Northeast. I do feel a bit guilty because I know that in the West there are many tandem riders, and I have not added many of races out there.
I understand that the Tandem Club as an organization is about bringing together tandem enthusiasts. This is a encompassing mission which includes tandem rallies AND races. It also includes road tandems AND mountain bikes tandems. I believe that providing enough content — in my case, events — to reach a broad market is critical for this group to grow and be sustainable. Sure, if this was the “Rally Tandem Club”, then I would fully agree that racing should not be included.
I see the Tandem Club as the lead in providing tandem related information to our community. That is broad enough of a mission to include races, MTB, etc.All of the races I provided have a specific Tandem Category. They also have singles, etc., but have a separate Tandem Category. None of them are professional Tandem Racing, requiring a licensee. They are the “citizen” type. I do think we should include license racing too, however, there are very few of those events.
Being able to see a Tandem Calendar and have many events is a good thing! It shows that there is a lot of activity in this community. The current site can very easily sort by specific groups “Rallies”, “Club Rides”, etc. So I don’t see having a lot of events listed as being a problem…quite the the opposite…I see it as a benefit! I can understand that in the print version of DoubleTalk, you have to balance printing costs vs interest. But now that we have moved to a web-based system, having a calendar of 15 events vs 150 events has little impact in costs. With this new format we can add events that may benefit a smaller segment of the community but still within the tandem community.
I am curious why you feel that it is not our charter to list Tandem events (races, rallies, etc.) across the world? Does Tandem Club have a geographic focus of just rallies, or a geographic focus of only USA? I somewhat assume that the Tandem Club was worldwide…but I don’t actually know. I have seen some rallies listed in England or Europe. My personal focus is the USA but I certainly do enjoy reading about events overseas.
I think these are the kinds of questions that make the book “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell a great read. The idea that small decisions can create big, but indirect impact in our community and society.
I think I mentioned that I was very sad to see DoubleTalk go away in print form. For me that was a wake up call that I need to get involved to make sure that the future of tandem riding is vibrant and includes older and younger riders, rallies, races, etc. When we show our calendar with multiple activities, we are showing a vibrant group with lots of options. It absolutely a benefit to all of us! It is these small steps that create “The Tipping Point” in our lives. Certainly it is a way that we can increase readership and interest in the group.