Published: 29 July 2015
On the eve of their first UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, we posed your Twitter questions to Great Britain Cycling Team para-cycling tandem riders Steve Bate and Adam Duggleby.
Steve: I think it’s definitely scary sometimes! In some respects riding the tandem is more fun.
Adam: It’s fun in the road race isn’t it.
Steve: it’s more fun for me I think because it’s a lot more unknown on the back of the tandem. You’re not in control, you’re just kind of going with whatever happens. I don’t know if fun is the right word, more exciting sometimes.
Steve: Do we have to answer with a T? Probably technique I think. What do you think?
Adam: I don’t know. To go faster, training is probably more important than the other two but to make a difference in a race I think trust is one of the big things aswell.
Steve: I guess it’s a combination of all three. Certainly on descents I put a lot of trust in Adam to make his decisions.
Adam: And in the race as well.
Steve: Yeah that’s a big part of Adam’s job is the decision making out on the course. It’s definitely a combination and I’m not sure any of those outweigh each other really.
Steve: I wish we both had brakes! That’s all pilot driven.
Adam: Some people do have two brakes on the back of the tandem and you can have like an extra brake for the back but we don’t. He doesn’t have anyway.
Steve: Probably a good thing.
Adam: In a sprint you go pretty fast. I’d say somewhere over 40mph but it’s pretty hard to say.
Steve: Yeah absolutely.
Adam: It is hard to tell though sometimes. You’re not always sure who is causing it. The more one person struggles, the other person is trying to compensate for that and you can’t last very long trying to compensate. Then they get tired then you don’t know if it’s you or the other person that’s struggling.
Steve: I don’t really. I just go with the bike. I guess on the back if we’re full on racing it’s just a case of trying to follow what Adam does with the pedals really and relaxing as much as I can on the back and trying to keep my weight as central as possible so I’m not making it hard for him to steer. We probably talk the most if we know it’s going to come down to a sprint. On the last lap Adam might say ‘well I think we should go from here’. During the race we don’t talk a lot but towards the end of the race we do a lot more.
Adam: We’d talk in road races especially, we don’t so much in time-trials. I’ll tell him how long of the race is left because he can’t see his Garmin.
Steve: Generally if we’re going well in a road race we don’t really talk do we? If I’m wrecked after an attack I’ll tell Adam as I can’t recover as quickly.
Adam: Yeah I think so. It definitely makes a difference, especially for Steve because he can’t do road races without me. It would be a benefit to do more road racing. In the UK, it’s not really the standard we need to be racing at.
Steve: Yeah, race conditioning, like Adam says, is something I lack because I can’t get enough racing in and you can’t replicate that in training.
Adam: No, not to the same intensity. At least one road race every two weeks would be useful if we could do that but there isn’t really that much opportunity but the answer is yes. If we could race more I think it would give us a better chance.
1. Who changes the gears?
2. Is the power between the two riders even?
Adam: It is pretty much even.
Steve: I’ve worked pretty hard to get up to Adam’s level. It was a big difference at the start, Adam was a lot more powerful than me. But for my development as a rider that progression was always going to happen, my progression was always going to be bigger than Adam’s as I had much more to gain. Adam’s been riding for years and I hadn’t. It would probably be within a couple of watts now.
Adam: It would be pretty close. I think on a tandem though you can’t really go out and ride totally different powers. For example if you’re accelerating there is no point in one person just trying to do it on their own because it won’t work. You’ve got to do everything together. You’ve got to the same thing at the same time otherwise you’re just wasting each other’s energy.
Steve: We certainly learnt that on the track didn’t we? When we realised that on the track just through talking with each other in track centre between sessions and getting our timings right, everything just clicked really.
3. With added weight do you require wider tyres?
Adam: We try and ride 25 millimetre if we can and with higher pressure than if you were riding on your own because obviously there is two of you.
Steve: Mango! You could say kiwi that would be better.
Adam: Do you remember when I ate that kiwi with the skin on? I did it at work I think. I got a kiwi and just ate it like an apple. Everyone at work went crazy. I quite like mango actually but I’ll say pineapple.