1979 Ritchey "Anchor Steamer" tandem

Breezin

Dirt Disciple
Okay, so maybe you're wondering why this skinny bike appears on an MTB chat page. Basically, I needed a place to park a photo so it can be linked from another site. BUT there is MTB relevance:

Otis Guy and I commissioned Tom Ritchey to build us a tandem for our cross-country (SF-NY) record attempt. Early in 1979, I showed my Breezer #1 MTB to Tom. Specifically I wanted Tom to join the two sets of twin laterals to the seat tubes on our tandem-to-be the same way I had joined them on my Breezer, with an elliptisized cross tube.

Breezer #1 was the first such balloon-tire bike Tom had ever seen and his ample mental machinery went spinnin. I hooked him up with Gary Fisher and, well, you know the rest.

Tom Ritchey was inducted into the US Bicycling Hall of Fame November 2012, and our tandem has been there since.
UPDATE: Both our Ritchey tandem and Tom Ritchey's first mountain bike are on display at Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax, California.

Joe
 

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phill77

Retrobike Rider
That looks like some serious gearing!

How did the all right side drivetrain work out back then? I know a couple of people who can't get it to work reliably with current equipment.
 

Breezin

Dirt Disciple
phill77":4xor7eao said:
That looks like some serious gearing!

How did the all right side drivetrain work out back then? I know a couple of people who can't get it to work reliably with current equipment.

That is a 62T Sugino Mighty. We had a 13 in the back (12 or fewer wee very rare in 1979, but couldn't cut it on a speed tandem back then). Our top gear was almost 130 inches. On Interstate 80 crossing Wyoming we passed a car while we were in the fast lane. Okay, we had a good tailwind, but it was flat, almost. :)

Regarding the chain configuration, see my attached photo. The trick is to space out the primary chainring enough so the final chain NEVER touches the primary, while at the same time the primary ring stil has a footing on the crank spider's outboard ledge.

I used washers about 1/16" (1.6mm) thick. They should be good quality flat washers with square edges. Nothing puffy from a hardware store. I surface ground ours for best results. The washers will likely be a bit large in diameter, but just truncate to fit above the ledge.

I beveled the inside of the 62T ring on a lathe. The bevel is similar to the one you can see on the outside edge (which needn't be there). The bevel is not needed with normal size rings. It's so the chain from the small (47T) ring doesn't 'ting' while passing to the smaller cogs.

We initially tried this "right-right" chain configuration, sans washers, with near disastrous results. Amazing how quickly a crossed chain pin can bring four churning feet (while honking out of the saddle!) to a complete stop. Don't try it.

I first saw the "right-right" set up on Bruce Gordon's Bob Jackson. For primary tensioning, he used a chainring slipped inside the chain run midway between the cranks. Elegant.

Joe
 

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Breezin

Dirt Disciple
clockworkgazz":31vk5a2z said:
so...... how did the record attempt go then? And hope you were spinning the front ring :LOL:

We actually tried this XC craziness twice. In 1976 (aboard an Albert Eisentraut) we made it from the Golden Gate Bridge to Lincoln, Nebraska, over 1600 miles in 6 days. A knee bearing said, No More. Got big about it.

In 1979, sponsored by SF's Anchor Steam Beer, my knee was smoked on Parley's Canyon out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Sorry Fritz...

The trick for a stoker is to put the feet up when the captain's not looking, something I never learned. Regardless, my knees are fine today.

Joe

PS--Thank you to the crew (in SLC, l-r): Wende Cragg, Andrew Ritchie, [me], Alan Wulzen, [Otis Guy], Tony Tom (Bicycle Odyssey, Sausalito), Sandra Davidson. The saddened Maytag repairman represents Fritz Maytag of Anchor Steam.
 

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Rich34

Senior Retro Guru
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Fantastic! Thanks for sharing that - always good to read anything involving the early MTB pioneers. Love the bit about going past a car... :shock:
 

legrandefromage

Bin Monkey
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I love reading up on this era - thanks for sharing!

*I think its the mustaches and the short shorts...
 
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