I would use/read up on the animation snapshot tool--
(as Kbbrown said)
I havent used it, but It looks a lot easier for what your doin...
As for 'offsetting the time' - You just select the curve, press w for move tool, hold down shift, and middle mouse move the keys
a few frames to the left while watching the viewport. ( so the duplicate geometry's animation starts 'N' frames before the original)
It's definitely worth learning/reading everything about the graph
editor- especially if your gonna animate.