A tandem bicycle is one that has been built to take two, or even three, riders. The frame of the bicycle is extended to accommodate the two seats and each rider has a set of pedals and handlebars. Momentum is achieved by both riders pedaling at the same time. A tandem bike is longer and heavier than a normal road bike, and may not fit on a traditional bike rack behind a car. A special rack may be needed. Apart from that, no special equipment is needed other than what is used for riding a normal sized bike. (remember a helmet) The three most common reasons that people use a tandem bike are:
1. Couples enjoy cycling together and want to have a relaxed day out or get some gentle exercise. If a keen cyclist wants to ride with a less experienced or unfit friend, a tandem bike allows them both to enjoy the thrill and exercise of cycling without one having to wait for the other. Tandem cycling is more of an enjoyable recreation than a full-on workout.
2. Families can enjoy bike riding together safely with tandem bikes. The children can still ride but they will be able to cycle further without getting as tired as they would if they were riding their own bike. There is no worry about traffic or tight bends to be negotiated and the whole family can relax and enjoy a wonderful day out together. All members can enjoy exercise, fresh air and the shared experiences that are so important in family life.
3. People living with a disability are able to participate in the joys of cycling when they ride a tandem bike with an able person in control. There are many stories of blind and deaf cyclists and even amputees who have been able to learn to ride a tandem bike, giving them a freedom and enjoyment not able to be achieved before.
Riding a tandem bike may take a little practise, if you have only ridden a traditional bike, but you will soon be relaxed and capable of riding almost anywhere. Start out in a park and do short sessions to build confidence and stamina, and to get the feel of riding in tandem.
When you are ready to invest in a tandem bike for your family or group, consider what you need the bike to do. If you plan to ride across the country with a friend you will need a stronger machine than if you will be using the tandem bike for weekends in the local park. Shop around and talk to cycle specialists to make sure you get the tandem bike best suited to your purpose, with the best value for money.
Whatever type of tandem bike you buy, make sure you attend to regular maintenance so that you get many years of safe and trouble-free cycling. Go ahead – have fun on your bicycle built for two!