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Tandem Bikes - Twice the Pleasure

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Tandem bicycle loaded for touring.

Tandem bicycle loaded for touring.

(c) Andrew Dressel.

Tandems

Daisy, Daisy, Gve me your answer do!
I'm half crazy, All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage
But you'll look sweet upon the seat, Of a bicycle made for two.

We will go tandem, As man and wife,
Pedaling away, Down the road of life

Excerpted from A Bicycle Built For Two, by Harry Dacre

Tandems are two-seater bikes, ideal for pairs who like to ride together but who have differing levels of strength or stamina. For instance, a tandem would be a good option for a husband and wife who want to tour together, but not worry about one of them not being able to keep up with the group. Usually tandems are designed so that the riders work equally to propel the bike, with one long chain that runs through both sets of pedals to drive the rear wheel.

Another great use for tandems comes in allowing a person to ride with another whose disability would otherwise prevent them from taking a bike out on their own. I see two guys regularly on a tandem riding a trail where I live. Both in their sixties, they love riding together and put on hundreds of miles each month. The man in front is recently retired; his friend in the second seat is blind.

Considerations for you to keep in mind: tandems are substantially longer than a regular bike, which means you might night be able to carry one on your car using a standard rear-mount or roof rack. So, keep in mind that addition to the bike, you may need to buy a different carrier as well. Your local bike shop will be able to tell you about this.

Also, the feel of riding on a tandem is a bit different. A tandem bike is usually a good deal heavier, and has a much longer wheel base, which means you need to plan stops earlier and swing wider around turns. You’ll want plenty of practice with your partner on a parking lot or quiet street before setting out on a busy bike path or longer tour.

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