If you’re looking for a practical way to ride together as a family or pairs, tandem bikes are your answer. A tandem tests your true compatibility with your riding partner, and sees just how coordinated you are. But what exactly are tandem bikes and what makes them unique to regular bicycles? Read on to learn about the basic features of tandem bikes.
A tandem is a specific type of bicycle that can accommodate multiple riders (usually two). In a tandem all of the maneuvering including shifting the gears, applying the brakes, turning the handlebar is in the hands of the rider at the front who is referred to as the captain or pilot. The rider behind, known as the stoker, helps pedal the tandem and that’s as far as their role goes.
A tandem is much longer in length than regular bicycles because it has multiple saddles and handlebars. But it only has a single drivetrain that is engaged by both the riders. Due to its increased length, a tandem needs a special tandem rack for cars when carrying on vehicles.
Riding a tandem requires incredible coordination as well as communication, and as fun as it can be, you should approach it with caution. If you plan to install clipless pedals you should learn starting and stopping with your riding partner first with flat pedals and regular shoes. Only after you become familiar with the action should you actually plan on riding on open roads.
Tandems can be used with a child seat, child trailer, or even a trailer cycle. So if your kids want to come along on your ride, you can simply tag them along with no difficulty.
Because of their additional length and certain parts such as the rear handlebar or rear chain ring, tandems are more heavy than regular bikes. This gives them more stability which is also enhanced by the increased length of their wheelbase.
Surprisingly, tandems are more efficient than regular bikes because of its ability to utilize the power of two or more riders in a single drive train. So if you’re in for more than a casual ride, and a little bit of thrill with speed, you’ll enjoy riding a tandem with your partner a lot. You’ll also have an advantage while riding against headwinds as the stoker is already drafting because of their position which allows them to save energy. This means that if you’re going on long rides or a bike tour, you’ll be able to cover more distance or reach your destination sooner in comparison to riding a regular bike.
However, it's a different story when riding uphill, especially when you want to pick up speed and pedal off your saddle. It is not impossible, but you’ll need to be very well coordinated to execute the motion without knocking off the other’s rhythm.
But this doesn’t mean a tandem is not suitable for casual rides. This type of bike is versatile and can be enjoyed even in short and rest day rides.
Due to their extended length, tandems cannot be carried in normal bike racks. So if you have plans on carrying your tandem on your car, horizontal tandem racks by CycleSimplex are one of best car racks for tandems. CycleSimplex also has a vertical rack for one tandem which eliminates the tandem from sticking out on each side of the vehicle. To learn more about the unique features of this bike rack, visit the link here.