There are a few very good reasons to choose a tandem bicycle, also known as a bicycle built for two. This design allows two people to ride together, without the dilemma that occurs when the stronger rider is always outpacing the slower rider. With a tandem, both can enjoy the ride together. For those with a competitive spirit, you may find that road racing on a tandem can be fun, while most tandem riders prefer longer excursions and bike tours.
Most tandems are designed for road use, but they can travel just about any roads that a conventional single road bike can ride on. Even hills with sharp inclines can be ridden with some skill and a couple of strong riders.
When riding a tandem, each rider has a specific role. While both riders need to have strong legs, the person in front is typically known as the “Captain” and the person in the rear seat is known as the “Stoker”. The Captain’s job is primarily to steer the bicycle, as the handlebars for the rear rider are in a fixed position. The Captain is also assigned the task of stopping. Brakes are typically operated with hand levers on the handlebars. The Stoker’s primary function is to provide additional power to help the duo get to speed quickly, and to maintain speed.
A tandem frame is typically made of aluminum or steel, and it will have a very strong wheelset designed for the weight of two riders. Braking systems on a tandem can vary, but most will have brakes that squeeze the rim on one wheel, and a stronger type of brake, mounted to the hub of another wheel. These hub mounted brakes can either be a disc brake or a drum style brake. This is a very important part of a tandem, as they need a lot of stopping power due to the increased weight. It should also be noted that tandems can often travel much faster than a single person road bike.