Tandem biking has made a resurgence in its popularity since the 1960s.

They are quite popular on the racing circuit, on one end of the spectrum, and on the other end, they are excellent family bicycles as well.

This is because they allow for fresh air entertainment for people of all ages. When it first gained popularity in the 1890s, they were all about romance, and it’s not hard to see why.

As is always the case with Valentine’s Day, it’s hard to think of romantic ways to spend genuine quality time together with your other half. However, rather than getting caught up in the gimmicks, why not take a page out of the history books with a little tandem cycling?

In the following article, we’re going to take a look at tandem cycling and everything you need to know about it.

History of tandem bikes

history of tandem bike

Initially, in the 1890s, the tandem bike was designed to be able to carry more people at a faster pace. It’s kind of like a precursor to the automobile if you look at it that way.

It possibly could have been the concept design behind making them. This design, however, was first officially patented by a man called Mikael Pederson in 1898. There were a lot of variations of the tandem bike as well, where the bike was made with six seats to accommodate a marching band.

The tandem bike was specifically created so that players could play the instruments while moving at the same time. The typical instruments used for this were larger brass ones like the Tuba and Baritones.

The record holder for the longest tandem bike in the world is “135 ft 10.7 inches,” according to Guinness World Records. And this tandem bike can have a whopping 20 people riding it all at once.

A major part of the tandem bike’s early history included wartime. These bikes were used in the second Angelo-Boer in 1902 and were used in other major wars of the world up until just after the end of the second world war.

After the project was over, people of the United Kingdom started making a bicycle club using tandem bikes in 1971, which they called “The Tandem Club.” Another amazing fact is that the club is still in existence to this day.

Are they useful?

young couple on tandem bike

Considering getting a tandem bike, but are not completely sure how useful it’s going to be to you, then let’s take a look at some of the advantages of owning a tandem bicycle:

  • Attracting attention

Your bike is definitely going to attract tons of attention. Motorists tend to be more respectful to tandem bike riders on the road. However, this also depends on your travel destination, but generally, you are more likely to receive help than not.

  • A great bonding experience for parent and child

A trip on the tandem bike with your child as a stoker is a great way to have fun and simultaneously strengthen the bond between parent and child. 

  • A good workout

Tandem bikes are more efficient than single bikes, at least on flat ground. It also gets the same amount of wind resistance, but you have two people. Even if you’re slower than your other half, together, you’re faster than each one is alone. So ultimately, two people contribute and get a good workout.

  • Closeness

family with kid on tandem bike

Tandem bikes are more efficient than single bikes, at least on flat ground. It also gets the same amount of wind resistance, but you have two people. Even if you’re slower than your other half, together, you’re faster than each one is alone. So ultimately, two people contribute and get a good workout.

  • Closeness

When riding a tandem bike, you’re close enough to your other half so that you don’t have to yell and can simply talk to each other while you are riding together. And if you’re riding in the wind and you feel that you need to shout, you can possibly even choose to invest in some tandem walkie-talkies to make communication that much easier.

  • Logistics

If you don’t own a vehicle, and you need to visit or fetch your other half, you can simply ride over to the house and pick them up, and this will save you a long walk in the evenings.

  • Communication

Tandems can help you communicate better with each other. The person riding in front is going to be the eyes and announce potholes etc, ahead, so you know what’s coming and what they’re planning. So ultimately, you learn to read each other’s body language on the bicycle, and you can apply power and maneuver better together.

  • An excellent way for the visually impaired to enjoy cycling

By pairing up with a partner that has 2020 vision, even visually impaired people can ride along as stokers and enjoy the sense of belonging and exhilaration that comes from cycling. 

  • It’s less intense than solo bike rides

Solo bike riding is stressful for some people, especially when cycling in busy terrain. However, tandem bike rides are believed to lower physiological stress due to the fact that you are not cycling alone. 

How fast can you go on a tandem bike?

downhill race with tandem bike

If you’re wondering if tandem bikes are faster than standard bicycles, then the answer is a resounding yes.

Consequently, there are many factors that affect the speed of a tandem bike, and not all of them relate to the bike itself.

Tandem bikes can hit 30 – 60 mph on flat ground. Consequently, when going downhill, the increase in power and decrease in wind resistance can make for some extremely fast riding, and it is important that your tandem bike maintains stability, especially in downhill terrain when you are moving at high speeds.

How to make a diy tandem bike?

You can create your own tandem bike at home using a few parts and tools that you may already have lying around.

A DIY tandem bike can be made in 7 simple steps. Take a look at the step by step instructions and process here.

Conclusion

Tandem bikes are pretty much a rare sight these days, which is a shame.

However, there’s just something about the idea of tandems that seems very entertaining and is quite a rewarding challenge at that.

While these bikes are not such a common sight these days, they still enjoy a large and unique niche following and were even an Olympic competition until the late 1960s. Consequently, international competition is still ongoing.

So if you’ve never ridden a tandem bike before, why not give it a shot before deciding whether or not you’d like to own one. You may just find that after riding a tandem bike, you’ll never go back to a standard bicycle again.