The tandem bicycle, with two seats, cranks, and handlebars, has evolved to accommodate serious runners and cyclists. It requires communication and balance between both riders and comes in cruiser, road, and mountain bike styles. Tandems are heavy but a fun investment for enthusiasts.
One of the most curious types of bicycle is the tandem bicycle, more commonly known as a bicycle built for two. The tandem bicycle has two seats, one behind the other, two sets of cranks for pedaling, and two handlebars for stability and control. Only the front set of handlebars moves, as the person sitting in front is responsible for steering while the person behind is responsible for the increased pedaling power and balance. While the tandem bicycle has been around for many years, it has evolved over the past few decades to accommodate not just the casual couple strolling around town, but more serious runners and cycling enthusiasts as well.
The tandem bicycle has a much longer wheelbase than a regular bicycle and can therefore be more difficult to control. Also, because there are two people on the bike instead of one, the extra weight can cause the bike to drift in various directions more severely. Therefore, when riding a tandem bicycle, it is important that both riders communicate with each other and work together to maintain balance. The tandem bicycle requires both riders to work together not only for balance, but also for power: Since there are two cranksets on the bike, both riders must pedal in unison.
There are several varieties of tandem bicycles. The most common is the cruiser-style tandem, which is perfect for strolling around town. In recent years, the tandem road bike has appeared on the scene, mimicking the design and purpose of a road racing bicycle with thin tires and aerodynamic geometry. This allows riders to race their tandem bicycle or use it for training purposes.
The latest addition to the tandem bicycle family is the tandem mountain bike. This tandem mimics the style and geometry of a typical mountain bike but allows for two riders. The tandem mountain bike, like all tandems, has a much longer wheelbase and a reinforced frame for greater strength. Tandems in general tend to be very heavy due to the extra frame material, parts and accessories, and are therefore somewhat inefficient for racing. But for the general enthusiast looking for a different take on a fun activity, a tandem could be a worthwhile investment.