What You Need To Know About Tandem Bicycles
The tandem bicycle is a twin bicycle built to be ridden by two people. When it is designed to be ridden by three people, it is referred to as a tricycle. The term tandem refers to the seating arrangements.
Compared to the conventional bicycle, the tandem bicycle allows the cyclists to double their pedaling power. This does not necessarily double its speed. However, it slightly enhances frictional loss in the drive train. The tandem bicycle has almost the same wind resistance as the conventional bicycle. The bicycle y weigh less than two times the weight of the conventional bike meaning that the ratio of its power to weight is better than that of a conventional bike.
When the bicycle is on a flat terrain or downhill, the power it produces is used to overcome wind resistance. This implies that with the tandem bicycle, the rider is capable of reaching a high speed than what the same rider can attain while riding a single bicycle. Further, it is important to note that this bike is not slower when climbing. However, it requires a high level of coordination between riders. If the riders have different abilities, it may pose challenges hence require more coordination and compromised cadence.
The front rider of the tandem bicycle steers the bike and pedals it. He is referred to as a pilot, a captain or can be referred to as a steersman. The main job of the rear rider is to pedal and is referred to as a stroker or a rear admiral or a navigator.
The tandem bicycle has two sets of cranks that are mechanically linked by timing chain and turn at the same rate.
The bicycles are used in Paralympics where the visually impaired or blind riders ride as stokes while the fully sighted ones ride as captains.
Even though the tandems are designed to be pedaled by two riders, some special designs such as Da Vinci allows for independent pedaling and use of multiple freewheels.
Tandems can come with both upright and recumbent seating. Similarly, it can be a hybrid upright / recumbent tandem which is steered by a captain who may opt to sit upright in the rear while the stroke rider may choose to ride in a recumbent position at the front.
Tandem bicycles are popular in the UK even though it is also becoming popular in other parts of the world. They are available in two-wheel or one wheel drive design.