It’s late in the evening and you go out to get some fresh air. As you stand on your porch, you notice a couple doing something interesting on the road. They are both sweaty. Both are determined to reach their destination. Both look tired but extremely happy and satisfied with the physical activity they are doing. You are blown away. This is the first time you have seen such a pleasurable activity done by two people enjoying each other’s company. Suddenly, you think that if envy is indeed a deadly sin, you would have been dead by now. Tomorrow, you will invite a friend and buy a tandem bicycle.
Yes, some things in life are better done in pairs - like biking. That’s why tandem bicycles, although not as common as the regular bikes, are still relatively popular. Also known as twin cycles or simply twins, these bicycles are powered by more than one person. They are just like regular bikes. The only difference is that they have more than one seat and pedals. Ergo, they are more sturdily built to carry the weight of more riders. They are also made of stronger and more durable components. The main parts like the wheels and the steering rod, are similar to that of regular bikes. They also have similar speed levels but this depends on the coordination between the two riders.
The first tandem bike was created when an inventor built a bicycle for two by welding two bicycles together. By the 1800s, the bike design had been marketed and patented. Today, designs for tandem bikes are not merely two bikes welded together, but high-end, custom machines for high performance. In fact, there are off-road tandem models available for the more adventurous types.
You may want to familiarize yourself with several terms used in tandem cycling. The person riding in the front seat is called the captain, the pilot or the steersman. The one in the backseat is called the stroker, the navigator or the rear admiral. Cranks refer to the pedals. The chain connecting the two sets of cranks is called the timing chain. It is important because it forces both cranks to turn at the same time.
Cycling can involve more than two people, too. Bicycles for more than two riders are called “triplets” or “triples,” “quadruplets” or “quads,” and “quintuplets” or “quints” for three, four and five riders respectively. Some tandem bikes can accommodate up to ten riders.
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