Tuesday, October 04, 2016

How To Buy a Tandem Bicycle

In looking back, I have many memorable “first” tandem rides. The first “first” was during the summer of 1975, when I took possession of a used Gitane Interclub tandem. I began riding it around the neighborhood with any friend or family member I could persuade to ride with me. One of my brothers was the likely first stoker, and I probably took a dozen friends and family out for rides over the first couple of summers. The next first is when Linda and I went out on that same tandem while we were dating, on a ride that ended in near disaster from a loose stem. A few years later, newly wed Linda and I took delivery of our own first new tandem, a Santana Classic, for a chilly ride in December of 1981. And, of course, we had first rides with both our boys, each riding within months of their third birthdays.

37 years after our first tandem ride, still smiling.
Also along the way, I was a part of hundreds of first rides for the teams we introduced to tandems over the years since. We hosted many test rides, many more than we sold in our dealer years and since. During a test ride appointment, both captain and stoker would get rides stoking for me on two or three different tandems, before heading off on their own. Many of those teams are still out there, some still riding the same bikes, almost 30 years later.

First tandem rides are important, since they build the foundation for what is to come. They establish the trust and communication that are essential for long-term tandem team.

Before we get to the first ride, here are three steps that will help get you started in building a good tandem experience:

• First, interview yourself and your tandem partner, and ask yourself what you are looking for in a tandem, and from tandeming.

• Next, find a tandem mentor, another team that you can talk to about tandems and tandeming.

• Finally, find a tandem dealer (not just a bike dealer), to help you find the right tandem.

Part 1:   How to Buy a Tandem Bicycle - The Interview

Part 2:  Find a Tandem Mentor

Part 3: The Right Bike Shop

(This is adapted and updated from a series of articles I wrote for Recumbent and Tandem Rider magazine a few years ago.)

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