For couples considering whether a tandem might be in their future, the most critical factor is how well you ride togetherat least that's what I was told. I'd personally go one up on that statement and venture that tandeming is all about how well you get along. If there's any question, just remember a generally accepted axiom: Tandeming accelerates the progression of whichever direction your relationship is already going. Sketchy relationship? Stay off the tandem! But, for instance, if you like to go out dancing, then maybe a synchronized foot dance on wheels is just what you need.
"It's the Fred [Astaire] and Ginger [Rogers] dancing thing, where your feet are in phase," says Patrick Gibbons, tandem expert and co-owner of Tandem Cycle Works of Colorado in Denver. "Tandeming is all about movement, grace, agility and fun. In the beginning, communication is imperative, but as you get more experience, you become intuitive to each other's moves. If you're a couple who cycles, it's the greatest way to spend quality time together."
Gibbons, along with wife Lynn Dexter, runs one of only three exclusive tandem dealers in the country. Their shop is stacked to the gills with top-brand tandems by Co-Motion, Cannondale, Burley, and Santana. It has the largest selection between St. Louis and Los Angeles. Predictably, the location has become Ground Zero for Colorado's growing tandem scene, which Dexter says may be double the 500 teams she has on the shop's mailing list.
"Lots of customer couples are already avid cyclists, but many times women aren't as inclined to keep pace with men," observes Dexter, herself a "half cyclist" in her previous life. "I know I've never been able to ride in the front of the [single rider] racer's pack, but on a tandem, they're sucking my wheel."
As the clock ticks, tandems become attractive for couples who want to maintain an active lifestyle, says Dexter. "As we get older, tandems offer advantages that let us ride together." Because of the synergy from two riders on a single bike, tandeming tends to invigorate a couple's cycling lifestyle even further, she notes.
"Suddenly, a womanor maybe her couch potato husbandis riding at a whole new level. For the first time they're riding full centuries and are coming back with ear-to-ear grins. That's what tandems can do."
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication