What Are Tandem Bikes?

What Are Tandem Bikes?
A tandem bike is a bicycle built for two people. Tandem bicycles are a fun way for couples, kids, or anyone else to enjoy riding a leisurely bike trail or through a sidewalk-shop community.


On a tandem bike, people of different skill levels are able to ride together at the same pace. Pace is often the difference that determines whether people experience something in the outdoors together or individually.


Tandem Bikes come in many different styles, including recreational tandems, touring tandems, and off-road or mountain bike-style tandems. The term "tandem" is sometimes extended from just two-seaters to include three-seat and four-seat bicycles as well.


On a two-seat tandem bicycle, the person in the front seat is the "captain" and has control of the handlebars for steering. The captain must be the eyes of the team, keeping the bicycle on course and away from obstacles. He must keep the rest of the team informed of upcoming turns, stops, or bumps. The person in the rear seat is the "stoker," whose only responsibility is pedaling. The stoker is better able to look around and enjoy the scenery during a tandem bike ride.


Tandem bikes come in a variety of sizes from factory models to customized ones. A tandem bicycle should be sized to fit the captain. It is not necessary for a stoker to be able to get off the tandem bike unassisted and accessories are available for purchase if a smaller rider or child is unable to reach the pedals.


A tandem bicycle generally costs around three times as much as an equivalent single-rider bike. Tandem bikes are an investment that provide a different type of bike riding experience.

Article Written By Seth C. Burgess

Seth C. Burgess has been an outdoor writer for Trails.com since May 2009. His educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology and a Master of Business Administration degree, both from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y.

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