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Tandem Bicycle – History and Appearance

bicycle built for two

Victorian Era had brought us many incredible inventions and machines which we use today. The era of cycling has begun in the late 1880s, the epoch when the first bicycles and their closest ancestors became widespread and renowned by society.

We all know about penny-farthing bicycles or Starley’s safety bicycle and we do know about a tandem bicycle – once an archaism that became one of the most widespread and common bicycle types by the end of XX century.

Tandem bicycle attracts views and appeals to the attention. It looks unsuitable and unusual and some people may think that it is a relic of the past when unusual and monstrous velocipede machines have roamed the streets of London, Paris and then New York.

But its appearance has nothing to do with its performance and technological abilities. Even though it looks very unusual and unprepossessing, those who once traveled on a tandem bicycle, swear that its speed and convenience outstands regular single-saddled bicycles. Also, it is necessary to remember, that tandem bicycle implies two or more cyclists, placed one after another, back to back. Such co-location brings unforgettable and rich experience.

Tandem bicycle is a bicycle that features two or more saddles. A two-saddled tandem bicycle is the most common option but three- and more saddled tandems are used also.

This bicycle is designed for synchronic and cooperative cycling during which a particular number of cyclists make the same efforts to reach the needed cadence and acceleration.

First tandem bicycles came into existence in the late 1880s when first safety bicycles and penny-farthings were invented. This era is characterized by the increased public interest to bicycles and alternative modes of transportation.

Then, a tandem bicycle came out. And at the right moment. Tandem bicycles became very popular in a short time because they had offered the very first possibility to travel safely in pairs. Tandem bicycles were widely used during the Second Anglo-Boer War and the World War II. Their Danish inventor, Mikael Pedersen, had started a whole new era of cycling.

tandem bike

Unexpectedly, such a massive and voluminous construction of twenty-four pounds has shown astonishing and impressive performance results. The first tandems could be operated only by the front rider while the back rider had served only as an additive accelerator. Those tandems were single-speeded, as well as all other bicycles but due to this technological feature, they were enormously fast.

History doesn’t know what the first speed records on tandem bicycles were, but it is known that a tandem bicycle is nearly two times faster than a regular bike. That’s because of two cyclists instead of the one. Each cyclist has its own pair of pedals and during the synchronic cadence, they could reach the speed much faster than one cyclist can.

The wind resistance is another characteristic feature of a tandem bicycle. Since it has double-powered acceleration, only one of two cyclists needs to cope with wind resistance which is important in the terms of cycling racing and prolonged bicycle rides.

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