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Why a Tandem? Tandeming - A sport for both sexes
The Ultimate Family Bicycle Bringing Cyclist Together

By Bill McCready, President, Santana Cycles, Inc.

What one change could you make to revitalize your health, relationships and sense of well being? Believe it or not, the answer could be a tandem bicycle. Forget Daisy and those clunky rental bikes for two. More than a machine, toy or high-tech product, today's tandem bicycles have the power to improve the quality of your life. As fun as most products are when new, how many can revitalize your health, relationships and sense of well-being? A tandem can. By transcending their obvious roles as fun products, tandems provide a regular dose of health, travel and companionship. Invariably, people who ride tandems spend uninterrupted time together, converse comfortably, maintain fitness (while working out at their own level), experience new worlds and gain a shared feeling of accomplishment. What tandem owners tell us over and over is that while a $3-$5,000 bicycle seemed expensive at first, what they really bought was an inexpensive recreational vehicle opening up a lifetime of fun, closeness and shared memories.

Why A Tandem?

Together again

We say we humans are social animals, yet how hard do we work at strengthening our relationships? With TV replacing discussion, fast food replacing meals around the table, and computers replacing game boards, our need to socialize is often left unfulfilled. Enter the tandem bicycle. Cleverly packaged as fun, tandeming doubles as a rewarding team-building exercise promoting closeness, shared effort and the attainment of common goals. In family settings, a tandem sets a positive model of companionship and cooperation for children, and deftly bridges generations. By affording easy conversation and cultivating mutual trust and respect, tandem riding can strengthen and improve any relationship. And for that special someone you want to spend more time with, your time on a tandem provides instant togetherness and grows to become a cherished form of intimacy.

Shared workouts

Experts agree, two types of people live longer and happier - those who are married and those who stay fit. So, married people who stay fit should live the best lives of all. However, maintaining a relationship and staying fit both require many dedicated hours every week. With time at a premium, the best solution might be shared workouts. While this sounds easy, for most couples it's nearly impossible. For workouts to be effective, you must exercise at your own pace. Inevitably, even the smallest difference in fitness, motivation or ability will cause you to either drift apart (no longer exercising together) or work above or below your desired pace (reducing the effectiveness of the workout). And those lucky enough to have identical abilities? They have another problem - competition; it can strain any relationship.

Tandeming is the answer - it's the one activity allowing optimal workouts for both of you. Instead of working out alone, holding back or competing head-to-head, you're a team with a common goal. And because tandeming is fun (some would even say romantic), it's quality time worth repeating.

The world in a better light

Every couple on a tandem soon makes the same discovery - people actually smile when they see you. Whether riding across town or around the globe, the universal acceptance of couples on tandems means everyone, including strangers, becomes uncommonly friendly. And while it's been said getting there is half the fun,; on a tandem, getting there is the fun. Besides the benefits of cycling on singles (the intimate scale of travel, an unhurried pace, the immediacy of the elements and a landscape absorbed by all five senses), tandeming also offers the subtle rewards of teamwork - easy conversation, shared discovery and mutual accomplishment.

Fun, friendly people

Tandems bring fun couples together. Folks who enjoy tandeming have much in common; strong relationships, good communication skills, advanced educations, comfortable incomes, plus affinities for the great outdoors, fitness and travel. This realization has created an ever-growing number of tandem-specific clubs, multi-day rallies, and tours.

Cycling for the rest of us

There is a natural evolution to cycling. As a child, we learn to ride. Later we learn to ride well. Then, as we mature into meaningful relationships, we learn to do without bikes altogether. Tandeming is a more fulfilling answer - it allows you to recapture the exhilaration of youth and share it with those that matter most.

Now's the time  

Because tandems symbolize close relationships, they are usually purchased in celebration of occasions where partners reaffirm their commitment - engagements, weddings, major anniversaries, children leaving the nest, and retirement. Why wait?  Anytime is the perfect time to discover the joys of tandeming - a lifetime of fun and adventure awaits.

 

Tandeming a sport for both sexes

Let's face it. To its detriment, cycling, a male-rich sport, too-often becomes a heated contest fueled by ego and testosterone. Tandeming is different. It's the one aerobic sport that bridges the abilities of active couples where men and women not only play as equals, they regularly lead the pack.

 

The ultimate family bicycles

By overcoming disparities in size, strength and skill, tandem bicycles allow the entire family to participate - even small children. And, because of its longer wheelbase, greater stability and doubled power, nothing beats a tandem for safely pulling one or two toddlers in a trailer. As the children grow, a child stoker attachment allows kids age 4 and up to pedal from the back seat. And when both parents still want to ride, the best option is a 3-seat tandem, also known as a triplet. Alternately, many larger families use 2 tandems, with each parent captaining a child stoker. Besides safety, tandems have another important benefit - they teach children (through osmosis) the feel of riding at an advanced level - pack riding, cornering, shifting, and braking - while keeping them in the safety of your care.

Bringing Cyclists Together

Tandems: the peak cycling experience

tens of millions of Americans maintain their health through cycling - a low impact, non-weightbearing and fun aerobic sport. Because cycling never becomes boring or repetitive, many do it for life. As a fitness activity, cycling's only downside is that one must either ride alone or find someone of similar ability. Imagine how much more fulfilling cycling would be if we could share a workout with faster or slower partners - it might become the best fitness activity ever.

And for families, the choice is even tougher. Do you spend your time working out or do you spend time with loved ones? On single bikes, it's frustrating (if not impossible) to ride with kids and spouses. Tandems, however, combine the efforts of any two people - allowing either person to pedal with as much or little force as they desire - and blend them into a seamless performance. By transcending skill, experience and ability, tandems are the ultimate family bikes.

Aren't tandems hard to ride?

A few years ago, the best bicycles-built-for-two were clunky, unwieldy and totally unsatisfactory. Today's best tandems, by comparison, are anything but. With proper design, tubing and components, a tandem, by virtue of its weight and wheelbase, is exceptionally safe and stable. Compared to single bikes, good tandems are also faster and more comfortable. Two can ride more easily than one.

Farther & faster with less work

Most cyclists first learn about a tandem's speed when riding behind one on an organized ride. Then, we notice that even while single bikers are struggling to keep up, the tandem's riders are sharing a normal conversation. When confronted with this contradictory image of speed and leisure, most people assume the tandem's owners must be incredibly fit. After all, cycling can't be this efficient, there must be a catch. But that's what it's like on a tandem, you can ride faster and farther with less work.

Always in sync

How many activities can couples share where both look equally stylish, graceful and capable? While most activities reveal our differences in strength, style and grace, every couple looks great on a tandem. (We call this the Fred and Ginger factor.)

2 motors are better than 1

Where does a tandem's speed come from? Because tandems cut per-rider wind and rolling resistance virtually in half - even a fat-tired mountain tandem is more efficient than the sleekest disc-wheeled single bike.

Further, when two cyclists ride together on singles, they are limited by the speed and range of the slower rider. Tandem partners, however, automatically attain or exceed the speed and range of the faster rider. This near-doubling of horsepower allows tandem partners to enjoy longer tours and faster training rides. Many tandem couples, even seniors, are delighted to find themselves routinely pulling long pacelines of young riders.

Who gets the window seat?

Because tandems are more aerodynamic when the taller rider captains, with most mixed couples this means the man rides in front. Regardless of gender, stokers need never feel stuck; in back. To the contrary, cyclists with equal time on both ends of a tandem unanimously prefer stoking - it's more fun! Unlike their captain (and single bike riders), stokers won't spend two-thirds of their time staring at that small piece of road directly in front of their front wheel (vigilantly watching for rocks, potholes, glass, rear wheels of other riders and about-to-open car doors). Because stokers don't watch the road in front, steer, shift or use the brakes, they discover a new sense of freedom. Stokers can ride no-hands, chat with other riders, read maps, study the scenery, point out wildlife and even examine the insides of their eyelids.

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