There are pros and cons to owning a tandem in London. First the pros; everyone loves a tandem. It beats dogs and babies as a conversation starter. Lots of people point and shout ‘TANDEM’ like they’ve just seen a unicorn. Old people especially love it. I think in the old days tandems were everywhere so it makes them feel nostalgic. This one old man once stopped us and said "I have a story about a tandem....I was with these two Polish girls in 1943 and....." DUDE, that's a threesome, not a tandem.
The cons; you have to lie to potential housemates. No matter how bike friendly a house is, a big shut up tandem takes a whole new level of tolerance and corridor obstacle course skills.
1982 World Track Championships
I watch this video from the year I was born A LOT. I'm beyond impressed with the track stand at the start from the Czech tandem. Check out how the Brits manage to control the bike even after the front spokes have been ripped out.
The announcer says; "Man behind provides the power. The rider at the front provides the skill and expertise and guides the tandem around. It really takes a courageous man to sit at the back in a tandem sprint."
I've been in both seats on my tandem and agree that it can be pretty scary at the back. It takes a while to get used to the fact that you have no control and I still try and reach for brakes sometimes. Also your view is limited which can be a good thing sometimes, depending on your pilot.
When my friends and I go on long group rides, we usually appoint whoever is on the back of the tandem to be head of communications. Their hands are free to answer phones, take pictures, and they are able to look around and see how everyone is doing or if anyone is missing.
|Just before we nailed Ditchling Beacon|
I've been on the front with someone stronger than me on the back and that is really scary. I can only compare it to the part in action films when the bad guy puts their foot down on the accelerator while the hostage steers.
Anyway, I better get back to practicing my tandem track stands. I'll let you know how that works out for me.