Tandems - the joy of two!
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I've just come back from a week with my first tandem experiance. What fun!
Takes a bit to get used to, and you need to communicate well and trust your partner, but once you get the hang of it, it isn't any harder than a normal bike, a lot more social.
I'm not sure if it is harder or easier, it was a lot heavier and less responsive than my dedicated road bike, but also lighter and faster than using a mountain bike on the roads.
Anybody know of any books on the subject?
...not strictly speaking a book about tandems, and a little dated, but it does have the most famous tandem anecdote.
I only tried tandem riding once, and came to similar conclusions to yours. It felt faster than riding solo, but that might have been because my riding partner was stronger than me. The big advantage was the social one, I think - if you and your partner tend to ride at different speeds, it makes for a good deal less irritation. One big disadvantage seems to be that you have less luggage space than two solos for touring. Another is that it doesn't fit into a standard bike shed and it's a pain trying to take it on trains.
A colleague has a back-to-back (couldn't just find a photo of his, but it's essentially the same as the one in the picture). I haven't ridden it, but those who have claim that going backwards isn't as disconcerting as it looks.
I would like to have a go with a Hase Pino however but without someone to share the use I probably wouldn't buy one.
I had a ride on an early version of the Conference Bike once - great fun, but probably not much practical use.