We can’t ride in a group without being asked about our bright green Paketa tandem. And, eventually the question comes… How much does it cost? …Yep, it’s not cheap. But, I always like to point out that a tandem is ONLY expensive, if you wind up not using it a lot.
If you had a road tandem that was LIGHT and FAST and FUN – would you ride it more? If you had a tandem that was made from magnesium and gave your stoker the MOST comfortable ride possible from a racy road tandem – would your stoker look forward to riding it more with you? If you spent the same amount of money on a tandem that you would have spent on two – similarly spec’d road bikes – AND you spent more time riding on the tandem TOGETHER… Wouldn’t that be worth investing in?
Now, I realize that not everybody is tandem material. I work at a bike shop, and customers (usually guys) will often eyeball an expensive road tandem and ask me what they’re all about. I’d suggest that, among other things, a nice tandem was the perfect way to get to spend more uninterrupted time with your sweetie. For me, riding the tandem with Amy is the equivalent of a rolling date night. (A date night where I still get to RIDE BIKES!)
Now, more than once I’ve heard guys state that the reason they go ride their bikes is to GET AWAY from their significant others! Those guys are absolutely correct in stating that a tandem is a waste of money for them.
But, if you’re a person that loves to bicycle. And you have a loved one that you wish would come ride with you – and be able to keep up with you NO MATTER WHAT. And enable you to carry on a conversation during the ride… Then a tandem could be a good investment in your future.
The tandem has become the ONLY way that I get Amy to ride with me. This is a woman who was a non-rider when I met her, and I was seriously worried that we’d never go on a third date since she was so overwhelmed by my NEED to ride bicycles. But over the years she has turned into a (tandem) cycling adventurer.
A tandem has enabled her (and as a result ME) to mountain bike, to ride multiple century rides in a weekend, ride in Europe, to race at Downieville, to complete 100 mile mountain bike races, race criteriums, compete at the Singlespeed World Championships, ride in a velodrome, and figure out how to get a tandem on the chairlift at our downhill mountain bike park… So long as I keep my promise not to kill US, and to make it fun, then we’ll look for a tandem that’s suitable for the task.
Amy and I recently celebrated 11 years since our first date. We’re not married (tandems are divorce machines, don’t you know?), but we do own and ride several road and off-road tandem bikes together. When a nosy someone asks Amy why, after all this time, she doesn’t have a ring on her finger, I wince a little. But, I always like to hear her reply… “Well, instead of a ring – I have more than one very nice tandem bicycle that was custom built specifically for me so that JUST THE TWO OF US can ride together. That’s more of a commitment than than a piece of jewelry – and it’s a heck of a lot more useful than a diamond ring.”
I could not agree more.
So how much should YOU spend on your next tandem? That really just depends on how much you intend to ride it. And how much you like the person you’re going to be riding it with. Whatever you decide – I PROMISE not to tell.
Henry (& Amy) – Bend, OR