Tandem mountain bike racing. ZERO WASTE & LEAVE NO TRACE

What Is a Tandem Bicycle?

A tandem bicycle is one of the most visually distinct bikes on the market, as it is a bike that allows for two or more riders to pedal together in tandem.

These bikes are typically heavier, longer, and bulkier than traditional bikes to fit multiple riders comfortably on board.

Tandem cyclists have two distinct roles with differing responsibilities. The captain is the rider sitting in the front of the bike, and is characterized as the leader of the tandem bicycle.

The captain controls the steering, pedalling, braking, gear shifting, and overall balance of the tandem bike. Because of this, they are usually the more confident cyclist and have higher fitness levels than the stoker.

The stoker is the rider at the rear of the bike, and contrary to popular belief also has a key role in the tandem bike’s functioning. This is because they help and support the captain with pedalling, maintaining the balance of the bike, signalling turns and navigation.

The majority of tandems offer space for two riders, whilst triplets (a large tandem) are capable of carrying three people. There are also other tandem bicycles that allow more than three riders at a time, but these are far less common.

Most tandem bicycles have one chain and gear system, meaning that both riders are contributing to the pedalling of the bicycle, and both pedals are always moving at the same speed.

However, there is no one size fits all approach to tandems, since they come in multiple models dependent on the riders interests and biking goals. This includes road bikes, recumbents, off-roading designs, and many more to choose from.

Newer tandem bicycles use multiple freewheels that allow their riders to pedal independently of each other.

What Is a Tandem Bicycle Used For?

Tandem bikes are commonly used in long-distance bike touring in both city and natural environments. Because there are two sets of legs powering the pedals the majority of the time, tandems can usually push through difficult hills and mountainside environments.

This is accomplished more easily than by someone pedalling by themselves if the riders are coordinating well with each other.

Depending on the tandem’s model, they can be also found on a variety of rugged terrains with the proper tyres and design in place. Tandem bicycles are also used in competitive cycling environments as well.

Recap: What Is a Tandem Bicycle?

Just in case you missed it, I thought I’d explain again what a tandem bike is.

A tandem bicycle is a type of bike which enables two or more riders to cycle together on the same bike.

Tandem bikes come in all shapes and sizes and can be built for almost any cycling discipline. If you enjoy mountain biking, there are full suspension tandems available, similarly, if road biking if your thing tandems are available for this discipline.

The word tandem refers less to the type of bike and more to the way in which its riders are positioned, in tandem!


The Leadville Trail 100 MTB was first held in 1994 and has since become one of the most challenging and prestigious mountain bike races in the world. Riders take on a grueling 100-mile course that includes about 12,000 feet of elevation gain, reaching a peak elevation of 12,600 feet above sea level at the summit of Columbine Mine. Over the years, top athletes from around the world have come to Leadville for the ultimate test of Grit, Guts and Determination, on their quest for the coveted silver and gold beltbuckle.

Get ready to experience the thrill of the Leadville Race Series like never before! From heart-pumping climbs to exhilarating descents, our videos capture the beauty and challenge of this legendary race. Don’t miss out on the action – check out our 2022 highlight video now and get ready to be inspired!


Head to downtown Leadville for the free, outdoor, open-to-the-public Race Across the Sky Expo. While you check-in and pick up your swag bag, you can give your friends and family a taste of that Cloud City magic. From free swag and bike demos to live podcasts and beer tents, the Expo offers the perfect complement to two of the most prestigious endurance events on the planet.


This is it, the granddaddy of all endurance MTB races. Riders tackle steep climbs and technical descents as they traverse a course that winds its way through some of the most stunning scenery in the country. From the rocky terrain of Powerline to the breathtaking views from the top of Columbine, the Leadville Trail 100 MTB course is a true test of endurance and skill. With a peak elevation of 12,600 feet above sea level, riders must also contend with the effects of altitude as they push themselves to their limits. The Leadville Trail 100 MTB course is not for the faint of heart, but for those who are up to the challenge, it is an unforgettable experience.

View the 2023 event schedule below.

In 2022, we made the following changes to the LT100 MTB event program. The following will remain unchanged in 2023:

  • Awards will be taking place on Saturday night at 7:00 PM following the completion of the race.
  • A finish fest with live music will accompany the awards ceremony.
  • Belt buckles will be given away in the finish chute.
  • Finisher jackets will be printed and mailed to all athletes.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

  • 1:00pm-7:00pm – Packet Pickup / Expo
  • Location:135 E 6th Street
  • Photo ID is required
  • Packets must be picked up in person
  • Packets will not be mailed or given to others
  • 10:00am – Mandatory Athlete Meeting
  • Location:Lake County High School Football field – outdoor venue
  • Location:135 E 6th Street


  • Photo ID is required
  • Packets must be picked up in person
  • Packets will not be mailed or given to others
  • 11:00am-5:00pm
  • Location: 316 Harrison Ave. Leadville Retail Store. NOTE: NEW LOCATION Not at the expo.
  • Only clear plastic bags are allowed – please bring your own bags.
  • Clearly label bags with your name, race number and which aid station it’s going to in large letters
  • Drop Bag Return
  • ~7:00pm Saturday – 5:00pm Sunday
  • Location:316 Harrison Ave
  • Note:Any bags not picked up by 5pm Sunday will be donated to local charities!

Best tandem bikes 2023: a guide to the bicycle made for two

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Riding the best tandem bikes can be a joyful experience. It allows riders of differing strengths to ride together without any frustrations about being dropped or being held back. It can also be a very efficient way to cover ground, as you have the power of two people and aerodynamic drag roughly that of one person.

But riding a tandem bike does require good communication. The reputation of being ‘the divorce bike’ is not entirely unwarranted. That said, a tandem can also strengthen your relationship; if you can tandem together, you can do anything together!

We have compiled a list of the best tandem bikes available online in the UK and have then detailed some of the key features of tandems to help you on your search.

Our pick of the best tandem bikes

You can trust Cycling Weekly.

Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.

Dawes Combi tandem

The Dawes Combi tandem is ideal for those wanting to test their hand at riding a tandem, without having to pay for a top end model. It has Dawes’ sturdy alloy 6061 frame which has a geometry specifically designed to lend itself to having a smaller rider at the rear, making it a great option for riding with your kids.

With a seven speed cassette paired to a triple crankset, plenty of gears are available for both winching up the hills and cruising at higher speeds. Although rim brakes are used instead of discs, there is still plenty of stopping power available to scrub off your speed quickly. The high spoke-count 26-inch wheels are shod with 1.75-inch wide puncture resistant tyres, providing both ample grip and robustness.

Increasing its practicality are the equipped mudguards and the mounts for a pannier rack. With space available for bottle cages, there is even the option to take this on a lightweight touring adventure.

Dolan TDR Road tandem bike

With its drop handlebars and lightweight aluminium frame, the Dolan TDR tandem bike is built for a high quality performance feel, while its sloping geometry will ensure comfort on longer rides.

Equipped with a triple crankset, with the option for either a 11-32t or 12-28t cassette, you will have plenty of choice to find the right gear for whatever incline/descent you find yourself on. Mechanical disc brakes should also provide you confidence when braking at any speed you reach.

There’s lots of options for customisation on offer: pick your bar tape colour, saddle, handlebar width or stem length. It can also take front and rear mudguards and panniers, rendering it suitable for year-round touring adventures.

Ecosmo Folding City tandem bike

Tandems can be awkward to store at your home because of how long they are, but not this one from Ecosmo which can be folded away with ease. The full size bike is 220 x 18 x 66 cm, while folded down it’s as tiny as 110 x 34 x 66 cm. Weighing in at 21kg, it’s not too heavy to carry, although you may not want to hold it for prolonged periods.

This folding bike is not only a practical option in terms of space, it also comes with a front light, mudguards, rear carrier and kick stand. Disc brakes are also fitted which will provide reliable, powerful braking whatever the weather throws at you. It has small 20 wheels and Shimano 7 speed gearing which means it’s better for shorter rides, and not long distance touring.

Do bare in mind it arrives sealed in a box and is 80% assembled, with the handlebars, pedals, seat and chain needed to be fitted. however this is fairly straight forward and does not require any technical knowledge.

Orbit Lightning Pro

The Lightning Pro is Orbit’s tandem designed for lightweight touring which offers both great handling and a comfortable ride. It can even put on quite a turn of speed with its fully butted lightweight aluminium frame and carbon front fork.

The groupset is 2×11 Shimano 105 and there is a broad range of gearing options to suit all riders and terrain. If your intension is flatter and faster rides, a standard 53/39t crankset and 11-36t cassette would be the best configuration. Alternatively, if you’re carrying luggage and hitting the hills, the option of a compact 50/34t crankset with an 11-46t cassette will provide you with ample gears to keep the pedals turning.

Continental Gatorskins are mounted on robust 40-spoked wheels to provide some added protection against punctures. The width choice ranges from 25c to 35c, giving you the choice of comfort or speed. There are three sets of brakes: two rim and one disc brake at the rear, for assured stopping power and to eliminate any danger of overheating the braking tracks.

As every Orbit Tandem is built to order, if there are any particular component choices you would like to change, they are happy for you to get in touch.

Ridgeback Panorama tandem bike

If you are looking to travel further afield, this robust tandem from Ridgeback is suitable for anything from weekend trips to long distance touring. Coming already equipped with mudguards and a pannier rack, it bears the hallmarks of a bike ready for travel. High volume Schwalbe Marathon tyres are specced, which are known for their impressive puncture protection and long service life.

TRP spyre disc brakes are present here. Unusually for a mechanical caliper, the pads are actuated on both sides, making them easier to adjust and providing a better braking feel. The large rotors serve to prevent overheating on long, heavily laden, descents.

Features of tandem bikes and riding

Strong wheels

Tandems are built with much stronger wheels than other bikes because they have twice as much weight to deal with. 40 spokes is quite a common number, as are 26 inch wheels, which have become a little more of a rarity since mountain bikers have eschewed them in favour of 29ers and 27.5in wheels.

Extra brakes

Don’t be surprised of a third brake to be present on a tandem. Brakes work by converting your kinetic energy into heat, and on a tandem there is a lot more weight meaning a lot more heat is generated. An extra brake helps prevent any issues regarding overheating on long descents, as it distributes the braking forces across another brake.

There are a number of different ways for a third brake to be actuated: sometimes the stoker (person behind) has a brake lever they control; other times one brake lever is rigged up so that it operates two brakes simultaneously; and occasionally a lever is added onto one of the bar ends and can thus be used as a drag brake. you set a certain amount of braking force on the drag brake and modulate the speed with the ordinary brakes.

Different cranks lengths

Some prefer to spin at 90 rpm or faster and others like to grind away at 70 and sometimes lower. This can cause issues, as both cranks are kept in sync on a tandem via the timing chain which also transfers the pedalling force.

Fortunately, there is something that can be done. Giving the rider who has a faster natural cadence longer cranks will encourage them to slow down, while giving the rider who has a slower natural cadence shorter cranks will encourage them to speed up.

Remember that this won’t change the actual cadence the pedals are turning, 80 rpm is still 80 rpm for both. But it will change how that cadence feels to the rider.

Broad gears

As tandems have the pedalling force of two people, but an aerodynamic drag of similar to one rider, they can go at quite a pace on the flat. having some big gears will help you make the most of that.

However, tandems are quite heavy and can be quite cumbersome on the hills, so making sure to have some smaller gears as well is quite important.

Fortunately, a broad gear range is made easier to attain because small jumps between gears isn’t quite as important as when cycling by yourself. Gear changes are more of a commitment as you have to communicate them so that you both ease up on the pedals at the same time.

Descending on a tandem requires a different technique to descending on your own. For one thing, the total system weight is significantly greater, meaning braking has to be done earlier and more forcefully.

There is also the sensibilities of your tandeming partner to consider; you might be perfectly confident in your descending abilities, but that doesn’t mean your stoker is. For best results, go at the speed everyone is happy with.

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I’ve been hooked on bikes ever since the age of 12 and my first lap of the Hillingdon Cycle Circuit in the bright yellow kit of the Hillingdon Slipstreamers. For a time, my cycling life centred around racing road and track.

But that’s since broadened to include multiday two-wheeled, one-sleeping-bag adventures over whatever terrain I happen to meet. with a two-week bikepacking trip from Budapest into the mountains of Slovakia being just the latest.

I still enjoy lining up on a start line, though, racing the British Gravel Championships and finding myself on the podium at the enduro-style gravel event, Gritfest in 2022.

‘Whatever happens, I’m starting the club’: Iffat Tejani on realising her bucket list dream of opening up cycling to Muslim women How a life-and-death diagnosis set free a life-long ambition to break down barriers and rally a community onto bikes By David Bradford Published 30 July 23

‘She was better’. Annemiek van Vleuten tips hat to Demi Vollering on Tour de France Femmes raid Reigning Champion concedes defeat to compatriot on Col du Tourmalet By Tom Davidson Published 29 July 23

Big Sur the California Central Coast


Some Highlights of this Tour:

Join us for Spring cycling in the Golden State! California has some of the most beautiful coastal vistas in the world. Couple this with the charming towns of Monterey, Carmel-by-Sea, Solvang and Santa Barbara and this tour has the makings of a dream vacation!

  • Cycle along the famous 17-Mile Drive and the stunning California Central Coast
  • Attend the annual Sea Otter Classic bike festival, to kick off our week of cycling
  • Visit San Simeon and the Hearst Castle
  • Stay in cliffside lodging with the Pacific lulling you to sleep
  • Visit some of the most well-known, well-heeled and charming areas of the coast

Here’s a day-by-day tour description:

Arrival Day: Meet in San Jose We’ll meet at the DoubleTree San Jose at 9:00 am then shuttle 1.5 hours to Monterey to where we’ll visit the Sea Otter Classic bicycle race and festival where you can spend a few hours soaking in all things cycling (admission is included in your tour fee). We’ll continue by van to arrive at the hotel check in time. After getting settled in, assemble bikes, as needed, or explore Monterey on foot before we meet for dinner together. Lodging: Casa Munras Hotel

Monterey to Big Sur 40 miles – 2,700 ft gain 2,500 ft loss Today’s route takes us along 17-Mile Drive through famous Pebble Beach to Carmel-by-the-Sea, then south along Highway 1 for our journey along the coast. You’ll pass over the iconic Bixby Bridge and into the welcoming embrace of Big Sur, eventually arriving at our lodging for the night. We’ll enjoy a group dinner this evening at a nearby restaurant perched on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific. Lodging: Glen Oaks Big Sur Lodge

Big Sur to Ragged Point 50 miles – 5,200 ft 5,100 ft loss / Shuttle Option 34 miles. 3,300 ft gain 3,400 ft loss Today we dive into the heart of Big Sur, witnessing the raw and rugged beauty on offer at every twist in the tarmac. The full route is long and challenging, with three categorized climbs along Highway 1 and small rolling terrain in between. But don’t let this deter you as we have a shorter option as well! Today’s destination is the Ragged Point Inn, perched on a cliff over the ocean with no shortage of memorable vistas. Every room has a full or partial ocean or mountain view to compliment the crashing sound of waves that are ready to lull you to sleep. We’ll enjoy another group dinner this evening. Lodging: Ragged Point Inn

Ragged Point to Cambria 21 miles – 900 ft gain 1,200 ft loss No rush this morning as we have a shorter course to tackle on mostly flat terrain to the quaint town of Cambria. Stop in at Hearst Castle if you’re interested in learning about the history and fame of this media magnate and his palatial home that he spent decades building. Our lodging tonight is in Cambria at the Pelican Inn Suites, a historic bed breakfast style hotel. Take the time to get settled and kick the legs up before taking a walk of the town to check out the shops and cafés. Lodging: Pelican Inn Suites

Cambria to Avila Beach 43 miles – 1,700 ft gain 1,700 ft loss After breakfast, our route continues along the Pacific Coast Highway to the harbor town of Morro Bay. Enjoy lunch at the water’s edge, where you can watch the fishing boats, sea birds and harbor seals search for dinner. We’ll then continue to Avila Beach, a tucked away ocean gem. While our hotel is away from the ocean, we’ll enjoy dinner at a favorite spot nearby. Lodging: Sycamore Springs Resort Spa

tandem, mountain, bike, racing

Avila Beach to Solvang 68 miles – 2,800 ft gain 2,300 ft loss / Shuttle Option 37 miles – 1,800 ft gain 1,600 ft loss After a hearty breakfast, we pedal out of Santa Maria Valley and inland through the rolling pastures and oak studded hillsides that recline beneath the majestic San Rafael Mountains. Here we are treated to one of the best bike rides around, which courses along Foxen Canyon and Ballard Canyon. Remote and scenic, this route rolls past quiet pastures and wineries with unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains. Our destination is the Danish influenced Solvang, known for its quaint Scandinavian architecture and Old World hospitality. A longer day can be made shorter for anyone wishing to spend more time exploring Solvang. Tonight you are free to dine on your own. Lodging: The Landsby Hotel

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