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How to Transport a Tandem Bike: Double the Fun, Double the Hassle

The only thing better than one bike is two bikes combined in one. Although a tandem bike can be fun to ride, it can be a hassle to transport. If you are struggling to find a way to transport your tandem bike, then look no further. Continue reading and find out all about tandem bikes, from how and where to ride one to how to transport a tandem bike.

How to Ride a Tandem Bike?

Tandem riding is all about teamwork, so the first tandem ride should be about finding out how to ride together. In two-rider tandems, the person on the front is usually called a “captain” or a “pilot,” while the person riding on the back is called a “stoker.” The captain is the one who has complete control of the ride, so he is usually preferred to be the experienced and stronger rider. He deals with steering, braking, shifting, and pedaling. On the other hand, the stoker doesn’t need to be experienced, but he is a great help in pedaling, especially during hills. The stoker has to trust the captain and not try to steer the bike. Still, the two need to coordinate beforehand and work together.

Although riding a tandem bike is not difficult, it is still different from riding a separate bike. The hardest part of it is starting and stopping. To start, first, the captain gets on the bike. He stands astride the frame (with both feet on the ground) and locks the brakes, so the bike doesn’t move while the stoker gets on it. The stoker, on the other hand, sits on the saddle and gets ready to pedal.

Before starting to move, the stoker lets the captain know he is ready to go. The captain sits while starting the bike, and the stoker pedals along. When the bike is set in motion, they both have to pedal simultaneously to their destination. When changing gears, the captain should give the “shift” command and take some pressure off the pedals. To stop the bike, they do the starting process in reverse. Even though synchronizing your feet can be a bit hard at first, you will get used to it by riding a few times together.

When you become an experienced tandem team, you develop a unique level of non-verbal communication. After several hundred miles together, you will find yourself shifting or coasting simultaneously and without the need for discussion.

Where Can You Ride a Tandem Bike?


Since you know how to ride a tandem bike, you may be wondering where to ride it. The best place for tandem riding is one without cars. This includes casual rides on the local bike path or on Rails to Trails routes around the country.

You can ride tandem bikes on flat terrains, downhill, or uphill. When the terrain is flat and downhill, tandems can reach higher speeds than single bicycles. That is due to the pedaling done by cyclists to overcome wind resistance. On climbs, the riders need to coordinate to ensure safety.

Can You Transport a Tandem Bike Across Long Distances?

Riding tandem bikes can be very fun. If you ever plan on traveling somewhere and want to take fun with you, it is possible to transport your tandem bike by a car. It can be challenging, but since the bike is not heavy and has a compact size, you can make it work. You can put a tandem bike inside most cars. But oftentimes, cars need their inside to be adjusted so that the bike can fit. This means moving the seats to free up more space or making sure that there are no passengers or luggage in the back.

In cases when a tandem cannot fit since there is not much space in the car, the car’s rooftop is the solution. You can install a car rack on the roof of the car or at the back of it. Another way of transporting a tandem bike is dismantling it and packing it inside a bag. Read on to find out more.

How to Transport a Tandem bike

Below we will show you the three ways in which you can transport your tandem bike. From simply putting it inside your car to using a tandem bike carrier, or even dismantling the parts, read below to learn more about each method.

Put the bike at the back of your vehicle

Although not advisable, the first and simplest way you can transport your tandem bike is by putting it at the back of your car. If your car is a larger type, it is quite easy. Put your car seats down so that you provide more space. Then, proceed to put the bike inside your car gently. Ensure that the bike’s gear is not facing too much pressure as it can get damaged. In addition, make sure that the bike chain is not touching the side of the car. If possible, cover the bike with a sheet for cleanliness purposes.

What if there are people at the back of the car?

If there are people or luggage at the back of your car, but there is still space left to fit most of your bike – then you can improvise and remove the front wheel to make your bike fit inside. After you remove it, put the bike inside your car and proceed to place the wheel on top of the bike carefully. It is advisable to put a sheet in between the two so that the parts do not touch. If it still doesn’t fit, you can remove the other wheel too.

Use a bike rack

If the tandem bike won’t fit inside your car, or if you’re looking for other options for tandem bike transport, then you can use tandem bike racks for cars. A roof rack is an excellent choice since your bike will be more secure than it would be inside. If you do not have a rack attached to your car, you need to attach one. There are temporary racks available, or permanent ones if you plan to have more trips. After you install the rack, put your bike in it and remember to secure and lock it.

Apart from the roof rack, you can attach a rack at the back part of your car and hang your bike in a vertical position. However, this method is less advisable as it is less safe.

Start dismantling the bike


If you checked your vehicle’s manual, but the roof cannot carry your tandem bike, or if you want the safest way possible to transport it, then you have to dismantle the bike and put the parts inside a bag. Here’s how to disassemble your tandem bike step by step:

  1. Start by removing the wheels and taking the air off the tires. In addition, remove the disk brake motors.
  2. Next, remove the water bottle cages and the kickstand.
  3. Remove all racks.
  4. Remove handlebars.
  5. Remove cranks but keep the pedals on the crank arms.
  6. Remove seat posts but keep the saddle and stoker’s stems attached.
  7. Remove chains.
  8. Remove rear derailleur.
  9. Detach cables.
  10. Remove the fork if it takes up space.

Put the dismantled parts in a tandem bike bag

After dismantling the tandem bike, the next thing you need to do is pack it inside a tandem bag. The tandem bags are big bags designed specifically to fit and accommodate your bike. Here’s how to arrange the dismantled parts in a tandem bag:

  1. Start by putting the front triangle part of the frame at the bottom, and add the rear wheel with its cassette facing down.
  2. Add the rear triangle part of the frame.
  3. Put the rear rack around the wheel.
  4. Put the two tubes connecting the rear and front triangles between the rear wheel and rack.
  5. Put the fork in between the rear triangle’s two arms.
  6. Place the front rider’s handlebars around the rear wheel.
  7. Fit the cranks wherever there is space.
  8. Put the handlebars for the rear rider at the top.
  9. Place the seat posts and saddle wherever there is space.
  10. Put the front wheel at the top.
  11. Pack mirrors, water bottles, and other accessories in a separate bag.

Bottom Line

Now that you know different methods how to transport a tandem bike go ahead and choose the most suitable one for you. Whether you decide to put your bike at the back of your car, use a rack, or dismantle its parts and use a tandem bike bag — enjoy your tandem bike wherever you are.


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