While on our trip around Lake Ontario , we met a young couple from Switzerland who had cycled extensively in Europe and now in Canada on a tandem bike. We camped one night with M&M. They were very enthusiastic about the benefits of the tandem bike, its speed, it’s ability to climb hills, and the fact that you can communicate with your partner more effectively sitting close together than on separate bikes.
After experiencing the hills of upstate New York, we wondered if maybe we should look at this alternative a little more closely.
Today we bought one!! After some time spent on Craigslist, Kijiji, and Ebay, it became obvious that these bikes are not that readily available. New ones of good quality are very expensive. We finally found one near Barrie (200km away) with some age on it but not really that many km’s. The bike is a Miyata Duplicross of a mid 1990’s vintage. It is described as a tandem mountain bike but with street tires on it, there is very little difference between it and a tandem touring bike. It has braze ons for panniers bags and a steel frame strong enough to carry a load.
The bike was used for one long trip from Vancouver to Ontario and very little else.
We took the bike for a 20km ride before buying it. We laughed for a good part of the ride since communication between captain (that’s me) and stoker (J) is very important. I need to tell her that I am going to coast, change gears, brake, move my behind, so that she can act accordingly. Balancing is different because we are both moving.
But, does it ever go! This bike is 4-5km/hour faster than our touring bikes and at least 3km/hr faster than our road bikes with about the same effort. Hills are easier. The bike does not accelerate as fast as the other bikes though.
Not sure what we will do with this set of wheels. It may just be a novelty that we run from time to time. We may try a longer tour on it likely pulling a trailer. Time will tell.