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A Bicycle Made For Two
Have you ever ridden a tandem? It’s something I’d occasionally thought about, without ever taking the idea too seriously. I never expected I’d end up riding one with a 4-year-old!
Last year, we bought what’s known as a ‘family tandem’. It’s suitable for two adults to ride together but, because it has a very low step-over height at the back, it’s also possible for a small child to ride with you. We use it for the school run and just for getting around on those journeys when it’s either too far or too time-consuming to walk. The thing I like best about it is that it’s a great way of teaching James some road sense and we’re fortunate that there are lots of quiet lanes and a few cycle paths nearby.
At first, we felt very wobbly, which was a little unnerving, and I couldn’t understand how James could throw his weight around so much. When we went out on a very sunny day, I watched his shadow very carefully and realized that he was standing up on the pedals because he thought this would help us go faster! Now we’ve got the hang of riding together, we are having great fun, and James absolutely loves going out. He still wriggles about a bit, but at least he keeps his bottom on the seat now!
The next step is to fit a child seat at the back so that little brother can join us too. If I’m feeling really brave, I might even try riding it with Daddy!
If you’re interested in trying a tandem, I can absolutely recommend a hub gear rather than a derailleur: not only are there fewer teeth to injure little legs, but you can change gear while stationary. Proper crank shorteners are also well worth the investment.