What a Three Person Bike is Called? (+Why Tandem Biking Is Popular)

Tandem Bikes are those two-person bikes that you see people riding around the park when you’re out for a relaxing walk. 

They always looked like something only a couple could do. They always looked like they were having so much fun.

What is a three-person bike called? A three-person bike is called a Tandem Bicycle. Anytime you ride a bike that has two or more people on it, it is referred to as ‘Tandem’ because of the formation of it, not because of the number of riders. However, a bike with three people riding it is also referred to as a ‘triples’ or ‘triplets.’

The fun doesn’t stop there, though. Did you know that there can even be more than three riders on a bike at once?

It’s quite a sight to see. Today, we’ll be taking a look at what exactly the style of biking is, as well as it’s rich history.

Read Also: Are Bicycle Pedals Universal?


Tandem Biking, Meant for All

Tandem biking has a long and beguiling history, but the main purpose nowadays is meant for enjoyment. 

A tandem bike is a bike that can carry 2 or more people. It is called ‘tandem’ because of the layout of it, not because of the number of seats. Tandem means front to back. 

This can also include side by side tandem bikes that can include a bucket seat like some bikes.

This means that you could have any number of seats that you want on a bike if made correctly. 

Not only is there two, three, and four-seater bikes, but the amount of people that have ridden tandem bikes has been larger than 10 people at a time!

History of the Tandem Bike

Originally in the 1890s, the Tandem Bike was made to be able to carry more people at a faster pace. If you think about it, it’s kind of like a precursor to the automobile. 

It may have even been the concept design behind making them. Anyway, the design of it was first officially patented by Mikael Pederson in 1898.

There are also other variations of the tandem where the bike was made for six seats to accommodate a marching band. 

The bike was specially designed so that the players could play their instruments while moving at the same time. 

The typical instruments that were used for this were larger brass instruments such as baritones or tubas.

Currently, the record holder for the longest tandem bike ever built, according to Guinness World Records, is “135 ft 10.7 in” and can have up to 20 people riding it at once.

Further History of the Tandem

One major part of the Tandem Bike’s early time included wartime. 

They were used in the second Angelo-Boer war in 1902 and used throughout the major wars of the world until shortly after the end of World War 2.

After the bloodshed was over, people of the UK started making a bicycle club using tandem bikes in 1971 which they called ‘The Tandem Club.’ The club still runs ‘till this day.

Fun and Efficient

Not only are you riding a bike with one or more extra people, but the use of a Tandem Bike may be better. Not only do you have twice the amount of legs or more pedaling the bike, but you might even go faster on one.

Typically, the weight of a classic touring bike or mountain bike is made with the idea of performance. 

If you want your bike to go fast for racing, you are going to want a more aerodynamic bike which is usually made of lighter materials. 

Too much weight could be harder for the rider to maneuver with, but too little weight could make the bike easy to tip over.

However, when using a tandem bike, you have an area of two or more bikes and two or more people, with less material usage. 

Normally most tandem bikes will still have two wheels. The only extra weight will be extending the body a small bit and adding the number of seats and pedals needed per rider.

The key difference in the performance of tandem bikes is the fact that you do have more people. For each person you add, you gain power in additional pedaling. More legs mean more power. This also means the ability to bike faster than on a normal bike.

Olympic Level Treatment

One of the highest accolades of honor that the Tandem Bike has been given is the use of professional sports. The Tandem Bike was first used in the Olympics in 1908. 

We all remember that year, don’t we? Of course not, I’ll give you the highlights.

In record, this was the fourth year of the official Olympic Games. At the time, the event was referred to as ‘Games of the IV Olympiad’. 

It was originally supposed to be held in Rome, but due to a volcanic eruption of Mt.Vesuvius in 1906, the games were relocated to London, England.

During the fourth year of the games, there were over 22 sports with 110 events to last them. The total length of time that it took to host and complete all these events lasted a total of almost 188 days, over half a year.

The Tandem race continued to be featured in the Olympics from 1920 all the up until the race-style was discontinued in 1972.

Other Sports

Another interesting piece of note about the Tandem Bike is it was also used in the Paralympics. The Paralympics is a series of international sporting events hosted for athletes with a wide range of disabilities. 

The Paralympics are hosted every year immediately following the traditional Olympics.

The Tandem Bike race was used for athletes that were blind.

The way it would work is the blind athlete would be assigned to the back of the bike where they designed the power to come from, and they would have captains assigned to their team that we’re not blind to be able to steer for them.

What Makes the Tandem Bike Different?

Besides the fact that you get to ride with another person on the same type of vehicle, the are some differences in structure and functionality that differs from your regular bicycle.

Of course, the Tandem Bike is still a bike, so it will still have handlebars, wheels, pedals, and seats. However, the structure of it is made differently.

The main component of making a bike being able to ‘go’ would be a person to push the pedal, but the reason why that pedal moves is because of the chain or drivetrain. 

The drivetrain is that thing that connects the chain to the wheels of your bike. In this case, the drivetrain for the Tandem Bike has been elongated so that all sets of pedals can be used to push the bike forward.

Another important difference is the body of the bike. When you’re on a normal bike, the body is straight and slender. On a Tandem bike, it is different. 

The ‘Fork’ is the technique used to make the bike, so its weight is distributed properly. 

If it weren’t adjusted for the weight of multiple people, the person in the front would be launched off the bike every time you brake quickly.

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