Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some tandem related questions that come up from time to time and some answers by people on the email list.  If you find some of the information is out of date or a bit incorrect, send your corrections to

General Tandem FAQs

  • What should I know about bike safety?

This isn't a tandem specific FAQ, but safety is every bike rider should think about.  Here are some informative links that were sent to us that you might find helpful:

A Healthy Hobby: Beginners Guide to Cycling

Road Biking Safely with Cars

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety for All Ages

Cycling in Portland and General Biking Tips

  • How do I travel with my tandem?

The club has a hard shell case that can be borrowed.  Click here for more details.  Also there are rumors Santana is having a cardboard box designed for tandems, so you may try contacting them.
  • Can I take my tandem on an airplane?

One couple has written a detailed description of their experiences traveling with their tandem. 

A common solution to the travel problem is a "Coupled Tandem."  Some Tandems have S&S coupling which allow them to break up their tandem into pieces allowing them to fit into standard size cases.  Typically it is an option when buying a new tandem, but in some cases it can be a retrofit.  It is not cheap though.  It does add a little weight to the bike but doesn't compromise the rideability of the tandem.

In an email survey we ran, a little more than half have of the people on the email list have taken their tandems on an airplane.  Of those that have, 4 had coupled tandems and 5 didn't.  Only one said they wouldn't do it again and two said they would only do it again with a tandem with couplings that allow it to be broken down.

The club has a hard shell case that can be borrowed.  Click here for details. 
  • Where can I buy a tandem in the Portland area?

Here are few places to buy a tandem mentioned by PTC club members (We're sure there are others in town).  They are listed in order of number of recommendations received.

  • West End Bikes
  • Bike Gallery
  • River City Bicycles
Also, if you are looking to save money, you can regularly find tandem bikes for sale on craigslist.

  • Where can I rent a tandem in the Portland area?

Waterfront Bicycle is one place we have heard of that rents tandem bicycles in Portland.  If you are thinking about buying a tandem, many bike shops will let you go for a fairly extended test ride.  If you know of other places that rent tandems, let us know.

One more place to try is Spinlister, which is a bike sharing website.  There are several tandems listed.  We have no affiliation with them and do not know anything more than what we found on their web site.  If you do rent a tandem using Spinlister, please send us a review of how it went.

  • Where is a good place to get my tandem repaired?

We sent a short survey to our club members and compiled the results.  We asked for bike shops and if there was a specific mechanic they recommended.  Here are the results:
 Shop    # of votes
 Beaverton Bike Gallery 4 2 votes for Michael, 1 for Tim
 River City Bicycles 3 1 vote for Brandon
 West End Bikes
 Portland Bike Gallery  1 
 Sellwood Cycle Repair 1 
 Gateway Bicycles 1 (note: They were one of the better tandem shop a long time ago, but I think they are out of business now.

  • Are tandems easier to ride than a single bike?

Some riders say yes and some say no.  However, tandem bikes are a great equalizer when one rider is stronger than the other.  Some couples have trouble riding single bikes together because one wants to ride faster.  That's not a problem on a tandem.  You each put in as much effort as you want.  If you're not moving, it's probably a sign a tandem is not right for you :-).  One wife commented to her daughter, "We rode for 18 miles and I kept up with your dad the whole way!"

  • Are tandems good for a relationship?

They can be, however it depends on the couple.  Many of the Portland Tandem Club members have found tandem riding to be a great activity they can do together.  But a tandem will probably not improve an already rocky relationship.  Here's another quote:  "Wherever your relationship is heading, it'll get there faster on a tandem!" 

We did see an ad on Craigslist for a tandem titled: "Divorce Cycle for Sale", however most of the people on the email list have had a much better experience.

Subpages (1): Tandem Travel