Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Tandem – Take Two

Posted by Muddy John | January 17, 2011 | 4 comments so far

Buddy Bike Cheung Chau island

I never though tandems were relevant to mountain biking, until Darren and Amanda joined us with their Elsworth full suss. Following them down China Pig was a revelation – such a long bike twisting  through the tight turns and the back wheel flipping into the air as it bucks downhill.

It was with some trepidation that I had a go on the back seat on the much more benign route around Norbury House. It was great fun, but of course the limitation is that from the back you have no real idea of what is coming up – all you can do is pedal and lean as required, and hope that Darren knows what he is doing.

So I was amazed to spot this vintage creation, apparently from “Buddy Bikes” of the USA.

A side by side tandem sounds a lot of fun off road, although perhaps too wide in practical terms.  And I am not sure I would like to be sitting next to Dave W or Andy C going down Death Star, even if there was room for the bike.  It also presents its technical challenges with balance, but the big question is who sits on the right and steers/breaks and who sits on the left and holds on for dear life .

Apparently Buddy Bikes no longer make this style, now focussing on tandems with the “stoker” at the front and steering from the back, so children and disabled adults can sit at the front and see what is going on – perhaps the reason this side by side version was developed at all.

Muddy John

About the author

John has been biking in the Surrey Hills since the late 1990s but only started riding with the MuddyMoles in 2008. In the couple of years since then he has learned more about mountain biking from the Moles than he learned in the previous ten.

Having remained loyal to his vintage pale blue and orange Stumpjumper hardtail since the last century, he has recently explored the limits of his storage space and his wife’s patience by adding an On-One Inbred Singlespeed and an Orange Five.

John is usually wearing or riding something blue and does not eat any raw fruit beginning with the letter T.

There are 4 comments on ‘Tandem – Take Two’

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  1. Hello. The side-by-side isn’t our bike. Our inline tandem Buddy Bike was developed by Bob Gardner in California in the 1990s. He initially called it “The Love Bike.”

    My boss, Barry Nelson, found an old used Love Bike and immediately recognized the use of the bike for special needs families. He took over the business in 2005. Our searches didn’t turn up anything under “Buddy Bike” so we changed the name and took over the patent.

    After that, I started to see pictures of this side-by-side or “sociable” and many people call us about it. I haven’t been able to learn much about it except that it went out of production over 20 years ago. I have heard that it was built in Europe, or Canada or the US but have never been able to find the inventor.

    If anyone has more information about this bike, I would love to know about it. Thanks! Shelley at Buddy Bike

  2. Matt says:

    Very funny John, no offence but I wouldn’t trust any of you lot to steer me round the trails either on a ‘real’ tandem or a side by side…

    To be fair, Darren and Amanda are impressively skilled, I can’t believe what they ride on that Elsworth. A lot of it is the communication between the two so Amanda always knows what’s coming up. Usually.

    Shelley, thanks for your comments clarifying the Buddy Bike genesis. I guess anything that results in people checking out your company is a good thing!

    All the best

  3. Dazzler says:

    I like the love bike, Anyone got a garage so we can make one!! our garage is just a little to small, but it looks cool. I’m still waiting for matt to have a go on the Tandem. I’m suprised there is only a handfull of MTB tandems around. but i guess it won’t be long before one more show up on a sunday ride….. freeborne have got great price on Ellsworth Tandem, We’ll do a write up when we’re back…..

  4. Carolyn says:

    A friend of mine has a side-by-side tandem bike she would like to have me sell for her. It says, “Buddy Bike” on it. It’s in great condition. I was trying to find out more about it on the internet and found your comments. Thanks!

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