Your Trip Consultant has noted that you will be renting a tandem. Making sure you’re on the right bike is key to enjoying your trip so consider the following and, as always, contact one of our experienced Trip Consultants if you have more questions.

The Right Ride

Riding a tandem can be a great way for two people to ride together and have a more “connected” experience. It is also quite different than riding solo. The front rider or “captain” is completely in control when it comes to steering, shifting and braking, whereas the rear rider or “stoker” is the second engine. Both riders need to pedal at the same cadence and communicate well for shifting and any other changes. With the added weight of two riders, climbing hills takes more effort and descending requires more braking and control.

Route Support

Given the size of a tandem, one Trip Leader alone will not be able to rack it on the van. At times when a leader is pulling a trailer, there will be more options to stow the bike. Please understand that these issues may limit the number of opportunities you’ll have to call it a day and hop in the van. However, it is possible for the captain to continue riding without the stoker.

Making Sure the Bike Is Fitted to You

Using the “periscope” rear seat post, the Co-Motion tandem can accommodate an incredible range of rider sizes. Backroads leaders will fit you to your bike on arrival and can make minor tweaks during the trip to help you ride most comfortably. When requesting a tandem, keep in mind that the frame structure makes it ideal to put the taller rider up front in the captain’s position, while the smaller rider is almost always the best choice for the rear (stoker) position. Select the tandem size which best fits the captain, and then consider the stoker’s fit on that size frame. Stokers don’t need stand over clearance to achieve a comfortable position. Remember that when the tandem comes to a stop, it’s the captain’s duty to keep the bike upright.


It is extremely important that you familiarize yourself with tandem riding before you arrive on your Backroads trip.

Bike Etiquette During Your Trip

In order to ensure a safe experience for everyone, all cyclists must respect pedestrians and other cyclists by using safe speeds and signaling when passing. On mixed-use pathways, pedestrians have the right of way. When passing, you should slow and give them space. And when you’re passing other riders, you should call out, “On your left!” so as not to surprise them.

Spare Bikes

Please keep in mind that it is not possible for us to have extra bikes available in case you decide mid-trip you no longer want to ride a tandem.

Tandems and Kids

Using a tandem with your child can be a great way to have fun and to maintain control over the riding. This is especially useful when your child is still developing their bike skills. Consider riding a tandem together at home a few times prior to your trip— your biking trip shouldn’t be your first ride together on a tandem.

The Fine Details

If you’re interested in exactly how the Co-Motion tandems are equipped, you can find detailed geometry and size information, as well as full specifications, on our website. The tandem is only available with a drop handlebar (for the captain).


If you decide to cancel your Backroads trip or cancel your tandem rental 30 days or fewer before your trip departs, there will be no refund of the rental fee.