A tandem bicycle is a "double bike" which can be ridden by two persons. With such a bike it is possible for blind people to cycle. If one sits at the back-side of the tandem he doesn’t need to steer. Just as there is a racing-bike (a racer), there's also a racing-tandem. And like a single racer it has got a special racing-steer and racing-saddle. So there's an entire world in tandem racing for persons with visual impairments.
Visually impaired athletes practice tandem cycling, whether it be for their own enjoyment, with their families or among friends. Those who practice cycling as a sport participate in important classic races in which they can find themselves in the midst of hundreds of cyclist pedaling along flat sections or attacking mountainous stretches.
The three visual impairment categories (B1, B2 and B3) compete together in road races, one-day competitions or competitions by stages which last several days. Men compete over distances ranging from 100 to 135 km, on circuits of among 5 or 10 km., or in races between two towns. Women compete in similar events over shorter distances (among 50 and 70 km.).
In the "mixed" category (a man and a woman together), the distances range from 60 to 85 km. There are also time trial races for individuals or teams of three tandems for the men, where the distances covered are those appropriate for each category. There also exist competitions in velodromes, where classic U.C.I. (International Cycling Union) events are held:
Sprint, an event in which two tandems compete over a distance of 1,000 meters.
Individual pursuit, over 4,000 meters for men and 3,000 meters for women and mixed teams.
1 km time trial (standing start) in mixed races and 500 meters for women.
For men, there is also a pursuit known as olympic pursuit, in which two teams of three tandems compete over a distance of 4 km.
In countries where tandem cycling is practised, national championships are organised every year. At the international level, regional champioships are organised on odd years (for example, European Championships), whilst the world championships and the Paralympic Games are held every four years, falling on even years. Tandem cycling is currently practised on the five continents.
Click here to view information concerning the rules of tandem cycling
Records / Landmarks
Cick here to view the records from past tandem cycling events