Tandem cycling is a great way to stay active and feel part of a team. Riding a tandem bike requires good communication and trust. Tandem bikes are built for two riders, one behind the other. The blind or visually impaired rider is called a stoker and rides behind the sighted rider who is called the pilot. The stoker’s focus is to provide the horsepower while the pilot’s focus is navigation and gears in addition to powering the bike forward with the stoker. There are some caveats to riding a tandem bike versus riding a single bike. For instance, on a tandem, turns should be taken wider to account for the length of the bike. Mounting and dismounting the bike tend to the be the most difficult parts of the ride. Visit Team USA’s Mobile Coach application for step-by-step instructions and tips on learning how to ride and navigate a tandem bike.
Once you have the basics down and want to learn to race, USABA offers a tandem cycling development camp at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs annually where beginner and experienced riders can develop racing skills on the road and track over a week’s time.
Numerous teams who have attended a USABA tandem cycling development camp have gone on to compete in U.S. Paralympic National Championships, represent Team USA at World Championships and even compete in the Paralympic Games! If you have Paralympic aspirations in tandem cycling, check out the following resources for more information on requirements and opportunities.
U.S. Para-Cycling Resources
Director, U.S. Paralympics Cycling
Manager, Para Internal NGB Operations
USABA Sport Program Coordinator