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Old 07-05-18, 12:33 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Lubbock, Texas
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Bikes: VeloBuild VB-R-027 (road), Miracle Bikes MC-286 (cyclocross), 1986 Raleigh Olympian, X-Peria 5200 (tandem)

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Unusual tandems

I recently returned from a trip to Xi'an, China. While there, we visited the old city wall, which is in surprisingly good condition and 14km in length. The top of the well is very wide and there are numerous stations offering bike rentals, both singles and tandems. It's a fun ride, elevated above the city with no traffic. This picture contains probably the most tandems I've ever seen in one place, somewhere between 50 and 100, I would guess.

We rented single bikes and rode about half of the wall, but I did see a number of people riding the tandems. I eventually realized that they had independent coasting, so I took a closer look at how they did it. Like the single bikes they offered, the bikes were all single speed. The independent was realized by using a rear wheel with drive freewheels on both sides, the right side connected directly to the front crank and the left side to the rear. I thought it was an ingenious way to build a tandem for this particular application remarkably cheaply. Maybe if someone could build an internally geared hub with dual side drive the same principle could be applied to geared bikes.

Xi'an, incidentally, is the home of XACD and Titan Cycles, two OEM titanium framebuilders who also build very reasonably-priced custom frames (I did not buy one while I was there, but the thought crossed my mind).
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