Whether a mount for Watson and his stoker Sherlock Holmes, or the racing fraternity, tandems caught the public imagination as soon as they were introduced. Though cyclists can ride in pairs for sociability, a tandem requires a greater degree of synchronicity between captain and stoker.
The first tandem safety bicycle was invented, though not patented, in the late 1880s by A.J Wilson and Dan Albone. In the early years tandems were associated with ‘courting’ by young men and women. The two might even outrun the chaperone cycling behind.
Tandem racing was a popular category of cycle racing, with many champion cyclists pairing up to race. They were also used for pacing. This example is believed to be a track tandem subsequently adapted for touring use with the addition of a Tricoaster hub.
Tandems of this era were built as a special order, ie to a customer’s specific frame size requirements. As is often the case with early tandems, the maker is unknown, but the design of the front part is a copy of Premier’s truss frame. Whether at a velodrome or tandem touring, this medium-weight historic machine is ideal for serious cycling, and it’s ready to ride.
1905-1910 Track Tandem
with Truss frame Front – Sparkbrook?
Chater Lea chainsets
Frame: 21.5″ front; 21″ rear
Though I have no proof that this track tandem was made by Sparkbrook, as you can see below, that company used the Premier truss frame design on certain of thir models.