When spotted on a Mission trail or park trailhead in San Antonio, Tom and Tina Corser’s bicycle-built-for-two gives other visitors a chance to gawk at one of the bike world’s oddities.
Riding tandem, just like a marriage, takes teamwork! And according to Tom and Tina, both come with ups and downs and both build better relationships.
“I think we’re both appreciative of each other being on the bike and working together,” said Tom.
“It’s a good metaphor for marriage,” Tina added. “You have to work together, you have to lean, and you have to know when to turn.”
Tandem riders must communicate constantly to avoid the large wheel-base from getting away from them. The bike is harder to navigate, takes turns differently than a regular bicycle, and is affectionately known as the “divorce bike.” The Corsers, with more than 10 years pedaling together, are out to prove that nickname wrong.
“We seem to get along pretty well on a bike, so that helps a lot!” said Tom.
Some interesting facts about riding tandem bikes:
- The front rider is called the captain and does the steering and the braking. Captains have to earn the trust of those pedaling behind them.
- The rider in back is called the stoker. The stoker gets its name from the old steamship and locomotive days, where a person “fueled” the steam engine with coal. So, stokers on a tandem must be able to react quickly and provide that extra power when needed to climb a hill. Since they don’t steer, they have time to take photos or take in the scenery.
The Corsers say both riders have to be able to follow orders from each other, and they have successfully traveled tandem across Europe. But San Antonio, Texas is home, and is considered a top spot to bike ride.
“It’s the best way to exercise, see the world, and just spend time together,” said Tina.
Tandems are great options not only for couples, but for parents with young children, too, by providing a safe way for kids to learn the rules of the road on a bike. You can rent tandem bikes and partake in such events as the Fiesta Wildflower ride and the Southwest Tandem Rally in Kerrville, Texas, in April 2020.