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Beauty and the Beast
Side-by-Side Tandem Bicycle:
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I saw a strange side-by-side tandem bicycle the other day at my local bike shop, Bicycle Station, in Brooklyn. Apparently, this particular model was designed and built in the 1970s by the father of the guy who was riding it, and although it never really caught on, it sure is a lovely bike. It rides well, too. He let me take a spin around the block on it!
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Peter: 22nd Apr 2005 - 14:47 GMT
hey- to the guy who owns this bike (who I met at the bikeshop and told of this post...) if you see this, and wanna leave your info, ill be sure to credit you for the rad bike! and if you wanna post any backstory in a comment, that would rock too :)
Jamie: 22nd Apr 2005 - 17:59 GMT
I guess you can't ride it solo can you? What if one of you weighs way more than the other?
Peter: 22nd Apr 2005 - 18:56 GMT
i saw the guy at the shop again yesterday... he was getting a repair done to the crank... and mentioned the reason why he needed the repair is that he was riding it solo and it sorta dips to one side... and the pedal hit the ground when he was turning and broke or something... i guess you can ride it like that cause the gyroscopic effect of the wheels takes over... unless you weigh like 500 lbs ;)
Alan: 24th Apr 2005 - 20:53 GMT
I have ridden one of these bikes. It is a most social and friendly experience, and always attracts amusing comments from passers by. It is easy to ride and balancing is no problem. I wish I owned one for myself.
Guy: 20th May 2005 - 19:12 GMT
I saw two people riding this bike and the effect is great! It is like if they were riding in another dimension, defying gravity! C'est merveilleux!
John: 22nd May 2005 - 18:16 GMT
I saw one of these bikes in Holland in 1995. One of the riders was blind, but they were travelling at a really good speed - about 20 mph. The blind person was quite elderly, but seemed very fit, and the two riders were chatting as they rode along. I live in England nowadays and I looked for a picture of this bike as the blokes at work wouldn't believe me when I told them about it. They'll see it tomorrow...
Anne: 1st Jun 2005 - 00:13 GMT
I first saw one of these bikes over 20 years ago and had the priveledge of being able to ride with the inventor and creator. Since then, there has just never been any bicycling experience which could possibly measure up--and I know for certain that there is NOTHING better out there. --a fantastic bicycle for genuine conversation with your soul mate.....Why has no one mentioned where we can buy one of these??
Thomas Smith: 16th Jun 2005 - 14:39 GMT
There was a small company that was manufacturing side by side tandums in the early to mid 90's, they called it the "Buddy Bike". I have a friend that owns one and decided to build one for myself. I ordered the cranks from the company off of the parts list that came with the bike and fabricated the rest myself. It is one of the most enjoyable bikes that I have ever ridden, everyone wants to know where to get on, but unfortumately, I think that the compnay went out of business after a couple of years.
Don: 28th Jun 2005 - 15:46 GMT
i HAVE A BUDDY BIKE IN Buffalo, New York...I am willing to sell it. If your intrested send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete Williams: 3rd Aug 2005 - 10:50 GMT
I have ridden one of these side-by-sides four times on the annual, 65 mile, London to Brighton charity ride www.bhf.org.uk/events/index.asp?secID=12&secondlevel=1005&thirdlevel=1015. I borrowed it off the bicycle Guru Richard Ballantine who told me it was called a Barrett Sociable. I cycled with four different partners; two slim girls and two guys of at least 180 pounds. It handled like a dream as long as you didn't change direction too vigoroulsy and would benefit from a wider range of gears for getting up hills as you can't stand and pedal. Perfect for a day out.
jeeff: 3rd Aug 2005 - 13:02 GMT
i saw a buddy bike here in toronto last week but it was night time & chained to a post with other bikes so i couldn't get a good photo. very cool tho.
Peter: 3rd Aug 2005 - 13:28 GMT
definitely easy to ride... yeah, i think they called em sociable tandems back in the day.
Maira: 27th Oct 2005 - 14:26 GMT
this goes to don who wrote on june 28. My husband haad a stoke 2 yrs.ago and I've been looking for a bike for 2. Are you still selling your bike? email@example.com this is what i need to help my husband built his strength
Paul B: 5th Nov 2005 - 18:04 GMT
I'm also looking for buddy bike parts, especially the cranks.
terryJ in the uk: 29th Nov 2005 - 18:16 GMT
there is a victorian version of this in Coventry Road Transport museum.
firstname.lastname@example.org: 31st Jan 2006 - 05:57 GMT
Yes, this is a Barrett Sociable Tandem. The Barrett was mfged near/in East Aruora New York, near Buffalo. It is a modern version of a bike made back in the 1890's. They are quite enjoyable to ride! One does not have to yell over their shoulder to talk to the stoker. And, yes, one person CAN ride without any problems. You must learn first to ensure your cranks are in the horizontal position BEFORE turning any corner! They are great for a conversation piece on any ride. My wife and I rode ours in the Madison, CT 4th of July parade, 16 years ago with our then 2 1/2 month old twins! We still ride it, and it has made it to at least 2 CritMass rides in New Haven, CT. p.s. The twins have grown to ride highwheel bikes with their older siblings!! My grandchildren are now learning to ride highwheel bikes! Yes, I'm John. NO it is NOT for sale! Look up The Wheelmen in a google search.
Mary Arneson: 10th Feb 2006 - 11:30 GMT
I rode one last summer in Cedar Rapids and have seen one in Germany also. Photos from the ride in Cedar Rapids are at: http://www.velomobiling.net/modules.php?set_albumName=EIEIO&op=modload&name=gallery&file=index&include=view_album.php . It was surprisingly easy (with the owner doing the steering) -- and loads of fun.
Paul B: 12th Feb 2006 - 14:40 GMT
I have a like new Buddy Bike that my girl and I ride often. To say the least it's a blast. We took it out one day to ride along the Cape Cod Canal and certainly we got numerous stares. I remember one day when a photographer kept taking pictures of Julie and I each time we drove by. We also took it along on a camping trip one time. People are amazed to see it, I'm happy I own it, I'd buy another if I could find one. It's so nice to be able to just talk, laugh and bond while riding shoulder to shoulder. This bike is the best and real easy to ride. I've even mastered riding it solo, which is not difficult at all. The only negative for this bike is that it only has six speeds. At 50 years old I can use all the help I can get. LOL
anon (bb-87-82-5-209.ukonline.co.uk): 13th Feb 2006 - 19:50 GMT
Does anyone have a Buddy Bike for sale? If so, please contact: email@example.com
Peter: 20th Feb 2006 - 20:17 GMT
the owner of this bike was unfairly arrested by the nypd in their monthly critical mass crackdown... www.villagevoice.com/blogs/powerplays/archives/002384.php
"It was completely unsafe, it was unbelievably reckless," said Bridget Kennedy, a 27-year-old Columbia University law student who was among some 15 volunteer legal observers posted to observe arrests.
A few blocks up at 45th Street in Times Square, another four riders who had peeled off from the ride were swept up, including one couple who was riding a welded side-by-side.
All told, 17 cyclists were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for blocking traffic and parading without a permit. One rider was also charged with assault when, witnesses say, he was yanked off his bike while it was still moving and his bicycle struck another officer.
will sharp: 28th Mar 2006 - 00:14 GMT
I remember rob barrett from berkeley days, sometime in the 70's. I lived in a house that rented a garage to bob, jesus, what great memories. he was a calm man, always working on an interesting bike, classical music on the radio. my girlfriend rode the side by side with him and she said it was a gas. bob was also building a 120 jag, as I recall. what is he up to now?
glenn: 17th Apr 2006 - 04:08 GMT
I'm in Western Canada. Bought a Buddy Bike in Calgary in 1990 and enjoyed it for 15 years. Unfortunately, I sold it at a garage sale a year and a half ago...way to cheap. It was a great way to enjoy conversation while riding and, as others have said, would always evoke smiles and comments from those you passed. It does require trust from the one with the fixed handlebar as it is a rather unnatural experience when one turns and the handlebar doesn't. I always thought it would be better to have both bars turn, even if the "passenger" one wasn't connected. Anyway, I've fond memories of my Buddy Bike.
SCAM28: 17th Apr 2006 - 11:45 GMT
Maybe it's just for really fat people...I could see a cheek resting on the lower seat...
Glenn: 22nd Apr 2006 - 00:48 GMT
I saw an adapter kit for this type of bike at this store near Rochester NY.
That was a few years ago, and I don't know if they are still available there or not.
Frank: 13th May 2006 - 16:02 GMT
I have one of those Buddy Bikes.. the problem is only that the crankshaft is broken!
please eMail to Battlebux (at) gmx.net
Rick Paulos: 18th May 2006 - 20:23 GMT
Every thing old will be new again.
First invented and sold in the 1890s.
Regarding the bike pictured:
Looks like the one pictured has had the rear wheel replaced too with a Phil Wood hub and a 48 spoke rim. I also see the passenger stem is on backwards and the passenger seat really low so it looks like a child has been riding it. Brooks leather seats too. A good addition, see below. And a power bell! Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggggggg.
Another description is "side by side tandem". That is also used for Strollers, 4 wheel side by side recumbant tandems, semi trucks, etc. Not a uniquely descriptive name either.
"Buddy Bike" is a brand name, not a type of bike.
Here is a website "Fun 2 Bike" that sells a similar product they call "Buddy Bike"
From lots of miles I can tell you they are fun to ride once you get your passenger over being so scared. Since you sit so upright, all your weight is on the seat so you seat will get sore soon. you can't stand and pedal on these. 15 miles is a long hard ride on one for any experienced long distance rider. But for short distances, they are fun.
Oh yeah, you can't really ride by yourself. You could try but you would have to lean so much the other side pedals would hit the ground and you would risk folding the wheels putting so much side loading on them. IF the cranks were phased differently, you could sit on the cross bar and pedal but if you notice, the inside pedals are together making that pretty much impossible too. You can stand on one pedal and push yourself along. Kinda awkward too.
Headwinds are a pain too. You actually get more than twice the wind drag over a single or normal tandem. The air that would normally flow around you gets bunched up between you.
Flats are common. You can't unload the wheels when hitting potholes. Bring a pump and spare tubes.
Getting a side by side tandem in & out of cars & doorways is a challenge. Wider than most doors. Takes two to wrestle these.
A huge weight difference between riders isn't a big problem. The bike just leans a bit. Too fat and you just run out of room because you sit so close together.
Calling these Buddy Bikes is like calling all motorcycles Harleys or all tissues Kleenex.
http://www.velomobiling.net has video of one being riden.
Rob: 22nd May 2006 - 04:29 GMT
Thanks Rick for your mini review and google search and paste for the words “buddy bike.” But as the owner of the above bike, let me clear a few things up:
Regarding the bike pictured:
There is nothing wrong with the cranks. That is not why the bicycle was at the bike shop. The cranks work perfectly and have many many miles on them. Cottered cranks have been around for a long time and they are not something to be scared of. I along with many others ride a bicycle with cottered cranks on the streets of NYC everyday.
I don’t know what happened to your rear wheel but this bicycle came with a Phil Wood 48 hole rear hub originally; as most Barrett Side-By-Sides do.
The stem is properly adjusted along with the seat height to properly fit my passenger at the time. The handlebars and seats have a quick release so they can easily be tuned to get a good fit for any rider.
The Brooks saddles came stock on the bike too.
From lots of miles I can tell you they are fun to ride. Usually a new passenger is comfortable on the bike within a few blocks. 15 miles is a short jaunt on one of these for any experienced rider. I do not consider myself a long distance rider but I often put 30+ miles on this bike in a day just because my passenger and I are having so much fun it’s hard to stop. And a side-by-side can climb any hill.
Bob Barrett has done 10 century rides on side-by-sides; many over the hills of Northern California.
Oh yeah, I ride this bicycle by myself too. I’ve ridden it miles alone on the tight streets of NYC. I often will ride it alone to go pick up my passenger. It’s not hard at all. The bicycle does lean quite a bit to the unoccupied passenger’s side so you are unable to corner to the right as sharply as when you have weight on that side, but right turns are possible without pedal strike. And left turns are a breeze.
I’m not going to lie. Headwinds are a pain. They are with all bicycles. But a strong headwind while riding a side-by-side is a pain in the butt.
Flats are not any more common than with a road bike. It’s usually from glass/ road debris anyway; not from potholes.
Getting a side by side in & out of cars & doorways isn’t that hard. I keep mine inside so it goes through many doors every time I ride it/ put it away. The cranks are not wider that a standard doorway and by simply releasing the quick release on the passenger’s handlebars and turning them sideways, the bike will roll through ant standard doorway. It is nice if someone holds the door for you, but not necessary.
And if the bike can be ridden alone then obviously a huge weight difference between riders isn't a big problem.
As for “Buddy Bikes”-
If you have any questions or would like to see this bicycle in the Brooklyn area email me- cabbagerwsb (at) gmail.com
or contact the builder- Bob Barrett – robtbarrett (at) hotmail.com
firstname.lastname@example.org: 22nd Jul 2006 - 16:56 GMT
The Barret model I have is made with the Schwinn frame, with 5 speeds. It does not have the quick release for the front forks or the seat post. Also, it has the "rough" finished cranks. They were not rounded over on the edges, just left squared off. It was originally made for a company in New York City that makes service-bikes. The intention was for two people to tow a cart through the streets of NYC. That project never materialized, and the bike was sold to a collector in N J.
Peg Maass Labiuk: 22nd Sep 2006 - 05:39 GMT
We found a Buddy Bike at a scap metal yard here in Victoria, BC. It's yellow and has an original "Buddy Bike" seat, decals, and head tube badge. We want to restore it - it's rusty and has no wheels. Where can we get this Phil Wood 48 spoke hub and rim???
Chippy B.: 29th Sep 2006 - 20:40 GMT
it doens't look like any tandem i've seen or ridden. kinda funky. what if the other person falls of. they don't have any handlebars?
Oldmanbike: 3rd Oct 2006 - 23:15 GMT
This is a tank. The bicycle weighs about 80 or 90 lbs. Add the weight of 2 men and we are at 400+. This is difficult to turn and would not be safe in heavy traffic. My Buddy Bike is fun but takes some getting used to. Clowns parades and circus acts is what its for. This is fun to ride on sunday morning at 7 am when all the morons with SUV's and pick up trucks are sleeping.
Rob: 5th Oct 2006 - 01:37 GMT
This bike actually weighs less than 40 pounds. It also has no trouble steering. Much easier and sharper than a than a tandem. I ride mine down Canal Street during afternoon rush hour. All over Manhattan; all the time. No problems. But have fun at the circus.
michael: 19th Oct 2006 - 00:10 GMT
I am designing a bike for my year 12 major work, and have been looking at tandem bikes for the last few weeks. This is by far the weirdest ive seen.
moss: 30th May 2007 - 21:14 GMT
The side-by-side tandem bike is available for sale at Bicycle Station in Brooklyn, NY. They are being produced again by Bob Barrett. You can look up the shop or call them. as of May 2007, they had on in stock for sale and could order more. The phone # is 718-638-0300. I have ridden it and it is very fun. The best bicycle date I have been on.
Cynthia : 27th Jul 2007 - 22:54 GMT
Just found this in a google search, as I'm sitting in a hotel room in New Zealand with some old photos of bicycles, one a strange two-person bike that is not a tandem. The riders sit side-by side with two sets of cranks and one wide handlebar. Must be a "sociable" from the 1890's. Thanks to everyone who has posted, I've learned a great deal about the Barretts and the sociables.
steve : 3rd Aug 2007 - 05:10 GMT
I have this bike in a "Beach Cruiser" style. Anyone interested in purchasing, let me know.
Pat: 3rd Aug 2007 - 16:35 GMT
I have a Buddy Bike for sale. I added all sorts of toys to it...saddle bags on either side of the rear wheel; another longer bag on the top of the rear wheel for my dachsund dog; speedometer; jel seats; halogen headlights; AM/FM radio; air horn;and best of all....A SACHS GASOLINE MOTOR to offset the weight...she'll do 30km per hr. (22 mph) without even pedaling...great assist for hills. Interested parties can reach me at email@example.com for pics and pricing...it is in Niagara Falls region of Ontario...has under 100 miles on it.Pat
Steve91932: 7th Aug 2007 - 01:51 GMT
How much are these worth in aboove average condition? I know someone that is selling one and don't know much about them. Thanks - Steve
Xag: 8th Aug 2007 - 23:03 GMT
I just came across a picture from the early model (1897).
Xag: 8th Aug 2007 - 23:13 GMT
Another picture of the old model:
Prazuch: 15th Aug 2007 - 21:21 GMT
My husband and I recently purchased a tandem, and we love it!! We would also like to find a sociable tandem, so if anyone knows of an available bike for purchse please let us know!! You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
BAW: 21st Aug 2007 - 02:58 GMT
I have read that the old song 'Daisy Belle' a/k/a/ 'A Bicycle Built for Two' was originally about a Sociable rather than a Tandem.
Shelley at Buddy Bike: 24th Aug 2007 - 22:44 GMT
I represent the Buddy Bike. www.buddybike.com It used to be called the "Love Bike" and was invented by Robert Gardner in Willits, CA over 10 years ago. It is a unique tandem bicycle that places the stoker in front which in our case is usually a child and often a child with disabilities. It is an inline bicycle. We are often confused with this side-by-side Buddy Bike. All of our searches and those by our patent attorney didn't turn up anything under "Buddy Bike" and we heard about this bike after purchasing the patent from Bob and putting our bikes back in production. I guess that's because it was already out of production.
I often receive calls from people that confuse us with the old side-by-side Buddy Bikes. I never know what to tell them since I don't know who produced these bikes. If anyone has some contact info, please let me know. email@example.com. In the meantime, I'll refer any future callers to this page. It seems like a great resource.
At today's Buddy Bike we strive to provide a quality bike that offers parents and children who otherwise might not be able to ride a bike a chance to get out and go! It is really cool to ride the bike with a kid when they can see the wide open view from the front seat and you can talk right in their ear and give encouragement.
Shelley at Buddy Bike
jerome: 29th Aug 2007 - 12:21 GMT
bonjour , désolé je ne parle pas anglais ou si peu... je possède un side by side buddy bike en mauvais état; pour pouvoir le rénover j'aurai besoin d'un lot de pedales (à double pas de vis) et d'une barre qui relis deux pédales, je ne sais où m'en procurer, merci si vous pouvez m'informer.
Xag: 6th Dec 2007 - 13:12 GMT
pieter: 26th Aug 2008 - 20:10 GMT
Hi, I am from Holland, and I once had a Buddybike side by side tandem given to me, and had lots of fun with it. It was the funniest thing I ever had. It is impossible to ride alone, and riding with the two means that the heavier person comes higher than the lighter, due to the point if gravity. I rode it with someone much heavier than I am, and also with children (much lighter).
How: 1st Feb 2009 - 13:15 GMT
My tamdom bicyle has old fenders on it -- does any one know how old it is.?
joeffe g: 9th Feb 2009 - 05:35 GMT
Hey I saw someone riding one of those last year near albnay, ny. This old skinny guy was
Jason in buffalo, NY: 16th Mar 2009 - 11:59 GMT
I have two of these bikes now and I need some parts for them. My steering is link connected instead of the chain version. The emblem on the front of my bike says buddy bike. Anyone with knowledge of these bikes please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
dara bgfd: 24th Jan 2010 - 15:34 GMT
are you from England?? just so we know how much it would cost for delivery. As me and a friend were interested in getting a buddy bike...
Tony R: 4th Feb 2010 - 03:37 GMT
I own one of the original buddy bike from the 80s which I brought back from Japan
Tony R: 4th Feb 2010 - 03:40 GMT
All the problems I read in the above ,well I never had or have any problems with mine all I ever replaced was tires and the seats. Mine is in perfect condition and I ride very often, Lots Of Fun !
Judy and Andy Kranzler-Wyrobek: 15th Jul 2010 - 22:29 GMT
Hi! We rode this beauty to our wedding 32 years ago. I have dreamed of owning one ever since. Bob Barrett, are you still making them and can I buy one!
Jake B., Buffalo, NY: 20th Aug 2010 - 19:09 GMT
I won a yellow "Buddy Bike," in a raffle, at a local fundraiser. The head badge says "Buddy Bike," but I've heard it called; side by side tandem, sociable and even bicycle built for two. It is built for two and you do sit side by side, so call it what you want. I call it for sale. I don't have the space for it, but have taken it out for a test ride, and it is FUN and easier to ride than you'd think. Its in mint condition, and I'd like to get rid of it. If you're interested, or would like to know more about how it rides, please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com or come take it for a spin. (ps shout out to Rob and Don)
Rick Buchanan: 26th Aug 2010 - 02:09 GMT
Bob also made the RBS drop-out hub. I last (and "first" for that matter)talked with him in 1982. He said I could send in my hub, freewheel, and $200, and he would modify a Phil Wood bottom bracket spline and fit it to
Murph48: 5th Dec 2010 - 10:24 GMT
Hi folks, I have made a couple of these, including lifting the pedal height to give my slightly wider version more clearance,(to stop pedal strike)
Carlos: 17th Dec 2011 - 02:01 GMT
Though the bike is relatively rare, it's actually a simple build even for a novice welder like myself. Here I show how I built mine. Some tubing, extra cranks and pedals, 2 heim joints, an extra seat and you can be riding a side by side in a week. http://www.instructables.com/id/Side-by-Side-Bicycle/
Susanne: 3rd Apr 2013 - 13:12 GMT
I got a yellow original Buddy Bike,and I would like to sell it...Does someone know how much it might be worth? It workes perfectly fine.Unfortunately I live on the wrong side of the Atlantic too - in Germany.If s.o.might be able to give me a hint, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Marc: 6th Apr 2013 - 19:47 GMT
I have a Buddy Bike also and am located in Chicago Illinois. The bike is out of the box new and I have only ridden it a few times. I'ts definitely a head turner and conversation piece. I would like it to go to someone who will use it and appriciate it more than myself, so I'll sell it. If you show interest, call me (708)250-1591 I'll give you more info and maybe we can work something out.
Croxtonford@gmail: 17th Nov 2015 - 12:51 GMT
I just bought a buddy bike for $25. The exact bike in the pic. How much do you think its worth?
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