One very good way to see Central Park is by renting a bicycle and riding through the park. If there are two of you, you might want to consider renting a tandem bicycle. Riding a tandem bicycle is not the same as riding a single bike. It takes considerably more practice and skill, to say nothing of teamwork. However, with a few pointers and some practice, you should be able to navigate a tandem bike rental in Central Park without running into others or crashing.
The person who takes the front seat is the captain, the pilot, or the steersman. The person who rides on the rear seat is the stoker, the navigator, the tailgunner, or the rear admiral. Both riders have specific functions to perform, and it is important to learn these functions. Here are four mistakes to avoid.
1. Getting the Wrong Bicycle Size
It is important to choose a tandem bicycle that fits the riders. This may be difficult if the riders differ significantly in size. It is preferable for the bigger person to ride in front, especially if you are inexperienced riders, but it’s not mandatory. However, while in Central Park, the tandem bike rental should fit the front rider, as the captain will be the one to balance the bike while the rear rider mounts. The captain must be able to place his or her feet flat on the ground wide enough apart to steady the bike.
2. Skipping Practice
Do not try to ride tandem until the person who will be the captain has ridden the tandem bicycle enough to get the feel of a heavier, longer frame. When the captain feels comfortable with the feel of the bike, then the stoker may get on, too.
3. Underestimating Speed and Steering
You will not be able to ride as slowly on a tandem bike as you can on a single bike until you have logged many miles on one. So, when both riders are ready to take off, push off hard with the first stroke to get up some speed quickly, or else the bike will wobble. The captain is the one who will push off, but the stoker needs to be ready to match the captain and provide the power needed to keep the bike upright and moving ahead.
4. Not Knowing Your Responsibilities
Each rider has specific responsibilities to contribute to a safe and fun ride. The captain’s responsibility is to keep the stoker happy. The captain must be sensitive to the comfort level of the stoker and slow down or stop when requested. The captain must also tell the stoker if there is a bump in the road or a turn, or anything that would tend to upset the stoker or throw him or her off balance while on your tandem bike rental in Central Park. The stoker should never try to steer the bike. This will counteract with the captain’s steering and cause problems, possibly even a wreck. The captain always steers, and the stoker provides much of the pedaling power.
Done safely and properly, riding a tandem bike rental in Central Park can be a very pleasant experience.