We first saw the Helios Duo during the 2010 Cycle Show in Earls Court, stopping by the stand several times over the weekend to look it over. The relatively low step over, the large height range it can accommodate, and the luggage block that accepts a Brompton bag were what initially drew me to it.
The first question to answer was could Brigitte and I ride tandem? We went along to Circe Cycles just outside Cambridge to find out and surprised ourselves by setting off down the road at the first attempt. We placed an order.
When it came to picking it up and taking it home we found its other advantages. Both seat posts slide out and the stem plus handlebars detach using quick releases. Also the 20″ wheels mean the Helios is shorter than a standard tandem, and removing the front wheel makes it shorter still so that it will fit into the back of a car – no special roof rack mount required.
Unusually for someone with a disability, I’m the pilot and Brigitte’s the stoker, but I still get the benefit of 3 legs pedalling rather than one – it really is easier in terms of effort than riding solo. In fact there have been a couple of occasions that if it weren’t for the tandem I wouldn’t have been able to cycle. And it’s fun of course.
Tandems are a great solution for people who for whatever reason can’t cycle alone and now there’s a charity to help make trying one out easier. Charlotte’s Tandems, based in Dursley Gloucestershire, have a large collection of tandems around the country which they lend to people with disabilities for a couple of months at a time. They also give advice on buying tandems, and are always on the lookout for cycles to add to their fleet.
I wonder what we’ll find at this year’s Cycle Show…