A Sociable Bicycle




About: I Love Making Stuff !!

My wife loves riding a tandem but was fed up talking to my backside. So along with a great friend of mine we decided to surprise her and make us a side by side sociable bicycle.

A few beer mats and a couple of scribbles we had a plan and set about the challenge.

Step 1: Finding Materials

We Needed two ladies bike frames which needed to be exactly the same size.

We took them apart and cut off the rear ends.

Step 2: Need to House the Axel

With the rear ends removed from the frame we made a new rear section for the frames with a bearing housing at the end which the axle will later settle into.

Step 3: Making the Rear Axle

A solid 20mm bar was used with a thread cut into each end to house both the freewheels. Also the hub for the rear wheel was made on the lathe. Two separate units with spoke holes. These were slid onto the axel and braised into position.

Step 4: Making It Square!

The next difficult task was to make sure the bike tracked straight and square. Using another head stock from another bike frame we made the centre front section. It needs to be strong as its taking two peoples weight. Measure and measure again making sure everything is aligned. Braise it all together and you should have your frame! Test to make sure you have space for two people.

Step 5: Making It Wheely Good !

Next the rear wheel was built onto the axle and a bracket was added for the gears. Also a loose bracket was made to support a mudguard for the rear wheel.

Step 6: Steering !

The front forks were put in place along with the three headsets and were connected using a short track rod ends from a car. Brackets were made to bolt these together.

Step 7: Stand Back and Look

We loosely fitted all the components to the bike to see how it all worked. We were very please with the result. Quick spray of undercoat to give it rust protection before the test ride !

Step 8: The Test Ride

We had a good test ride of the bike to make sure everything worked as it should and didn't fail.

Step 9: Paint Job

We took the bike apart again and prepared the bike for spraying. Using the green house in the sun, it made a lovery paint oven and we got and exceptional paint finish.

Step 10: Time to Play!

After all time spent on the project it was time to go and play. It's a fantastic ride as you can talk and ride at the same time.

Step 11: Overview

This build is not for the faint hearted but it was enjoyable to be a part of a fantastic project. If you decide to build one please show me your creations.

Step 12: How Does It Balance?

I have had loads of questions about balance. You can ride this bike single handed. Weight doesn't really matter surprisingly. You just lean a little more to the left or right. Here is a demonstration video.

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    48 Discussions


    8 months ago

    I am speechless, riding bikes for all my live i didn't believe this could work so well when i saw the cover picture. Especially since both riders are steering simultaneously. This is so cool! :-)) Great job!


    10 months ago

    I freaking love this!


    Question 10 months ago on Step 12

    How on earth do you decide which way you are going to go?


    10 months ago on Step 12

    Great build! And way out of my skill set (I've brazed, never welded).

    I'm with IJustLikeMakingThings below on this - I'd find or buy a tricycle (one of those big 'uns with a basket between the rear wheels) and make the box which supports the seats, handlebars/tie rod assembly, sprockets/pedals. That way, someone else already made and trued a rear axle where you had to make one (all I could think of, looking at that axle was "Damn, you guys are good... "), and it's balanced no matter who's riding it.

    But great idea, making it a two-abreast tandem bike, not one where you hope the rider in front of you didn't have curry for lunch.


    1 year ago

    This is a thing of creative cleverness and craftsmanship.I have a full machine shop and welding capability at home ,and am inspired by you. The issue is that Im 6 ft @208 lbs and my wife is 5ft 2 in and about 70lbs less. The areas where we ride might be tough with a bike this wide.

    Great instructable !

    2 replies

    Reply 11 months ago

    You could try an uneven build, so that the wheels aren't in the middle, but so that each rider has the same momentum (weight x distance).


    Reply 1 year ago

    Weight doesn't matter ! I can ride it with a Ten year old on one side. I'll have to do a demo video. It just means you lean out slightly.

    Thank you for you lovely comment. It did take some working out and thought but its worth every moment spent on it and its a real head turner.


    11 months ago

    They have one of these in the Coventry Motor Museum, the only one I have ever seen.

    Very nice build. I imagine you would have some trouble if there was any significant weight difference between the two riders. That could always be overcome by making it a tricycle and having two wheels in the back. Side note, I was looking to find a tricycle style side by side tandem that I had growing up when I stumbled on this page, 1910 side-by side, which shows a very similar style bike to yours but was first made around 1910.

    6 replies

    Each wheel had coaster brakes so you could really fly around corners, inside person would slam on the brakes. Granted you didn't tip over. But that's what made it fun.


    Doesn't matter about weight difference. I can ride this by myself without a passenger. Bit of a lean though. Tricycle too boring and you can't lean round corners ! Thanks for your comments :)


    1 year ago

    Now that's just one of those builds that puts a smile on my face from start to finish. Really nice work.


    1 year ago

    That's Rutland Water. I did my language courses at RAF North Luffenham and yearly we would be dragged in as stewards for the Rutland Water Walk.

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Sure is ! This where I got married. Great place for cycling !