The tandem community is a small sub-niche of the general cycling community. The dynamics that go into creating a tandem team limits the growth of the genre and therefore directly impacts the size and shape of the businesses that focus on the needs of tandem bike teams. While in South New Jersey our editors had the opportunity to stop by one of the larger providers of tandem specific equipment at Tandems East in Pittsgrove.
Housed out of a large garage, basement, and adjoining storage containers this tandem bike shop is better stocked than most standard bike shops but don’t mention that to the co-owner Mel (he and his wife Barbara have run the family business for the last 22 years). His response to this statement is “don’t call us a bike shop”. Sorry Mel. we agree that you are definitely not the owner of a bike shop.
Instead Tandems East is a Tandem Bike Shop providing parts, service, and new equipment to tandem teams around the world. Specializing in hard to fit tandem teams, road tandems, and custom tandem parts their shop is a treasure trove of tandem bicycling lore. One section of their large garage is dedicated to the storage of available tandem inventory. We counted no less than 70 ready to ride tandems!
Another example of the unique nature of the shop happened when Mel noticed the classic Shimano 737 clipless pedals on the stoker cranks of our editor’s tandem. Mel politely asked if we were interested in the titanium axles for them? A resounding YES was the response since the titanium axles are next to impossible to find; well Tandems East had a full stock of them.
The tandem bike community may be a niche within the over-arching bicycling community but with shops like Tandems East serving our needs how can we go wrong. Tandems East can be reached via their website at www.tandemseast.com