With spring finally showing some signs of life it is time to look forward to summer vacations. For many tandem teams those vacations will include a trip to a National Park or National Monument with the hope of being able to enjoy the location on tandem. Cycling inside these parks can be a tricky proposition and advanced planning is a must.
For tandem teams that look forward to off-road riding make note that the vast majority of off highway trails will be closed to anything other than hiking. Generally the only off-highway access available to bikes will be on improved gravel or dirt roads open to vehicle traffic. For more serious and challenging off-roading tandem bike teams will be forced to ride outside of the park grounds in adjoining forest or state park lands. As an example in Yellowstone there are only about 12 miles of off-road routes legally available. To better evaluate mountain bike tandem options visit the appropriate park website (this is an example from Yellowstone National Park).
For road tandem teams National Parks are a riding paradise. Some parks cater to bicyclists by limiting vehicular traffic on main highways, an example is Zion National Park, while others integrate bike routes and paths to enable a safe route around the sights, an example is the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington DC. For tandem teams being in the saddle is a memorable way to enjoy and experience our National parks and Monuments.
As is standard for riding a tandem in a popular location you will become an ambassador for our sport to thousands. For many tourists the sight of a tandem team pedaling along will be something unique and new. Remember this at all times that your tandem team represents us all so take time and care to set a good example. With summer finally arriving making plans to visit a National Park or Monument should definitely include plans for riding the tandem.