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There are a wide variety of tandems available to suit a wide range of cyclists. These include off-road tandems, tandems that allow children to ride behind an adult, hybrid tandems, and even racing tandems; tandem sprinting on the track was an Olympic event until 1972.

The tandem's association with racing was at its peak in the years before World War II, when tandem-paced events on the track were popular. In these races competitors on solo bikes raced against each other while in the slipstream of pacing tandems. This made for a faster race speed because on the flat, a tandem can go faster than a solo bike.

The tandem's popularity has waned as motor traffic has increased, which is not surprising considering the amount of skill needed to ride the bike from both the pilot and the person sitting at the rear. Even so, there are still tens of thousands of owners worldwide, many of whom are members of clubs which hold special rallies and events to celebrate their unique form of cycling.

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