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Daisy, Daisy: Tandem Bikes and Old Song Memories

All types of artwork are on view in many places throughout Houston and the surrounding areas. You may enjoy seeing this photographed piece.

Tandem bike

Tandem bike

Songs and Memories

My family did a lot of singing together when my brothers and I were growing up and even after we were older. It makes me smile just thinking about those good old days!

One of the songs we often sang was just the chorus of the song “Daisy Bell” commonly known as the bicycle built for two. It was written by an English composer by the name of Harry Dacre in 1892.

Tandem bikes were also known to have first been patented in the late 1890s.

Schwinn tandem bike

Schwinn tandem bike

The chorus of the song goes like this:

“Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do.
I'm half crazy all for the love of you.
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage.
But you'll look sweet,
Upon the seat,
Of a bicycle built for two.”

Below you can hear the original lyrics of the old song of which we as a family regularly sang some of the chorus lyrics.

Auto Shortage

After World War II automobiles were in short supply for a while because prior to the war ending, much of the manufacturing of items was directed towards the war effort. It took a while for companies to go back to peacetime manufacturing.

In actuality, my dad did some of his courting of my mother on a bicycle. It was not a bicycle built for two but bicycles were a good mode of transportation for reasonably short distances in Okauchee, Wisconsin where my mother’s parents had a summer cottage on the lake.

He would borrow his mother’s car to drive into Milwaukee to see her at their primary residence. This was after he had come home from participating in WWII as a paratrooper in Europe.

Of course, he eventually was able to purchase his own car, get married and the rest of this story became part of our family history.

Origin of Tandem Bikes

Curious as to when tandem bikes were originated I learned quite a bit from reading a Wikipedia link. I learned that the first patent was issued around the same decade as some of my grandparents were born in the late 1890s.

Did you know that tandem bikes can have more than two riders and can be built in a number of designs, including tricycles?

That was news to me as I always associated them with just the two riders, one in front of the other. Some are fashioned in a recumbent design so there are plenty of variables as to the design of tandem bikes.

It must be fun riding a tandem bicycle and it makes sense that with two people (or more in the case of those accompanying more passengers) all pedaling, the bicycle would travel more easily having more people powering it.

People power takes on the same meaning as horsepower used in this sense of energy derived from exertion.

Of course, the person steering the bicycle plays double duty and has the responsibility of paying attention to where the bicycle is headed so as to avoid mishaps along the way. This is particularly important in the case of racing such as is done in Paralympics.

Manufacturing Tandem Bikes

For those people interested in owning some type of tandem bike it is nice to know that many manufacturers still make a good number of them. In doing a preliminary price check online it appears that newly minted tandem bikes can vary in price from around $700 all the way up to $5,500 for some mountain tandem bikes. A quick eBay search showed pricing as of today varying from around $250 to over $700.

Some creative people even fashion their own tandem bikes!

Seeing the Sites on a Tandem Bike

If I was only younger and had good knees, seeing the countryside using tandem bikes would appear to be so enjoyable. The fresh breezes and sights and sounds that could be enjoyed with another person sharing the experience would make for some fantastic memories!

See a video below of a couple doing just that in the country of Greece. How nice is that!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 27, 2019:

Hi Bronwen,

So happy that in reading this it brought back some good memories for you. In my mind, I can still hear my family singing this song, so it brings back good memories for me also.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on November 26, 2019:

I love this, especially the video, it was great! I never really got past the tricycle stage so far as ownership goes, but when we went to Queenscliff, Victoria, on holiday we'd hire a tandem and that was such fun. Thank you for this reminder of those happy times.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 14, 2019:

Hi Patricia,

I hope your wish comes true that you can ride on that tandem bike with some of your family members. That would make for a great memory!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 14, 2019:

Back again to reread the tandem bike story. Daisy was a very candid lady, was she not? My daughter and her family have a newer model tandem bike that someone gave them. They have to take it to a spot to ride it away from their home due to traffic concerns. I hope to go with them one day to hitch a ride. Sending you many Angels and blessings this morning ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 09, 2018:

Hi Rajan,

A four-rider tandem bike must be something to see in action. With four bikers I would imagine that they can power some speed!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 09, 2018:

I learned a lot about tandem bikes. In one of the Indian movies, we had a 4 rider tandem bike. It was fun watching them all bike in tandem. Thanks for sharing this interesting article.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on October 08, 2018:

Hi Ethel,

We gave our bikes away a number of years ago to a family that had no other mode of transportation. Our part of the metro area is outside the city limits and to locate a bus would be many miles away. So cars or trucks is almost mandatory. At least with bicycles, they could get to the areas with public transportation faster instead of walking. Hopefully, they put them to good use. I found out about that family when I was doing my volunteer counseling at an assistance ministry.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on October 08, 2018:

We still have bikes though seldom ride them these days. Mum and Dad had a tandem in their courting days but Dad said she would put her feet up when going uphill lol. Thaks for sharing your memories and reminding me of our cycling days Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 27, 2017:

Hi Roberta,

I readily agree that good family memories become more dear the older we get. Fortunately I have many of them. Glad you enjoyed this post about bikes and in particular the tandem bikes.

RTalloni on November 25, 2017:

What a neat post! Have to say that the 4 person bike is just amazing, and the info is interesting, but your memory of family times is a precious gift. Nice to think of biking in summertime when there's a chill in the air, but nicer to have the memories when sitting by the fireside.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 15, 2017:

Hi Patricia,

Nice to know that you have also sung this cheerful song to your grandsons. It does make one smile at the tune. Perhaps someday someone will give your daughter's tandem bike the repairs it needs. Appreciate your comment.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 15, 2017:

Who cannot smile at that tune....have enjoyed singing it to and with my grandboys. There is actually a tandem bike in my yard in disrepair. It belonged to someone who no longer loved it and gave it to my daughter but she can no longer ride it. So it sits waiting for some tlc.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane Peggy.

Once again you are surrounded by Angels. ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 29, 2016:

Hi Phyllis,

I am so pleased to know that you enjoyed this article. It would be fun to be able to ride a tandem bike someday.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on November 25, 2016:

Peggy, I love this article. I have always wanted a tandem bike, so I really enjoyed reading and learning from your very informative article. Thank you.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 25, 2016:

Hi Patricia,

I have never known anyone who owns a tandem bike...until now. Must be fun! So glad your Thanksgiving was a good one and that Heston Wayne was able to enjoy that piece of bacon. Nice! Prayers are winging their way over to you! :)

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 25, 2016:

Hi Peggy....I cannot tell you how many times I have sung of Micheal, Michael.

And guess what ....I have a tandem bike. I am not really riding it right now as I do not have someone nearby who will ride along at present. I do from time to time ride with me should see the looks I get.

So much info here I did not know...thanks for filling in the gaps.

Hope your Thanksgiving was grand...ours was...I spend the afternoon with my family..quiet and just right...Heston Wayne was actually feeling quite well and loved having his Nini to play with. He even ate one piece of bacon. He told me that I should have his Mom's bacon sandwiches as they are 'epically' delicious....

Take care...Angels once again bringing blessings your way. ps

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 07, 2016:

Hi Susie,

Sure sounds like you had fun. I have never experienced riding on a tandem bike but can just imagine it as being lots of fun. Hope you get the chance once again!

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on March 06, 2016:

Peg, I road on the back of a tandem once in my life, and I loved the ride. I hardly had to do any of the work and got to enjoy to view through a beautiful countryside tour. I would jump at the chance again.

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 06, 2016:

Lovely hub! My husband and I had the occasion to try one of these on vacation and it was fun although he worked harder than I did, hehe.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 02, 2016:

Hi peachpurple,

I used to ride bikes with my brothers also but never a tandem bike. Would be fun to experience!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on March 02, 2016:

when i was young, i used to ride bike with my younger brother, it was a fun time back then

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 02, 2016:

Hello BlossomSB,

How cute was that! That was a kindly minister to let you finish that song in church. Am sure it brought lots of smiles to many faces. Also the "arnsadoo" mention was funny. Kids often run together words particularly when they are simply sounding them out and have no idea what the real meaning is.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on March 02, 2016:

That took me back! My Cornish Grandpa taught me that song - in fact it was my first solo in church. I was standing on the seat, probably aged about two, and broke into it at the end of a hymn. Mother was horrified, but the minister asked her to let me finish! I used to wonder what an Arnsadoo was! Love your hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 02, 2016:

Hi Ann,

I agree that tandem bikers get more attention than single bikers as the former is more unusual at least in this part of the world. Sounds like you really enjoy biking. Nice that you have heard the song from your grandmother's lips. :) It is a cute one!

Ann Carr from SW England on March 02, 2016:

Great hub, Peggy! I love cycling and I also have a motorbike but I've never ridden in tandem. Whenever a tandem bike is seen, it always attracts on-lookers as it's pretty unusual here now. I'd love to have a go sometime.

I used to cycle to the station to get to school (as a pupil and also later as a teacher!) but have done quite a bit since. It's great to have the fresh air and be able to go where cars can't.

I enjoyed reading this and I remember my grandmother singing the song!


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 01, 2016:

Hi Frank,

Sometimes remembering a song or poem makes our mind wander and that is how this hub came to be. Glad you enjoyed it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 01, 2016:

Hi Au fait,

We have quite a few parks and areas marked off in the City of Houston for bikers who have miles and miles where they can ride without danger of cars hitting them. Of course when bikes are sharing the same roads with cars and trucks, both parties need to be extra cautious.

Yes bikes have certainly become more expensive over the years. I think a vacation on a tandem bike like the one shown in that last video would be so much fun! Thanks for the share.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 01, 2016:

a great intro.. Poem.. into a entertaining hub.. Peggy I love it :)

C E Clark from North Texas on March 01, 2016:

Tandem bikes looked so fun when I was a kid, but now I know most motorists hate bicycles on the road. Even aside from that, it's just not safe to ride a bike on the streets. Theses bikes sure have gotten expensive, but so are regular bikes anymore -- and everything else come to think of it!

A great article, and with spring here in Texas on it's way north, this may just inspire some people to have a tandem bike vacation. Sharing with followers.

Hope all is well with you . . .

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 01, 2016:

Hi Paul,

That must be so much fun to get to ride tandem bikes. Nice that you have experienced it! Thanks for the share.

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on February 29, 2016:

Peggy, I first rode a tandem bicycle about 10 years ago in Thailand. You can find them for rent in so many of the tourist areas. Every day I take a walk around a lake in a park where I live in Udonthani, Thailand. I always see a lot of people renting tandem an even bicycles built for three. Riding tandems are a lot of fun, and I do remember the song, "Daisy." Thanks for sharing a great hub which I am sharing with HP followers.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 29, 2016:

Hi Alicia,

I agree with you in that so many different kinds of bikes are being built these days. Glad you enjoyed the info regarding tandem bikes. That song is a winner. I was humming it in my head today as I was doing other chores.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 29, 2016:

I remember the song, too. It was aways fun to hear. Thanks for sharing the interesting information about tandem bikes. I have only ridden a regular bicycle, but I've been surprised by the variety of bikes that I've seen lately. Manufacturers and individuals are becoming very creative.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 29, 2016:

Hi Nell,

That would be a nice song for a child to go to bed hearing. Wonder if your son remembers that as you do? Glad you enjoyed this. :)

Nell Rose from England on February 29, 2016:

lol! I loved this! And it brought back memories. For some reason or other, when my son was born back in 79, I kept singing Daisy Daisy to him to get him to sleep! Great memories, and yours were fascinating too!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 28, 2016:

Hi Louise,

I can well imagine the effects of riding a tandem bike although I have never personally ridden one...only a single bike. Will see if I can locate your hub.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 28, 2016:

Hi Jackie,

Our entire family sang together and even learned to do some harmony on some of the songs. Your mom would have undoubtedly done well with this song from what you wrote.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 28, 2016:

Hi Bill,

One day that song just popped in my head and made me remember all of the family singing we used to do. So glad it brought back memories for you also.

Louise Barraco from Ontario on February 28, 2016:

Great hub I wrote a hub about tandem bikes and how they make a person feel limitless

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on February 28, 2016:

So very interesting Peggy. I remember that song from childhood, singing in school. My mom was the singer in our family and no one competed with her. lol She sang, hummed and whistled sort of like a one man band. lol I am sure she would have done that song too.

Thanks for sharing your memories and bringing back a few for me!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 28, 2016:

When I was a child I played that song on the organ at church recitals. LOL Talk about bringing back memories. Thanks for a trip down Memory Lane and for sharing your personal reflections about a time I know well.