The Tandem Tour – Hungary – 6

Excerpt from the book Sports the Olympics Forgot This book describes 40 sports that ought to be played but aren’t, because I made them up.


The first winners of the Tour of the Tandem were the Nagy brothers from Szeged who on different days alternated between front and back on their bike, which is not against the rules – indeed riders can change places during a stage if they so wish. Between 1958 and 1961 the Szabo brothers from Debrecen were the winners and they hold the record for winning by the largest margin, 45 minutes and 13 seconds in 1959, and the smallest margin 6 seconds in 1960. The race in 1960 was the first year when amateur teams were allowed to compete in the race and they often got in the way of the professional teams, which lead to pile ups on every stage including the infamous Lake Balaton Peloton Collision when half the teams finished in the lake after an amateur tandem team from Lodz in Poland suffered a puncture and swerved across the path of the other teams.

Several teams had to withdraw from the race due to their injuries and so it was decreed that from 1961 onwards all teams should wear safety helmets and that fancy dress was not allowed. This was because two teams from East Berlin, who had been wearing Josef Stalin and Nikita Khruschev outfits, seemed to suffer the worst injuries of all the riders. A lot of those injuries were caused by the crowd, who took the opportunity of the crash to make their feelings quite clear about the lack of tact shown by their socialist brothers from East Germany in wearing the outfits of the hated Soviet leaders.

In 1978 the race was opened up to teams of three riding extended tandems although these bikes weren’t considered for the overall race classification and they have proved to be unpopular because of their unwieldiness on the narrow bends in the Matra Hills. A team from the Isle of Man, called the Fun Boy Three, has won the triple classification most often, scoring five victories in their ten visits to Hungary between 1996 and 2005.

Published by Julian Worker

I was born in Leicester. I attended school in Yorkshire and University in Liverpool. I have been to 93 countries and territories including The Balkans and Armenia in 2015, France and Slovakia in 2016, and some of the Greek Islands in 2017. My sense of humour is distilled from The Goons, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. I love being creative in my writing and I love writing about travelling. My next books are a travel book about Greece and a novel inspired by Brexit.

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