Posted by: Bethany Davis | September 11, 2010

Our Columbia Twosome

the tandem in the state we found it

About a week ago, I was checking the mail at the Brumby and did a double take when I glanced at the dumpster. Lo and behold there was a tandem bike leaning against the side. It’s common to find old tvs, furniture, etc… at the trash, but a tandem bike? I debated whether or not to take it, and finally gave in out of curiosity. I singlehandedly loaded the bike in the back of my car and waiting til Brian got home.

I began doing some research online, and found out that it is a Columbia Twosome Bike built between 1947-1960.


taking it apart... piece by piece

As you can imagine, Brian was surprised, but also equally as excited. Our first step was calling up our friends Brandon and Laura, who used to live on our hall at Brumby. “Is it worth it to restore?” we asked Laura, who works at a bike shop. The prognosis was fair — which was good enough for us! We decided to start disassembling it to find out.

After our race on Labor Day, we took the bike to Brian’s parents house to do some work. Off came the wheels, fenders, chains… basically everything that was removable was detached! Some bolts and screws were so rusted that had to be cut off, making finding new hardware difficult!

fenders before and after

My job was sanding the rust off the fenders. Thanks to Brian’s dad’s power tools, the process went quicker than expected! The end result was amazing… I had no idea the sheen that was hiding!

After a trip to Lowe’s and Wal-Mart, we were ready to begin reassembling. Sadly, the fading daylight and hunger pains got the best of us and headed in for a home cooked dinner thanks to Momma Davis. Yum!

That’s where we are going to pick-up today — Day 2 of our bike renovation!



  1. It’s so beautiful! I bought a bike from a friend for $75 bucks and was wondering if I was spending way to much….when I took it to the bike shop I found out that it was worth anywhere between$2,500–$5,000!

    • What kind of bike is it?

      • It’s a Columbia twosome.

  2. what a great deal!!! hooray for cheaply acquiring bikes!

  3. I found a Columbia twosome today in a reasonable condition. My restoration wil start soon. How do I determine the age of this tandem?
    I am in South Africa and do not know of any more twosomes in SA.
    Will keep you posted
    Piet de Weerdt

    • How exciting! Does it have any original markings on it – like a logo or writing? That was our tell-tale clue. Using this website,, we found the era that matched our logo. Also, you might be able to locate the original serial number on the bike. This forum: was helpful to us. We found the serial number, but find it anywhere online to tell us when it was made. Hope that helps! Keep us updated!

  4. Cool. I have one of these in mostly original condition and it’s a great bike. It’s great that you found yours; I can’t believe someone would throw it out. How did your bike come out?

    • Hi Ted, the bike turned out fabulous. We made a few more posts after this one about the progress. You could say it’s still got a lot of character – for example, we couldn’t find the right handle bars to replace it with, so we kept the original and one side is bent downward. 🙂 But, we love it! That’s awesome that yours is in such great condition!

  5. OK, I saw the updated posts on your bike. Came out great. I work on a lot of old bikes so I know this was a fun project for you guys and I know that happy feeling when you finally get a project bike on the road. It’s funny to read how you have to work together when riding; my wife refuses to ride with me on our tandem because she wants to do her own thing and I’m always joking with her to “Trust your captain!” This has become a running joke in our family now. I wouldn’t say our bike is in super great shape, but it is original (seats, grips, brake, fat balloon tires, etc.) and, like yours, has plenty of vintage character. We get a lot of looks and stares just like you guys and people always ask about the bike. Have fun. One other thing: I read that you are expecting. Congratulations and best wishes. We’re expecting our second daughter in about four weeks. Enjoy the ride…figuratively and literally. It seems like you guys have a great life. Don’t lose that feeling you guys have for each other; it’s not something a lot of people ever have or are able to sustain.

    • I’m too chicken to be the captain, but that doesn’t make listening to the captain any easier! 🙂 It seems so much of marriage can relate to the metaphor of riding a tandem. Trusting, working together, etc… And yes, we are expecting, which I know will put many new adventures and challenges in our path! I’m glad that our joy of life and being together shines through our posts — thanks for the encouragement to keep that up!

  6. I just bought a columbia twosome. How do I find out what year it was mabe? wiselywilliam Thanks

  7. I was looking over my fence when I saw this double seat bike. I told my neighbor that I would give him two of my bikes, worth $500.00. He told me to take it off his hands for free. Tomorrow, I will have it dismantled down to its last part. The bike is a Columbia Twosome.

  8. do you guys buy these bikes i have a really old one for ya if you do at A resonable price

    • no, I think one is plenty for us! thanks, though!

  9. I just recently purchased a columbia twosome. The fenders are a little rusted and it looks like they were spray painted. You mentioned in one of your first posts that you used a power tool to get the rust off the fenders. What kind of tool? I am looking for a way to get the rust off the handlebars also.

    • We used an electric sander. Not necessary, but was MUCH faster and saved us some elbow grease. I had to change the sanding pad pretty frequently since ours was in bad shape. good luck!

  10. We live in The Villages, in FL, and have a Columbia Twosome that we want to sell. How should we go about it? We bought it in the eighties and it was old then but in great working condition.

    • Hi Sandra! We haven’t been very good about blogging lately, so I apologize for the late reply. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like the old tandems have too much monetary value any more. You can get a nice new one for a couple hundred bucks. But, you could try using craigslist- I have seen several listed on there. Some bike shops sell used bikes and may be interested in it, too. Good look!

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