A Landescape Experience – Part 1 – The York Connection

Thursday 2 September 2010, Filed in: General

The weather was forecast to be dire for the Friday of this year’s York Cycle Rally, so we dug out the waterproofs, risked the weather and cycled the 22 miles anyway. We went on our old and occasionally reliable Dawes Supergalaxy, a first outing for the trailer that we’d bought a year previously and never got around to using.

The weather was forecast to be dire for the Friday of this year’s York Cycle Rally, so we dug out the waterproofs, risked the weather and cycled the 22 miles anyway. We went on our old and occasionally reliable Dawes Supergalaxy, a first outing for the trailer that we’d bought a year previously and never got around to using.

After spending a couple of hours working out how to actually get everything into the trailer, it started to rain as we set off wondering if the weather forecast was actually going to be right for once. It was the weekend of Glastonbury Festival, remember the floods and the tents hit by lightning. For us it was a dry and thoroughly enjoyable weekend, although a day trip might have been cheaper!

If you visited the Rally this year, you may have seen the Landescape tandem display. We certainly did, and we found Pete Bird’s new design both innovative and interesting, well worth a proper review. A quick chat with Ruth and John on the adjoining JD Cycles stand and we’d booked a test ride, all we had to do was hope that the frames would arrive in time for John to actually get a test bike built. Saturday evening was spent at the campsite watching the folk band and imbibing a few cans of foaming ale. By the end of the evening, we knew we needed another look at the Landescape, we had important questions to resolve, such as ‘the red one or the blue one?’ Sunday morning dawned and as the stands opened, we headed for the trade tents again. The credit card was getting restless in Dave’s wallet, knowing it’s time was coming. A longer chat with Pete Bird and we realised how many options he had designed into the new frame, different wheel sizes, brake options, height adjustment on the Ahead bearings and more besides. We even managed to get a quick ride on the demo bike in the tryout area, we were convinced, we just needed that test ride and could hardly wait for the next two weeks to pass.

Crawling from our nice comfy bed at 6.00AM on a Saturday is just not something we do, however we made a special effort and got to JD Cycles in Ilkley shortly after they opened. There was a bike ready to test, just pedals and seat adjustments to make, route suggestions from John to absorb and we were off. The weather was great, cool breeze and sunshine, perfect for testing a new bike. John’s route around Bolton Abbey and with a couple of local hills thrown in to get the hang of things was a perfect test, we were as happy with the new bike as we’d hoped to be. We stopped often, to change settings and see how the bike reacted, to talk to the many local cyclists who were all interested in the tandem, and just to admire the views. We did also stop for tea and scones at the café in Bolton Abbey, but we think there’s a law forbidding tandem riders from passing tea shops so we were just doing our bit really.

25 miles and several hours later, we got back to JD’s and took up Ruth’s offer of a quick ride on a Santana as a comparison. It was good, better in some areas and less in others, not good enough overall to tempt us away from the Landescape. A quick change from sweaty cycling clothes to something less likely to make other customers ill and we started the interesting business of specifying the new bike. We’d already decided on two wheelsets, 700c for commuting to work and local rides, 26*1.5 for touring and occasional off-road activities. Now we had to sort out gears, bottom brackets, bars and all of the other bits and pieces essential to getting a new bike on the road. The Landescape is available as a complete bike with several basic build options to choose from, you only need to change things if there’s something specific you want. We went for the front and rear cable disc brake option, with upgraded STI brake / gear change and a better chainset to get the gear ratios we wanted. Front and rear pannier racks were added to the pile along with some bits and bobs, the list was complete.]

Three weeks passed, we returned to Ilkley with a fully rested credit card and space cleared on the roof bars for John to fit a hydraulic tandem rack. The new bike gleamed away in the shop, we just had to have a quick test ride whilst John started to assemble the new roof rack, it was as good as we’d hoped, maybe even better. A short session of fitting the lift to the roof bars and John was ready to show us how it worked, a quick adjustment and it was all sorted. Just time to pick a few extra treats from the showroom shelves, the bill was paid without a single flinch from the credit card and we headed home. The sun shone, we’d have been horrified to get the new bike wet before we’d even ridden it properly. Since then, we’ve had a couple of quick test rides to get it set up, used it to commute to work a couple of times, and we’ve done a ‘Sunday lunch at the pub’ type outing. We’ve even been off-road with it, three miles of farm track and wet, muddy and slippery forest track. On the mountain bikes, we’d have whizzed through, on a new tandem it was a slower and more careful experience. We’re still experimenting with the settings, however the disc brakes and the stiff, light weight frame are great and confidence inspiring, we’re extremely happy with it so far. The next step is to hitch the trailer up and get away for a few days camping, watch this space…

Thanks to Ruth and John for their time and experience to help us chose the right specification for our needs, and to Pete Bird for designing a great frame and a well specced, value for money bike. Only time will tell, it really does look like a good buy, we’re quite glad that we risked the York Rally weather.

P.S. We got a red one in the end, in case you were wondering. The credit card is recovering nicely and with care should be able to lead a full and normal life sometime soon after Christmas.

Dave and Karen P., East Yorkshire


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