Our next shopping destination was JD Tandems in Gargrave, North Yorkshire, right at the South of the Yorkshire Dales.
We had a very warm welcome from Ruth, Jamie and John and were able to test ride more than one tandem model. Our first ride was on their “touring” tandem, the Orbit Velocity. At once, we noticed how much easier the tandem was to ride as the pilot/captain. We had thought a certain degree of “struggle” when sitting in front was just part of tandeming, but this bike felt a lot more stable, perhaps almost too sedate. We returned form our test ride to the local farm shop (you may know it from Tom Kerridge’s “Top of The Shop”) with lunch in our bellies and big smiles on our faces.
Next up was the more “racy” Orbit Lightning Pro, and the smiles became even bigger! We cycled back up to the farm shop, much to the amusement of the staff, and had a lovely chat with another tandem-riding couple, who had come to JD Tandems to pick up their new ride. By the time we returned to the guys at the shop, we had pretty much made up our minds – this was the tandem for us! We made arrangements to come back the next morning and wandered off to Skipton for a bit of shopping, and then found a campsite for the night.
Fortified by a (somewhat mediocre) fry-up, we went back to Gargrave for a longer ride in the Yorkshire Dales. The weather was kind to us and we had a great ride with some serious hills, both up and down. We stopped for lunch at the Queens Arms in Litton, a very cycle friendly pub with great cheesy chips (Wensleydale – inspired!) and a friendly landlord.
Back at JD’s, we had made up our mind and sat down with Ruth to finalise our purchase. We really enjoyed Ruth’s expertise and recommendations, encouraging us where an upgrade would make a difference to our enjoyment and telling us clearly where we would throw our money away and should stick to the cheaper option. In the end, we upgraded quite a few bits on the bike, but got away no more expensive than the base model, mostly thanks to our “downgrade” from the carbon fork to a steel model that could take a disc brake.
Bring it on!