Maps can’t tell you precisely what the riding conditions will be like on the ground; although they often give you clues, it’s not until you are actually riding there, do you find out.
A case in point; as part of a longer route, I was riding along one of those fascinatingly ancient Devonshire sunken lanes. This one goes for about a mile-and-a-half, and is typically flanked by high banks topped with dense holly, hawthorn and brambles. Between these runs the lane, a sea of hoof-churned mud, mixed with stones and boulders. Despite this, I was able to crack-on at a good pace, due to there being a rock base beneath the mud and it’s a gradual descent for most of the distance.
I had ridden at least a mile along it when I came round a corner to see, as far as the next bend, the lane ahead completely under brown water. This wasn’t on the map! No way around, no idea how deep it was, no idea what’s under the surface, no idea how far the water went beyond the next bend. I was reluctant to turn back; it would mean a long detour along roads and I was nearly at the end of this stretch.
Any rider would approach this hazard with a degree of trepidation. Some brave souls would ride into it as fast as possible, pedal like fury, forge through by a combination of momentum and force of will; sometimes successful, at the risk of being very seriously unsuccessful.
You may prefer a more considered approach. The Landseer allows this because it’s design makes it easier to pull yourself out of difficulties. Failure is far less spectacular, far less amusing, far less dangerous.
Posted by woodway:
“It’s a beautifully designed bike and I can see it’s appeal for certain types of riding. My 6″ travel full-squish MTB is also beautifully designed and it appeals to me even more for the type of riding I do.”
That underwater section wasn’t quite as bad as it looked, but there were still several places where I was at my limit, desperately seeking just enough power, traction and balance to prevent stalling; the smallest of design features can come into play. The predominant challenges you can guess; getting cross-threaded in the deep ruts left by various farm vehicles, and suddenly hitting loose rocks, lurking unseen beneath the surface of that murky fluid.
Posted by ajantom
You can go probably go faster on a ‘normal’ bike, but this has to be the most comfortable bike that I’ve ever ridden. And one that is capable of covering the most varied terrain possible without dismounting.
I imagine my wife, who loves riding horses but doesn’t (even though I’ve tried!) enjoy MTBing, would feel at home on this bike.
The Landseer now opens-up a broader vista of true cross-country adventures, you can venture forth and explore, confident your bike will be with you all the way and won’t become an attention-seeking pest once you return home, satisfied.
Successfully riding sections I thought I couldn’t, is, for me, probably, the most satisfying of all the pleasures and benefits I enjoy from a spell in the saddle. Yet it remains only one of the many pleasures I, personally, derive from cycling off-road.
Would you enjoy that too?
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