Well the long awaited viewing of the touring bike has come and gone and, I’m glad to say it was a success.
I first came across LPY Cycles purely out of chance. A simple google search in what was proving to be another frustrating evening of emails to which I knew I’d never receive replies led me to the website on page 3 of the search. Usually I’d have given up by the end of page 2 but perhaps this was meant to be.......
Without wanting to rehash the info about the bike it’s certainly worth checking out both the website of the company www.lpycycles.com and also further information at http://www.lpycycles.com/Site/LPY_Cycles_News_and_Updates.html Of particular interest is fascinating story regarding Thomas Allen and William Sachtleben who:
“in 1890 after finishing their studies in the USA they embarked on a voyage traveling 15,000 miles between Europe and Asia to their final destination of Beijing.”
I’d had email correspondence with the designer of the bike an Englishman by the name of Jon Fieldhouse so it was safe to say that hopes were high. It was excellent to not only have the chance to meet Jon but also to test ride the bike. Jon turned out to be a wealth of information and I really feel like I was incredibly fortunate to be able to spend a good two hours in his company and furthermore being able to bend his ear regarding all aspects of biking but especially touring. Anyone who has spoken to me regarding the frame has probably become sick and tired of me constantly complaining about the lack of touring frames in China.
The sticking point has obviously always been the size of the frame. I’ve been going on the assumption that a 58-60cm frame would be right for me. LPY’s only current size is 57cm however as I was going to be in Shanghai that weekend I thought it would be crazy not to at least give it the once over and take it out. Jon has always been brutally honest in the fact that he wouldn’t feel comfortable allowing me to ride a frame that was too small. This honesty has been much appreciated. My first impressions on riding it were that it felt good. I’ve ridden bikes before that are too small for me and immediately you get the sense of feeling constricted or squashed up on the frame. I didn’t get this initial feeling from this bike. We took it out and I was surprised by how comfortable I found the drop handlebars. It’s been a while since I rode a bike similar to this. We took it back to his apartment and then replaced the stem with a slightly longer one and also made adjustments to the seat post. Just these small adjustments made an already comfortable ride more so.
Now obviously I’m going to be riding the bike for upwards of eight months to a year so it’s almost impossible and would be blindingly stupid of me to assume that two twenty minutes rides will be enough to finally ascertain if this really is the frame for me.
It’s with that in mind that I will go back to Shanghai at the beginning of September to take it on a full days ride. I think only after doing so will I be able to make a concrete decision, however at this stage I’m upwards of 90% sure that all will be okay.
I was and am still indebted to Jon for all his help and very professional and personable manner. In his expert opinion and having studied me on the bike he has told me that with the geometry of the bike and the way it is set up that this bike will be okay for me to tackle this journey. Things are looking up.