After having our second-hand Thorn Explorer tandem for a couple of years, we decided that we were going to stick with tandem riding and started to think about getting one that fitted us right. Being second-hand, the Thorn’s cockpit was a tad short for me and a bit long for Karon.

At first we were just looking at a traditional tandem but I’d seen the Hase online and a few features made it an attractive proposition. Karon never did like sitting behind me, or spending too long on the saddle and when she had a shoulder operation it all made the front recumbent seat on the Hase very attractive.


In February 2011 we headed up to JD Tandems in Gargrave Yorkshire to spend the weekend riding a demo bike and John and Ruth’s own Pino.

The weather was kind and we had two good days out, at the end of which we decided to go ahead and order one. Ideally we would have had a Rohloff on the back but at £1000 on top of the already pricey bike, we decided that might have to wait a while.

We went back to Gargrave in May to collect the ‘Beast’ and it’s first outing was the Isle of Wight Randonee – a test for us and the bike!

In Sept 2011 we took the Beast over to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany for some day riding – staying two nights in each place meant we had a full day to ride and explore before moving on, and as always, the Hase turned heads.

In January 2012 we decided to ride Land’s End to John O Groats (LEJOG) on the Beast and set about adding low riders and a better stand. We also bought waterproof panniers: Ortlieb Rolltops for the back and Arkel Recumbent bags for under the seat.

We also decided that Karon’s seat would need some weather protection when it wasn’t in use, as she’d found it unpleasant getting onto it after a soaking, so we made up a cover out of waterproof fabric. Cost – about £3.50.

Initially we were just going to do the ride, but it was too good an opportunity to miss to raise some money for a good cause, so we decided on Arthritis Research UK – as Hannah our daughter has Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Over June and July 2012, in what was probably the wettest summer the UK has ever experienced, we took the Beast steadily northwards. As everyone says, the hills of Devon and Cornwall are the worst and I was so glad I had swapped the standard granny ring for a 22T from one of my off-road bikes. That low gear made virtually all the hills rideable.

In October 2016 we took the stripped Pino back to JD tandems in Gargrave for some new drivetrain bits and cable replacements, at the same time, the frame was sent off to Bob Jacksons for a respray. The end result is ‘The Purple Hase’, seen here near Arnhem, in full touring mode, on our 2017 trip down the Rhine to the International Tandem Rally and tour of Germany.