Martin and Ola Beyst are taking the low road for their honeymoon when they set off on board their home-made recumbent bike.
Instead of opting for a conventional tandem, the cycling enthusiasts have chosen to pedal the metal to mark the beginning of married life on a four-wheeled velo mobile, which Martin has lovingly built as part of a project at the Saltney-based Woodwork for Wellness workshop.
Their series of journeys - which are due to include outings to the Scottish Highlands, South Wales and Lincolnshire – offer a unique perspective of life on the roads and cycle ways, for recumbent bikes place their riders in a laid-back reclining position.
And they won’t be hanging around either as recumbent cycles are renowned for being fast, nudging the speed over the 40mph mark at full pelt.
Recumbents have an ergonomic design which distributes riding weight over a larger area, so long distances can be clocked up in relative comfort.
Martin, 34, and Ola, 39, expect to cycle about 100 miles per day at an average speed of around 20mph.
Their unusual method of transport sometimes divides opinions on safety issues. But while most recumbents usually have two or three wheels Martin has adapted his bike to include a fourth wheel for greater stability.
Having to keep their heads down amid the hustle and bustle of traffic then is unlikely to deter the newly-weds too much as they celebrate their nuptials, fittingly, side by side on their curious-looking contraption.
“The idea of building our own recumbent came about because we both want to ride bikes, but we want to be sociable which is always a problem when you are riding one behind the other on a tandem,” explains Martin.
“We also like keeping fit, so the recumbent bike fits in with our lifestyle because you are in a much more relaxed riding position.
“You can cover greater distances with ease and not put a strain on the body. I think we’ll easily do 100 miles a day with five hours of riding.”
Commercially-produced recumbent bikes can retail for about £6,000 in what is a small, niche market. But Martin was keen to build his own using the engineering skills he has gleaned at Woodwork for Wellness, where he chips in to help the clients of the men’s shed project learn new skills.
A trip to the Netherlands proved fruitful where he spent a fraction of the cost buying an unfinished prototype as well as the parts to get his creation on the road.
Martin’s dream has taken shape under the stewardship of Woodwork for Wellness founder Graham Stephens. A steering redesign may have proved too tricky for some, but with Graham’s background in motor cycle engineering and his access to spare parts from his karting days, the technical work was conquered.
The couple, who live in Prenton on the Wirral, have been waiting to pedal the metal since they were married in Llangollen in June. With the final touches about to be completed, they are planning a trip to the Eden Project in Cornwall.
“Unfortunately one of our family members passed away shortly before the wedding and the project has become a bit more involved than we originally thought as I’ve had to
re-engineer parts of it,” says Martin, who is a hypnotherapist working with disabled adults.
“The steering needed to be redesigned, that was the major part, the other work was simple setting up gears.
“Fortunately, Graham had some recyclable go-karting parts from his karting career, which proved very handy as I didn’t have to buy much new stuff. It has proved to be a good recycling project.
“I have a passion for technical stuff and I am one of the few bringing in a project who is not a delegate or in need of intense support at Woodwork for Wellness.”
He adds: “But it is great to have support from people with more knowledge and the resources and equipment are wonderful.
“It is a sociable place to go and it helps me get along with doing something I couldn’t do myself.”
The couple have previously completed a four-week 3,000-mile tour on a different type of velo mobile, an enclosed recumbent bike which comes with its own bodywork.
In their new creation, though, they will be more exposed to the elements, although Martin assures: “There have been a few incidents with recumbents due to road conditions, but four wheels are safer than three and two.
“We’re going to have a flag on it and ride it on the roads and keep to the cycle tracks and ways.
“It is a little bit low, but it is quite a large object to see and we can keep fairly close in.
“There is a boot and space for panniers and camping equipment.
“We’ll pop a tent on the back so we can set up camp when we get to the Scottish Highlands. We’ll also try to do some Sustrans routes along the way as well.
“And next year we’re planing to do some longer endurance rides like those organised by members of Audax, the long-distance cycling association.”
See full story in the Free Press