He's no longer making a living in the bike trade but Pete Bird can't stay away completely. The former co-owner of Swallow Tandems is to start marketing The Tandem Experience, similar to the try-out weekends staged by Swallow's. Would-be tandemists get vouchers to flash in 'key retailers'. Trek and Dawes are supplying the try-out bikes, with more brands to follow, says Bird.

Pete Bird resurrects tandem try-out weekends

Pete Bird changed from goldsmith to bike builder when he started Swallows Frames in 1981. This business – which started in Essex but later relocated to Wales – built 2500+ tandems in its 20 years of trading.

Following its collapse in 2001, Bird set up Tandemania.com, a B2C site, quickly swallowed by Dawes. When sales proved disappointing, the dotcom was shelved and Bird made redundant.

Since 2002, Bird has been in the property business, working as a marketing manager for Countrywide Assured Plc. But he still has a hankering for the bike trade and has created The Tandem Experience as a weekend course for prospective tandem purchasers.

Leading the weekends are Bird and Sarah Brophy. They met at the York Rally in 2000. Brophy works in the Business Tourism department for Shropshire.

"Historically, tandems are not held in stock by retailers and rarely bought in for potential buyers as the sale is perceived as unlikely to be successful, this we aim to change," said Bird.

"The Experience provides essential pre-sales activity direct with the customer to increase UK sales and develop long term customer loyalty.

"The customer will discover the pleasure of tandeming in our programme, gaining the skills and confidence to take to the road."

Participants in the £75 course will receive a certificate, a t-shirt and a £50.00 voucher that will be redeemed against accessories when purchasing a tandem from one of the ‘Key Retailers’ appointed by Bird.

“The ‘try before you buy’ concept worked very successfully in the past. Working outside of the industry allows me to pursue my passion at weekends and give others the chance to experience what tandeming can bring," said Bird.

The Tandem Experience will be promoted with small ads in Cycling Plus each month, beginning January.

Tel: 0870 130 9448


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