A SLAVE to Strava, I envy those cyclists who can just jump on their bike, pedal and see where they end up.

Afflicted by an overwhelming desire to beat my records, I often miss the very countryside I’ve ridden out to enjoy.

I ride for an hour or so, generally in a circular pattern, come back home, press stop on my watch and take off my gear.

Loading article content

Eat, sleep and repeat.

I enjoy it, don’t get me wrong, I just sometimes feel I am missing out on something.

I have a friend who is the polar opposite to me. He goes out early in the morning, comes back late at night, cycling great distances in between. He too records his journey, but he does it photographically.

Whenever he sees something of interest he comes to a stop, parks up his bike and soaks it in.

For a few weeks I got to experience what he does, thanks in the main to Ridgeback and their aptly named Panorama.

Compared to my road bike, the Panorama is a bit old fashioned looking, at first view.

But never judge a book by its cover. It might not be sprayed in garish colours, but under the skin it’s as up to date as most other bikes on the road.

It feels heavy, no, compared to my carbon bike, it is heavy. I struggled to lift it into the back of my car on the first trip out, but that probably says as much about my frame as it does the Ridgeback’s Reynolds 725.

This did give me cause for concern though. As much as I love the challenge of hills, my body, and in particular my lungs, do not – consequence of a heart operation many years ago – and so the prospect of trying to haul the Panorama up the inclines of North Yorkshire filled me with dread.

How wrong I was. While it’s not as nimble as a stripped down speed machine, it is nevertheless agile and in riding mode belies its construction, meaning I was able to negotiate the Dales without too much exertion.

What this meant I was actually enjoy my environs – my brain didn’t need to spend all its time trying to convince my limbs to join in.

The Shimano Sora shifters offer seamless changing and combined with a geometry designed for the long haul and a saddle that ironed out most imperfections, it makes for a bike that makes riding pleasurable.

Up to now I have always ridden bikes with conventional brakes, the Panorama gave me my first experience of a disc braking system and what a revelation they are.

Whereas up to now I’ve headed downhill with a fair degree of trepidation, especially on country roads with accumulations of detritus – the fall out, literally, from a broken shoulder incident – Ridgeback’s set up meant I could put the anchors on with a far greater degree of confidence. While you are never going to be hurtling towards the bottom on a bike like this, or at least you shouldn’t be, it’s good to know that when you need to stop you have the equipment capable of achieving that aim safely.

I’m not saying I’m going to have a change of mindset from now on, but the Panorama certainly opened my eyes to other cycling possibilities and that has to be a good thing.