Under repair

old style matilda

Old style Matilda – before refurb!

Chief Pilot and Chief Stoker have been very kind to me since they became me faithful new owners. And to be honest they have huffed and puffed away while manfully (and womanly) trying to get to grips with my drop down racing-style handlebars on the front, the very cramped handlebars on the back, gears which was like a lottery knowing which one you were in and brakes that worked only if they felt like it (and that wasn’t very often!)

They decided enough was enough and since they had booked me to go on a foreign trip to the Villages and Vineyards of Burgundy – which entails the not insignificant matter of covering 150 miles of French countryside over six days (albeit with regular breaks to sample the local wine) – they decided that this old gal needed a serious upgrade and refurb.

So they packed me in the 4×4 and off we all went to the most capable experts of J M Richards Cycles in Perth. I was most impressed as technician Ally oohed and aahed over me and said he hadn’t seen a tandem like me for many a long time.

He was most taken by my charms, and when the “old git” cheekily asked if it was worth spending money on me – or replacing me with a lighter new tandem – he told him to wash his mouth out as this was a classic old lady – one that was built to last … and that a refurb would give them a fantastic new tandem like no other.

So they had a conference about what new bits I needed and came up with a shopping list which included: new wide straight handlebars on the front and rear with comfort grips; new gear levers (complete with numbers so the “old git” doesn’t need to ask the “old gal” to look down and tell him what gear they are in!); new gear mechanism complete with 3×6 gears instead of my old 3×5; new brake levers (including a brake that actually works on the rear handlebar for the  Chief Stoker instead of the old placebo version!); two flashy new tyres suitable for continental roads; and a repair to my broken rear mudguard.

Wow! what a list! I have to say it was a bit scary being left behind at the workshop but I knew I was in good hands and knew my new owners were coming back for me in a week’s time. And the other bikes in the workshop made me feel very welcome. In fact, whisper it, but this old lady is happy to say she can still turn a few heads – there was this brand new ultra sleek and ultra fit racing bike which took a fancy to me. Even tho he was much younger and flashier than me  – I (with all my years of experience) obviously turned his gear lever for him as he took a real fancy to me! It certainly gave my horn a new lease of life!

It wasn’t in the least painful having the replacement parts fitted and it was nice to get rid of the old bits that produced those aches and pains.

And soon I was all shiny and new – a fully refurbished old lady with added sex appeal as everything was in working order again.

In fact one of the best parts of the transformation was when the boys in the workshop took me out for a trial around the paths of the Inches. Then two others took me out, determined to beat their time for going round the park. I have to say I haven’t had a work out like that for a long while – but I loved every minute of it!

I had passed the test with flying colours and soon Chief Pilot and Chief Stoker were phoned to say I was ready for collection.

I was so pleased to see them when they came for me, it almost brought tears to my glass front dynamo light.  They were delighted with my makeover and after paying for my repairs (a not insubstantial amount I may say) it was time to say goodbye to my new friends and go back home to Auchterarder.

The only slight problem was that it was raining and my new handlebars were much wider than the old set and it took a bit of a struggle for them to get me into the vehicle. The “old git” was (as always) losing patience but the “old gal” (the one with the brains) worked out that if they put my back wheel in first, they were on to a winner.

Now everyone can’t wait for the first real test of my new bits when we go to Millport!

new style Matilda

New style Matilda – after refurb!

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