So it was Sunday and I heard arrangements being made between the “old git” and “old gal” for another ride out – but this time there were some mutterings about a potential new pilot and new stoker, well at least temporary ones!
Now you know, me being an “old lady” and all that I don’t much like surprises. I am a bit set in my ways and am quite comfortable with the way the “old git” and the “old gal” sedately cycle along.
So I had a bit of fear and trepidation when they announced that one of the best friends of the “old gal” was coming to stay overnight at “Matilda’s Rest”. And more than that, the visitors – Gillian and Craig – both said they fancied a shot at tandeming!
Well I think it was all that success and whooping and joyous excitement at the Commonwealth games that made them think it was going to be a dawdle. But they were tandem virgins – and that was a potential recipe for disaster and a few bumps and scratches on my ageing frame!
But the “old git” was very reassuring and told me that he would make sure they knew exactly what they were doing before they would be allowed to pedal off on me. And he would stress it was all about the new buzzword of synchronicity! Phew! I was relieved.
It was lovely and sunny on Sunday afternoon as they arrived – but before they headed out they all had to fuel up with some lunch and of course a welcoming bottle of prosecco. I mean didn’t they know it is against the law to be drunk in charge of a tandem! And think of the embarrassment for an “old lady” like me if they were to be stopped by the police!
Anyway it was only one glass of fizz each – just to wash down one of the “old gal’s” smorgasborg lunches. And then it was time to go, but not before everyone had a crash helmet on. At this stage Gillian couldn’t resist taking a pic of herself. I understand this is a new-fashioned thing – which is called a ‘selfie.’ And for some reason Gillian dubbed herself the ‘selfie whore’ – a phrase that the “old git” needed to be explained to him. I mean, sometimes he is a bit thick!
Gillian – a self-proclaimed ‘selfie whore’!!!
The “old git” and the “old gal” started off riding me to show them the ropes – while Gillian and Craig cycled on single bikes, listening attentively to the start-up routine of “Ready – ok – three – two – one – pedal!”
The route was to be the quiet back road to Dunning so when at the start of a flat stretch, they swapped places with Craig taking up the “old git’s” position as Chief Pilot and Gillian on the back as Chief Stoker!
And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised as they managed to move off first time with no mishaps. A little shaky obviously – but given it was their first time I was gentle with them and we eased up the gears and soon they were flying along, as my owners followed on single bikes.
But I had to laugh as I heard the “old gal” complain that she had to change her own gears AND steer the bike at the same time! I mean clearly the “old git” does everything and all she has to do is “pedal”!!!
Obviously (and you know I need to say this) Gillian and Craig weren’t as slick and confident as the “old git” and the “old gal” – but it was an impressive performance never the less.
The tandem virgins – Craig as Chief Pilot and Gillian as Chief Stoker.
After a couple of miles we stopped just outside Dunning at the monument to Maggie Wall – reputed to be the last witch to be burned at the stake in Scotland back in 1657.
The “old gal”, the “old git” and Craig having a laugh and a breather in the sunshine.
Craig and Gillian decided they wanted another shot – and increasing in confidence – took off at a fair pace for the last mile or so into the village of Dunning. Where, yes you’ve guessed it, there was a refreshment stop in the lovely beer garden of the Kirkstyle Inn. A pleasant sit in the sunshine and three gin and tonics and a pint of the local Dunning ale later (not each – but shared out among the four cyclists!) it was time for the return journey.
The “old git” – being the sociable thing that he is – decided it would be fun to spice things up a bit and mix up the pairings for the cycle back home. So he teamed up with Gillian and the “old gal” and Craig took up the rear on the single bikes.
Now it is amazing how you know it is not your regular stoker (the “old gal” forced me to say that bit!!) but Gillian did a “not bad” job of keeping the pedals turning – and even a few surprise hills didn’t frighten her. I would give her an 8.5 out of 10!
But it is just wasn’t the same, so I was pleased when they swapped back to the usual positions for the last bit of the cycle home. You know – and whisper it – I find there is something very reassuring about being with your regular Chief Pilot and Chief Stoker.
But Gillian and Craig really enjoyed their first trip on a tandem – and I am delighted to say that all three of us have been invited back to their place in Alloa for a cycle. And, I am even told I may even get to see the Kelpies on the canal paths not too far from where they live.
Almost too much excitement for an “old lady”!