Only two weeks to go before the “Grande Depart” for the Tour de Burgundy du Tandem and I must say I am getting rather excited at the prospect of heading abroad for the tour.
And with such a short time to go before we head off, it all seems very real and that “we are going on holiday.”
So the “old git” and the “old gal” are going to have to get focused on some serious planning and list making – including the list about lists!! – to be organised for any eventuality.
To start the process of making me even more eye-catching when abroad, they have added some very nice stickers to my panniers – leaving people in no doubt that we are from Scotland. I even have a bumper sticker on my rear, like a car would have, saying ‘Ecosse’.
My ‘Ecosse’ sticker – well its good to speak the local lingo!
Now I have to say that these stickers and my Scottish branding is certainly not to be misconstrued that the “old git” or the “old gal” (or indeed me, perish the thought) is an ardent supporter of independence. Absolutely not, Nothing could be further from the truth!
And the fact that the referendum takes place while we are away in France is a mere coincidence. But postal votes have been organised to be lodged before departure. And lets just say that anyone who asks our opinion on the subject of independence during the trip will be told: “Well, it’s always better when we are together!”
However – as the polls seems to be narrowing by the day – I am just a little worried that since the big vote on September 18th is when we are away … will we need a new Scottish passport to get home again to Auchterarder if the vote goes the wrong way?!
Anyway, putting the political stuff to the side, the three of us had a great ride out on Sunday morning. We had indulged in more than a little French wine the night before with good friends Ann and Jack – just get into the mood for France.
The “old gal” was a little bit light-headed when she woke up – but the “old git” told her no excuses would be accepted and we pedalled off in bright sunshine and zero wind, After the stormy weather we have had recently, it really was a gorgeous morning and soon we were whizzing along the country roads and reached Dunning in no time. The “old git” decided to head further, and soon we were in the village of Forteviot.
We caused quite a stir as the local small church was coming out and at least two people came over and asked all about me, and how old I was, and said how good I looked. After all, it’s all about me!
The “old gal” almost sparked a bit of Sunday morning controversy during one of the chats however. A very nice old chap politely asked if we were married, as he said that he had heard that if you are married then it doesn’t really work on a tandem!
To which, quick as a flash, the “old gal” replied: “Well we have both been married – just not to each other!” Splutter!!! Well I thought he was going to have a heart attach, but he recovered and smiled benevolently before he drove off!
After a quick water stop, we headed back. The “old gal” was even complimenting the “old git” on his use of my gears – he really does seem to have (finally, oh so very finally) got the hang of going down a gear to make life easier going up a hill. Praise indeed!
The other addition I have had in the last day or so, is that I now have a nifty trip computer attached to my handlebars, so the “old git” can bore the “old gal” to death by regularly giving updates on a wide variety of data including distance travelled, our average speed, the top speed we reached, the temperature, how many calories we have burned, and even what CO2 emissions we are saving by cycling instead of using the car.
My new trip computer – complete with digital readout!
Actually I do think it will be useful in France as it gives an overview of the distance travelled – and how long to go till the next food or wine stop! And as the “old gal” pointed out, the best thing is that it only gives a read out of calories burned – it doesn’t offset them against any input of calories!
Both agree that a good, maintainable, average speed on the flat is somewhere between 10 and 12 mph – while at anything less than 5 mph the wobble factor comes into play which affects the balance and makes pedalling a lot more difficult, and requiring more effort, than it should.
So for the record, the return trip from Forteviot – which involves a few long uphill stretches – saw us cover the distance of 8.5 miles in 54 minutes. The trip computer said this meant our average speed was 9.4 mph, while (amazingly) we reached the giddy heights of 30.1 mph on one steep downhill stretch! And we burned 422 calories on the way!
So in less than two hours we had done a 17 mile run and enjoyed some bright sunshine and lots of fresh air. The “old git” was feeling very virtuous, and – whisper it – but I think that just about cured the “old gal’s” hangover!
Mind you, I supposed that counts as good practice as well!