I have to admit I am getting uber-excited about the imminent “Grand Depart” for the Tour de Burgundy du Tandem. Just five more sleeps before me, the “old git” and the “old gal” – aka ‘Team Tandem Ecosse’ – will be heading south to the Eurotunnel. Then it’s a drive down the autoroutes to the wine capital of Beaune for the start of the 7 night tour of the Vineyards and Villages of Burgundy.
I am actually finding it difficult to sleep as there are lots of preparations and packing to do before the off. And it won’t surprise you to know that the “old git” has drawn up list upon lists – and there is even a list of lists!
The “old gal” just rolls her eyes and smiles sweetly, knowing it is much easier, and far less hassle, than to argue! But she gets her own back sometimes, putting her foot down and saying “No, we will do it this way” and the “old git” sheepishly has to agree, because he knows it makes sense, even though he is loath to admit it!
We had a final run out on Sunday and in beautiful sunshine, and no wind, we literally flew along the back roads to Dunning in about half an hour. And even on the hillier journey back, it seemed like we were back in no time.
The idea of the trip was to road test the map reading system the intrepid duo have come up with – so they can follow the in-depth directions at the same time as cycling.
As you will see, they have devised a see-thru plastic map reading folder – which contains the instruction manual, and would stop it getting wet – which hangs on the “old git’s” back. This means he can focus on his duties as Chief Pilot and keep us going smoothly as he is in control of the steering!
The “old gal” will be able to read the instructions – as it will be hanging just a few inches in front of her nose – while she focuses on her role as Chief Stoker. And as her handlebar doesn’t actually turn, she can do the map reading and shout instructions to the “old git” as to whether they are turning right or left . And, yes, obviously that will be “à droite” or “à gauche” once we are en France!
The map reading system as modelled by the “old git”, to be read by the “old gal”!
I have to say that the test run actually worked very smoothly – the “old git” could actually hear what the “old gal” was saying. The only problem was that there weren’t wine tastings on every crossroads on the way from Auchterader to Dunning! Not even a vineyard! But I am told there are lots in Burgundy.
I even heard the “old git” say the other day that one of his ambitions is to fill their water bottles up with wine direct from the vat of wine in one of the caves – just because they can!
So I was feeling very frisky after the run out and all my bits seem to be working fine. Just to make sure, however, on Monday morning we headed into see my personal “tandem doctor” Ally at J M Richards Cycles in Perth. The astute among you will remember that I had my back wheel rebuilt recently, so they asked that I be brought in for a check-up before heading off to France.
And I passed with flying colours, and my gears didn’t even need any fine tuning either. Ally gave the “old gal” – in her role as Chief Engineer – some spare spokes and a spoke key so she could carry out any repairs if I bust a spoke while away from base.
The “old gal” and the “old git” did a spot of shopping in Perth – picking up a few essentials for the trip – before we headed back home again in the Tandem Transporter.
Now I know many of you have spent sleepless nights wondering about how a grand “old lady” like me gets transported about by car. Do I go on the roof, or on the back of the car? Well, the answer is neither. Because I am a “real” bike made of steel, I am too heavy to go on the roof, and I am too long to go across the back on a bike rack.
So here is the answer:
This is the glamorous way I get driven about in the Tandem Transporter.
Yes, the duo fold most of the seats, down in their Mitsubishi Outlander 4×4 vehicle, including the front passenger seat, and I can squeeze in taking up every inch of length from the dashboard to the tailgate.
As you can see the due are so committed to the cause of tandeming, that in order to fit me into the vehicle, they have to sit in tandem while driving, with one occupying the driving seat, and the other in the single “back seat” that is usable.
And that is how we will all travel the 900 miles from Auchterader to Beaune! It’s a bit of a squeeze, but we all feel part of the team, and it is actually great fun. One can drive, while the other has a chill and a snooze – and they will swap over every two hours.
Anyway, I must go and get more things ready – the “old git” is speaking loudly about some other list. Seems we have still to check the tool kit and the first aid kit. Oh joy!
But it will soon be Sunday and we will be leaving for the trip – so not long to go now!
So please do get in touch to wish us “Bon Chance”!