Just eight weeks to go till the Grand Depart …

While summer has missed Auchterarder so far this year, the “old gal” had a quick look at the calendar and exclaimed that there were ‘just eight weeks to go!’

Yes, the final countdown is on to the Grand Depart for the Tour de Bordeaux in mid September. Which means my dynamic duo have to pedal me some 150 miles over a week while cycling the Vineyards and Beaches of Bordeaux route.

The unseasonable summer weather has put the brakes on some of the training runs – with the “old git” getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of practice runs. If the “old gal” hears him say: “We need to get some miles under our belts” one more time, I am sure there will be an incident!

It’s nearly three weeks since we have all been out on the road – but for the first week I was at Matilda Hospital visiting my personal tandem doctors at Perth-based JM Richards Cycles. The very nice technicians there look after me when anything goes wrong, you see.

Regular readers of my Musings will no doubt remember that I suffered the embarrassment of a rear tyre blow out just as we completed the last outing – on the one day of warm sunshine we have had so far this summer while riding round Loch Rannoch. And there was also that pesky vibrating noise coming from by pedal crank.

So I was loaded into Matilda Transport and driven into Perth where the experts fitted a new tube – as it had blown completely – and adjusted the crank with a bit of subtle manipulation. Then I got the full pre-France check-over – with a couple of tweaks to bits like my brakes and gears.

Fully restored I returned to Matilda’s Rest and waited and waited for some decent weather so I could get back out on the roads.

Finally the rain and wind abated for a day, and the “old git” and “old gal” rushed to get me out for a tour of the back roads around Auchterarder.

Actually it was most pleasant and we decided to call in on friends Ann and Alan as we headed for Strathallan. Now Alan is a bit of a (self-confessed) expert engineer and he gave me the once-over before giving me the thumbs up! I mean if Alan thinks this “old lady” is mechanically sound, then that’s quite an accolade.

The “old gal” persuaded them to have a shot and off we set with me two tandem virgins on board. With a bit of a wobble, they soon got the hang of it as we pedalled along a farm road and back again without mishap. Ann got brownie points from the “old gal” for mentioning that you don’t see too much from the rear seat, apart from the back and rear end of the person on the front!

With my regular riders back on board, we waved goodbye to the friends, and headed for the road around Strathallan Castle – the home just over a week ago of the T in the Park music festival.

Mat too late T in Park

Too late for T in the Park at Strathallan Castle!

Now there has been lots of controversy about it being staged on this very picturesque but rural site. The biggest problem seemed to be the narrow roads which everyone had to use – resulting in gridlock for hours.

And the heavy rain didn’t help – turning the festival site, and the car parks, into a sea of mud.

I am actually quite glad I wasn’t there – going by the scene of devastation that has been left behind! And where do you get tandem wellies anyway?!

One of the big rows before the  festival was given the green light was about the impact on the environment, with an osprey nest – a protected species – almost stopping the festival in its tracks.

As it turned out, by all accounts, the ospreys seemed to enjoy the concert and the “old git” and the “old gal” caught sight of one of the magnificent birds in full flight as we cycled round the outside of the site.

We were fair moving along, which (whisper it) just goes to show that the “old git” and the “old gal” are actually fitter and stronger than they think. They even managed all the hills that we came across.

Now you’ll remember that the “old git” likes his gadgets and had invested in a selfie stick. Needless to say we had to try it out again – although I think he still has a bit of work to do to get the photos perfected!

new selfie stick 2

Spot the selfie stick in the picture!

You see, as I understand it, you are not supposed to see the selfie stick in the picture! More practice is obviously needed! I am sure they will have it worked out by the time we all get to France.

The route took us through Tullibardine before the long climb back into Auchterarder and back to Matilda’s Rest.

A quick 10 mile circular route which filled my dynamic duo with positive feelings of being back out on the road.

Which takes us nicely back to why we go tandeming. Well its great fun. And that reminds me of a short little video that friends Liz and Martin filmed when we were on my ‘Highland Fling’ trip to Dornoch in early May.

Liz asked the “old git” and the “old gal” why they like tandeming. Click on the video to see and hear the answers!


So all in all a highly successful short outing, and not too rusty after three weeks out of the saddle – although I am sure I could hear the “old git” whispering under his breath that they still need to “get more miles under our belts!”

I am sure he is already planning a good few more trips over the next few weeks!


3 thoughts on “Just eight weeks to go till the Grand Depart …

  1. Hi there Matty. Glad it’s almost ‘the final countdown’. Are your old dears planning some sunbed sessions before the depart ? Might be a good idea to suggest it.
    I hear they’re needing some practice but it looks to me he’s got more than ‘a few miles’ under his belt – some lunches and dinners too I think.
    Make sure you get adequate rest days now. Don’t let them run you ragged morning, noon and night.


  2. Sunbeds definitely for me !!! The “old git” says he needs the weight at the front for ballast !!!!( a few “Boot camps ” may help !)


  3. Question: What would terrify giant osprey more? A/ thousands of rowdy music fans shouting and singing to the accompaniment of loud pop music for 48 hours; or B/ The sight of the old git and old gal in bright pink cycling past on Matilda for 5 minutes ? Answer: No contest, B!!

    Good luck with the training!


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