Day two – pedaling to the wine capital of Saint Estephe

Nosing the vineyards of Saint Estephe.

Nosing the vineyards of Saint Estephe.

Day two dawned with us all having an early alarm call in Pauillac so we could be on the road in good time for the second leg of the “Team tandem Ecosse” adventure – a 64 km tandem through more big name vineyards and on to the top of the Medoc triangle on the Atlantic coast at the seaside town of Soulac-sur-Mer.

This was to include an eagerly anticipated stop at the famous wine capital of Saint Estephe, before – as the “bible” stated – “leaving the wine-producing Medoc behind and enjoying delightful views of the Gironde estuary, which at up to 12 km wide makes this historical waterway the largest estuary in Europe and acts as an open gateway to Bordeaux.”

The “old gal” and the “old git” wakened in good spirits, and remarkably there were no ill effects or strains from the first day’s adventures to Margaux. But before breakfast, we had to pack up as we were moving hotels today.

A quick word about how we travel here. First of all I have been kitted out with some rather fashionable panniers – top and sides at the back, and a top one at the front. They are used for daily essentials such as cycling jackets, towels, sun creams, snacks and drinks and a full picnic kit.

The good thing about this trip is that the bulk of my dynamic duo’s luggage is transferred from hotel to hotel by the company that organised the tour, Exodus – leaving us free to concentrate on the tandeming.

But I am still fairly heavy as given my age I am a traditional “old lady” tandem made of steel – none of the modern lightweight aluminium for me! So, with the added weight of the panniers, I am certainly no light thing – as the “old git” and “old gal” will tell you if we hit a hill or even an incline.

However the positive side is that I am finely balanced, and highly tuned, so that means on the flat I can whiz along without too much effort – and when we go downhill I can build up a fair momentum.

So heading off we soon got used to the sometimes odd directions. There was one this morning within 3 km which made us both laugh. The “bible” said: “There is a pharmacy 100 m away up the main road. So don’t go as far as the pharmacy.” So if we weren’t to go there, why mention it?! Anyway it made us smile! And needless to say, we didn’t go as far as the pharmacy!

Leaving Pauillac behind, within minutes we were deep into more spectacular vineyards – with the owners out sampling the grapes in advance of the signal to start the annual harvest.

One of the most impressive sights was the Chateau Lafitte Rothschild – which was huge, but an architectural treasure. Obviously there is money in this wine making business!

Selfie time at Saint Estephe vineyards.

Selfie time at Saint Estephe vineyards.

Onwards and through the vineyards direct into Saint Estephe – a most picturesque typical French town which has one of the most famous names in wine.

We stopped for a look at the church, and bought some local grapes just oozing with flavour for the day’s picnic. There was also a local butcher with the appropriate name of M.Pigout above the door!

The village square at Saint-Estephe.

The village square at Saint-Estephe.

We also took time to visit the local co-operative wine shop – which is one of the few areas to be branded under an attractive area marketing logo.

Saint-Estephe marketing brand logo.

Saint-Estephe brand logo.

The local wine growers have clearly decided that there is merit to them grouping together, rather than all competing against each other.

A few wine-related souvenirs were purchased – including a stopper for the picnic wine bottles, just in case we didn’t manage to finish a whole bottle one day!

Pedaling on the route meandered through a few more vineyards before crossing the canal at the working harbour at Port de la Marechale. We then weaved through some spectacular countryside round the Chateau Loudenne before cycling into the village of St-Chistoly-Medoc which the “old git” had earmarked for a picnic.

And what spot it turned out to be, with picnic tables beside lock gates and a small harbour. The “old gal” soon had lunch set up and the dynamic duo enjoyed another fabulous array of fresh gastronomic goodies, washed down with a bottle of Bordeaux white.

The "old gal" with our gastronomic picnic!

The “old gal” with our gastronomic picnic!

In the warm sunshine, it truly was a magical spot and gave the “old git” and the “old gal” a highly memorable experience.

Cheers! This is what picnics by tandem are all about!

Cheers!  What picnics by tandem are all about!

Lunch consumed – as I rested under a shady tree – the dynamic duo spotted an unusual local cafe, which doubled as a supply shop for the yachts, and headed for a coffee. Amazingly they charged the small amount of just one euro for a double espresso – by far the cheapest coffee of the tour! And the “old git” spotted a box of limes (for the gin back in the hotel!) and when asked how much was waved away and told to take it for free!

It was tempting to sit and bask in the sun for a while longer, but the trip computer said we had only covered 23 km of the required 64 km, so it was back on the road for what proved to be a challenging afternoon.

It started ok as we cycled along making a good pace,passing two more harbours at Port de Goulee and Port de Richard. But then the directions were questionable again, and both the “old git” and the “old gal” agreed they were lost (again!)

After a few deep and meaningful “discussions” the “old gal” made use of her French and flagged down a car to ask directions, and we were soon pedaling in the correct direction again.

The sun was now fierce, and perhaps as a result of the most enjoyable white Bordeaux with the picnic, the dynamic duo were flagging a bit and in need of liquid refreshment (of the soft drink variety!)

Fortunately a store in a sleepy village was open and two very welcome cans of ice-cold drinks were rapidly consumed.

Refuelled and re-energised we headed off on a long stretch to the fairly large town of St. Vivien-de-Medoc – which had been highlighted by the “bible” as being “a vibrant town, and a suitable stop for afternoon coffee” before the final push to Soulac-sur-Mer. Unfortunately, no one had told the town as it was effectively closed! Not a bar or cafe was open.

So we headed off for the last 15 km pedal to our stop for the night on the Atlantic coast. Now at this point the “old gal” had one of those experiences which she says has “changed her life” when out tandeming!

Whisper it, but she had purchased a “Shewee” device before leaving Scotland, in case she got caught out. Well, half way into the final stretch, it was time for the “old git” to pull in to a quiet cutting in the forest to let the “old gal” give it a trial! And I am told the results were amazing! Ecstatic even! What a relief!

The last few kilometres passed in a bit of tired blur, but the route finished with a cycle through Soulac’s main pedestrianised shopping street – where we certainly caught the eye of tourists – until we reached the ocean.

And what a sight it was – our first glimpse of the incredibly beautiful but wild and rugged Atlantic Ocean, caught in the middle of a sandstorm!

What a view - the beach at Soulac-sur-Mer.

What a view – the beach at Soulac-sur-Mer.

As the sand was blasting everyone, we quickly located our seafront hotel, the fabulously quirky Hotel Michelet – which was a converted 19th century mansion.

The “old git” and he “old gal” were made more than welcome by host, and over-the-top camp owner Monsieur Michelet – who really did everything to make our stay memorable.

He was very interested in me as he hadn’t had a tandem to stay at his hotel before, and even found a spot in his private garage for me!

One of his many talents was recommending a restaurant for the dynamic duo – the gorgeous La Station sea food restaurant. The food was so fresh you could almost taste the sea on it, and the star dish was the seafood cassolet – effectively a sea food stew, served as a starter with tasty crusty bread. The “old git” had a plate of langoustine as his main course – which were a culinary treat.

And this was where my dynamic duo first discovered the Entre Deux Mers wine, as it came recommended by the chef! It would have been rude to say no, and they were glad they didn’t. If sharp, dry white wine, superbly chilled is your thing – then look no further. A perfect accompaniment for sea food!

Suitable replenished it was time for early lights out and some deep snoring (on the “old git’s” part anyway!) as tiredness took over.

Sweet dreams!

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Day one – tandeming into the world famous vineyards

Matilda ready for the start of the tour.

Matilda ready for the start of the tour.

It is Tuesday morning and after a sound night’s sleep after the long drive, the “old git” and the “old gal” were raring to go on the Tour de Vineyards and Beaches of the Medoc region of Bordeaux in southern France – bedecked out in their new multi-lingual dayglo yellow cycling tops!

But there was a slight problem – it had started to rain heavily during breakfast at our hotel,  the famous Hotel de France et d’Angleterre on the Gironde river estuary in Pauillac.

Now you know that we don’t really like getting too wet so the “old gal” persuaded the “old git” to delay departure after checking the hour-by-hour weather forecast.

An hour and a bit flashed past as the dynamic duo found a cheese and wine shop just two doors down from the hotel! The “old gal” – who is a connoisseur of both – thought she had died and gone to heaven!

Let’s just say that some supplies were purchased for our first picnic – and safely packed away in my shiny new cool bag, complete with detachable freezer blocks. Very cool!

Bang on cue, as predicted by the weather forecast, the skies cleared and it was time for the Grand Depart!

Ready for the challenge ahead!

Ready for the challenge ahead!

Today’s schedule describes the route for the day as “cycling a circular loop through the vineyards of the Medoc – home to some of the most famous wines in the world and their châteaux.” Oh well – all right then, if you insist!

The “old git” – in his questionable wisdom – had decided that we would start with the “long” 39 mile route option, instead of the shorter 23 mile loop .. in his words “just to get some miles under our belt.”

The destination – according to our self-guide “bible” of directions – was the grand early 18th century Chateau Margaux, world-renowned for its vintage wine. And the route for the next six days was described as being “flat” so the “old gal” was in particularly high spirits!

So off we whizzed and I was in my element as we left Pauillac and almost immediately turned into the well surfaced and maintained tracks which criss-cross the vineyards of the area.

Within minutes we were literally within touching distance of the vines which were groaning with black grapes as the annual harvest was about to begin within days. And we had clocked up our first castle as we took in the architecture of Chateau Talbot.

The Medoc wine road is known as the “Route des Chateaux” and is located in magnificent countryside between the Girdone estuary and the Landes forest and offered “Team Tandem Ecosse” some wonderful views of the vines.

It was all going too well really … and so it turned out! We got “lost” within the first hour. Although the “bible” offers details of every turn and direction, we remembered from last year’s trip to Burgundy that it can, at times, be more than a little confusing.

And so it proved! A combination of directions involving a 5-road crossing in the middle of the vineyards and complicated directions at the next t-junction had the “old git” totally confused. And for the next half hour or so we explored a particular stretch of road through a vineyard at least four times. In his defence I will say there are worst placed in the world to get lost!

Meanwhile the “old gal” – who is in charge of map reading as the maps and “bible” hang on the back of the “old git” – was saying she knew the way! If only the “old git” had listened! Guess what – yes she was right! And even worse, the “old git” had to admit that she was correct all along!

That was the first of several “discussions” my dynamic duo had about directions over the week – but it was all part of the fun (or so it says on my bit of paper!) So back on the correct path we passed several other fabulous châteaux – including Le Moulin de la Rose and Beychevelle – as we cycled through the vineyards.

We were cycling along good style, enjoying the warm sunshine, when there was another incident of note. Avoiding a pot hole, the bike wobbled and the “old git’s” sunglasses fell off the elastic webbing on the bag at the front and fell to the ground. No problem, except there was a horrible crunching noise as my back wheel went directly over them rendering them useless!

Best to admit the “old git” wasn’t in the best of humour at this point  so we cycled on for the next few kilometres in silence till the views got the better of him and we were all back in unison again!

And as it says on the “Team Tandem Ecosse” t-shirts – it’s always better when we’re together!

After passing the village of Lemarque – and clocking up some more miles we were soon at our destination of the sensational Chateau Margaux. The route interestingly took us all round the estate to see the famous vineyard at close quarters.

On the edge of the estate there is a Mademoiselle de Margaux shop – which offers wine and chocolate tasting – so with their arms twisted up their back (not!) the “old git” and the “old gal” disappeared inside.

The lady of the chateau has launched her own range of vine-shaped chocolate sticks in interesting combination flavours, like mango and sichuan pepper, alongside a range of chocolate covered cherry liqueurs.

The dynamic duo manfully tasted the complete range – along with a few sips of the chateau’s wine – before making some purchases of a couple of boxes of the chocolates for Christmas treats!

The "old gal" at Chateau Margaux.

The “old gal” at Chateau Margaux.

Time for lunch – the first picnic of the tour! The picnics have become something of an institution on these trips and the first certainly didn’t disappoint. The menu included some cured ham, a couple of delicious cheeses, freshly picked grapes, a baguette, and (of course) the obligatory bottle of a Medoc red wine which was highly recommended by the wine shop from earlier.

First picnic of the tour!

First picnic of the tour!

And it was all polished off in the car park of Chateau Margaux – at the very heart of the aristocracy of Bordeaux wine-making! Classy!

The chateau was founded in the 1400s, with the current structure built in 1804. Traditional techniques are still used here – with the harvesting of the grapes done by hand to discard any overripe or unripe grapes. After the fermentation, the wine stays in oak barrels for two years and eventually produces a rich wine which is perfect to compliment lamb, veal,poultry and game.

Cheers! The "old gal" enjoying the picnic wine.

Cheers! The “old gal” enjoying the picnic wine.

After the picnic, time for a lovely double espresso in a newly opened coffee shop where the “old gal” invested in a new waiter’s friend-style bottle opener for the picnic bag! She is obviously planning for the days ahead!

With the skies getting cloudy again, it was time to head back the 30 km to Pauillac and the “old git” decided to wind up the speed! I must say I was impressed with the dynamic duo’s fitness (well I suppose it was the first day after all!)

We even managed to clock a top speed of just over 40 km/hr – admittedly on a downhill stretch, and in what seemed like no time we were back in Pauillac.

The “old git” checked my on-board computer and revealed that we had covered 64 km with an average speed for the day (while cycling) of 17 km/hr.

The “old gal” decided a small celebration was in order and the “old git” was dispatched next door to the wine shop to collect a nicely chilled bottle of the local Cremant de Bordeaux. the cork was soon popped as my dynamic duo reflected on a  successful first day.

And the best thing was that – I am delighted to report – there were no mechanical incidents which shows there is still lots of life left in this “old lady” of a classic tandem.

After a quick inspection from the “old gal” in her role as “Chief Engineer” I was locked up safely for the night. The dynamic duo headed out for a meal in the town. The “old git” had chosen a tapas bar (as you do when in France) which was run by a Uruguayan!

The starter of mixed tapas was tasty but the “old gal” then selected a “chivito” – a culinary treat in Montevideo – which turned out to be a weird combination of a bit of chewy steak, served with bacon, eggs and cheese.  The “old gal” was heard to say it was awful and hoped it would be the worst meal of the tour. French cuisine from now on was going to be the order of the day!

A quick walk out to the marina ended the first day – before it was time for serious zzzzs.

Happy Holidays!

Nous sommes arrive

It’s Monday and “Team Tandem Ecosse” have arrived safely in the wine capital of Pauillac in the Bordeaux region of France – and are already sampling the local produce!

Between them the “old git” and the “old gal” have driven 1,100 miles since leaving central Scotland – and heading for France, via the Eurotunnel – and arriving at the start point for the Tour de Tandem de Vineyards and Beaches of Bordeaux.

Are we there yet? In the tunnel.

Are we there yet? In the tunnel.

My dynamic duo were almost deliriously happy when we first set wheels on French soil as we drove off the Eurotunnel train at Calais as that meant we had arrived – after almost a year of planning. I guess this poster sums up how we all felt in the last few days!

Neatly summed up!

Neatly summed up!

It seems a long time since Saturday night when the pair served up a toast of Cremant – the final bottle from last year’s trip to Burgundy!

Cremant - cheers!

Cremant – cheers!

But the good news is that they do a variety in Bordeaux too – which will obviously have to undergo the strict taste test to see it is up to standards!

 

While enjoying the Cremant (that could read ‘as a result of enjoying the Cremant’) the “old gal” decided it would be a good idea to paint the “old git’s” big toe nails in the blue, white and red colours of the French flag! Gamely the “old git” agreed and I must admit that I was rather impressed with the results! They will look good in his desert sandals!

The "old git" got a French manicure!

The “old git” got a French manicure!

So after some much-needed sleep, the alarm was duly set for 7 am and, after much checking, double checking and even triple checking, we set off at 9 am.

We quickly ate up the miles on the M74 to stop at Gretna for a bacon buttie before heading further south. But the “old gal” had persuaded the “old git” to try crossing the country at Penrith on the A66 before taking the A1(M) down towards London, then round the M25 and out towards the tunnel at Folkestone.

Lets just say that it may have been 30 miles shorter but – due to an unfortunate series of tailbacks due to heavy traffic and roadworks – we were actually 1.5 hours longer than using the traditional west coast M6 route.

I was very comfortable however and I even had two inflatable pillows to rest on, so that my new pedal crank shaft was protected from too much shaking and shoogling en route! You know, the old dears really do look after me like the “old lady” that I am.

There was time for a quick pit stop of a burger at the tunnel terminal before boarding the train for the 35 minute crossing.

Arriving in Calais at 11 pm, we decided to simply start driving towards Bordeaux. Well the gods were against us as the “old git” and the “old gal” had to drive through some torrential downpours – which were definitely unscheduled – and also a most unwelcome satnav detour right though the centre of the Paris suburban motorway network.

So as dawn began to break they decided to continue driving through the night – two hours off, allowing the other to dose – rather than both stop for a sleep. And so at 9am, exactly 24 hours after we left Matilda’s Rest we pulled into Pauillac.

Despite the rain it was fairly hot and sticky in the car, and I was “fair meltin’” in the Matilda Transporter – even with the air-con on full blast!

I therefore predict some very sweaty riders over the next few days as we head off on the grand adventure – with similar hot and sultry showery weather forecast.

That means I will need to remind the “old git” regularly to apply the sun screen however – as he is very prone to sunburn with his sensitive skin. The “old gal” has just said: “It’s the only thing that is sensitive about him!”  But I feel sure she is kidding! Right?

So demain (getting right into the lingo here) – that’s Mardi (aka Tuesday) – we head off on stage 1 of the grand tour – heading through some of the world-famous vineyards – including Chateau Margaux – on a round trip back to Pauillac of 35 miles. That’s just stage 1 of 6 – totalling around 180 miles in the saddles for my dynamic duo!

Remember you can follow the route here on the Trip Notes from travel company Exodus, which also has lots of other interesting information on the tour.

The good thing is that the luggage gets moved by vehicle from hotel to hotel by the travel company, so I wont have to carry all that excess weight!

So we all arrived outside the famous Hotel de France et d’Angleterre on the Gironde river estuary in Pauillac by early morning – with me being unloaded, tested, and parked up outside the dynamic duo’s room which was luckily on the ground floor and a veranda.

Clearly other people are doing similar trips – but on single bikes. I am chuffed to say there are no other tandems around! Quelle surprise!

The “old git” even got me a nice new saltire flag to hang from the “lollipop” which not only warns drivers that we are a wide load but that we are from Scotland, as well as a trendy new flashing red light for when dusk sets in.

And the “old gal” dutifully remembered to switch it to the other side of the bike as we are going to be cycling on the wrong side of the road for the next week! Bless!

After my duo had unpacked and made sure I was ok and safely locked up, they disappeared for a walk to get their bearings, and have some lunch.

Pauillac really is a quaint and beautiful seaside town – and we all look forward to getting to know more about the area in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile the “old git” took a photo of the “old gal” at the main marina – just to show willing!

Ahoy there. Overlooking the marina in Pauillac.

Ahoy there. Overlooking the marina in Pauillac.

The dynamic duo decided they would celebrate the start of the holiday with a nice lunch in Pauillac – after a couple of tastings  of the local wines in caves. Even though it was technically before noon, the “old gal” was offered, and it would have been rude not to!

The wine washed down a fantastic beef burger for the “old gal” – cooked rare, just the way she likes it – and the local ‘moules frites’ speciality for the “old git.”

Then it was back to the hotel and some afternoon zzz’s before an early rise as we set off on the 180 mile adventure tomorrow.

Fingers crossed!

A bientot !

The final countdown!

The excitement is reaching fever pitch at “Matilda’s Rest” with only three more sleeps to go, so this is probably the last post on my blog before me,  the “old git” and the “old gal” – aka “Team Tandem Ecosse” – head off for Bordeaux.

Just a quickie really, as it’s all go – what with the packing, and list making, and of course the new list making! I mean, if you sit still long enough the “old git” will either pack you or attach you to his lists on his officious looking clipboard!

But the long-suffering “old gal” – who has been doing lots of sweet smiling – knows it’s all to ensure that nothing is left to chance, and we have everything we could possibly need with us to cover every eventuality.

Last night it was my turn for final preparations, and the “old gal” gave me a nice wash and polish up. I must say, if I was chocolate I would eat myself as my paintwork is really gleaming! I even got my chain lubricated – and you know what a difference a wee bit of lubrication can make at my age!

Next up, it was checking the tool kit, and the first aid kit, before packing them into my nifty panniers – which also now contain emergency hi-vis vests, a picnic kit, and sun cream!

Yes the sun cream (and sunglasses) hopefully will be essentials as the forward weather forecast for the area around Pauillac in Bordeaux is showing 25 C for the first few days of tandeming on the tour of the Vineyards and Beaches of Bordeaux. My dynamic duo could possibly even return home with Tour de France arms! (but certainly not Tour de France bodies!!!)

So that’s me all packed and raring to go. The “old git” and the “old gal” just have to get their tandeming gear gear together now – team shirts and padded shorts – and pack up their other clothes for the evenings.

So the schedule is mad packing Friday night, I get packed into Tandem Transporter Saturday afternoon, then the “Grand Depart” on Sunday at 8 am.

You can follow the route here on the Trip Notes from travel company Exodus, which also has lots of other interesting information on the tour. The “old gal” is certainly hoping that their rating of “leisurely and tranquil” cycling is accurate!

Just before I go – as the “old git” is ticking off some other instruction – I wanted to share with you again this cheeky tandeming mock-up image that a pal of the “old gal” sent her via Facebook. I mean, it fair took my breath away!

Cheeky image from one of the "old gal's" pals!

Cheeky image of how one of  the “old gal’s” pals sees my dynamic duo

Quite shocking! As if you would ever see the “old gal” and the “old git” tandeming like that. I mean the “old git” never wears socks with his sandals!!!! That is just a major no!!!!!

But I had a quick word with them both, just in case, and they have both promised that they will not be  getting up to any of that behaviour in Bordeaux – after all, as the “old gal” said: “Naked tandeming would be a bit sore on my bum!” Zut alors!

So after that shocking image here is one of “Team Tandem Ecosse’s” favourites from last year’s trip to Burgundy – showing me in all my glory in a sun-drenched village. Finger’s crossed it will be like this in Bordeaux.

Hopefully Bordeaux will be like this!

Hopefully Bordeaux will be sunny like this!

So please do “follow” the blog to keep track on our adventures. And we’d love you to get in touch during the tour – by leaving a comment on the blog – or just to wish us “Bon Chance”!

Just seven more sleeps!

I have to admit I am getting uber-excited about the imminent “Grand Depart” for the Tour de Bordeaux du Tandem. Just seven 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 auto routes to the wine region of Bordeaux for the start of the 7 night tour of the Vineyards and Beaches of Bordeaux.

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 today in sunny conditions, and with little wind, we literally flew up the long climb of Auchterarder high street and along the back roads to Blackford. Even an unscheduled stop to repair a puncture (yes a puncture!!) didn’t cause too many problems. The “old gal” really is a dab hand at her chief engineer’s role!

I was feeling very frisky and pleased with myself after the run out as all my bits seem to be working fine after my recent surgery on my pedal crank axle.

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 of the self-guided tour at the same time as cycling.

As you will see, they have devised a see-thru plastic map reading folder which hangs on the “old git’s” back. This contains the instruction manual – aka “The Bible” – and will stop it getting wet. This means he can focus on his duties as Chief Pilot and keep us going smoothly as he is in control of the steering!

Meanwhile, the “old gal” can read the instructions – as the map reader will be hanging just a few inches in front of her nose – while she focuses on her role as Chief Stoker. That means 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, modelled by the "old git".

The “old git” models the map reading             system.

I have to say that the test run actually worked very smoothly – the “old git” could actually hear what the “old gal” was saying, despite his hearing difficulties. Yes, it’s an age thing, and I know that feeling only too well myself!

The only problem was that there weren’t wine tastings on every crossroads on the way from Auchterarder to Blackford! Not even a vineyard! But I am told there are lots on our Bordeaux trip, something which is making the “old gal” smile lots!

I even heard the “old gal” say the other day that one of her 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!

Now I know many of you have spent sleepless nights wondering about how a grand “old lady” like me gets transported to the south of France 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:

Oh the glamour! All three of us packed into the car.

Oh the glamour! All 3 of us packed into the car.

Yes, the duo fold most of the seats, down in Matilda Transporter – 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.

Then one-third of the rear seat comes back up. As you can see the dynamic duo 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 sitting in the single “back seat” that is usable.

And that is how we will all travel the 1,100 miles from Auchterader to Bordeaux! 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 “follow” the blog to keep track on our adventures. Please also get in touch – by leaving a comment on the blog – to wish us “Bon Chance”!