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!
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:
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”!