So with the awful weather brought in with all the storms with fancy names – incidentally don’t you think there should be a Storm Matilda … that would be fun! – I have been confined to the garage at Matilda’s Rest.
The “old git” optimistically looks at the weekend weather forecast diligently each midweek, only to have plans for a ride-out with the “old gal” thwarted by a wintry cocktail of storm force winds, rain, ice and snow.
We really are all getting cabin fever and want to get back out on the road – if nothing else to stop the “old git” moaning about the weather and to stop the expansion of his waist line!
Even all the excitement of my blog being named as a finalist in the UK Blog Awards 2016 – down to the final 10 in the “Most Innovative” category from an entry of 2000 blogs – is nothing compared to being out and getting fresh air between my spokes! And at my tender age, this “old lady” tandem is getting a bit worried that my pedals will seize up if we don’t get out soon!
The “old git” is already looking to the advance forecast to see what next Sunday is going to be like – thinking it would be romantic to have a ride-out on Valentine’s Day while singing along to the classic “On a Bicycle Built For Two” song!
So with no prospect of getting out this weekend, thoughts turned to cycling in warm sunshine and Team Tandem Ecosse’s annual September Tour de France du Tandem holiday. So after amazing tours of Burgundy in 2014 and then Bordeaux in 2015 where to go for 2016? (If you haven’t read those adventures and want to find them quickly, all you have to do is type in Burgundy or Bordeaux into the ‘Search Matildas Musings’ box and you will see the postings.)
Two pre-requisites for these tours seem to be fairly flat cycling – as regular readers know we don’t do hills – and some fabulous vineyards – as regular readers know we definitely do do wine!
After much consideration, and a few recommendations, we selected the Loire Valley. And apart from its world-famous vineyards, there are numerous stunning chateaux to be explored en-route.
Then we chose a French-based company Cyclomundo to book our self-guided tour with as they seem to know the area inside out. The seven day tour we have chosen is called: Fairytale Castles along the Loire River which covers nearly 230 miles from Blois to Angers. You can see the full itinerary and view the map of the route by clicking here.
But the big news is that it is not going to be just Team Tandem Ecosse on the Tour de Loire – we are teaming up with Team Yukon! Yes we are going to be meeting up with friends Nancy and John who we met in Burgundy during our week long tour there in 2014.
We had such a good time when our paths crossed – including a memorable dinner and some lovely wines – that we decided it would be fun to do the Loire Valley trip together. They don’t have a tandem, but are keen solo cyclists. And they also have a love for good French food and wine and a similar dislike for hills as my dynamic duo – so it should be a good match!
Now why are they known as Team Yukon? Well they happen to live in Whitehorse, which is the capital of the remote Yukon territory in northern Canada – which is a mere 3,930 miles (or 6,319 kilometres) away from our base in Perthshire! (You can find out more about Whitehorse and the Yukon here and here.)
Logistically that seems a trifle mad, but with electronic communications distance doesn’t matter. So all four of us are booked and in September they will fly from Yukon to France and hire bikes as we drive to France in Matilda Transporter to enjoy the tour together.
This “old lady” of a tandem is so looking forward to having company on the trip and I know Nancy and John are really looking forward to it – and to the Scottish-Yukon link up. So much so that I asked them to contribute some words to my blog as to how this long-distance friendship came about! Here’s what Nancy said:
“Little did we know what adventures lay ahead when we spotted Matilda trying to hide amongst the regular bicycles carefully parked for the night at Hotel des Remparts in Beaune in September 2014.
To say that she stood out among the hybrids and road bikes is an understatement. I foolishly tried lifting her – and while it’s not polite to reveal a lady’s weight against her wishes, suffice to say that Colin and Diane (aka the “old git” and the “old gal”) start out every bike ride with a significant disadvantage!
Yet in that great week as we explored the Burgundy countryside, John and I had the pleasure of crossing paths with Matilda et al many times so she obviously can keep pace, broken spokes and all.
Through (good) wines and food and (bad) hills we forged a friendship with Matilda’s people that will now take us all through the Loire together this September. We look forward to saying hello to the “old lady” again and savouring the best that a bike ride can offer.”
So Nancy and John will be featuring regularly in my blog postings this year – including how John’s training regime is going!
In the meantime Team Matilda can only keep their fingers and spokes crossed for an improvement in the weather to get back out on the road!