Scottish-Yukon link up for Tour de Loire Valley

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.

LV Cyclomundo logoThen 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!

Nancy +John on siolo bikes at Prince Edward Island

Nancy and John on solo bikes enjoying a ride at Prince Edward Island in Canada.

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.

Selfie time with Nancy and John in Burgundy in 2014.

Selfie time with Nancy and John in Burgundy in 2014.

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!

UKBA finalist_facebook

5 thoughts on “Scottish-Yukon link up for Tour de Loire Valley

  1. Hi there Matty. How’s the rust these days ? Can’t believe the weather. The rain just goes on and on. At least the old dears are considering your comfort by keeping you tucked up away from the wet. They have umberellas but you are on your own.
    Am wondering when you’ll hear the results of the “blogathon”. Hope you don’t have too long to wait. If you win – or nearly win – you must persuade the old dears to get you a proper winners medal to attach to your superstructure.
    Your French holiday sounds wonderful. Just a pity it’s so long away. Hope for your sake that the rain stops before then !


    • Bonjour Dot! Merci pour your kind comments! If only the sun would come out and shine its rays on my saddles! The UK Blog Awards ceremony is not until the end of April so we I can keep telling anyone who will listen that I am a “finalist” until then. But rest assured, a medal is currently under discussion!


  2. We did the area by a small boat hired for a week, came and rebooked for a further two weeks.
    Please look at the south alps. Yes we have hills but the lower part is not so bad. We used to do our shopping to the next village all the time even in winter. Old age has slowed us down.


  3. Quelle bonne idée d’aller pédaler dans la vallée de la Loire!
    Nous l’avons fait avec nos amis du club de vélo avant de rejoindre le Marais poitevin !
    Vous pourrez visiter quelques beaux châteaux et déguster les vins de Loire qui sont des vins légers que Bernard et moi apprécions particulièrement !
    Le tandem sera t ‘il pourvu de son assistance électrique ? Nous espérons que vous avez bien reçu les dernières photos demandées ainsi que les dimensions des pneus et que le montage se termine .
    Nous avons roulé hier par une belle journée printanière avec soleil et 15 degrés et nous étions contents d’en avoir profité car aujourd’hui dimanche, il a plu!
    Amitiés à vous deux


    • This was a lovely message left on the blog site by our French tandeming friends Sylviane and Bernard who we met in Bordeaux last September – who have an electric battery assisted tandem!
      The translation is:
      What a good idea to go cycling in the Loire Valley!
      We did it with our friends in the cycling club before going on to the wetlands of the Marais Poitevin!
      You can visit some beautiful castles and taste the Loire wines which are light wines that Bernard and I particularly appreciate !
      Will the tandem be provided with its electric assist? We hope you have received the pictures requested and the tyre size and the installation ends.
      We had a ride yesterday which was a beautiful spring day with sunshine of 15 degrees and we were glad to have them because today, Sunday, it rained!
      Love to you both
      Sylviane and Bernard.

      So thanks for your message Sylviane et Bernard. Glad you got out on your tandem Saturday – we have still to get out for our first ride in 2016. But hopefully next weekend. Yes the Loire valley looks good – and so does your recommendation of the Marais Poitevin.
      As regards the battery attachment for Matilda – we think her original frame and wheels are not really designed for such hi-tech additions – so we are going to go with pedal power for the time being.
      Regards to you both and please keep in touch!


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