Matilda goes Forth and feels the vibe!

Cheers! It was a day of smiles, laughs, good food and good wine!

Cheers! It was a day of fun, laughs, iconic scenery, sunshine and fantastic seafood and  lovely wine!

I’m back on the road! Yes, there’s been a gap since my last Musing – but there is a valid excuse! I have been at the tandem doctors, and it turned out to be more serious than first appeared. The “old git” and the “old gal” booked me into see my personal tandem consultant at J.M. Richards Cycles in Perth for my annual service. I also needed two new tyres as they were showing the yellow marks which means they need replaced.

All was going well until they inspected my front wheel and discovered the wheel rim was split! So I had to have a new wheel built! Now being an “old lady” classic Jack Taylor tandem has its benefits – especially when it comes to the admiring glances I get – but it does have a costly downside.

And that is that being an “old lady” all my bits are imperial in size as opposed to the new-fangled metric measurements. So they rebuilt my wheel using one of these fancy stronger e-bike wheel trims and heavy duty spokes – just like they did with my back wheel in October 2014. So I now have two matching metric 700 mm wheels now, instead of my original 27.25 inches ones!

My snazzy new front wheel, complete with cool reflective tyre!

My snazzy new front wheel, complete with cool reflective tyre!

And the tyres they used were Specialized Infinity Reflective tyres, with “flak jacket puncture protection” – especially designed to be hard wearing for touring bikes. They make me look very trendy! So what with the wheel replaced, my fancy new tyres, my chain degreased, and my gears and brakes adjusted, I felt fully fit and ready to roll again.

The “old git” has been working in Edinburgh recently which involves driving across the Forth Road Bridge, so he persuaded the “old gal” that it would be fun to do a route which involved tandeming across the bridge from North Queensferry to South Queensferry and back.

Now both my dynamic crew have had a heavy work schedule of late so I knew today wasn’t going to be about covering lots of miles – it was going to be a nice relaxing run to test out my new bits! And we were going to take in some amazing scenery of the iconic Forth Bridges – with the three bridges spanning three centuries – and have a relaxing lunch.

Despite many cyclists commuting across the bridge every day, it seemed rather difficult to find a way to access the bridge. The “old git’s” research failed to find a dedicated route so we drove to North Queensferry in the hope we would find an access point.

After a quick stop for a selfie at the slipway at North Queensferry with the original Forth Bridge – the rail one – in the background my dynamic crew disappeared into a cafe for a coffee and scone … and to ask directions.

Selfie time for my dynamic crew at the base of the towering original Forth Bridge.

Selfie time for my dynamic crew at the base of the towering original Forth Bridge.

The answer was that the alternatives were either to use the path from North Queensferry up to the bridge – which involved carrying me up over 100 very steep steps – or parking at the nearby Ferrytoll Park and Ride which offers free parking and is virtually adjacent to the entrance to the bridge.

Guess which option the “old gal” selected?! But I have to say it was the correct choice! And anyone else thinking of doing this route should take note and use the park and ride as their starting point as it leads directly on to Cycle Route 1 across the Forth.

You can check out the route of our Forth Crossing trip on Strava below – and don’t forget to click on the map image to get the full date and statistics!MFC - Forth bridge Strava map

We set out in glorious sunshine and perfect calm conditions as we climbed uphill to the peak of the magnificent Forth Road Bridge which has been carrying traffic, pedestrians and cyclists across the Firth of Forth since 1964. The suspension bridge’s main span stretches 1006 metres between its two towers, and its total length of 2.5 km made it the longest bridge of its kind outside the United States at the time of its completion.

It was a sensational ride on the dedicated cycle lane – with its maximum speed limit of 15 mph, which we dutifully met – and the sight of a classic tandem pedalling along resulted in several cars tooting their horns in encouragement! We stopped off on the main span to admire the views of the magnificent backdrop of the adjacent Forth Bridge, which looks like it has been built with a huge meccano set.

With the weather being so clear there were lots of other cyclists and pedestrians about and several offered to take pictures for us.

My dynamic duo caught in mid wave to one of the many cars who tooted their horns at us!

My dynamic duo caught in mid wave to one of the many cars who tooted their horns at us!

A quick burst of history here – opened in 1890, The Forth Bridge is a Scottish icon that is recognised the world over as the most famous of cantilever designs. The world’s first major steel structure, the Forth Bridge represents a key milestone in the history of modern railway civil engineering and still holds the record as the world’s longest cantilever bridge. A full-scale restoration project to return the bridge – which is 110 metres high – to its original construction condition was completed in 2012. In July 2015, UNESCO inscribed the Forth Bridge as a World Heritage site.

The “old gal” decided to record the stunning views of the masterpiece of Scottish engineering on this video. (Remember if you are reading this on email, you need to click on the blog first – via the link at the bottom of the email – to view the video.)

While drinking in the fabulous panorama that you can only truly see from walking or cycling – as the barriers on the part for cars are just high enough to cut out about half the view – more cars tooted their horns at my dynamic duo … who it would need to be said were enjoying their moment in the spotlight, even if they were playing up to their image as founder members of the Nutty Tandemers club decked out in their day-glo yellow t-shirts.

The "old gal" - a founder member of the Nutty Tandemers club!

The “old gal” – posing as a co-founder member of the Nutty Tandemers club!

Now those of you who pay attention to these things will be aware that the day-glo yellow t-shirts are multi-lingual – French on one side and English on the other. The message reads: “Always Better When We’re Together” as that is the motto of my crew.

Obviously the irony of that message on the weekend following the vote to exit the European Union was lost on the “old git” – who normally likes to think he is sharp and on the ball – until one passer by pointed out in dead-pan humour without breaking step: “Well its no longer better together, it seems, after Brexit!”

It seems that nearly everyone who crosses the bridge has to do the “Look, I’m holding the Forth Bridge up” photo … and yes, the old git was no exception!

The "old git" failed to be original with his holding up the Forth Bridge shot!

The “old git” failed to be original with his holding up the Forth Bridge shot!

Before tandeming on, the “old git” and the “old gal” turned their attention to the Road Bridge – which is made up of 40,000 tonnes of steel and 125,000 cubic metres of concrete. Astonishingly it carries over 24 million vehicles cross the bridge each year, which is much higher than ever the most optimistic forecasts when it opened in 1964.

It is a very strange feeling standing at the middle of the centre span as the bridge literally vibrates quote noticeably up and down with the impact of the vehicles.

And just to prove the point my dynamic duo decided to show readers of my blog what they meant with this selfie video as we all felt the vibe!: (And don’t forget that if you are reading this on email, you need to click on to the actual blog to view the video. This one is worth the effort!)

At this point I have to say sheepishly that the “old git” and the “old gal” were enjoying themselves so much they forgot to take pictures of the new Queensferry Crossing – the third bridge at the site which is due to open in May 2017, and will replace the ageing Forth Road Bridge. So here is a picture form the Forth Bridges website clearly showing the big gaps between different spans of the bridge.

Mind the gaps! Still lots of work to do on the new Queensferry Crossing.

Mind the gaps! Still lots of work to do on the new Queensferry Crossing.

When it is open, the stunning, globally unique bridge will form the centerpiece of a major upgrade to the important cross-Forth transport corridor in the east of Scotland, representing a total Scottish Government investment of around £1.35 billion. The new 1.7 miles (2.7km) structure will be the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world and also by far the largest to feature cables which cross mid-span. This innovative design provides extra strength and stiffness, allowing the towers and the deck to be more slender and elegant.

So time to tandem on and a relaxing easy ride downhill to the other side and following the extremely well signposted cycle path – which steered us away from all the traffic – down into the historic town of South Queensferry.

It really is a beautiful spot, with a narrow cobbled main street, and plenty of places to get a photo of the Forth bridge which dominates the skyline. Again visitors were keen to take a photo of the three of us – I think they thought we were on some long distance charity ride to be honest!

Great spot for a photo - shame about the lamppost in the middle of the picture!

Great spot for a photo – shame about the lamppost in the middle of the picture!

So after clocking up just over 3.5 miles it was clearly time for some lunch. Now credit where it is due, but the “old git” does have a knack of finding amazing restaurants – and this one didn’t disappoint. The Boat House has a patio area which looks directly out onto the bridges – providing an uninterrupted view.

And apart from the views – enjoyed in bright sunshine – it has a great seafood menu. So naturally a glass of white wine had to be ordered while the menu was perused. The “old git” persuaded the “old gal” to try a couple of arty shots involving the wine glasses – and it would have to be said she is getting quote creative! Here’s a reminder of the pic from the start of this blog post to show you what I mean.

The "old gal" getting creative and arty with her photos - love how the wine glistens in the sun!

The “old gal” getting creative and arty with her photos – love how the wine glistens in the sun!

My dynamic duo couldn’t make up their mind and chose two starters each instead of the traditional starter and main course. The “old gal” selected some wonderful smoked salmon while the “old git” had crab meat. then they both went for mussels. And what meaty mussels they were, I am reliably told!

Some fabulous tasty mussels were washed down with the crisp dry chilled white wine.

Fabulous tasty mussels were washed down with the chilled white wine.

After lunch, with clouds gathering rather ominously, my crew explored the quaint shops – with the “old gal” collecting a beautiful heart shaped necklace – before paying a visit to the town’s museum which had a fascinating World War 1 exhibit.

While in the museum the rain – which was forecast – started and we decided to head back across the Forth a little in trepidation of how windy it would be.

But despite fairly heavy rain we completed the return crossing easily – without stopping this time – with my fear of being blown about on the bridge unfounded as it was very calm. I was soon back at Ferrytoll and quickly back in Matilda Transport which fortunately was parked under cover.

Strava officially recorded the ride at a distance of 7.2 miles, covering an elevation of 475 feet. The moving time was 1 hour 20 minutes, with an average speed of 5.4 mph. Top speed was 22.4 mph. My team even managed to burn up 475 calories! So (some of) those mussels were allowed after all!

So not the most arduous day’s cycling I have ever experienced. But as someone said on a Facebook link: “It’s never about the “miles” but always about the “smiles” on a tandem ride!

It was just what my dynamic duo needed. The ride may have been short on miles – but it was full of fun, laughs, iconic scenery, sunshine, fantastic seafood and lovely wine!

And that is truly the definition of a great tandem day out for Team Matilda!

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Matildas marathon milestone!

With my official start number - 71- for the. Marathon Cycle Challenge.

With my official start number – 71- for the Marathon Cycle Challenge.

Now you know that the official definition of the word marathon is “an endurance event requiring great effort! Well that was on the agenda today! We were entered into the Charity Cycle Marathon Challenge, organised by the local Auchterarder Rotary Club.

However the task ahead – cycling 26 miles non-stop – didn’t seem nearly as big a challenge as it did last year when the “old git” caused that ‘minor domestic‘ with the “old gal” when he signed Team Matilda up for the event.

But this year there was no sense of apprehension about it! I’m glad to report that the fear factor among my dynamic duo has  gone! So the target seemed relatively straightforward – to complete the course and beat last year’s time of 3 hours 17 minutes.

Last weekend’s practice of the tandem run to Bridge of Earn and back in a moving time of 2 hours 44 minutes had certainly boosted confidence. Mind you there will be no stopping for a leisurely coffee and cake on this trip!

Sunday morning dawned with bright sunshine – perfect conditions for a tandem cycle run. The “old gal” and the “old git” were in good spirits as although the super-fit lycra-clad brigade from local cycling clubs would be taking part, they had wisely decided it wasn’t going to be a race and it was the taking part that was what it was all about!

And alongside the fun Team Matilda was going to be raising money for a good cause as the money raised from the Charity Cycle Marathon Challenge was going to Breast Cancer Care.

Like last year the cycle event was part of a wider fun day organised by the Rotary Club, so when we arrived at the start point at Gleneagles railway station there was already quite a buzz about the place.

Unpacked from Matilda Transport and ready for the challenge ahead!

Unpacked from Matilda Transport and ready for the challenge ahead!

I have to say that this “old girl” was actually quite excited as I only very rarely get to take part in proper cycling events. It really brings a rush of oil to my chain to be part of such a crowd of bikes – with a total of 90 taking part – especially as a lot of them were those sexy sleek racing numbers!

The lycra-clad cyclists seemed to be preoccupied by how light their bikes could be – as most were new aluminium framed things and could be lifted with a couple of fingers. There seems nothing to them, unlike me who is a traditional steel framed Jack Taylor – which makes me very heavy! But then there is a different appeal as I am officially categorised as a classic tandem!

And talking of weight, one of the reasons I was confident about Team Matilda breaking last year’s time is that when we stand of the start line there will be nearly five stone less of us than last year! I will say that again – nearly five stone in combined weight loss of the “old git” and the “old gal”. So just to prove the point we had to do a then and now picture with a shot of my crew of 2016, compared to 2015.


Spot the difference – my slimline 2016 crew ….


…. and my somewhat podgy 2015 crew!

I am uber impressed with them as this has been achieved in less than four months – by using the food combination Hay Eating Plan. And not only does it mean that my ageing frame is not so stressed with the excess weight, but it means we can go quicker as my dynamic duo are feeling much healthier and fitter!

I do admit that one part which did slightly worry all three of us was that on the entry form the organisers wanted to identify the approximate speed of the cyclists, in order to stagger the start times.

Entrants had to indicate whether they were in the 12-15 mph section; the 15-20 mph section; or the lycra-clad uber-fit pedallers churning out speeds of 20-25 mph.

The problem was that there was no tick box on the on-line entry form for those whose average speed is around the 10 mph mark! So the “old git” ticked 12-15 mph, more in hope than reality! I think it was at that point we knew we were going to be near the last finishers! But as the very definition of the event says, it is a marathon and not a sprint!

And as the “old git” mentioned at regular intervals in the week before the event, Team Matilda has to cover over 30 miles EACH day for SIX days in a row on the planned Tour de Loire Valley in September – so it will be good practice!

I proudly sported my official start number – 71 – and we were ready for the off! It is always fun to take your place on the start line with the fit squad! I am pleased to say I was attracting quite a bit of attention as spectators asked about me with the “old gal” proudly saying I was a “classic tandem” and patiently pointing out that yes, she does need to pedal!

Mind you it would need to be said that the “old gal’s” mind was wandering a bit as she took in the view of some of the nice looking models there  … and there were some nice looking racing bikes as well!

In fact her mind wandered so much, that with all the excitement of the start there was an “operator error” in starting Strava and as a result it didn’t record the first half of the marathon!  Frustratingly this was only discovered at the half way point! You can imagine the “old git’s reaction, so we will gloss over that!

But you can check out the route of the Charity Cycle Marathon Challenge on Strava below – and don’t forget to click on the map image to get the full date and statistics!

MMM map

And then, after a countdown, we were away. In low gear to get up the hill out of the station. It was quite a climb but successfully negotiated before picking up speed and tandeming past the front entrance of Gleneagles Hotel before a sharp left turn and heading towards Braco.

With next to no wind, we started to eat up the miles, enjoying being out in the sunshine and breathing in the fresh Perthshire air. This is what tandeming is about.

Not surprisingly we were soon passed by a few of the fit cyclists – but some did mention they were impressed with our efforts. This allowed the “old git” to point out it was all about our “synchronicity” and the “old gal” was able to remind them that “its always better when we’re tandeming together!”

We soon passed the Braco checkpoint and followed the marshals’ flags by turning right towards Dunblane. A downhill stretch saw us hit the giddy speed of 30 mph which is quite a thrill for an “old lady” like me I can tell you! And it allowed the “old git” to quip that it was just as well there wasn’t a speed limit on the road  or a police speed trap!

Soon we were pedalling thru the village of Kinbuck before we crossed the busy A9 on a flyover and round the Barbush roundabout on the edge of Dunblane.

This was the half way point and my dynamic crew decided on a quick water stop – which was a good plan given the rising temperature which was now hitting 25 C. It was at this point we discovered the “operator error” on Strava! But fortunately the “old git’s” small computer on my handlebars was working and showed that we had completed what in fact was nearly 14 miles in just over an hour – 61 minutes to be exact!

So we were well on target to beat last year’s time. After ensuring that Strava was actually now recording our ride, we headed on the return journey. And yes, as predicted by my crew, this was tougher as it featured more uphill stretches than downhill.

As we headed back through Kinbuck, the “old gal” gamely suggested a short detour for a spot of Sunday lunch as we passed the driveway for the five-star Cromlix Hotel which is owned by local Dunblane-born tennis superstar Andy Murray!

The “old git’s” response to that was that he didn’t think Andy Murray would be there as he had the final of the French Open Tennis that afternoon! But as an alternative he allowed a quick pit stop to allow them both a quick drink and an energy bar – before pushing on again.  I have to say the “old git” was really using my gears to get the best out of the downhill and flat sections, then going right down to very low gears in time for the uphills.

The last couple of miles were particularly stretching as they involved a long climb up to Gleneagles golf courses. But then came the euphoria of being near the end and so a burst of energy took us to the new roundabout at the station before a welcome down hill stretch to the station car park and the very welcome finishing line.

There was much parping of my horn as we crossed the line to lots of applause from the organisers, spectators, and other cyclists who had finished before us – which the “old gal” had to record on video! (Remember if you are reading this on email, you need to click on the blog first – via the link at the bottom of the email – to view the video.)

And our time was an amazing (for us!) 2 hours and 24 minutes – definitely classed as Matildas marathon milestone as it smashed last years time by over 45 minutes!

Due to the Strava problems (did I mention “operator error”?!) the app only recorded the second half of the marathon – showing a distance of 13.8 miles, covering an elevation of 655 feet, in a time of 1 hour 22 minutes. On the return leg the average speed was 10.1 mph, with a top speed was 27.5 mph. Meanwhile the handlebar computer recorded the whole trip at a distance of 27.8 miles at an average speed of 11.3 mph and a maximum speed of 30.3 mph.

The Rotarians had organised a tasty bacon roll and much needed refreshments for all the finishers which Team Matilda enjoyed while taking a look at a collection of classic cars and motorbikes that had been organised at the station as part of the days activities.

After the marathon challenge - with two BSA A10 motorbikes with sidecars! A different kind of tandem!

Here I am  with two BSA A10 motorbikes with sidecars! A different kind of classic tandem!

Two motorbikes with sidecars quickly caught they eye of the “old gal” as they were effectively a different kind of classic tandem. We found out they were BAS A10 bikes, built in 1959 and 1960 and belonging to twins Fraser and Grant Miller from nearby Crieff who exhibit them at local shows.

They were happy to chat and even let the “old git” and the “old gal” sit on one, allowing them to do a reasonable impression of Wallace and Gromit!

The "old git" and the "old gal" doing their impression of Wallace and Gromit!

The “old git” and the “old gal” doing their impression of Wallace and Gromit!

One of the twins offered the “old gal” a ride in the sidecar, and within seconds she was whisked away for a short trip. She said it was completely different, as you didn’t have to pedal! But it was exhilarating! But she reassured me after that she had no intentions of giving up on pedal power! Phew!

Look - she's not pedalling! The "old gal" riding sidecar!

Look – “she’s not pedalling!” The “old gal” enjoying riding sidecar!

So all in all it was a great fun day with the Auchterarder Rotary Club raising over £2,000 for Breast Cancer Care, including the £120 raised thanks to the people who sponsored Team Matilda.

And amazingly we even sparked the attention of the local Synergy Cycles bike shop who were supporting the event – congratulating Team Matilda on our milestone time in a Facebook post and even suggesting that we wear lycra next year! That may be a step too far!

We all headed back to Matildas Rest where my dynamic crew celebrated their marathon milestone time with a very welcome – and well deserved let me say! – glass of chilled white wine relaxing in the sunshine on the decking, and planning our next adventure!

Cheers! A celebration drink for the "old gal" and the "old git" on their marathon time!

Cheers! A celebration drink for the “old gal” and the “old git” on their marathon milestone time!

MMM - The Tandem Men imageMeanwhile, if you were entertained by my attempts at a marathon distance then you will be utterly amazed at another great blog and Facebook site which I have been entertained by reading this week. It is dubbed The Tandem Men and recounts the truly epic journey of two young guys who have set out from the UK who are aiming to be first to circumnavigate the globe on a tandem! Just the small matter of 18,000 miles! Awesome!

Now that truly is a marathon journey!

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Matilda’s marathon rehearsal!

A beautiful sunny Sunday - perfect for a tandem ride for Team Matilda!

A beautiful sunny Sunday – perfect for a tandem ride for Team Matilda!

Sunday was dedicated marathon rehearsal day!  Yes you heard correctly – marathon! The simple task was to tandem the standard marathon distance of just over 26 miles in a respectable time of under 3 hours.

Why I hear you ask? Well the “old git” has gone and entered Team Matilda into a Charity Cycle Marathon Challenge being organised by the local Auchterarder Rotary Club this Sunday.

Now long standing readers of my blog will remember that the “old git” caused a bit of a ‘minor domestic’ with the “old gal” when he signed us up for this event last year. You can read all about it here.

Last year we managed (just!) to complete the course in a time of 3 hours and 17 minutes. This year the challenge is on to smash that time. And even the “old gal” agrees they should easily beat last year’s target due to my dynamic duo’s new found fitness and weight loss programme which has seen them lose a combined 63 pounds between them in 15 weeks.

So the idea was to do a similar 26 mile distance – and see how the time went – in preparation for the charity event. The “old gal” came up with a local route which would take us on what seemed like a gently undulating route to Bridge of Earn, handily placed at a distance of just over 13 miles away.

As it turned out – gently undulating turned out to be the highest elevation we had covered since we started recording the rides on Strava – with an elevation of 954 feet! Now you know what the “old gal” thinks about hills … so more of that to come.

You can check out the location and route of my marathon rehearsal on Strava below – don’t forget to click on the map to get the full data and statistics! 

MMR - Strava mapFortunately it was a gorgeous sunny day that was just perfect for a tandem ride. Lots of sunshine and next to no wind to hold us back! But it also turned out to be the warmest recorded run so far, with the temperature  hitting 25 C.

Selfie smiles in the warm and bright sunshine as we headed off for our marathon rehearsal!

Selfie smiles in the warm and bright sunshine as we headed off for our marathon rehearsal

So after the obligatory selfie – just to prove how sunny it was – we headed off.I have to say all three of us felt rather blessed at how beautiful a day it was!

In buoyant spirits we soon picked up speed – clicking through the gears – and the “old gal” and the “old git” got that all important synchronicity factor which ensured we were tandeming with ease along the quiet country roads of Perthshire.

The planned itinerary started by taking us along one of our regular routes to the nearby village of Dunning – and in what seemed like no time we were thru the village heading along the rural road to Bridge of Earn.

Even a couple of hills – including one with a nasty hidden double peak – didn’t phase my dynamic duo. I was truly impressed – as was the “old gal” – as these were hills that previously would have seen them both out the saddle and taking me for a walk! But they took them in their stride!

And amazingly we tandemed into Bridge of Earn with the distance reading just over 13 miles in a time of just 1 hour and 6 minutes!

Now obviously next Sunday on the charity event we are going to have to immediately turn round at the half way point and cycle back. But today we had more time and we had been invited by one of the “old gal’s” hairdressing clients, called Evelyn, to call in to say hello.

So we pulled up at Evelyn’s house to find her sitting out in her beautifully planted garden – where we joined her for a cup of coffee and a chat in the warm sunshine. The garden is nothing short of sublime and there are no less than three sets of tables and chairs in the secluded garden – which all get the sun at different points in the day.

The "old gal" and me enjoying the sun at Evelyn's sublime garden.

The “old gal” and me enjoying the sun at Evelyn’s sublime garden.

Fortunately I was parked up in a nice shady part as it really was rather warm, as the “old git’s” sunburned face which appeared later in the day will testify to!

Evelyn recommended we should drop in at the nearby Brig Farm Shop, so back on the saddles we tandemed along through Bridge of Earn, over the bridge which gives the small town its name, and into the countryside. Within half a mile we spotted the farm shop. “Scone?” asked the “old git”. I have to say it seemed a somewhat rhetorical question as the “old gal” had already dismounted and was walking into the premises! So that’ll be a “yes” then!

Now one of the great joys of tandeming is a stop for coffee and a scone – and this was a bit of a classic. They had a lovely decking area which was basking in sunshine and soon the “old git” and the “old gal” were both enjoying a tasty warm scone baked on the premises, accompanied by home made raspberry jam, and washed down with a nice strong espresso. Bliss!

A coffee and scone is one of the great joys of tandeming - and this was a classic!

A stop for a coffee and scone is one of the great joys of tandeming!

Back on the road and it was time to do the second half marathon – back to Matilda’s Rest. And a good workout it turned out to be for all three of us, as there were quite a few longer, slower, uphill stretches on the return journey. Even the “old git” – who normally doesn’t admit to seeing any inclines – agreed there was much more uphill on the way back!

But tandeming through the rich and fertile Perthshire farmland  was a joy on such a warm day – giving the “old git” and “old gal” some real fresh country air and a feeling of well being!

The "old git" taking in the views over the wonderful Perthshire countryside.

The “old git” taking in the views over the wonderful Perthshire countryside.

The "old gal" sprouting some of the colourful yellow broom from behind her ears!

The “old gal” sprouting some of the colourful yellow broom from behind her ears!

Soon we were tandeming back through Dunning before the final stretch back to Auchterarder. More plaudits for my Team Matilda crew coming up here because when we return from Dunning we face a steep hill at the bottom of Abbey Road. On every previous ride, this has required my dynamic duo to dismount and walk up the steepest part. But not today! The “old git” moved us into the lowest gear in good time and we cycled up the hill! Slowly albeit – but we did it! Another small victory!

So we arrived back at Matilda’s Rest full of excitement at that achievement – with the “old gal” elated and heard to say:  “That felt good!”

Marathon distance achieved as Strava officially recorded the ride at a distance of 27.8 miles, covering an elevation of 954 feet – the biggest elevation covered since my dynamic duo started using the Strava gizmo. So the “old git’s” comment about tandeming uphill were justified!

The moving time was 2 hours 44 minutes, with an average speed of 10.2 mph. Top speed was 30.2 mph. And particularly pleasing was that Team Matilda managed to clock up 3 personal records on the route!  See I knew the weight loss of my dynamic duo would boost our stamina and speed!

My team even managed to burn up 1,565 calories! So that scone was allowed after all!

Now there’s just the requirement to do it all again on Sunday – but without a two hour stop this time – to beat that time of last year of 3 hours and 17 minutes. Should be a easy, eh?!! What could possibly go wrong?!! To be continued  ….

In the meantime, if you like my tandem blog then – if you haven’t already found it – you will undoubtedly enjoy another tandem blog I have been reading! It is the EuroTandem Tour blog – which recounts the adventures of Mick and Louise, a couple from Jersey who are on a six month self professed “mid life crisis tour of Europe” on their tandem called Claud.

The EuroTandem Blog logo.

The EuroTandem Blog logo.

I won’t spoil the fun – but suffice to say things aren’t quite going according to the grand plan at present and I am sure both Mick and Louise would agree that their theme tune at present would be: “Things can only get better!”

If you get a moment have a look at their blog site – it really is entertainingly written, in amusing tongue-in-cheek style. All told it is a great read – even if this “old lady” tandem is muttering under her chain … “There but for the grace of god …. !”

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