Cycle and cruise in tandem with Loch Tay Safaris

Team Matilda were invited to boat-test the new cycle and cruise offering at Loch Tay Safaris.

Sunday dawned and although there were menacing dark clouds about, my dynamic crew were up early and energised as Team Matilda had been invited to road test – or that should really be boat-test! – another of Scotland’s top tourist attractions for my blog!

This time the invitation was to try out Loch Tay Safaris new cycle and cruise offering – which allows people the ultimate fun way to explore Perthshire’s largest loch on an exciting adrenalin-fuelled combination of two wheels and a fast RIB boat.

So we headed off to the pretty estate village of Kenmore – parking in the Loch Tay Safaris car park right on the edge of the loch beside their private jetty and pontoon – to get ready for our adventure.

Ready for the off! At the Loch Tay Safaris car park in Kenmore right on the edge of the loch.

Adding to the excitement was that this ‘old lady’ had been under repair and had a whole new gear mechanism fitted – including chain set, crank, mech and gear selector. So all three of us on Team Matilda were keen to get out on the open roads of Highland Perthshire to see how my ‘new bits’ performed! There are some pics and some technical stuff at the end of this blog post which details the work I had done to my ageing frame!

We decided to follow one of the suggested routes for the cycle and cruise itinerary – a near 14 mile loop from Kenmore to Aberfeldy and back on scenic roads which straddle both sides of the River Tay.

Check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

We left Kenmore on Sustrans Scotland NCN Route 7 crossing the bridge and turning right onto the quiet B846. The route immediately takes you up a hill on the edge of the Tay Forest Park, but my crew found this much easier than normal due to my new gearing!

A great long flat stretch soon had us building up speed before crossing the River Lyon just before it joins the Tay. Turning right and less than 2 miles later we found ourselves in the wonderfully named Highland Perthshire hamlet of Dull – where it would need to be said the weather wasn’t very bright! See what I did there?!

The weather wasn’t very bright when we reached the wonderfully named hamlet of Dull.

But locals – clearly with a sense of humour – are keen to make the most of the unusual name and promote the road sign as a tourist attraction in its own right. It helps that Dull has been twinned with Boring – a small town in Oregon USA which also has an etymologically-similar name.

Naturally my dynamic crew had to stop for the must-do selfie with the sign and discovered that Dull and Boring created the League of Extraordinary Communities in 2013 and made Bland in New South Wales Australia its first member – giving them a Dull, Boring and Bland tie-up!

Dull is twinned with Boring in Oregon, USA. Can’t describe my dynamic crew as dull and boring!

Dull’s other claim to fame is that it is the base of Highland Safaris – the parent business of Loch Tay Safaris. It is quite an operation and as winner of the Best Visitor Experience in Scotland offers exhilarating Land Rover Safaris, a red deer centre, inspiring walking and mountain biking activities, Perthshire’s only gold panning centre, and a cafe.

We were soon in Aberfeldy – marking the half way point – and headed west on the A827 to complete the loop back to Kenmore. This is more undulating but even the long climb near the end didn’t present my crew – and my new gears – with too many problems.

The welcome freewheel downhill saw us return to our lochside base and there was plenty of time for a fun photoshoot with me and the Loch Tay Safaris boat called Iolaire. Even though I wasn’t actually going on the cruise, the ever-cautious “old gal” did kit me out with a lifebelt … just in case I fell in!

Got my lifebelt on my handlebars at Loch Tay Safaris! Can’t be too careful around boats!

You can’t miss the signs for Loch Tay Safaris at Kenmore – the ultimate way to experience the loch.

After the photos there was time for a picnic lunch of smoked salmon and spinach wraps and fresh fruit salad which the “old gal” had prepared for some fuel before they took to the water!

Then I was safely locked up at the lochside before my dynamic crew donned their life jackets and had a full safety briefing before boarding for their 90 minute cruise!

Loch Tay Safaris is a new venture only launched last summer. As the blurb says: “Our modern, custom built cabin RIB is safe, comfortable, fast, dry and guaranteed to raise a smile!”

Although Iolaire can seat up to 12 people my dynamic crew were fortunate enough to be the only people on board so effectively had a fantastic private charter!

Ahoy there! The “old git” and “old gal” up front on the fast Loch Tay Safari RIB.

Not long into the cruise the “old git” and “old gal” were given the chance of sitting up front by expert skipper Alex while the superbly informative tour guide Norman took us on a journey through local history, nature and folklore. Points of interest included the old piers where steamboats plied their trade in years past taking day-trippers on the water until 1939; and the so-called Loch Tay Fault Line.

The interesting route taken by the comfortable Iolaire RIB on the Loch Tay Safari ride.

The RIB’s versatility makes it perfect for getting in close to the inaccessible banks of the loch and exploring the unique landscape from the water. About half way, at the deepest point of the loch, just off Ben Lawyers, our tour guide Norman regaled us with stories about Loch Tay’s very own Kelpie lair describing the supernatural mythical white horse which lured people to its lair deep in the waters.

My dynamic crew know a think or two about Kelpies, having visited the magnificent metal horse sculptures near Falkirk, including filming one of my Matildas Musings video clips – featuring three iconic steel structures – for my Youtube channel. The “old gal” was offered the chance to feed the Kelpies – with some appropriately named ‘Kelpie Food’ masquerading as oats!

The “old gal” was invited to feed the Kelpies – with Kelpie food, obviously!

One of the highlights of the cruise comes near the end when its stops just beside the Scottish Crannog Centre – a unique reconstruction of an ancient loch dwelling which recreates what life was like on Loch Tay some 2,500 years ago in the early Iron Age. Here in Highland Perthshire the prehistoric crannogs were originally timber-built roundhouses supported on piles or stilts driven into the loch bed.

The Loch Tay Safari boat cabin has comfy seating for 12 passengers – all with their own binoculars.

All too soon the cruise was at an end and we returned to the pontoon at Kenmore – thanking Alex and Norman for a brilliant sail. Loch Tay Safaris is certainly a highly recommended way to explore the loch if you are in the area – not just by the “old git” and “old gal” but by the great reviews on Tripadvisor.

Returning to terra firma – buoyed by the exuberance of the cruise – my dynamic crew quickly found their land legs and we set off on our second tandem circuit to complete our cycle-cruise-cycle agenda. And I am delighted to report it was even quicker than the first – with the miles literally flying past.

Soon we were thru Dull again (still not much brighter!) and passed Menzies Castle – the seat of the Clan Menzies. It dates back to the 16th century and Charles Edward Stuart stayed here for two nights before the fateful Battle of Culloden in 1746.

A quick dash thru the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village of Weem took us to our second crossing of the impressive Wade’s Bridge which spans the Tay. It was built in 1733 by the architect William Adam – son of the better known Robert Adam.

A blistering downhill finish into Kenmore saw a first for Team Matilda – as we set off a “slow down” warning as we flashed past one of these new digital speed signs which registered us at 33 mph! Shame it wasn’t a speed camera!

The “old gal” made a shout for a drinkie stop after we dismounted so we headed to the Kenmore Hotel – which claims to be Scotland’s oldest inn. Certainly our national bard Robert Burns was a visitor back in 1787 and wrote one of his famous poems on the plaster on one of the walls.

The historic Kenmore Hotel made a great spot for a celebratory refreshment for Team Matilda!

Over a most welcome refreshment – and me back in Matilda Transport – the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of no less than 14 gongs – with 7 personal bests and 7 second bests. Certainly worth of a celebratory libation!

So the Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 27.6 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 16 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.1 mph – thanks to the changes to the gears – while the elevation was 1185 feet. The maximum speed was a dizzy 33.6 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1676 calories and produce an average power output of 184 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D video – so take a look below.

Team Matilda had a scenic drive home taking the single track route out of Kenmore high over the moor and through Glen Quaich. Coming over one of the many blind summits a brightly coloured rainbow appeared filling the glen with light. It seemed a fitting mark to end a spectacular day out in Perthshire and naturally the “old gal” had to take a photo!

The impressive rainbow and the view across Glen Quaich.

So lastly, as promised, the techno bit – and some photos – of my repairs which were expertly carried out with tender loving care by my personal surgeon John at JM Richards Cycles in Perth – who went above and beyond the call of duty to find a solution! I have no hesitation in recommending them if your set of two wheels needs a repair.

Now this “old lady” makes no secret of my age – and the fact that I am older than either of my dynamic crew! So it was perhaps no surprise that my gears had been suffering from a bit of wear and tear.

Proud to show off my shiny new Shimano chain set and crank and front gear mech.

I am delighted to report that I am now proudly sporting a shiny new Shimano chain set and crank and front gear mech. And to make life a bit easier – and to ensure my gears engaged every time the “old gal” shouted at the “old git” to throw a gear at it – I now have a new gear shifter on my handlebars to ease my gears into the front gears!

My Captain now has a new gear shifter to ease my gears into the front gear wheels!

And the good thing that replacing my old bits – which were more than a bit worn – was totally painless! And the result of the repairs just goes to prove that there’s still plenty of life in this “old lady”!

The old and the new! Replacing my old bits, which were a bit worn, was painless!

The “old gal” has re-named John as ‘Saint John’ due to the fact that life going uphill is now significantly more bearable – and amazingly our average speed went up by nearly 2 mph over the day. At times we were flying along so easily that the “old git” was heard to say that we could do with an extra gear!

But he was joking – right?!

So many, many thanks to John and I know my dynamic crew are now convinced they had been battling old gears for some time without realising. The outcome is that all three of us on Team Matilda are now looking forward to the Hebridean Way attempt in early June with renewed vigour!

Just need some sunshine now and everything will be perfect!

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Roadtest glamping eco lodges at Loch Katrine and 6th anniversary KoM ride!

The snazzy new wooden eco lodges camp at Loch Katrine – we were staying in Loch Venachar

Awwh! Who said romance was dead?! Six years on to the very date of  a tandem ride on a blind first date at Loch Katrine my dynamic crew were back to where it all began to celebrate their sixth anniversary! And to make it even more exciting Team Matilda had been invited to road test the new glamping eco lodges with an overnight stay followed by a sail down the loch and a King of the Mountains tandem ride back to the start.

Relaxation and some tandeming – is there a better way to spend an anniversary mini-break?!

There are 8 lochside lodges in the new eco camp – each with decking area.

So firstly a bit about the new eco camp where the basic idea is to provide an opportunity for people to get away from it all and re-connect with nature. The lodges are ideally based to attract cyclists and walkers as Loch Katrine nestles in some of Scotland’s most atmospheric, picturesque and historic scenery in the heart of Rob Roy Country and the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

There are just eight of the wooden lodges – four of the more basic Ben pods named after nearby hills; and four more luxurious cabins named after local lochs. We were in Loch Venachar and despite looking bijou from the outside it is like a tardis inside – complete with everything you could need if tents aren’t your scene (so ideally suited then for the “old git” and “old gal”!)

The Loch eco lodges have double bed, kitchenette and en-suite facilities.

Loch Venachar can sleep four people; two in a fixed double bed and two in a fold-down bed. The Loch lodges come with bed linen and towels; en-suite facilities with walk-in electric shower; kitchenette with combo microwave, fridge and sink; freeview HDTV; free wi-fi; lighting and underfloor heating.

My dynamic crew met up with Stuart Brain, Operations Manager, and it wasn’t a surprise to learn that with facilities like that, the lodges have been almost fully booked since opening at the start of the year.

The cosy eco lodges all have great views from the decking over Loch Katrine.

The cosy lodges are set in a semi circle, all overlooking Loch Katrine. As Stuart said: “Sleeping under the stars in this lochside setting, in the heart of Scotland’s first National Park, is a truly magical experience. Sir Walter Scott rightly described Loch Katrine as ‘the scenery of a fairy dream’ in his famous poem Lady of the Lake.”

Not quite big enough for me – but super cute matching eco kennel for any dogs!

The eco camp facility – as it’s name suggests – has been sensitively designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. And that goes all the way from the big items to the basics like the loo paper and shower gel! There’s even a cute dog kennel – in matching shape to the wooden lodge beside each pod! However it wasn’t big enough for me, so I was secured to the railings of the decking for the night!

The eco lodge camp looking enchanting at dusk in this Loch Katrine photo.

After the photoshoot and a walk to explore the site the rain started so my dynamic crew decided to settle in for the night! They lovingly exchanged anniversary cards – tandem themed obviously! – and uncorked a bottle of fizz brought home from their Champagne vineyards tour last summer.

The ‘Happy Anniversary’ toast brought back happy memories for the “old gal” and the “old git” – and over dinner, cleverly cooked in the microwave, they reminisced about that fateful day six years go when they visited Loch Katrine on a first blind date! You see, this spot has a very special place in the hearts of my dynamic crew as without it, they may never have teamed up together! It is the very reason they got into tandeming in the first place and it was totally by accident! The story goes that they had planned a walk along the banks of the loch but as they arrived, they noticed tandems for hire!

My dynamic crew exchanged cards and champers to mark their 6th anniversary!

Thinking this would be a fun way to break the ice on the date they set off in an unsteady fashion – but the result was they got hooked on tandeming immediately – despite the constant heavy rain that day and the “old gal” falling off into an unglamorous muddy heap on at least two occasions!

And the rest, as they say, is history – with my crew romantically falling in love with a new hobby, and each other, as a result! And despite the unconventional way of starting out, they have gelled as an unbreakable team – having become synchronised with each others foibles, on and off the saddle!

On that fateful first blind date on a tandem at Loch Katrine six years ago! And not aged a day!

Morning came and the verdict was that the eco lodges were very cosy and comfortable – with my crew awakening from their slumbers super relaxed! The only thing that wasn’t perfect was the weather with heavy rain spoiling the outlook over breakfast! The “old git” did his usual checking the forecast and promising it would dry up soon, while the “old gal” did her usual disbelieving “aye right” response!

But we were booked on the on the historic steamship SS Sir Walter Scott for a sail down the loch to Stronachlachar – with the only way back being a 14 mile tandem ride up the hilly lochside. So despite some half-hearted protestations there was nothing for it but for the “old gal” to don her waterproofs – including her new fetching hi-vis waterproof helmet cover – and get ready to board.

Two old artefacts together! Here I am getting ready to board the SS Sir Walter Scott at Trossachs Pier.

As it turned out there really wasn’t much of a queue! Being a non holiday wet Monday there were less than 20 passengers on board – and it was almost like a private charter just for Team Matilda!

It was almost like a private charter for my dynamic crew as it was fairly quiet on board.

My dynamic crew were treated like royalty and the “old gal” was delighted when a friendly crew member not only offered her a blanket to snuggle under but also a warming coffee. It would need to be said it was a tad breezy with the wind off the water! Even the “old git” – who is never cold – agreed!

The “old gal” nursing her coffee while snuggled under a rug to keep warm!

Next came a real highlight for Team Matilda as my dynamic crew were invited on to the bridge of the steam ship. Now as you know the “old gal” performs the role of stoker while tandeming and never gets to do the steering – as that is clearly the domain of my Captain, aka the “old git”!

But the Captain of the ship soon turned that view on its head when he offered the “old gal” the amazing opportunity to have a go at steering the near 120 year old steamship down the loch.

Concentration! The “old gal” is allowed a shot at steering the historic SS Sir Walter Scott!

The “old git” was relegated to videoing the “old gal” at the wheel enjoying her memorable experience. Click on the video below to see how she got on – and includes a short history lesson about the vessel.

As we arrived at Stronachlachar the sun appeared as if on cue – much to the delight of the “old gal” who wasn’t relishing a tandem ride in the rain … and the relief of the “old git” who hadn’t exactly been coming up trumps with his weather reports recently!

So buoyed by the sunshine we immediately pedaled off from the pier towards Inversnaid for a short four mile each way warm up ride beside Loch Arklet before lunch.

Check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

Back at Stronachlachar we enjoyed a very hospitable welcome from the owners of The Pier Cafe. Despite being tempted by the wide variety of specials on offer, my dynamic crew decided on some very tasty ciabattas to energise themselves for the hills ahead. This was followed by a shared portion of carrot cake. The excuse here was that the code for the wi-fi was ‘carrotcake’ and it would have been rude not to sample it. The “old gal” officially rated it as “one of the best” in her carrot cake league table!

Ready for the King of Mountain ride from Stronachlachar pier back to top of the loch.

Suitably refuelled it was time to hit the first hill for the King of the Mountain rated ride back to Trossachs Pier. And amazingly – with some clever use of the gears – I am proud to report that we sailed up the first steep Invergyle climb with some energy to spare!

It was tough going but the “old git” and the “old gal” are clearly somewhat fitter than they tell themselves! And that – combined with some welcome sunshine – allowed my dynamic crew to to enjoy the fantastic awe inspiring scenery as they tandemed along.

One of the highlights, about half way back along the route, is a scenic viewpoint at Portnellan which overlooks the burial ground of the Clan MacGregor – which dates back to the 17th century – and has historic links to the legendary Rob Roy MacGregor.

To get a breather after a tough set of hills in succession, we stopped at a picnic area and fondly remembered an amazing prosecco fuelled picnic with good tandeming friends John and Jane on a fabulous warm sunny August day from 2016 during our memorable Nutty Tandemers Club tour.

A stop at the picnic spot – but not warm enough for t-shirts or prosecco! …

… unlike the blue skies and warm sunshine at the same spot two years ago!

Here’s hoping for some fun-filled sunny days like that when we team up again with John and Jane – who have their own Travelling in Tandem blog – for our joint attempt at the Hebridean Way in early June. Just a small matter of 185 miles over 5 days tandeming!

Despite now being well into April there was still evidence of the harsh Scottish winter with significant snow still languishing on the slopes of the hills known locally as the Scottish Alps.

The “old git” pointing out lots snow still on the ‘Scottish Alps’!

Getting energised for the last four miles of the KoM ride to Trossachs Pier!

Maybe a glass of prosecco would have helped – but after getting our breath back and some refreshing water, it was time to face the last couple of hills and complete the 14 mile King of the Mountains ride back to the eco lodge camp at Trossachs Pier.

With me safely packed back in Matilda Transport the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of no less than 8 gongs – 3 personal bests; 3 second bests; and 2 thirds! Which was pretty impressive given the somewhat hilly nature of the ride!

So the Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 21.05 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 05 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 10.1 mph, while the elevation was 1083 feet. The maximum speed was 30.9 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1327 calories and produce an average power output of 158 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D video – so take a look below.

All in all a fabulous 6th anniversary mini break – back where it all started for Team Matilda! And with the stay in the new eco lodges, it was great to leave the daily grind far behind on a date to re-connect with nature at an area which has very special memories for my dynamic crew.

Thanks to all at Loch Katrine for their help, overnight accommodation, sail and friendship offered to Team Matilda on their mini-break. All opinions are that of Team Matilda!

Pop-up gin bar on Easter Sunday ride (with Strava operator error!😥)

Cheers! A pop-up gin bar set up by the “old git” at the half way point was enjoyed by all!

As you know my dynamic crew are partial to invitations – and especially to invitations which involve overnight stays and a tandem ride! Throw in a bit of culture, a pop-up gin bar and a hot tub into the mix – and you have shorthand for heaven on earth!

Team Matilda were asked by good solo cyclist friends Gillian and Craig – who just happen to have a hot tub in the garden of their home in Alloa – to spend Saturday night with them.

Gillian as Ruth

A ride was planned for Easter Sunday – but before then there was some real drama! Among her many talents, Gillian is a member of the Alman Dramatic Club and has been starring as the female lead – playing Ruth – in the club’s production of Blithe Spirit, a famous comic play written by Noel Coward. My dynamic crew were invited to join the audience for the last night of the run at the dramatic club’s own beautiful Coach House Theatre in Alloa. And what a great ensemble performance it was – with the whole cast receiving a well deserved ovation from the enthusiastic audience. And special mention goes to Senga Awlson for her solo directional debut.

The cast of Blithe Spirit – with Gillian starring as Ruth second from left.

The “old git” and the “old gal” joined the after show party marking the last performance before we headed home for a midnight dip under the stars in their relaxing hot tub! Oh and there might have been a cheeky wee glass of prosecco to help Gillian celebrate the end of the run!

Now there is still a cycle run to come in the morning! I mean the “old git” promised me! ….

Ready for the off! The “old gal” and “old git” with solo cyclist pals Gillian and Craig.

The promised weather window of bright sunshine greeted the lifting of the blinds on Easter Sunday and even the “old gal” couldn’t be despondent at the prospect of a fairly flat tandem ride along an old railway line! A few members of the foursome were a tad fragile on waking up after the celebrations but after breakfast we were off with Gillian and Craig having identified a ride to blow away the cobwebs! The path along National Cycle Network 764 – managed by my friends at Sustrans Scotland – follows the course of the old Alloa to Dunfermline railway.

Check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

The NCN 764 route is also known as the West Fife Way and is a key part the Clackmannanshire Cycle Network. The network of paths is part of a wider project to encourage access to the outdoors by local tourism initiative Discover Clackmannanshire.

The route is classed in the easy category – on a mainly tarmac path. And it certainly was a joy to tandem on as we headed off on the run to Dunfermline. And I must say I was impressed at the pace set by the “old git”! And the fact that the “old gal” didn’t complain shows that they are both much fitter and stronger than they believe!

I actually think that Team Matilda pedals along faster when we are in the company of other cyclists as my dynamic crew tend to get caught up in the chat – and don’t realise what speed they are actually achieving! In fact we averaged over 12 mph for the whole trip!

Now railway lines are recognised as being flat – that means no sudden hills – as trains (like this “old lady”) don’t do hills! But that doesn’t mean you don’t get inclines – and in this case – a long slow incline rising some 300 feet over the first half of the route.  But the views over the Kingdom of Fife towards the Forth bridges made it all worthwhile!

The “old git set up a pop-up gin bar at half way – complete with garnishes and ice cubes!

As we stopped at the end of the first leg the “old git” let out a huge groan – having discovered that he had forgotten to push “go” on the Strava app back at the start to record our journey! Oh how the “old gal” laughed – at least she couldn’t be blamed for the ‘operator error’ this time!

However my captain quickly redeemed himself by setting up a pop-up gin bar on a railway sleeper – complete with artisan gins, tonics, lime and grapefruit garnishes and even ice cubes!

My dynamic crew toasting the pop-up gin bar – purely for re-hydration purposes of course!

What a fabulous idea for a way to re-hydrate! The mix of gin cocktails really hit the spot! And what made it all the more enjoyable was the priceless looks on the faces of the many other cyclists who passed by! How many different ways is there to to say that’s a good idea or I wish I was with you lot?!

The eyes have it! Gillian enjoying the half way drinks stop!

The gin cocktails nicely washed down the smoked salmon and spinach wraps which the “old gal” had prepared for some fuel! This was followed by a fresh fruit salad before – appropriately enough – a taste of chocolate in the shape of small Easter eggs, just for energy purposes of course!

The “old git” with his soon-to-be-devoured Easter egg!

Batteries recharged we headed off on the return journey – after triple checking that Strava was indeed working! We soon reaped the benefits of that uphill climb, by picking up speed on the decline. It really was fantastic tandeming – lots of laughs with good friends in dry fairly mild conditions. The sun even made fleeting appearances!

Just as everything was going like clockwork Craig had to pull up with a flat tyre. However being the good boy scout that he is he quickly produced a replacement inner tube and had it changed within minutes! Whisper it … but he did have to borrow my pump as he forgot to pack that! But good effort!

One of the great things about the cycle path was how there were relatively few obstructive gates which meant my crew weren’t forced to get on and off repeatedly – and the NCR 764 is certainly a credit to Sustrans Scotland who maintain it. Although it could be described as a “hidden gem” it clearly is a very popular route amongst locals.

One of the attractions of the route is some old railway relics – like sleepers made into seating, or railway signals. There is even an old signal box along the path – abandoned from the days when it controlled the trains on the line.

After a bit of a sprint along the last mile or two we soon reached the end of the path – exhilarated after the wonderful ride, if a bit chilly by that point. But after I was packed back into Matilda Transport it was time to head back to Gillian and Craig’s for another hot tub!

Happy faces marking the end of our fun pedal along NCN Rt 764 near Alloa.

I am reliably told it was a very therapeutic way to relax. I mean there are worse ways for my dynamic crew to spend a Sunday afternoon than having a tandem ride followed by a warm-down in a hot tub! The last I heard was the “old gal” saying: “I want one!”

It was so good that the “old gal” forgot to take a photo so I will have to use one from a previous visit instead! But it was very similar!

The hot tub offered the perfect warm down therapy for the “old git” and the “old gal”!

Relaxing in the bubbles the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of no less than 9 gongs – 7 personal bests and 2 2nd bests! Which was pretty impressive given the operator error which saw only the inbound leg recorded! Naturally there would have been lots more personal bests if the app had been switched on for both legs!

So the Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 10.7 miles with a moving time of 47 minutes. The average speed was a good bit quicker than of recent at 13.6 mph, while the elevation was 128 feet. The maximum speed was 20.4 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 363 calories and produce an average power output of 114 W.

Fortunately the old steam-powered milometer on my handlebars did not require any fancy GPS signal to work – and did in fact record a distance of 22.1 miles with a travelling time of 1 hour 45 minutes.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D video – so take a look below.

Back at Matildas Rest, an excellent Easter Sunday was made all the better by checking out the brilliant launch edition of The Perthshire Magazine – with my dynamic crew were really chuffed to see a four-page colour feature about Team Matilda and tandeming – written by the “old git”!

Click here (or on the picture below) to read the amusing article – including the story of how my dynamic crew got together on a blind first date on a tandem at Loch Katrine!

Click on the image to read the article in The Perthshire Magazine

The new digital magazine for our home base of Perthshire looks great and is a very classy – and much needed – addition to our local media scene.

A great end to a great day. So here’s to more sunny tandeming days with good friends, lots of laughs, pop-up cocktail bars, and fairly flat cycling paths! I’ll say cheers to that!