40 tandem rides; 40 tandem photos – surviving lockdown on a bicycle made for two!

My dynamic crew feel very fortunate and blessed to have survived the Covid-19 lockdown period thanks to their exercise regime of regular fun adventures while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire.

As the UK’s only blogging tandem I decided to put together this photo timeline of Team Matilda’s life during the pandemic, with a photo from each of their 40 lockdown rides – clocking up 1000 miles on a bicycle made for two.

With many of the routes from our base in Auchterarder in Perthshire often being repeated due to the limited options, my dynamic crew’s aim was to make each ride different or memorable – living up to their own twin mottos that “its the smiles not the miles that count!” and “it’s always better when we are tandeming together!”

This blog aims to create a simple pictorial chronological record of the “old git” and the “old gal” during the three months of strict lockdown restrictions – detailing their madcap adventures which kept my dynamic crew healthy, both mentally and physically.

Click on any of the images to enlarge them, or click on the Strava link for full details of each route.

Ride 1 – Sunday, 5 April 2020
Gander to Gloagburn Farm Shop for essential provisions on exercise allowance ride
https://www.strava.com/activities/3258677893

This unusual road sign seemed to emphasise the need to look out for others during lockdown.

Ride 2 – Wednesday, 8 April 2020
Dauner to Dunblane into the headwind with a quick socially distancing picnic
https://www.strava.com/activities/3271007512

Socially isolating picnic … tho did forget to flip the timer selfie shot so everything is back to front!

Ride 3 – Friday, 10 April 2020
Good Friday flutter to Forteviot in the Easter sunshine
https://www.strava.com/activities/3280128503

First appearance of bare legs for the “old git” at Forteviot – an ancient Pictish capital of Scotland.

Ride 4 – Monday, 13 April 2020
Easter Monday meander to Comrie with socially distancing riverside picnic toast
https://www.strava.com/activities/3293778388

A fabulous private picnic spot on the River Earn near Comrie – bliss despite it being a tad chilly!

Ride 5 – Wednesday, 15 April 2020
Bowling along to Bridge of Earn in sunshine for essential supplies but battling headwind
https://www.strava.com/activities/3303055935

We had sharp retort to “You’re not socially distanced on a tandem” of “It’s ok, we’re sleeping together!”

Ride 6 – Friday, 17 April 2020
Hilly and windy loop taking in Gleneagles, Blackford, empty A9, Badrill and Duchally
https://www.strava.com/activities/3311888607

Friday rush hour on the A9 trunk route north to Inverness – not a car to be seen!

Ride 7 – Sunday, 19 April 2020
8th anniversary tandem ride to Gloagburn Farm Shop for essential supplies
https://www.strava.com/activities/3321906884

A sunny pedal to Gloagburn Farm Shop for my dynamic crew with a toast to 8 fab years together!

Ride 8 – Tuesday, 21 April 2020
Windy dander to Duchally on hilly loop around Gleneagles, Blackford, an eerily quiet A9
https://www.strava.com/activities/3331369387

Lovely and sunny but a brutal headwind made it tough going tho added to the exercise quotient.

Ride 9 – Thursday, 23 April 2020
Sun lotion clad canter to Comrie with a socially distanced riverside picnic
https://www.strava.com/activities/3340926573

Great for my dynamic crew to feel some warmth in the sun at a perfect picnic spot in rural Perthshire.

Ride 10 – Saturday, 25 April 2020
Fabulous sunny warm tandem to Bridge of Earn on exercise ride
https://www.strava.com/activities/3351507477

Tandem perfect excercise ride to “the brig” at Bridge of Earn in warm sunshine with no headwind!

Ride 11 – Tuesday, 28 April 2020
Matilda revisits the Muthill Sportive Yellow Route loop
https://www.strava.com/activities/3365919646

Fab to see old local phone box turned into Muthill Community Larder during Covid-19 crisis.

Ride 12 –
Sunny Saturday saunter to Gloagburn Farm Shop for an essential aubergine
https://www.strava.com/activities/3385058394

Great to see Gloagburn Farm Shop remaining open – selling essential food – socially distanced of course.

Ride 13 – Monday, 4 May 2020
Post fence painting late afternoon loop around Gleneagles, Blackford, and Duchally
https://www.strava.com/activities/3397558729

No stopping nature! Uplifting to see the yellow on the broom in sunshine after fence painting day.

Ride 14 – Wednesday, 6 May 2020
Warm sunny ride to Comrie with quick socially distanced riverside picnic
https://www.strava.com/activities/3407915599

Great for lockdown body and soul to feel the heat from the sun with no wind on our ride to Comrie.

Ride 15 – Saturday, 9 May 2020
Tandem sod’s law! Actually 28.8mi but Strava operator error on warm tandem to Bridge of Earn
https://www.strava.com/activities/3424072193

My stoker practicing socially distancing while on her phone at picnic stop at Bridge of Earn!

Ride 16 – Monday, 11 May 2020
Sunny but windy tandem to Dunblane with DIY cake stop at Kinbuck
https://www.strava.com/activities/3434756821

An eerily quiet A9 at Dunblane flyover as drivers obeyed “don’t drive” lockdown guidelines.

Ride 17 – Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Midweek tandem to Gloagburn Farm Shop for fruit with detour to Tullibardine Chapel on return
https://www.strava.com/activities/3444661732

New route on way home with a detour to  the historic 15th Century Tullibardine Chapel.

Ride 18 – Friday, 15 May 2020
Team Matilda clocks up 5000th tandem mile on celebration ride with prosecco … and a puncture!
https://www.strava.com/activities/3455855137

Photographic proof of 5000th tandem miles since we started tandeming – clocked up on ride to Arbroath.

Ride 19 – Sunday, 24 May 2020
New short loop down Easthill to Tullibardine Chapel then round Gleneagles and Duchally
https://www.strava.com/activities/3476964378

No one in! The deserted luxury Gleneagles Hotel, completely closed due to Covid-19 lockdown.

Ride 20 – Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Birthday ride with a gin pit stop with friends socially distanced over the fence on way home
https://www.strava.com/activities/3482408157

Lockdown birthday gin toast with Andrew and Jane … socially distanced … over their garden fence!

Ride 21 – Thursday, 21 May 2020
Sunny loop and home to strawberry cream tea – surprise delivery from Stoker’s granddaughter Ella
https://www.strava.com/activities/3489008683

Home baking was big during lockdown. This was a surprise delivery from Stoker’s grandaughter Ella.

Ride 22 – Sunday, 24 May 2020
Blowy ride thru Machany, Tullibardine Chapel, and the deserted Gleneagles Hotel grounds
https://www.strava.com/activities/3504216007


Glneagles is the playground of the rich … but even the rich can’t play so all the golf carts are locked up.

Ride 23 – Monday, 25 May 2020
King of Mountain tandem to Gloagburn on successful quest for elusive flour for home baking!
https://www.strava.com/activities/3509373804

Mission accomplished! Ample supplies of elusive flour at Gloagburn … required for home baking!

Ride 24 – Thursday, 28 May 2020
Post repairs to broken spokes tandem to Comrie for picnic on warmest day of year (so far!)
https://www.strava.com/activities/3525895257

The Standing Stones at Comrie have stood the test of time and will be there long beyond lockdown.

Ride 25 – Sunday, 31 May 2020
Matilda sports a new shiny horn on warm sunny ride to Bridge of Earn – with divine intervention!
https://www.strava.com/activities/3541529324

The “old gal” decided to adopt a new strategy seeking divine intervention to tackle the hills!

Ride 26 – Tuesday, 2 June 2020
Local loop before the rain through the grounds of Gleneagles where golf has re-opened
https://www.strava.com/activities/3552027436

Stoker had to smile at one of the new ‘Play it Safe’ rules … “Don’t touch your opponents’ balls!”

Ride 27 – Thursday, 4 June 2020
Supposed to be regular Gleneagles loop in window between showers … but forecast was wrong! 
https://www.strava.com/activities/3562618165

Where’s the doorman for the valet tandem parking? Gleneagles Hotel doors still firmly closed.

Ride 28 – Saturday, 6 June 2020
New Matildas Musings water bottles on ride to Gloagburn Farm Shop for tahini paste (as you do!)
https://www.strava.com/activities/3572569841

Shiny new water bottles for my Captain and Stoker arrived in time for today’s ride!

Ride 29 – Monday, 8 June 2020
Decadent fresh local strawberries and prosecco on fab ride featuring Muthill Sportive Yellow Route
https://www.strava.com/activities/3582726783

Lockdown treat! Decadent picnic with locally grown super sweet strawberries and prosecco!

Ride 30 – Thursday, 11 June 2020
Not just any picnic – but a M&S picnic!! … on our first ever ride to Bridge of Allan 
https://www.strava.com/activities/3598061484

Not just any picnic…but a M&S picnic ! And very yummy it was too … washed down with cocktails!

Ride 31 – Monday, 15 June 2020
Haar, haar! Hitting 800 lockdown miles on a murky ride to Bridge of Earn thru low cloud and drizzle
https://www.strava.com/activities/3618761200

My Stoker chilling after being amazed to discover we have peddled 800 miles during lockdown!

Ride 32 – Thursday, 18 June 2020
Perfect pedal to prosecco picnic … and paddle!! … at picturesque riverside spot at Comrie
https://www.strava.com/activities/3633687203

My Captain insisted it was warm enough for a paddle – it wasn’t!!!! So much for his bravado!

Ride 33 – Saturday, 20 June 2020
Harris gin martinis – recreating memorable shaken not stirred distillery ‘lock-in’ exactly a year ago
https://www.strava.com/activities/3643295065

Cheers! Harris Gin Martinis on the decking with fab memories of our epic HebWay trip a year ago.

Ride 34 – Monday, 22 June 2020
Completing our virtual lockdown JoGLE distance of 874 miles on local loop to beat the rain
https://www.strava.com/activities/3652777181

My dynamic crew completed their virtual JoGLE clocking up their  874 lockdown mile in tandem!

Ride 35 – Wednesday, 24 June 2020
Sunny pedal to Bridge of Allan to see friends Dot and Bill for a great long leisurely prosecco lunch
https://www.strava.com/activities/3665021339

Photo with Dot and Bill in their fabulous garden in gorgeous warm sunshine before the 4 hour lunch!

Ride 36 – Saturday, 27 June 2020
Early local loop around Tullibardine and Duchally finishing seconds before the rain started!
https://www.strava.com/activities/3677202619

My trusty Stoker celebrating after achieving a PB on the Tullibardine Chapel Hill climb! Phew!

Ride 37 – Thursday, 2 July 2020
Afternoon pedal to Bridge of Earn with my Captain nursing a thigh strain from about 5 miles!
https://www.strava.com/activities/3703040995

A painful pedal for my Captain who picked up a thigh strain around Forteviot that required painkillers.

Ride 38 – Monday, 6 July 2020
Freedom tandem to Gloagburn Farm Shop for an alfresco coffee and cake pitstop
https://www.strava.com/activities/3721750849

Lockdown restrictions starting to ease a bit allowing an alfresco coffee and cake in the outdoor cafe.

Ride 39 – Wednesday, 8 July 2020
Leisurely pedal thru grounds of re-opening Gleneagles Hotel and around Tullibardine 
https://www.strava.com/activities/3732264477

Perfect reflection on a mini loch within the manicured grounds of five-star Gleneagles Hotel.

Ride 40 – Saturday, 11 July 2020
Clocking up 1000th tandem lockdown mile on pedal to Arbroath for prosecco fish and chips!
https://www.strava.com/activities/3747292299

Selfie congratulations time! My Captain and Stoker celebrate clocking up 1000 miles during lockdown.

So, that is 40 tandem rides; 40 tandem photos; how Team Matilda survived lockdown restrictions while pedalling 1000 miles on a bicycle built for two in rural Perthshire.

The timing of the 1000th mile ride was perfect as the “old gal” was re-opening her Number Fifty Seven Hair Salon 💇‍♀️ in Auchterarder – under the new Scottish Government guidelines – just a few days later, as the “new normal” that is post lockdown life got underway.

For the record the calculations show that over the 40 lockdown rides, the exact total mileage was 1039 miles, with my dynamic crew spending 84 hours in my saddles. The average speed was 12.4 mph.

Total elevation was an outstanding 46,023 feet or just over 1.5 times the height of Mount Everest! That is definitely a statistic that the “old gal” – who doesn’t do hills – is going to impress her friends with!

The elevation statistics certainly prove that Team Matilda’s home base of Auchterarder has one similarity to Rome – being built on hills! All that #cyclingfromhome meant that which ever route my dynamic crew took – there was always a killer uphill section to finish!

Looking back it was a highly positive experience for the “old git” and the “old gal” and Team Matilda hope you enjoyed our pictorial chronological record of surviving lockdown on a bicycle made for two!

Please feel free to leave a comment below as it’s always good to hear from readers of my blog.

MATILDAS MUSINGS TANDEM BLOG RELAUNCH!! Clocking up 1000th tandem lockdown mile on furlough while bringing out our inner Romain Bardet of Team Ag2r on celebration pedal to Arbroath for prosecco fish and chips!

Matilda sporting her la bouclee wine carrier at Arbroath Habour – with vital celebratory prosecco!

Matildas Musings – the UK’s only blogging tandem is back … after a post lockdown relaunch!

Where have we been I hear you ask since my last blog at the end of last year? Well one minute my dynamic crew were getting over the festive period and thru the winter weather, then the next minute were slap bang in the middle of strict lockdown as a result of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.

So please excuse my lack of blogging activity over these months as Team Matilda simply didn’t feel comfortable blogging about fun happy adventures in tandem on a bicycle made for two when there were far more serious issues to contemplate, while at the same time trying to stay safe.

But that’s not to say that there was no tandeming as my dynamic crew decided early on to use their initial exercise allowance to regularly get out pedalling in a bid to stay healthy while on furlough from work. And as those weeks turned into months Team Matilda targeted – and hit – their lockdown milestone of 1000 miles while maintaining Cycling UK Scotland‘s mantra of #cyclingfromhome.

So why a relaunch? Well as the world slowly tries to get back to some sort of normality – while following all essential social distancing safety rules – my dynamic crew thought the time was about right to get back to some light hearted humorous blog writing.

A quick precis if you are new to this blog (or if you have forgotten!): Matildas Musings is a blog written by Matilda, the “old lady” classic Jack Taylor tandem – and her Musings about her adventures, trials and tribulations with her “dynamic crew” – the “old git” and Captain, aka Colin, and the “old gal” and Stoker (as well as Chief Engineer) aka Diane.

Blogging tandem Matilda writes Musings about her adventures on the road on a bicycle made for two, focusing on tourism and food & drink experiences en route in Scotland and abroad!

So if this is your first time, Team Matilda sincerely hope you find the adventures of the UK’s only blogging tandem entertaining – and that our self-deprecating humour makes you smile – while finding something that you (as non-professional non-lycra-clad fun-loving fellow tandemers) can relate to!

And if you like the blog use the sign up feature to get regular updates, and you may want to follow our zany tandem adventures on my Matildas Musings FacebookTwitter or Youtube feeds.

So for the first new blog after the relaunch, the focus is on my dynamic crew clocking up their 1000th #tandem lockdown mile while bringing out their inner Romain Bardet of the Ag2r professional cycling team on a celebration pedal to Arbroath for prosecco fish and chips. And for the record this was after lockdown restrictions and rules on travelling for exercise had been eased in Scotland.

You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

For the celebration ride my crew chose one of their favourite routes from the Tay Road Bridge at Dundee to Arbroath on Sustrans Scotland #NCN Rt1.

It was a perfect tandeming day out to hit my dynamic crew’s lockdown 1000th mile mark – and I still don’t think my Stoker can quite believe that Team Matilda has tandemed that total mileage over the past three months or so!

And the milestone pedal saw my dynamic crew decked out in new replica jerseys of the Equipe Cycliste Ag2r La Mondiale Team! Naturally there had to be a few photos to try and get my Captain and Stoker to look like their star rider Romain Bardet! Do you think they achieved the look?!

The “old git” bringing out his inner Romain Bardet of Team Ag2r … he wishes!

The man himself – Romain Bardet – looking a bit younger and slimmer than the “old git” and “old gal”!

The “old gal” bringing out her inner Romain Bardet of Team Ag2r … she wishes!

The route is idyllic, with the dedicated cycle path hugging the scenic east coast from Dundee – through the port area and along to Broughty Ferry before reaching Carnoustie and on to Arbroath. And the sun was bursting through the blue sky showing off Arbroath Harbour at its very best! In fact the “old git” said the sun gave it an almost Mediterranean feel. Almost!

The “old git” against a backdrop of lobster creels and amazing sky at Arbroath Harbour.

Selfie congratulations time! My dynamic crew celebrating clocking up 1000 miles during lockdown.

Now when in Arbroath there was clearly a requirement to do as locals do and have the authentic local delicacy of an Arbroath Smokie for lunch. But my dynamic crew went one step better and enjoyed a fabulous alfresco fish and chips Arbroath style!

The fish part of this was a yummy Arbroath Smokie straight off the smoker at the wonderfully named C Lyons Fresh Fish !! Add a portion of chips from the local chippie and a some chilled prosecco which was carried on my La Bouclée wine carrier – and it was a memorable alfresco picnic to toast the 1000 lockdown miles!

Fish and chips Arbroath stye! Arbroath Smokie and chips – washed down with prosecco!

The wonderfully named fish shop where the Arbroath Smokie came straight off the smoker.

The “old gal” enjoying the views at scenic Arbroath Harbour.

Team Matilda had time to explore around the scenic harbour area before it was time to head back to Dundee – with my dynamic crew battling a fierce headwind all the way.

Back in Dundee it was great for the “old git” to meet up with his former work mate Athur Hayburn for a brief catch-up. There was time to pose for a quick photo on the waterfront area, with Arthur taking up my Stoker’s position against a backdrop of the Tay Rail Bridge.

The “old git” had an all too brief meet up with his pal Arthur – with Tay Rail Bridge behind.

The last part of our 1000 mile celebration ride was the “uphill” crossing of the Tay Road Bridge – which always seems a bit of a grind. Today however for some reason it was a canter for my dynamic crew with even the “old gal” commenting that it was “easy”! There has obviously been a positive lockdown furlough effect on Team Matilda’s fitness and performance.

Back at Matilda Transport in the Tay Bridge Car Park, the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of no less than a very creditable 41 gongs! The total was made up of an amazing tally of 26 personal bests, 7 second bests; and 8 third best times.

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 40 miles with a moving time of 3 hours 10 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.6 mph while the elevation was a relatively flattish 411 feet. The maximum speed was 32.4 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,706 calories and produce an average power output of 134 W.

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

The timing of the 1000th mile ride was perfect as the “old gal” was re-opening her Number Fifty Seven Hair Salon 💇‍♀️ in Auchterarder – under the new Scottish Government guidelines – just a few days later. And with a full appointment book – from clients desperate to have their hair done after 16 weeks of lockdown – opportunities for pedals are going to be few and far between!

For the record the calculations show that over the 40 lockdown rides, the total mileage was 1039 with my dynamic crew spending 84 hours in my saddles. The average speed works out at 12.4 mph.

Total elevation was an outstanding 46,023 feet or just over 1.5 times the height of Mount Everest! That is definitely a statistic that the “old gal” – who doesn’t do hills – is going to impress her friends with!

I think that proves that our home base of Auchterarder has one similarity to Rome – being built on hills! All that #cyclingfromhome meant that which ever route my dynamic crew took – there was always a killer uphill section to finish!

Looking back it was a highly positive experience for the “old git” and the “old gal” and helped keep them healthy – both mentally and physically. And my dynamic crew feel so blessed and fortunate that they have been able to be out and about enjoying trips on a bicycle made for two during lockdown.

So now that my Matildas Musings blog is back in action – look out for more updates soon which will include some of our other landmark furlough rides – including my dynamic crew clocking up their 5000th mile in tandem on my saddles; the “old git” enjoying a pedal on his birthday; and the “old gal” being utterly amazed as Team Matilda completed a virtual JoGLE – John o’ Groats to Land’s End. There’s also a plan for a photo special with some of the best (and worst) images of my lockdown rides!

It’s good to be back! … and underlines that it’s always better when we are blogging about tandeming together! Do please feel free to leave a comment as it’s always good to hear from readers of my blog. Until the next time!