Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire

A signature prosecco toast from the Nutty Tandemers – one of many over the week!

This Matildas Musings is a specially extended blog post about a truly memorable week in #tandem as my dynamic crew were hosted by fellow founding (and only!) members of the self-proclaimed and highly exclusive Nutty Tandemers Club for their 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

Jane Termini Taylor and John Taylor – who have their own Travelling In Tandem blog and have the same nutty attitude to tandeming as the “old git” and “old gal” – kindly invited my dynamic crew to their home base of Redditch in Worcestershire for what will be our fifth annual Nutty Tandemers Tour.

Regular readers of my blog will remember in 2016 my dynamic Team Matilda crew became ‘best pals’ with John and Jane. Such was the level of laughing, fun and general nuttiness on our inaugural Le Tour de Perthshire du Tandem that we decided to try and do a Tour each year. So in 2017 the nutty tandem crews all enjoyed Le Tour de New Forest du Tandem, before circumstances resulted in a Mini Tour de Perthshire in 2018, and then our epic Le Tour de Hebridean Way odyssey last year.

With the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions changing almost daily it was touch-and-go as to whether the tandem teams would be able to get together for their 2020 Tour – but fortunately there were no last minute rule changes. So Team Matilda were up before dawn on a Sunday morning and driving south to the headquarters of the Southern Division of the Nutty Tandemers Club!

The “old git” and “old gal” arrived in time for a late lunch – followed by a quick tour of John and Jane’s super new house which they moved into just before Christmas. Then, so as not to waste any time, the tandem crews changed into cycling gear and headed off on a short hilly ride to get to know the local area – with the carrot of a prosecco toast at a sunny viewpoint.

NTC 2020 Day 1 – 3 mechanicals and a hilltop view with prosecco!

For the first ride of the Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire our hosts had scheduled a pedal up to Beacon Hill to get orientated with views of the area we were going to be tandeming around. Check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

It was meant to be a straightforward relaxed pedal – but before we even left Team Matilda was hit by the first … of what turned out to be three … mechanicals when the “old gal” noticed my pedals were out of alignment. With my dynamic crew frozen by panic, John stepped in to quickly remove the front chain, pedals reset, and we were good to go.

Half way up the climb the “old git’s” saddle clamp needed tightening as it had slipped to an unrideable angle. That problem was easily solved by the “old gal” and a trusty allen key! After two mechanicals my crew wondered if there was to be a third – but we arrived at Beacon Hill without further mishap to enjoy magnificent views over the city of Birmingham in gorgeous warm sunshine.

After much puffing and panting pedalling up to an elevation of nearly 1000 feet, the “old gal” was happy to have a rest at the highest point – Toposcope Fort which was restored in 1988 to celebrate the centenary of the surrounding country park. Meanwhile John and Jane hardly broke sweat pedalling on their amazing e-assist bright green recumbent Pino tandem – suitable named Polly!

The “old gal” having a breather in the sunshine at Toposcope Fort at Beacon Hill.

The viewpoint from Beacon Hill offered a marvelous location for the first Nutty Tandemers signature prosecco toast of the tour! As always the pop of the prosecco cork attracts interest from fellow park visitors and one kind lady offered to take some photos of all four of us to mark the occasion!

The first signature prosecco toast for the Nutty Tandemers club on Beacon Hill.

Prosecco selfie – the Nutty Tandemers enjoying the first fizz of the 2020 Tour!

It was the ideal spot for a photo shoot, which resulted in selfies galore and some arty shots, around a perfectly situated bench, for the annual Nutty Tandemers calendar!

Arty calendar shot of the “old gal” and Jane admiring the vista from Beacon Hill.

Captain’s toast! The “old git” and John say cheers to the 2020 Tour!

After some much needed catching up on news – and a refreshingly cool glass of fizz – it was time to head home. And it was a wonderful tandem as it was almost all downhill – tho there were a couple of photo stops for my dynamic crew as we passed some interesting and amusing road signs to the village of Lickey and also Twatling Road – which seemed highly appropriate for the “old git”!

The “old gal” playing up to some villages having rather strange and amusing names!

Not sure why the “old gal” said to caption this photo – “no caption necessary – the picture tells it all!”

Then about three miles from home the third mechanical hit when I suffered a P-word on my back tyre. It was an instantaneous loud pop and total deflate. Now I have a drum brake which hinders the removal of my wheel but John kept my crew calm and helped in getting my inner tube quickly replaced to get us back on the road.

When we finally were safely back at John and Jane’s home base, the “old git” checked Strava which officially showed the Nutty Tandemers tandemed a distance of 15.6 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 30 minutes. The average speed was 10.4 mph while the elevation was 1141 feet. The maximum speed was 28.9 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1283 calories and produce an average power output of 213 W.

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

The first day of the Tour ended with a hearty and tasty upside-down pizza meal created by Jane. A great start to the Tour with great tandeming friends… with the usual level of nuttiness on bicycles made for two! My dynamic crew are just hoping that they have used up all their three doses of mechanical bad luck on day 1!

NTC 2020 Day 2 – I shot the sheriff … before he got Lench(ed)! … on a tandem Tour of the Lenches

Day 2 of the Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire saw my dynamic crew embark on a ride entitled: “I shot the Sheriff … before he got Lench(ed) on a #tandem pedal round the Lenches!” You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

Monday morning and our fantastically hospitable hosts Jane and John had planned a route heading south and expertly guided us around a series of scenic villages known as The Lenches – and even made sure there was brilliant warm September sunshine for the Nutty Tandemers to enjoy!

The day’s pedal started with a photo stop at the picturesque wharf at the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, just a couple of miles from base.

John Jane and the “old gal” at the wharf on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

Polly, the bright green recumbent Pino tandem – with me – in the sun at the wharf.

Next today’s tour provided some marvelous tandeming thru a network of beautiful quiet lanes. The first of the villages was Rous Lench with its traditional English village green.  There was quite a steep climb out of Rous Lench – with some beautiful high hedges and castle like topiary at The Court to take my dynamic crew’s mind off the climbing – on the way to the next village of Church Lench.

The “old git” and the “old gal” at the traditional village green in Rous Lench.

Phew that was a steep climb! The scenic road out of Rous Lench to Church Lench.

The next hamlet was Atch Lench which offered a stop for a comfort break – and also some views over the rolling farmlands, before the tandem crews decided it was time for the signature prosecco picnic and found a lovely sun-kissed spot at the side of a field of ready-to-be-harvested corn!

Having a rest near Atch Lench while the crew’s had a necessary comfort stop!

A gate into a corn field provided the ideal spot for a Nutty Tandemers 2020 Tour logo photo.

Premature prosecco eruption! The cork bursting out the bottle caught my crew by surprise!

Cheers! My dynamic crew toasting another great day of nutty fun on bicycles made for two!.

Refreshed and re-fuelled the Nutty Tandemers pedalled on to Sheriffs Lench – which gave the ride its convoluted title! This was too good an an opportunity for the “old git” to miss a photo opportunity at the sign to the village – complete with imaginary gun!

The “old git” pretending he was shooting the Sheriff – before he got Lench(ed)!

Sheriff’s Lench is so-called because it was held, from 1077, by Urse d’ Abitot, the Sheriff of Worcestershire, and subsequently by his heirs the Beauchamp family, who inherited the office of Sheriff. So now you know!

We pedalled on to complete a wonderful loop taking us past Vale Golf and Country Club and thru Bishampton before starting to re-join the initial route at Bradley Green. Next stop was the wonderfully named area of Bentley Pauncefoot – which again provided the ideal location for a nutty photo for the “old git” putting on his best poncey look, ideal in his pink cycling top!

The rural area of Bentley Pauncefoot saw the “old git” put on his best poncey look!

John – who was admirably in charge of finding suitable watering holes – came up trumps on the way home with a welcome re-hydrating pit stop at The Tardebigge for some cool drinks!

With temperatures rising to near 30C – the last few hilly miles were completed at a sedate pace in the Indian Summer heat, before the tandem crews enjoyed some ice cold grapefruit gin cocktails in John and Jane’s beautifully designed garden – which has two patios to enjoy the sun at any hour of the day!

A reflective moment for the Nutty Tandemers back in the sanctuary of John and Janes garden!

While supping the gin, the “old git” checked Strava which officially showed the tandem teams pedalled a distance of 42.9 miles with a moving time of 3 hours 46 minutes. The average speed was 11.4 mph while the elevation was a lumpy 2421 feet. The maximum speed was 36.2 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 2893 calories and produce an average power output of 197 W.

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

Jane again came up trumps with a wonderful re-energising and nutritious meal of fish cakes and salad followed by some yummy key lime pie – before the tandem crews watched the highlights of Le Tour de France on television. All in all another wonderful day on the Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour.

NTC 2020 Day 3 – Duke of Earlswood in tandem for prosecco picnic, Tanworth in Arden and Alvechurch Marina

Day 3 of the Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire saw my dynamic crew enjoying a ride called: “Duke of Earlswood for prosecco picnic plus Tanworth in Arden and Alvechurch Marina.” Check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

Tuesday and our super fellow founding members of the self-proclaimed Nutty Tandemers Club, Jane and John, had again researched a superb tandem ride heading north east around some fantastic countryside in Worcestershire.

The sun was already splitting the sky as the tandem crews headed off on a lovely ride along rolling lanes to the town of Tanworth in Arden – where right in the centre proudly stands the beautiful St Mary Magdalene church which dates back to medieval times. The Nutty Tandemers spent some time exploring the churchyard and had some suitably nutty pictures looking up at the massive trees.

Admiring the trees in the churchyard.

Jane and the “old gal” take in the view looking up into the tall trees.

Pedalling on – a perfect stop had been identified for the signature Nutty Tandemers prosecco picnic which was very welcome as the temperature rose. The venue was Earlswood Lakes – which is a wonderful natural wildlife haven area which is actually made up of three 22 acre reservoirs and looked after by the  Canal and River Trust.

Captain’s pose! The “old git” and John enjoying the sun at Earlswood Lakes.

The “old gal” taking in the scenery and spotting the ducks at the natural wildlife haven.

Stokers’s united! Jane and the “old gal” at Earlswood Lakes run by the Canal and River Trust.

After lunch the route took us to a shady coffee stop near Wood End then on to the town of Alvechurch and the Alvechurch Marina – situated on the Worcester and Birmingham canal – where both tandem crews admired the canal boats.

The Marina hosts the Weighbridge Pub – that was once the old canal side weighbridge office for offloading coal barges to horse and cart for local deliveries. It has a wonderful beer garden and stocks unique beers and ciders. Naturally the Nutty Tandemers had to sample some of the offerings – and certainly gave it pass marks. Whether it was the effects of the drinks or not, mixed with the very warm sun, but there was some talk about perhaps hiring a canal boat in the future for a relaxing holiday along the canals at a very sedate pace!

The Nutty Tandemers and bikes lined up by the canal at Alvechurch Marina.

Selfie time for the tandem crews beside the canal boats at the scenic marina.

The “old git” admiring the canal boats – there was even talk of hiring one in the future!

A studious pose from the “old gal” and “old git” reflecting in John’s sunglasses!

The only downside – which was actually very much an upside – was that the steepest climb of the day was situated just as the tandem crews left the pub. But the “old git” and “old gal” slowly ground out the climb – which peaked at just over 10% – and celebrated getting to the top! Just at that stage it seemed appropriate that the “old git” and “old gal” were wearing yellow Tour de France winners jerseys!

My dynamic crew celebrating grinding out the steep climb with a smile!

Not surprisingly cooling drinks and chilling in the garden were the order of the day on return to the Nutty Tandemers base. The “old git” checked Strava which officially showed the tandem teams pedalled a distance of 28.3 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 38 minutes. The average speed was 10.7 mph while the elevation was a lumpy 1729 feet. The maximum speed was 40.5 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 2173 calories and produce an average power output of 205 W.

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

An energy replenishing tasty dinner of cod with a pesto crust and a tasty Mediterranean marinated salad revived the crews who all agreed that this was another fabulous day on bicycles made for two – emphasising just what the joy of tandeming is all about.

NTC 2020 Day 4 – “To be, or not to be” tandeming to Stratford-upon-Avon via Sambourne, Alcester and Wilmcote

Day 4 of the Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire saw my dynamic crew embark on a ride called: “To be, or not to be … tandeming to Stratford-upon-Avon via Sambourne, Alcester and Wilmcote.” Check out the route by clicking on the Strava map below.

Wednesday dawned to another superbly sunny day and the Nutty Tandemers Club schedule today was a pedal for an overnight mini break stay in the William Shakespeare city of Stratford-upon-Avon.

My front panniers – packed with overnight essentials – were attached to my front carrier shelf and we were off. Once again John and Jane had researched a fabulous route heading in a south east direction along some more quiet lanes which were just perfect for tandeming.

The first stop today on our pedal as we entered the neighbouring county to Worcestershire of Warwickshire was the very English village of Sambourne – complete with its traditional village green which provided the backdrop for the first photo stop of the day.

The “old gal” enjoying the views at the typically English village of Sambourne.

John and Jane (and Polly) at the old signpost pointing out our next route destinations.

Next we encountered a ford at Coughton but instead of getting the tandem wheels wet pedalling across the slippy surface – which would more than likely have ended with a de-mount – we used the handily placed bridge to cross the river.

Jane with the “old git” and “old gal” on the bridge at the ford at Coughton.

A breather for my dynamic crew in the warm sun on the bridge at the ford.

I made an acquaintance with some overly friendly cows  at our next detour – to see the amazing 14th century Kinwarton Dovecote now owned by The National Trust.

I met some overly friendly cows at the 14th Century Kinwarton Dovecote!

Onwards for a welcome coffee stop in the beautiful Roman market town of Alcester, with time to explore the Tudor architecture and the grounds of the St Nicholas Church with its 14th Century tower.

St Nicholas Church with its 14th Century tower.

The “old gal” exploring the superb Tudor architecture of Alcester.

Refreshed the tandem crews headed next to Wilmcote to see Mary Arden’s Farm – home of Shakespeare’s mother – where the “old git” and “old gal” took some more photos.

Mary Arden’s Farm in Wilmcote offered a perfect photo opportunity for my dynamic crew.

A close-up shot showing the “old gal” and “old git” in their AG2R La Mondiale cycling jerseys.

The “old gal” pointing out just how small the windows of the farmhouse were.

The tandem crews had hoped to pedal the scenic way into Stratford by tandeming along the tow paths of the Stratford-upon-Avon canal but sadly were thwarted by kissing gates which stopped us gaining access. So a slight detour brought us into the city with a stop for some lunch at the aptly named Pen and Parchment pub.

Time for reflection! The “old git” reflected in the “old gal’s” sunglasses

After lunch we crossed the canal basin area and a bridge over the River Avon to check-in to our superbly centrally located and luxurious Croft Guest House – with a secure garden to lock up the tandems for the night.

At the guest house there was the Nutty Tandemers signature prosecco toast – well we had to fit the obligatory bottle in some where! – while the “old git” checked Strava which officially showed the tandem teams pedalled a distance of 24.6 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 23 minutes. The average speed was 10.3 mph while the elevation was 1059 feet. The maximum speed was 27.3 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1578 calories and produce an average power output of 165 W.

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

There was plenty of time to explore the historic centre around the canal basin before jane suggested a visit to the fascinating Tudor World Museum. Set within an historic 16th century building the Nutty Tandemers discovered what life was really like during the time of William Shakespeare, Francis Drake, Elizabeth I and Henry VIII.

There was some fun for the “old gal” when she took part in the Witches Trial where amazingly the answers to the quiz gave the verdict that she was indeed a witch (who knew?!!) while the “old git” found himself incarcerated in the stocks and had to plead to Jane get out! But only after he promised to be a good Captain!

The “old gal” took the Witches Trial only to discover she was in fact a witch!

The “old git” in the stocks at the Tudor World Museum – he had to plead to get out!

There were a couple of stops for cooling cocktails during the meander on foot, before a hearty evening meal at Cox’s Yard – including one of the biggest burgers my dynamic crew have ever tried to eat! (They failed to complete the task!) Somewhat tired the crews then retired for the night after another brilliant day of nuttiness on tour.

NTC 2020 Day 5 – Tandeming with Young Will or Will Young … that is the question … on ride from Stratford thru Thereabouts!

Day 5 of the Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire saw my dynamic crew enjoying a ride called: “Tandeming with Young Will or Will Young … that is the question … on ride back from Stratford thru Whereabouts!” Check out the route by clicking on the Strava map below.

Thursday produced another sun-kissed day and the Nutty Tandemers Club schedule today was a scenic pedal back to Redditch from the overnight mini break stay in Stratford-upon-Avon. Both tandem crews were wonderfully rested after a sleep in the luxurious Croft Guest House and were fuelled for the day ahead with a hearty home cooked breakfast.

The day started with a photo shoot in the William Shakespeare city of Stratford-upon-Avon – where my crew posed with Young Will … tho for some reason that the “old git” claimed he couldn’t comprehend, the “old gal” said she wished it had been Will Young!

Photo with Young Will (Shakespeare) in Stratford tho the “old gal” wished it was Will Young!

The big wheel had been planned for a visit last night – but had shut before the tandem crews got there. But it provided a nice backdrop for an arty sunny photo. Then there was more photos for the tandem crews taking in the views at the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal basin.

An arty shot of the big wheel at Stratford showing the strength of the sun’s morning rays!

Amazing clear blue skies for John and Jane at the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal basin.

The blue of the sky neatly matched the blue on my dynamic crew’s AG2R pro jerseys!

Pedalling out of Stratford, today’s route covering numerous rural quiet lanes – just perfect for tandeming. The first port of call was Welford-on-Avon to see the UK’s tallest maypole at 65 feet.

Me at the 65 feet high maypole at Welford-on-Avon

Each village the Nutty Tandemers pedalled thru seemed even more beautiful than the last – including the hamlet of Barton.

Me posing beside a beautiful thatched cottage complete with postbox in the hamlet of Barton.

Lunch stop today was at the attractive Hilliers Farm Shop at Dunnington – where the “old git” couldn’t resist indulging in the blue cheese and mushroom pizza in the outdoor restaurant, even tho he could only manage to eat about half of it! Ever resourceful Jane bundled the remainder up in a goody bag to be re-heated over post ride drinks later!

Next stop was the tiny chocolate box picture perfect Abbots Morton – with numerous thatched cottages – which offered the ideal backdrop for another photo shoot for the tandem crews!

The four Nutty Tandemers at the chocolate box picture perfect village of Abbots Morton.

The “old git! taking in the old and the new at picturesque Abbots Morton.

Thumbs up from the “old git” and “old gal” ready to pedal on from Abbots Morton.

Today’s Nutty Tandemers Club signature prosecco was a great stop at some picnic benches at the side of the road near Inkberrow, with our fizz antics causing some amusement and friendly toots on the horn from passing drivers! There was the obligatory prosecco toast photo – plus another Nutty Tandemers tradition of taking a see no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil Three Wise Monkeys picture … which this year obviously had to have a Covid-19 theme complete with masks covering the eyes, ears and mouth respectively! This tradition started back on the first Tour in 2016 and has been a feature of the annual Nutty Tandemers calendar each year since!

Cheers! The Nutty Tandemers having fun on their signature prosecco toast near Inkberrow.

The 2020 Covid-19 themed See no evil; hear no evil; speak no evil Three Wise Monkeys photo!

Refreshed from the fizz, we pedalled on for at least a whole mile before John called a stop for a small libation at the beautiful Old Bull at Inkberrow – where Shakespeare reputedly held his stag night. The Old Bull’s other claim to fame is that it was the inspiration for the pub in the famous BBC Radio soap The Archers as the village of Inkberrow is said to have been the model for Ambridge, the fictional setting for the long running programme.

A small libation in the heat at The Old Bull – reputedly visited by Shakespeare on his stag night!

Jane reflecting on the fact that the Old Bull is said to be the inspiration for the pub in The Archers.

The “old gal” and “old gal” inside the historic Old Bull – photobombed by the owner!

The tandem crews decided that two drinks were required – just to let the heat disappear a bit from the baking sun! – before the final stages of the warm route home meandering thru the local lanes took us to the the wonderfully named Thereabouts!

Would you believe – there is actually a place called Thereabouts!

A last pedal thru Feckenham, before the final climb of the day for the “old git” and “old gal”. They did find that one a bit energy-sapping – but firmly rejected any suggestions it was down to the drinks stops and insisted it was down to the heat!

My crew looking slightly less than dynamic after the last climb! It was the heat!!!

Back at Nutty Tandemers Club base camp, as the sun beat down on the ‘Scottish Quadrant’ – a lovely patio complete with blue and white saltire flags to make my dynamic crew feel at home – the “old git” checked Strava which officially showed the tandem teams pedalled a distance of 29.8 miles with a moving time of 3 hours 08 minutes. The average speed was 9.5 mph while the elevation was a lumpy 1521 feet. The maximum speed was 33.1 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 2388 calories and produce an average power output of 189 W.

Amazingly Strava awarded Team Matilda gongs for two different sectors for being “3rd fastest in the world” and “4th fastest in the world”! I may be old – but I am still fast! Click on today’s Strava map above for more details! It is a bit bonkers, but it all adds to the fun!

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

Jane again tempted the crews taste buds and hunger levels with a tasty meal of sausage and tomato hotpot served on pasta – before relaxing with some wine and viewing the highlights of Le Tour de France on television brought to an end another special day on the Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour with great tandeming friends, emphasising just what the joy of tandeming is all about!

NTC 2020 Day 6 – Tandeming to lunch at Galton Arms in Himbleton and the final signature prosecco toast!

Day 6 – and sadly the final day – of the Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire saw my dynamic crew embark on a ride called: “Tandeming to lunch at the Galton Arms in Himbleton and the final signature prosecco picnic!”

Now as you know John and Jane have been enjoying a new lease of tandeming life – flying up hills – on their new bright green e-assist Pino tandem, appropriately called Polly! It would have to be said that the “old gal” was somewhat envious of the helpful kick that the battery assist provided. So before the tandem crews headed out on the Friday itinerary, John offered the “old gal” a shot as Stoker on Polly – which she gratefully accepted!

The “old gal” enjoying a shot as Stoker with John on Polly – the e-assist Pino!

As you can see by clicking on the video clip below, the “old gal” was certainly impressed!

After deciding that an e-assist tandem is certainly on the list for a purchase in the future it was time for my dynamic crew to be expertly led round some final scenic rural lanes south west from Redditch, the base of our fantastically hospitable hosts Jane and John. Check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

And yet again, the tandems crews were bathed in bright sunshine as we pedalled off – underlining just how fortunate the Nutty Tandemers Tour had been with the weather this year.

After the “old gal’s” envy-inducing test stoking on the e-assist tandem, John and Jane decided to leave Polly in their garage and chose my old friend Siggy (who I built up a real rapport with on the Hebridean way last year – including a memorable night locked in a bedroom of a Stornoway hotel!) as their tandem of choice today.

More great views from the quiet rural lanes, many of which appear on the Sustrans National Cycle Network, including a quick picture at the Worcester and Birmingham canal wharf of a suitable Scottish named canal narrow boat.

Posing beside a suitably Scottish named narrow boat on the Worcester and Birmingham canal.

Next was a stop at the fabulous Jinney Ring Craft Centre for a quick spot of retail therapy. The “old git” and “old gal” watched a glassblower at work before buying a couple of garden ornaments – a snowdrop and a robin. And the “old gal” popped into a fascinating leather crafter called Paige Elizabeth and very kindly bought me a stylish mini gin flask to clip onto one of my panniers … for emergency supplies (obviously!)

he “old gal” got me a stylish leather mini gin flask – for emergency supplies, obviously!

Pedalling on we tandemed along the wonderfully named Loggerheads Lane – which provided an unmissable photo opportunity. I mean is there really any tandem crew who has never been at loggerheads with each other?!

Who said the tandemers were always at loggerheads with each other?!

Lunch stop today was the attractive 14th Century pub called The Galton Arms at Himbleton where the tandem crews enjoyed an outdoor lunch of tasty baguette sandwiches. Suitably re-fuelled (and re-freshed!) the tandem crews then had a wander round the beautiful St Mary Magdalene’s Church which dates back to Norman times.

The pretty St Mary Magdalen’s Church at Himbleton which dates back to Norman times.

Today’s Nutty Tandemers Club signature prosecco toast and fun photo frolics was at a perfect picnic stop by the river at Shell Ford. It offered a wonderful backdrop for the final alfressco fizz toast of the 2020 Tour. I think it was maybe because the end was in sight but today’s photos seemed to be the nuttiest of the week! Naturally there was another set-piece photo of two tandem crew’s in a salute – for the annual Nutty Tandemers Club calendar. All great fun!

Another set piece photo – the salute – for the annual Nutty Tandemers Club calendar!

Cheers! Another Nutty Tandemers Club signature prosecco toast at Shell Ford.

John and Jane practice their balancing skills on a branch across the river creek.

The “old git” and “old gal” posing on the bridge at Shell Ford.

The photos were at their most nuttiness to mark the end of the Tour. Spot Jane with prosecco bottle!

In the final miles there was one last lumpy hill climb – which Jane videoed just to prove the “old gal” and “old git” could make it to the top – which they did! Click on the image below to watch the video.

Back at Nutty Tandemers Club base camp, over pre-dinner refreshments, the “old git” checked Strava which officially showed the tandem teams pedalled a distance of 30.3 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 45 minutes. The average speed was 11.0 mph while the elevation was 1065 feet. The maximum speed was 32.0 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 2098 calories and produce an average power output of 189 W.

Because we had repeated quite a few sectors over the week, Strava that Team Matilda was worthy of a total of 24 gongs – made up of a pleasing 10 personal bests, and 8 second bests.

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

The total for the week long NTC 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire was just over 170 miles – 171.4 miles to be exact, with a total elevation of a not insubstantial 9586 feet.

The end of the week was suitably marked with a celebration dinner at the Red Lion in nearby Alvechurch hosted by the “old gal” and the “old git” to say a huge thanks to John and Jane.

This included the now traditional Nutty Tandemers Club “prizegiving” – with John receiving the award for rising above and beyond the call of duty to keep my dynamic crew calm during the mechanicals; while Jane received the award for keeping the tandem crews nutrition levels well topped up! And naturally the only way to celebrate was with the final prosecco toast of the tour!

In conclusion, on behalf of Team Matilda, it was a real pleasure to share every moment of the fantastic scenery and uphills and downhills of their local Worcestershire and Warwickshire area with Team Travelling in Tandem. It was a true privilege for the “old git” and “old gal” to be with John and Jane on another memorable and epic Tour – where they more than lived up to being fellow Nutty Tandemers and once again proved they are real kindred spirits to my dynamic crew!

It really was an utterly fabulous week – with some unexpectedly super weather – resulting in a great experience where you can honestly say that tandeming just doesn’t get much better than this! Delighted that we have created lots of new nutty images for the memory bank … and of course the annual calendar!

And Team Matilda can’t wait for the next Nutty Tandemers Tour next year in 2021! So many thanks John and Jane for your wonderful hospitality – you couldn’t have been more welcoming!

As a little tribute to the fabulous 2020 Nutty Tandemers Club Tour the “old git” has pulled together a photo montage video – set to music – to help everyone remember the fun and nuttiness we all enjoyed – so click below and sit back and relax and enjoy!

Finally, thanks to all of you for reading this special edition of my blog, focusing on the Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour. If this is your first time, remember if you want to know more about Matildas Musings – the UK’s only blogging tandem – then click the follow button on this webpage to sign up for regular updates!

Till our next adventure on a bicycle made for two!

Team Matilda introduces fellow Nutty Tandemers Club members John & Jane to delights of ‘overseas’ trip to ‘Costa del Millport’!

Selfie time for the Nutty Tandemers on the beach looking over to Bute.

This is a post about a truly epic day in #tandem as my dynamic crew introduces fellow founding (and only!) members of the self-proclaimed and highly exclusive Nutty Tandemers Club to the delights of an “overseas” trip to ‘Costa del Millport

Jane Termini Taylor and John Taylor, who have their own Travelling In Tandem blog, have the same nutty attitude to tandeming as the “old git” and “old gal” – so what better place to go for a day tour than Millport, Isle of Cumbrae?!

Jane and John on their e-assist bright green Pino tandem – suitable named Polly!

The island – officially known as The Isle of Cumbrae – is a cyclists paradise offering a gently undulating 10 mile loop on almost traffic free roads never more than a few yards from the sea.

We even managed to chase away the early showers and the sun came out to play to show our English-based visitors Cumbrae at its glorious and stunningly beautiful best! They are now converts and fully agree with the slogan: “Millport – in a world of its own!”

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

Our day started with the early 10 minute CalMac Ferries trip from the mainland at Largs and a quick pedal into town for a welcome yummy strong morning coffee at Crocodeli Millport.

Lap one was a clockwise slow dawdle in the unwelcome rain – but provided a good opportunity to highlight the many attractions including Indian Rock and Lion Rock. Back in town naturally there was a photo stop at the iconic Crocodile Rock.

The self proclaimed Nutty Tandemers Club at the iconic Crocodile Rock on Millport.

The “old git” and “old gal” enjoying a fabulous view from Millport across to Arran

Team Matilda pictured while having a photo taken near Crocodile Rock

Lap two and the tandem crews headed anti-clockwise to our fabulous “table for four with a view” overlooking the beach and over to Rothesay, situated just before Fintry Bay.

Naturally this was the site for one of the Nutty Tandemers signature prosecco picnics – which caused a bit of interest with passers by. One kind lady stopped from her walking circuit and offered to take pictures, asking what was the nature of our fizzy celebration? She was a bit bemused and just laughed when the reply was: “There isn’t one other than its Sunday! Do you need another reason for prosecco?!”

The four Nutty Tandemers enjoying a signature prosecco picnic toast!

The chilled prosecco – which had been carried on my trendy and eye-catching La Bouclée wine carrier – provided the basis for a highly memorable alfresco picnic.

Re-fuelled – and after a walk on the beach – the tandem teams completed that lap with an enjoyable stop for afternoon coffee and a sampling of the simply divine home made chocolates at Brewbaker Millport cafe and chocolate shop.

Ahoy there! Jane and John looking out to sea to glimpse the many boats enjoying a sail.

To burn off some calories the tandem crews then embarked on a pedal on the hilly Inner Circle with its two Category Four climbs. Let’s just say this was somewhat easier for John and Jane on their e-assist bright green Pino tandem – suitably called Polly! My dynamic crew were admittedly a bit slower going up!

My dynamic crew in EF Pro Cycling jerseys just after the hilly climb on the Inner Circle route!

The Nutty Tandemers stopped for another fun photo opportunity at the viewpoint which has a magnificent vista over the whole island. The heather at the viewpoint was at its best and provided a truly halcyon aroma to the photographic frolics which saw the “old gal decide she would pose for a shot on the front – just to see if anyone could spot what was “wrong” or “different” about the picture!

Spot what’s “wrong” with this photo! Answers on a postcard …. (Clue – who is on the front!)

The “old git” trying to merge in with the fabulous aromatic purple heather.

Jane with the “old gal” at the viewpoint on the hilly Inner Circle route.

The “old git” and “old gal” posing with their Tour de France EF Pro Cycling jerseys!

But amazingly Strava showed that on the descent, to my absolute delight as an “old lady” tandem, that Team Matilda was awarded gongs for two different sectors for being “9th fastest in the world” and “10th fastest in the world”! I may be old – but I am still fast!

Team Matilda heading downhill to record a 9th fastest in the world Strava gong!

The “old gal” said it must be something to do with my dynamic crew’s weight and the resulting momentum downhill! The “old git” said it was the fact that he rarely uses brakes on steep drops which always brings screams from my back seat from the “old gal” who is a bit of a scardey-cat Stoker! But that is all part of the fun!

After re-grouping back in town the crews decided on a final clockwise “speed lap”! There was an epic fail for my dynamic crew here tho as they failed to break their own lap record by just FIVE seconds! Back in April 2018 they recorded a time of 38 minutes dead, but today’s time was 38 mins and 5 seconds much to the chagrin of the “old git” who was really going for it and very keen to break Team Matilda’s existing record! He blames having to slow down for people wandering onto the road as they came down the main street in the town!

Next up was an amazing – and highly recommended – Gin High Tea at Round Island Cafe which my dynamic crew decided would be a fitting way to eat for the Nutty Tandemers!

A great way to end a Nutty Tandemers ride with the fab Gin High Tea at the Round Island Cafe

And it most certainly was! Great fun with the gin cocktails poured from a traditional china teapot and drunk from cup and saucers! And mine host Cindy provided an amazing and tasty array of savoury bites, scones and cream, and cakes and sweet treats! And great value too!

Then it was time for the final few miles pedal back to the slipway and the ferry back to Largs before a final extra mile or so along the promenade to The Pencil monument for Jane and John to record an answer to a British Cycle Quest (BCQ) clue.

Back to the cars and fond farewells. But the good news is that Team Matilda and Team Travelling in Tandem are meeting up for a week long Nutty Tandemers Club tour in John and Jane’s home territory of Redditch in Worcestershire, which will be fabulous!

Back at Matilda’s Rest, the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of a total of 15 gongs – made up of 7 personal bests, 7 second bests; and 1 third best times.

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 46.15 miles with a moving time of 3 hours 42 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.5 mph while the elevation was 854 feet. The maximum speed was 33.3 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 2,071 calories and produce an average power output of 139 W.

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

As a little tribute to the fabulous Nutty Tandemers Club Tour de Costa del Millport the “old git” has pulled together a photo montage video – set to music – to help everyone remember the fun and nuttiness we all enjoyed – so click below and enjoy!

All together a truly sensational Nutty Tandemers Club day out on Millport on bicycles made for two!

Hope you enjoyed the fun and our pictures! And if you did please leave a comment as it’s always good to hear from readers of my blog.