A coffee table book of my Musings, lots of tandeming Christmas gifts, and Happy New Year wishes for 2021!!

My new Matildas Musings blog book recounts the fun on the 2020 Nutty Tandemers Club Tour!

Excitement reached fever pitch at Matilda’s Rest when Christmas Day finally arrived! The “old git” – who should really be re-named Santa over the festive period! – made sure everyone had their ‘ho! ho! ho!’ on, whether they wanted to or not!

On Christmas Eve the “old gal” even put on her Christmas jumper to signal she was in the mood for Santa’s arrival! She had whispered to me that there were probably going to be a tandeming related present or two so I was hardly able to contain myself!

And I knew the “old git” had been planning something with my blog as a present for the “old gal” so it was an exciting time! I could hardly sleep and I am sure I heard Santa’s jingle bells as he and Rudolph delivered his presents around rural Perthshire …. naturally in #tandem!

The “old git” was up early on Christmas morning making sure that Santa had arrived – and he certainly delivered … filling the “old gal’s” stockings to overflowing … and he even dropped a few presents in the “old git’s” stockings too! (Yes he does have some …. weird or what!)

Then it was time for my dynamic duo to tear open their presents. The thing the “old git” had been secretly scheming away about was turning all my Musings about our brilliant 2020 Le Tour de Worcs and Warks with the Nutty Tandemers Club into a beautiful hard-back glossy coffee table-style book.

My Musings of our brilliant Nutty Tandemers Club trip turned into a glossy coffee table book.

I must say even I was impressed at the what the “old git” had achieved – and you know I’m not easily impressed! … and as for the “old gal” well she thought it was brilliant! There was even a wee tear in her eye as she read the “old git’s” soppy dedication at the front of the book! Awh shucks!

Each page is in glossy colour and the book is essentially a full record of each day of my blog – including all the photos – as they appeared in my on-line blog! A great permanent record of a fabulous trip! And great fun to flick through and bring back those memories of my dynamic duo’s days in my saddles … oh and not forgetting those amazing prosecco picnics!

And as a special festive season treat for readers of my blog you can take a look at the complete book (in a pdf version) by clicking on the title of the book here or on the photo above: Le Tour de Worcs and Warks with the Nutty Tandemers Club.

I do hope you enjoy re-reading it all again, as much as me and the “old gal” did!

The Nutty Tandemers Club annual calendar on the left and Team Matilda’s on the right.

The Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire was a truly memorable week in #tandem as my dynamic crew were hosted by Jane and John as fellow founding (and only!) members of the self-proclaimed and highly exclusive Nutty Tandemers Club.

Jane and John  – who have their own Travelling In Tandem blog – have the same nutty attitude to tandeming as the “old git” and “old gal” and for what was the fifth annual tour Team Matilda were fortunate to be invited to their new home base of Redditch in Worcestershire in September. Fortunately a relaxation of Covid rules allowed the crews to enjoy a fabulous fun-filled sun-kissed week of tandeming, with plenty of prosecco thrown in purely for hydration purposes!

So naturally my dynamic crew organised a present on my behalf for John and Jane – and designed a personalised Nutty Tandemers Club 2021calendar – with each month having a great memory from our wonderful week together. And, of course, plenty of dates for the 2021 tour!

This multi photo frame contains the best images of our NTC 2020 tour!

There were plenty of #tandem related gifts for my dynamic crew to open too! The “old git” had pulled together the best images of our Nutty Tandemers 2020 tour in a multi photo frame for the “old gal.”

And there was the joint present of new cycling jerseys for my dynamic crew. Regular blog readers will know the “old gal” and “old git” like their bright colours and have a preference for orange – as per their helmets and shoes! So what could be better than the jersey of the CCC pro-cycling team – whose team colours just happen to be bright orange!

They certainly won’t go unnoticed in those! And the “old git” was particularly pleased as his real name is Colin and has changed the meaning of the CCC initials emblazed on the front to advertise a Polish shoe chain, to be Colin’s Cycling Club! Naturally he immediately invited the “old gal” to be the only other member of his club! And she accepted!

The last present was Primrose – the cycling duck! The wooden decorative duck, part of the dcuk collection, was a present from one of the “old gal’s” friends and came complete with helmet and pink jersey! How thoughtful!

Primrose – the cycling duck! Complete with helmet and pink jersey! How thoughtful!

As the year comes to a close my dynamic crew are feeling quite chuffed with themselves after looking over the detailed results from their #tandem efforts revealed by Strava’s 2020 #YearInSport.

Clearly there was a Covid lockdown effect in the figures – but my Captain and Stoker covered 1738 miles in 2020 – which would have taken us as far as Marrakech in Morocco or Istanbul in Turkey if we had kept pedalling in a straight line from our Perthshire base!

The mileage is up a healthy 46% on 2019’s 1190 miles – mainly due to the number of rides jumping 86% to 65, up from 35. Most of the extra rides were during the lockdown period from April to June.

The elevation gain was 71,933 feet – which is the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 2.5 times! This is something my Stoker is particularly proud of – and the elevation was up (literally up and up!) an amazing 52% on 2019’s total of 47,372 feet.

2.5 times Mount Everest!

Total time pedalling was 146.3 hours – or 6 full days in the saddles – up 22% on 120 hours the year before. The average speed over 2020 was 11.9 mph – which marked a significant 20% boost on 9.9 mph in 2019.

Huge number of sMiles along with all those miles for my dynamic crew, showing that is always the smiles not the miles that count! However I do think they will be having a glass of their signature #prosecco to celebrate these figures!

6 full days in my saddles!

This blog is of course great fun to write and I am delighted to report that over the year, according to host WordPress, although my Matildas Musings blog has published just 13 new posts – mainly due to the Covid effect – it has still attracted a record total of nearly 7,700 views from over 60 different countries around the globe.

Matildas Musings blog feed.

The most popular countries are the UK, followed by the USA, Canada, Germany, France and the Netherlands. But my worldwide appeal sees my blogs being red as far afield as Australia, the Philippines, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, China, Chile, and Malaysia.

So, to everyone who has read a blog post – a huge thank you!

And thanks for all your messages of support – whether that be a comment on my blog, or on my Matildas Musings FacebookTwitter Youtube or Strava feeds. If you want to follow me on any of my social media feeds, simply hit any of the images below to access my pages, and then hit follow or subscribe.

Matildas Musings Facebook feed.

Matildas Musings Twitter feed.

Matildas Musings YouTube feed.

Matildas Musings Strava feed.

Team Matildas Musings sincerely hope you continue to find the adventures of the UK’s only blogging tandem entertaining – and that it makes you smile – while finding something that you (as fellow non-professional fun-loving fellow tandemers) can relate to!

And as we approach the bells to mark the end of 2020 – on behalf of my dynamic crew – let me wish you all the best for 2021 … and a safe and better year ahead  … as well as many happy tandeming miles together for you and your team!

Here’s to more fun and nutty adventures in 2021 for Team Matildas Musings as “it’s always better when we’re tandeming together!”

Cheers!

Exploding prosecco! Cheers for a better – and safe – 2021 from Team Matilda!

Christmas greetings to our fellow tandemers who know its always better together! 🎅🏻🤶🏻🎄🎄🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️

Jingle bells, jingle bells
jingle all the way!
Oh what fun
it is to ride
On a tandem made for two …. !!! 

With the big day fast approaching and thoughts turning to turkey and tinsel and mistletoe and wine this “old lady” tandem decided it was time to wish readers of my Matildas Musings blog – and fellow tandemers and cyclists everywhere – a very Merry (Covid free!) Christmas on behalf of Team Matilda!

The “old git” being a huge fan of the Christmas period is in a festive frenzy – while the “old gal” is enjoying the festive spirit (and prosecco!) while trying (and failing!) to exert a calming influence!

My dynamic crew – the “old git” aka my Captain and the “old gal” aka my Stoker – would like to thank you all for reading Matildas Musings and following our fun-filled and nutty adventures in #tandem on a bicycle made for two! It really is the sMiles and not the miles that count for us as we pedal along quiet country roads – many of which are part of the Sustrans Scotland The National Cycle Network.

And thanks for all your messages of support – whether that be a comment here on my blog, or on my Matildas Musings FacebookTwitter or Youtube feeds.

Team Matilda sincerely hope you continue to find the adventures of the UK’s only blogging tandem entertaining – and that it makes you smile – while finding something that you (as fellow non-professional non-lycra-clad fun-loving fellow tandemers) can relate to!

And what a year 2020 has been with the Covid pandemic. Who could possibly have predicted this time last year what the next 12 months have been like?

My dynamic crew feel very fortunate and blessed to have survived the Covid lockdown period of April to early July thanks to their exercise regime of regular fun adventures while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire – and naturally wearing their specially designed tandem face masks when not actually pedalling!

As the UK’s only blogging tandem I decided to pull together a photo timeline of Team Matilda’s life during the pandemic, with a photo from each of their 40 lockdown rides.

The blog post – simply called ‘40 tandem rides; 40 tandem photos; surviving the lockdown on a bicycle made for two‘ – aimed 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.

Amazingly this blog caught the attention of the local Perthshire Advertiser and Team Matilda were featured in the newspaper – in colour and on page 3 no less! You can read the article by clicking on the photo below of the framed cutting which has pride of place in the “old git’s” office or here.

The big event later in the year was The Nutty Tandemers Club 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire. It was truly memorable week in #tandem as my dynamic crew were hosted by Jane and John as fellow founding (and only!) members of the self-proclaimed and highly exclusive Nutty Tandemers Club.

Jane and John  – who have their own Travelling In Tandem blog – have the same nutty attitude to tandeming as the “old git” and “old gal” and for what was the fifth annual tour Team Matilda were fortunate to be invited to their new home base of Redditch in Worcestershire in September. With the Covid pandemic restrictions changing almost daily it was touch-and-go as to whether the tandem teams would be able to get together – but fortunately there were no last minute rule changes and the crews enjoyed a fabulous fun-filled sun-kissed week of tandeming, with plenty of prosecco thrown in purely for hydration purposes!

Naturally I wrote a blog post about our adventures, titled: ‘Nutty Tandemers Club for their 2020 Tour de Worcestershire and Warwickshire‘ which recounts the tour which included an overnight mini break in the William Shakespeare city of Stratford-upon-Avon.

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. And 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 and great escapism from the Covid lockdowns of earlier in the year – resulting in a fabulous experience where you can honestly say that tandeming just doesn’t get much better than this! Delighted too that we have created lots of new nutty images for the memory bank … and of course the annual calendar!

So special festive greetings to our fellow Nutty Tandemers and thanks again to John and Jane for your wonderful hospitality – you certainly couldn’t have been more welcoming! Roll on the 2021 tour!

As a Christmas treat here’s another chance to see Team Matilda’s musical montage of images from that unforgettable week of tandeming with the Nutty Tandemers Club. Just click on the image below.

So here’s to a wonderful festive season to all from the “old git”, the “old gal” and me, “the old lady” Matilda – the star of our show!

And on behalf of all tandem Captains and Stokers everywhere – lets hope Santa fills your Christmas stockings with all the cycling things you have put on your present list!

Mind you, that does make an assumption that you are on the “good tandemers” list rather than the “naughty tandemers” list!

And remember: It truly is always better when you’re together on a tandem”!!

So have a “twice the fun” Merry Christmas – from Matilda, Colin and Diane!

Ho! ho! ho!  🎅🏻🤶🏻🎄🎄🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️

Sunny icy foggy frosty misty ride to socially distanced pitstop at Braco Coffee and return past Gleneagles to see Christmas tree 🎄

You can almost feel or touch the icy cold temperature! Brr!

The alarm shrilled early on Sunday morning as the weather forecast had predicted a fine dry day with temperatures dancing just below 10C – ideal for a late November #tandem ride.

But when the “old git” took a quick look out of the blinds at Matildas Rest it revealed that the forecast was wrong – badly wrong! The reality was that the temperature had plummeted and the cars were showing there had been a hard frost. So plan B was hatched for a delayed start to let the frost lift – so back to bed for an extra hour or so!

Take 2 saw the sun up and breaking thru the clouds to melt the frost. So after a breakfast to provide fuel for the pedalling, my dynamic crew ventured outside to be hit by an icy blast of rather cold air.

The frost may have thawed a bit but clearly the temperature hadn’t risen much! But my intrepid crew decided to set off on their planned route to … in the words of the “old git” … to see what happens!

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

Let’s just say the “old gal” wasn’t showing the same level of enthusiasm – but went along with it as my crew badly needed some fresh air … it would just have been much better if it hadn’t been freezing cold fresh air!

The route was intended to be a quick blast over some quiet rural backroads to Braco – for a warming coffee pitstop – before coming back a new route out towards Crieff then doubling back to Auchterarder.

The first part of the route saw my crew pedal up the long high street in their home town of Auchterader, before more uphill towards Gleneagles and a nice easy and speedy downhill past the world-renowned golf courses.

Despite the cold temperatures the sun kept managing to blast its way thru those clouds which produced some interesting long shadow effects. It would just have been nice if the sun had also produced some warmth! It was however a beautiful winter’s morning!

Gorgeous sunshine produced amazing long shadows – but not warmth!

There were quite a few other cyclists about – although no other tandems! – and the usual exchanges were peppered with the words cold and freezing! If you are in any doubt, just look at the pictures and you can almost feel or touch the cold temperatures! Brrr!

It was a beautiful winter’s morning – with great visibility in parts of the ride.

To be honest, the outward leg to Braco was borderline for tandeming as we encountered a few areas of black ice in the dips where the sun hadn’t been able to do its job – which saw my back wheel slip and lose traction on a couple of occasions. Naturally this caused a bit of alarm in the “old gal” who needs her hands to be in good working order for her hairdressing role.

After dismounting to push past one particularly treacherous spot, my dynamic crew gingerly pedaled on and reached their half way point destination of Braco Coffee – a superb bike-friendly coffee shop. Sensibly the “old git” had done his organisational duties and messaged ahead to book a table – pretty much essential in the current Covid climate to ensure a seat inside. Not sure the “old gal” would have been too happy sitting outside with a takeaway coffee!

My dynamic crew reflected in the right window at Braco Coffee.

We walked in to a great socially distanced and safe environment – with the table reserved for us – complete with a cycle drawing on it, which was a really thoughtful touch! And naturally it had all been sanitised.

Great safe socially distanced service at Braco Coffee! Spot the friendly table reservation!

A welcome strong coffee was the order of the day, with a yummy home made cherry scone – the “old git” added some clotted cream and jam! – and a shared piece of caramel shortcake, which was a delicious treat.

It was the table which had been sanitised – not the “old gal”! – tho she had her own supply!

Just as the “old gal’s” toes were starting to thaw out it was time to leave and head back. Fortunately the sun was now quite bright in the sky and the temperature had risen by a whole degree!!

We pedalled out of Braco, passing the turning to Auchterarder and headed out on the Crieff road for our “new” route home. This was a superb part of the trip with a long gentle rise, followed by an enjoyable equally long downhill stretch. And because it was a main A-class road, the A822 to be exact, the surface was well gritted and less frosty and icy and felt much safer.

The scenic views across the valleys towards both Crieff and Auchterarder provided food to the brain – with low lying fog hugging the valleys creating an interesting atmospheric effect known as cloud inversion.

Low lying fog in the valleys towards Crieff creating an effect known as cloud inversion.

A right turn took us back along a quieter farm road for about three quarters of a mile before we joined the A823 back towards home base. This section was actually very misty – creating a bit of a spooky aura – but after a mile as the elevation rose we climbed out of the foggy conditions.

My crew – feeling just a little festive (as well as cold!) decided to take a quick detour into the grounds of the luxury five-star Gleneagles Hotel  to see the huge Christmas tree. Sadly, due to the Covid restrictions, the resort has been forced to close its doors right thru the usually busy and lucrative festive period, and thru to the beginning of February.

But the resort last week decided to go ahead with the installation of its massive Christmas tree as a gesture to give local residents a festive feeling.

The fab Christmass tree at Gleneagles – which has been sadly forced to close till next year.

Selfie time at the massive Christmas tree at Gleneagles.

After a quick couple of photos my dynamic crew enjoyed the gentle downhill pedal back to base – with the simple pleasures of recording 22 mph figures on two different speed camera signs!

With the temperatures plunging again, and the fog descending once more, my dynamic crew were happy to be back in the warmth of Matilda Rest!

After thawing out – with warm showers – the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of no gongs – which given the somewhat treacherous conditions at times was no great surprise!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 19.2 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 43 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 11.1 mph given the ever changing weather conditions. Elevation was a creditable 1025 feet. The maximum speed was 28.0 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1270 calories and produce an average power output of 184 W.

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

The tandem ride left my dynamic crew feeling extremely virtuous – with that feel-good feeling that only comes after doing some exercise in the fabulous Perthshire countryside on a bitterly cold and foggy winter’s day … but now being back safe and cosy indoors!

But as the “old gal” pleaded: “Can we have a little bit of heat next time, please!”