This blog is the story of my dynamic crew having lots of laughs and fun on a Sunday #tandem ride testing new trainers and brakes on a pedal to Bridge of Allan and Dunblane.
There’s not long to go till Team Matilda heads south for the #NuttyTandemers Tour de Suffolk so this ride was used to test out a couple of essential things!
So my dynamic crew decided on a pedal to Bridge of Allan via Auchenlay and Dunblane. You can check out the details of our tandem route by clicking on the Strava map below.
This “old lady” tandem had been in at the “bike doctors” for a pre tour check-up and needed some work done to my brakes. My trusty personal Matilda surgeon John Richards of Richards Cycles in Perth fitted new V-brakes on my front and back wheels to give my dynamic crew some all-important new stopping power!
Seems the old brakes would have failed an MOT and were verging on dangerous! So the “old git” now has new V-brake levers on his handlebar, with the drum brake lever now moved to the “old gal’s” stoker handlebar – opposite her “placebo” additional rear brake lever!
A new bottom bracket was also fitted to the “old git’s” crank as there was quite a bit of movement there.
So the undulating route to Bridge of Allan offered a perfect opportunity to test out the repairs – and the verdict was a resounding pass and a big success! The new V-brakes certainly have an added boost to confidence, tho took a little getting used to for the “old git” as they actually work immediately when the brake levers were applied, unlike the old brakes where braking in advance was a necessity! And my Captain also felt all his pedalling efforts were producing more power output as there was no travel in the bottom bracket.
The other “essential” new thing to be tested was new matching day-glo orange Team Matilda trainers which the “old git” had sourced from adidas. The trainers were specially personalised and colour coordinated for Team Matilda!
With orange trainers and orange helmets Team Matilda certainly won’t be difficult to see! And again the verdict on the new trainers – like the new brakes – was another big success!
Cycling thru Kinbuck on the back roads to Dunblane we once again took the more scenic route via Auchenlay. This continues till the Faery Bridge over the River Allan in Dunblane on the beautiful The National Cycle Network NCN Rt 765.
Dropping down thru Dunblane we headed to Bridge of Allan where we visited the wonderfully friendly La French Epicerie on the high street – a fabulous deli establishing itself as a great destination for all things French!
It was good to see owners Gregory and Corrine again – the couple who fell in love with Scotland on a family holiday from their original base in Lyon that they decided to uproot from France, and move to Scotland to set up their new business venture.
Regular readers of my blog will remember that the Epicerie stocks my dynamic crew’s favourite brand of mustard – Moutardes Fallot (Edmond Fallot). The “old gal” was obviously “as keen as mustard” to re-stock supplies and purchased a jar of all 8 of the different varieties! Yum!
There were also some purchases for my dynamic crew’s la pique-nique – a croque monsieur for the “old gal” and a traditional ham and Comte baguette for the old git” and a couple of slices of their sensational praline tart!
A quick walk round the corner found our regular bench with a river view to enjoy the goodies. But firstly a photo of the “old git” with a baguette in the pouch of his cycling jersey – as historically that’s what the back pockets were used to carry, in the days before energy gels!
Naturally la pique-nique had to have some added fizz, so my La Bouclée wine carrier provided the signature prosecco!
And the sun burst thru the clouds and provided a lovely bit of heat to enjoy – so much so that the “old gal” indulged in a little Stoker’s snoozette power nap!
Re-fuelled and re-energised my dynamic crew headed off on the return leg, and amazingly as we pedalled thru Dunblane we spotted Another Tilly Tearoom! Naturally I had to have my photo taken at my very own tearoom!
Why is it called “Another Tilly Tearoom” I hear you ask? Well it seems it is the sister establishment to the Tilly Tearoom in Tillicoultry!
Obviously I immediately thought of my good friend “the other ‘Tilly the tandem” – crewed by Linda and Jon Reed, who Team Matilda have met now on a couple of rides, most recently from Irvine to Ardrossan – as it seemed such a good fit for Team Tilly!
Now “my” tearoom seemed very busy as there was a big queue outside so my dynamic crew decided to put off sampling the coffee and cakes for another trip – and retired to the nearby Tappit Hen, Dunblane for a loo and refreshment stop!
There was time for an arty photo outside Dunblane Cathedral – which is just opposite the friendly pub – before pedalling back home.
It would need to be said that the return journey was somewhat easier than the last time my dynamic crew did this route, with the return leg being one of their more “interesting” rides as it followed a six hour lovely long languorous lunch at good friend Dot and Bill in Bridge of Allan! Perhaps not surprisingly Team Matilda even managed a few personal best times on the return pedal this time!
Back at Matildas Rest, and after getting his breath back, the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worth a thoroughly pleasing 30 gongs – made up of no less than 12 personal bests; ten 2nd bests and eight 3rd bests.
The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 37.5 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 52 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 13.1 mph given the lumpy conditions. Elevation was 2,209 feet. The maximum speed was 32.2 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 2,448 calories and produce an average power output of 212 W.
Another great fun day out on a bicycle made for two – and new brakes and trainers fully tested and passed with flying colours ahead of the upcoming self-proclaimed Nutty Tandemers Club Tour de Suffolk with fellow founding members John Taylor and Jane Termini Taylor towards the end of September. Team Matilda can’t wait! Look out for updates on my social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter.