So here we go again! The start of 2021 and back exactly where we were at the end of March last year – in #lockdown!
My dynamic crew felt very fortunate and blessed to have survived the first 3-month 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, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.
Regular readers will know that as the UK’s only blogging tandem I decided to put together a photo timeline of Team Matilda’s life during #lockdown1 – which you can see here – with a photo from each of their 40 lockdown rides as we clocked up 1000 miles on a bicycle made for two.
The simple aim was to detail our 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 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.
So as we embark on our second period of lockdown the “old git” and “old gal” – like everyone else – have no idea how long this one will last, although the signs are that it will be months not weeks.
My dynamic crew have therefore vowed to try to make each ride different or memorable by living up to Team Matilda’s twin mottos that “its the smiles not the miles that count!” and “it’s always better when we are tandeming together!” We hope you enjoy our #lockdown 2 journey in #tandem with us!
But before detailing our first ride of 2021 I have some big news to reveal! I am delighted to say that my dynamic crew are starting the new year much healthier and fitter, having lost a total of 4 stones between them!
For the last few months they have been following the Keto diet plan to lose some excess weight. The basis of the Keto eating plan is that it limits your net carb intake so that your body metabolizes fat creating energy and ketones. And my ageing tandem frame is delighted to report that Team Matilda have found it easy to follow, with spectacular results!
The “old gal” and the “old git” have each lost 2 stones, or 12.5 kg – which is the equivalent weight of 12 x 1 litre bottles of water! The joint weight loss of my dynamic crew is 4 stones, or 25 kg. Quite an achievement – and worthy of a little bit of self congratulations I think! This “old lady” tandem is certainly looking forward to feeling the effects of a lighter, fitter and healthier crew as we pedal along! Naturally the “old git” had to stage a few fun photos to show just the extent of the weight loss!
There had been some pretty severe wintry weather around our Matildas Rest base – of snow and hard ice – which meant it was unsafe to get out pedalling over the festive period and restricted any exercise to a scenic walk on a local snow covered golf course.
Not surprisingly the “old git” had been climbing the walls to get back on my saddles for the first outing of 2021 and to get my milometer rolling. A bit of a thaw produced a short window of opportunity – accompanied by some bright winter sunshine.
The “old git” did a recce by car of their planned route out towards Braco and back on the Crieff road – but there was still big patches of black ice on the quieter rural farm roads. My dynamic crew therefore decided to stay safe and stick to roads which had been gritted.
You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.
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 their Polish shoe chain sponsors, to be Colin’s Cycling Club! Naturally he immediately invited the “old gal” to be the only other member of his club!
When my dynamic crew did get pedalling after the fun photo session, they enjoyed some wonderful clear blue skies, great visibility and some much needed winter sunshine which produced some lovely long shadow effects!
It certainly helped lift the #lockdown spirits to be out – creating that feel-good factor, despite the bitter cold! We pedalled out of Auchterarder up towards Gleneagles and headed out the Crieff road, with stunning views of the hills.
With the object of the ride simply to get out and get my wheels turning, the “old git” and “old gal” turned round at the next main junction and cycled back – enjoying the feeling of it being considerably easier pedalling up any hills due to their lighter weight and new found fitness!
My dynamic crew pedalled past the closed Gleneagles resort to a flyover across the A9 trunk road to survey traffic levels on the normally very busy route which links central Scotland with the Highlands. It was relatively quiet – but lots more cars and not nearly as quiet as during #lockdown 1.
With the temperature plunging rapidly as the sun dropped in the sky my dynamic due quickly headed for Matildas Rest enjoying the gentle downhill pedal back to base – with the simple pleasures of recording 22 mph figures on two different speed camera signs!
Back in the warmth the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of 3 gongs – all 2nd bests – which given the somewhat treacherous conditions was a bonus!
The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 14.1 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 12 minutes on their first outing of 2021. The average speed was a healthy 11.6 mph – showing the effects of my dynamic crew’s weight loss, despite the bitter cold! Elevation was 521 feet. The maximum speed was 23.7 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 720 calories and produce an average power output of 148 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 great feel-good feeling that only comes after doing some exercise in the fabulous Perthshire countryside on a bitterly cold sunny day … but now being back safe and cosy indoors with a hot coffee!
All in all a great way to start the miles ticking over for 2021 – and indeed #Lockdown 2! Who knows when it will end?