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!
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 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!
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!
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 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!