Lockdown2 Ride12 – Pre Tandem Club AGM cold and windy ride where snoods essential but new top speed record on Mill of Drummond loop.

Tandem Club snoods were essential on a cold windy tandem ride prior to the club’s AGM later!

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew enjoyed a fun #Lockdown2 Ride12 – a pre Tandem Club AGM cold and windy #tandem where the Club’s snoods were essential, but hit a new top record speed on a Mill of Drummond loop.

It was Tandem Club UK AGM day on Saturday, so what better way to spend the morning than out on a bicycle made for two – although the weather had taken a sharp turn for the worse from last week’s warmish sunshine.

The “old git” and “old gal” were keen to get back out in tandem to get some much needed exercise for their 12th #lockdown adventure – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes. You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

The strong winds of around 15mph created a “feels-like” temperature of just 3C which meant that the new Tandem Club snoods were an essential item of kit!

The aim was to have a quick blast round the Mill of Drummond/Muthill loop – and hopefully set a few PBs – but it was obvious when cycling out of our home town of Auchterarder that this was going to be a ride of gritty endurance rather than one of speed!

It was hard going tandeming into the fierce headwind all the way out past Gleneagles towards Braco. Turning left at the junction with the A8222 did little to ease the windy conditions and we pedalled bravely on to the highest point for the briefest of stops for a quick photo.

Great views from the highest point on the ride – but it was a day of gritty endurance!

We then turned left at the Mill of Drummond signpost and had fun on the great 4.5 mile section which weaves thru local farms on an impressively surfaced road – albeit a narrow country road, with passing places! This route is part of the Muthill Sportive routes – tho usually used in the opposite direction – but my dynamic crew enjoyed the adrenalin-inducing roller-coaster style undulations.

This section ends with a great steep downhill section past Muthill Golf Course – which includes a 9% decline – and the “old git” was determined to get the speedometer over the 40mph barrier!

So it was heads down and pedal fast! The speed picked up … in line with the high pitched screams from my rear saddle from the “old gal” … and just as Team Matilda “flew” over the last hump my handlebar speedometer went past the 40 mph mark … just in time for a sharp bit of braking before joining the main road again!

But as all cyclists know … it is only really an “official” record when it comes up on Strava to be recorded for posterity. And there was much joy from the “old git” when Strava did indeed record a top speed of 41.2 mph on that section! And that is in fact a new Team Matilda speed record! Woooo!

Strava confirmed Team Matilda’s new 41.2 mph top record speed!

A quick stop for a DIY coffee at Muthill allowed my crew to return to normal status – the “old git” coming down from his euphoric high while the “old gal” came back up from her state of shock!

As we left Muthill on the backroads there was a light shower, but fortunately it dried up by the time we reached Tullibardine – before the final section of the Easthill climb! Don’t think the “old gal” would have been too happy doing that … into the wind … and the rain! As it was the wind was hard enough!

Despite the poor weather, it was good to be out and the ride clocked another 21 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer, taking the total to 276 miles from the 12 rides completed so far.

Back at Matildas Rest, the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being amazingly worthy of 7 gongs given the weather – over and above the new Team Matilda top speed record – three personal bests; two 2nd bests; and three 3rd bests! No “Local Legend” accolades tho!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 21.6 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 42 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.7 mph despite the ever present wind! Elevation was 1,286 feet. The maximum speed was that new record of 41.2 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,463 calories and produce an average power output of 214 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D mapping video – so click here to view or on the image below.

So after all the drama of breaking that speed record, it was time later in the afternoon for my dynamic crew to “attend” their first AGM of The Tandem Club – albeit by Zoom!

It was great to see people – even if on an electronic screen due to the current Covid restrictions – and put some faces to some names! There was even a nice thankyou for the “old git’s” social media activities on behalf of the Club.

But in an epic fail the “old git” forgot to take a photo of the AGM in action on the Zoom screen – so sadly there is no image! Aaaagh!

But despite the far from ideal conditions for tandeming, there were hugely positive feelings from #Lockdown2 Ride12. My dynamic crew continue to feel lucky, fortunate and blessed to be able to keep healthy – mentally and physically – with our madcap #tandem adventures on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

With the ride and Zooming in on the AGM, all in all it was a great day in #tandem! Can we just have the warmer weather back please?!

Lockdown2 Ride11 – Return pedal to La French Epicerie in Bridge of Allan for more mustard and la pique-nique avec fizz with Anne and Alan

La pique-nique avec fizz in the sun at Bridge of Allan with Anne and Alan.

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew had a fabulous sunny #Lockdown2 Ride11 tandem which involved a return pedal to La French Epicerie in Bridge of Allan for more mustard and la pique-nique avec fizz with good friends Anne and Alan.

Again Team Matilda struck it lucky with the weather gods who offered bright sunshine all the way for this #lockdown adventure! And with the relaxation of Covid rules here in Scotland – allowing four people from 2 households to meet up outside – we were delighted to welcome good solo cycling friends Anne and Alan on the pedal with us!

It was my dynamic crew’s first ride of astronomical Spring – so based on the forecast for sun, and little wind,  my La Bouclée wine carrier made an appearance – with a bottle of fizz on board for the first of our trademark and infamous prosecco picnics of the year!

Again the visibility was sensational as we followed Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes. You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

After “picking up” Anne and Alan as we pedaled up the high street of our home base of Auchterarder, we headed out past Gleneagles towards Braco. A left turn at the A822 this time and just before the centre of Braco headed right to Dunblane on a great gently undulating road thru Kinbuck.

Superb shadows were being created by the welcome sunshine – and the “old gal” managed to keep her balance on my back seat while filming an arty shadow effect video as we tandemed towards Dunblane – click here to view or on the image below.

There was a quick stop for breath and water at the A9 flyover just before Dunblane to check out traffic levels on the main trunk road north to Inverness – and it was still fairly quiet as many drivers continue to follow the latest #lockdown “stay local” advice.

The “old gal” checking out #lockdown traffic levels on the A9 at the Dunblane flyover

There was also a great photo opportunity when the “old git” noticed the reflection of the riders in the “old gal’s” sunglasses and got her to stay motionless (quite a feat!) while he got that essential photo!

Reflective moment ! The “old git” Anne and Alan reflected in the “old gal’s” sunglasses!

Tandeming on we enjoyed the drop down from Dunblane to Bridge of Allan for a return visit to the superb La French Epicerie on the high street – a wonderful new deli offering great goodies to takeaway. It’s no secret that the “old git” and “old gal” like their ‘petit peu de français’ – having toured the country by tandem on many occasions. So it was good to see owners Gregory and Corrine again – the couple who fell in love with Scotland on a family holiday from their base in Lyon in France and decided to uproot from France, and move to Scotland to set up a new business venture.

In far from ideal timing the Epicerie opened in the midst of the #lockdown but it is quickly establishing itself as a great destination for all things French! Regular readers of my blog will remember my post about our first visit at the end of February where my dynamic crew were delighted to find the deli stocked their favourite brand of mustard – Moutardes Fallot (Edmond Fallot). So needless to say the “old gal” was … yes you’ve guessed … “as keen as mustard” to buy some more jars!

And Gregory and Corrine were so happy with my blog post about their new venture that they offered Team Matilda fresh hot waffles – with some toffee sauce – as a thankyou gesture! Oh well if you insist!

Purchases made the two crews headed to the busy riverside area, and after a short wait found a suitable bench for la pique-nique avec fizz! A surreptitious popping of the prosecco cork – so as not to attract too much attention – was followed by a toast to being able to be out in the glorious sunshine with friends! And it felt soooo good for my dynamic crew!

Cheers! Fab sunny prosecco picnic for the cycling crews at Bridge of Allan

The “old gal” enjoyed her French smoked sausage and cheese while the “old git” had a yummy baguette with ham and Comte cheese before both had a superb slice of sugar coated almond tart!

Perhaps fuelled by the prosecco the “old gal” asked Anne if she had ever been on a tandem before. Her reply was negative so naturally the “old git” offered to give her a quick taster! So to much laughter and applause from the “old gal” and Alan off they pedalled to give Anne a shot as my new stoker – albeit just a short couple of hundred yards, but with a sharp u-turn included to add to the fun!

New Stoker for Matilda! Anne takes a shot on my back seat … and enjoyed it!

Naturally the “old gal” was on hand to video Anne’s experience and she even said that it was “fantastic” tho I know that she found having no control being a bit nerve-wracking, as she is used to being in total control of her solo bike. But the “old git” was gentle with her as it was her first time on the back of a bicycle made for two! Click here to view the video or on the image below. 

Re-fuelled after a wonderful pique-nique (avec fizz!) we set off on the return leg which involves an initial tough few miles of climbing from Bridge of Allan up thru Dunblane. It was a quick pedal back to Auchterarder with the sun beating down on the backs of my dynamic crew – who even divested themselves of their bright yellow jackets for the final series of climbs back to Gleneagles!

A quick spurt saw the “old git” and “old gal” cheer as they matched their 27mph record on the speed camera coming into town before returning to Matildas Rest having clocked another 36 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer taking the total to 255 miles from 11 rides completed so far.

The sun was warm enough to dispense with the bright yellow Team Matilda jackets!

Team Matilda were delighted that, carefully following the new Covid rules, Anne and Alan joined us in the garden again for some post-ride #gins and snacks – complete with social distancing. It was great to be able to do something so normal again after so many months of not being able to socialise.

While enjoying the gin(s!) the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as as being worthy of a most satisfyingly 37 gongs – including no less than 18 personal bests … along with 10 2nd bests; and nine 3rd bests! No “Local Legend” accolades tho!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 36 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 38 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 13.6 mph, probably due to the lower wind! Elevation was 1,944 feet. The maximum speed was 32.0 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 12,134 calories and produce an average power output of 201 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D mapping video – so click here to view or on the image below.

Once again there were hugely positive feelings from #Lockdown2 Ride11. My dynamic crew continue to feel lucky, fortunate and blessed to be able to keep healthy – mentally and physically – with our madcap #tandem adventures on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

Here’s to more of those rides where the “old git” and “old gal” can feel the warmth of the sun on their legs! … and of course to more prosecco picnics!

Lockdown2 Ride10 – Sunny pedal with friends Anne and Alan as rules start to be relaxed on Muthill loop – and Susan Calman tv feature.

Fab to be out in the great Perthshire outdoors with friend again – selfie smiles with Anne and Alan!

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew had a spectacular #Lockdown2 Ride10 #tandem with friends Anne and Alan as rules start to be relaxed on a Mill of Drummond and Muthill loop. There’s also news of this “old lady” tandem attracting more media fame by amazingly featuring on Susan Calman’s new tv show #HappySpace on the BBC Scotland channel!

The “old git” and “old gal” were keen to get back out in tandem taking advantage of some sunny conditions for their 10th fun #lockdown adventure – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

And what a joy to feel the warm sunshine that was forecast – indeed it was the warmest day of the year so far! Mind you the “old gal” did sarcastically say: “That wouldn’t be hard!” after the many days of harsh winter weather we have experienced since #lockdown began!

And with Covid rules having just been relaxed in Scotland – allowing four people from two households to meet outside – we were delighted to welcome good solo cycling friends Ann and Alan on the ride with us. You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

But before we get to the pedalling, I want to tell the story of how delighted this “old lady” tandem was to make an appearance – albeit a fleeting blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance! – on Susan Calman’s #HappySpace programme on the BBC Scotland channel.

The show features what people have been doing during #lockdown to stay happy! And researchers got in touch with my dynamic crew after seeing the recent media coverage of Team Matilda getting thru #lockdown on a bicycle made for two on the Sustrans website and in the in the March issue of BIKE Magazine Europe.

The “old git” was asked to send in a video showing some tandeming action which was then used in a short section featuring people spending time in their #HappySpace in the great outdoors! Watch the short 26 second clip from the show by clicking here to view or on the image below.

You know I am quite enjoying all this publicity – in fact I am picking up a nickname of being a bit of a media tart! So much so that the “old git” thought about making a sign for my ageing frame proudly pronouncing “Matilda the tandem – as seen on BBC Scotland tv!” … but then thought better of it. Well, truth be told, the “old gal” put her foot down and said no!

So to our ride – which offered quite sensational clear visibility in the bright sunshine. We “collected” Anne and Alan as we cycled up the high street of our home base of Auchterarder, cycling out of town past the still deserted luxury Gleneagles resort and on towards Braco. The wind had dropped – allowing a much more pleasant pedal – and certainly a massive difference from just a few days ago when when the “old git” and “old gal” were being battered by an icy gale!

At the junction with the A822 we all turned right cycling to the highest point of the ride for some “essential” group photos! It was a great feeling to be out in the great outdoors with friends again! And the views across the valley towards the A9 trunk road and the Ochil hills beyond was awe-inspiring.

The “old gal” with Anne and Alan enjoying the sun and views at the highest point of the ride.

We turned left at the Mill of Drummond signpost and enjoyed the fabulous 4.5 mile route which weaves thru local farms on an impressively surfaced road. Anne and Alan hadn’t been on this particular loop before – and were duly impressed at the route which forms part of the Muthill Sportive  –  although in the opposite direction!

Anne and Alan agreed that the undulations create an adrenalin-inducing roller-coaster style pedal with some enjoyably steep downhills … the best of which is the drop down past the local golf club. The “old git” was told to be on his best behavior tho by the “old gal” as we were leading the ride, and it would have been rude to lose our guests! And he obeyed which meant my dynamic crew did not beat their previous 38.7 mph speed on that section. But as the “old git” thought – there is always another day for that! Just don’t tell the “old gal” or his ears will be pierced by the screaming from the back of my frame!

There was time for a scheduled DIY coffee and cake stop in the centre of the village of Muthill at the fascinating Muthill Old Church and Tower– which dates back to the 1100s and is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. The churchyard offered a secluded and wind-free spot – ideal for the coffee break and a (socially distanced!) chat! And of course the opportunity for more photos!

All matching! – the “old git” and “old gal” enjoying the sunshine for the DIY coffee stop at Muthill.

Anne and Alan enjoying the warmth of the sun at Muthill – Anne even took her jacket off!

The “old gal” and Anne enjoying a bit of catching up on gossip -socially distanced style!

The quiet backroad return from Muthill was a speedy affair – with an amazingly quick ascent of the steep Machany ridge sector – before pedalling back to Auchterarder.

Fantastic endorphins buzzing thro my dynamic crew’s bodies on returning to Matildas Rest from the pedal – which clocked another 22 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer, taking the total to 219 miles from the 10 rides completed so far.

Carefully following the new rules, Anne and Alan joined us in the garden for a post-ride #gin – complete with social distancing! It was a real pleasure to be able to do such a “normal” activity again – and have a “real” ‘Gin Lounge’ meeting (albeit outside) rather than a virtual one over Zoom! And the weather played along offering some warm sunshine to enjoy the drinks!

Cheers! The crew’s enjoying a welcome post ride gin in the garden – as rules now allow!

While enjoying the gin the “old git” checked Strava to discover that my dynamic crew had been awarded no less than SEVEN new “Local Legend” accolades! This was the subject of much humour – as “Local Legend” riders the “old git” and the “old gal” are not! But it was obviously a good excuse for a celebratory gin toast! After all – a “Local Legend” accolade is an accolade not to be sniffed at!

Strava officially recorded the ride as being worthy of a very pleasing 21 gongs – which after the 7 “Local Legends” left 14 made up of a spectacular nine personal bests; one 2nd best; and four 3rd bests. And the best bit for the “old gal” was that one of the PBs was on her personal nemesis of Easthill! As the “old git” quipped: “So no more excuses now!” Tho she did retort that it was probably due to the warm sunshine and a lack of wind. And she probably has a valid point there!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 22.0 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 44 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.8 mph despite the ever present wind! Elevation was 1,282 feet. The maximum speed was 35.3 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,442 calories and produce an average power output of 207 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D mapping video – so click here to view or on the image below.

Once again there was a hugely positive feelgood factor from #Lockdown2 Ride10 for my dynamic crew – underlining what fun it is being out pedalling on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

So here’s to more sunshine – allowing the “old git” and “old gal” to get some sun on those legs! And of course, don’t forget to wave if you recognise us from our appearance on television! Lol!

Lockdown2 Ride9 – There’s snow on them there hills on Breezy Braco Burl!

There’s snow on them there hills – which created a rather chilly breeze!

This shortish blog is the story of how my dynamic crew enjoyed a fun #Lockdown2 Ride9 #tandem adventure which featured There’s snow on them there hills on a breezy Braco burl!

The “old git” and “old gal” were champing at the bit to get back out in tandem taking advantage of some sunny conditions for their ninth fun #lockdown adventure – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

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

Despite the wind – and the wind chill giving a “feels like” temperature of just 3C which meant that the new Tandem Club snoods were de rigueur – it was again a joy to be out in the bright sunshine on beautiful rolling Perthshire countryside. And again Team Matilda luckily managed to avoid the showers which were forecast for later in the day!

Beautiful clear visibility and stunning sunshine as we set off from our home base of Auchterarder, again cycling out of town past Gleneagles and on towards Braco – battling a really fierce headwind, which at times quite literally took the “old gal’s” breath away!

But we heroically pedalled on and at the junction with the A8222 we turned right – enjoying the break from the wind pummeling into our faces as we pedalled to the highest point in the ride for a breather and a few pictures.

Stopping for a breather and taking in the views over the stunning Perthshire countryside!

My dynamic crew were rewarded with stunning views across the valley towards the main A9 trunk road and the Ochil hills which had a new snow cap on them from the recent stormy weather here.

As the “old git” said: “There’s snow on them there hills” – which the “old gal” thought was pretty obvious and gave one of her less-than-impressed long-suffering looks. But the point he was trying to make was it was the reason behind the rather chilly breeze blasting into my dynamic crew!

Yes, that’s definitely a fresh fall of snow! No wonder it was a tad on the chilly side on our Braco Burl!

The bright sunshine created brilliant shadows and kept spirits high – including a fun selfie with both the “old git” and “old gal” once again requiring to wear the new Tandem Club snoods for warmth … rather than just as a fashion statement!

A fun selfie of Team Matilda in the bright sunshine – complete with Tandem Club snoods!

Re-breathed my dynamic crew tandemed on – this time ignoring the left turn for Mill of Drummond and headed on the route to Crieff – with the sun-kissed snow-topped mountains behind the town providing real brain food for my dynamic crew!

A right turn took us along a superb farm road to Machanay before another right turn onto the main Crieff to Auchterarder road and back towards Gleneagles.

Great joy as Team Matilda – with the wind behind them – enjoyed the downhill Orchil road stretch and hit a new record on the speed camera approaching the town of 27 mph! Oh the simple pleasures!

Great feelgood factor on returning to Matildas Rest from the exercise – which clocked another 16 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer taking the total to 197 miles from the 9 rides completed so far.

And the day got even better when the “old git” checked Strava to discover that my dynamic crew have been awarded yet another of the “Local Legend” accolades – this time for an uphill section just before the highest point, known as Muir of Orchil. This caused the “old git” and the “old gal” much amusement given the fact that they are so very far from “local legend” status cyclists!

But a “local legend” accolade is an accolade no matter what – and my dynamic crew were quietly chuffed!

Strava officially recorded the ride as being worthy of 8 gongs – four personal bests; two 2nd bests; one 3rd best; and the “local legend”! The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 16.5 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 15 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 13.1 mph despite the ever present wind! Elevation was 878 feet. The maximum speed was 34.0 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,028 calories and produce an average power output of 203 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D mapping video – so click here to view or on the image below.

Once again there were hugely positive endorphins from #Lockdown2 Ride 9 for my dynamic crew – underlining what fun it is being out pedalling on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

But as the chittering “old gal” quipped: “Hopefully the next ride will be less windy – and a tad warmer!”

Lockdown2 Ride8 – Retro Ag2r jersey-clad reprise of Mill of Drummond loop with arty DIY coffee stop at Muthill and Matilda discovers another ‘Tilly!

The retro AG2R Team jerseys made a (brief) appearance from under the hi-vis jackets at Muthill!

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew enjoyed a fun #Lockdown2 Ride8 #tandem adventure with a retro Ag2R Citroen Team Le Tour de France jersey-clad reprise of Mill of Drummond loop with an arty DIY coffee stop and photoshoot at Muthill. There’s also news of this “old lady” tandem amazingly discovering another tandem called ‘Tilly!

The “old git” and “old gal” were keen to get back out in tandem taking advantage of calmer conditions and a break from the recent dreich weather for their eighth fun #lockdown adventure – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

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

But before we get to the pedalling, I want to tell the story of how delighted this “old lady” tandem was when I got a message on my Facebook feed saying: “I’d like to say hi to my namesake and look forward to following your blog!” Amazingly there is another Matilda tandem out there – tho she is affectionately called ‘Tilly for short!

You will remember that Team Matilda was featured in the March issue of BIKE Magazine Europe – over 5 pages in glorious technicolour! Well it was read with interest by a couple called Linda and Jon Reed – who are based in Norwich – who have been riding tandems for 25 years!

Linda said they loved the article in the magazine and wanted to reach out to say hello given the coincidence of the name! Their granddaughter shortened their Matilda to ‘Tilly!

She added: “‘Tilly is a Viking Serengeti and is our 3rd tandem. Over the years we have modified her with lots of bits and pieces, bespoke built wheels and a Rolhof hub – which have been great for touring. In normal times, pre Covid, we normally tour 2 or 3 times a year and ‘Tilly has notched up 39,000 kms and been to no less than 48 countries.

The “other” ‘Tilly the tandem – enjoying a more exotic climate than Scotland!

Linda continued: “Until we get back to more normal times, like you we’re out and about as often as we can making use of roads a bit closer to home … but in our part of the world it’s a bit flatter than where you are! And this is another stoker who doesn’t like hills!”

The remarkable number of coincidences continue as Linda and Jon also have a blog in which they recount their adventures on ‘Tilly the tandem, and “Ten Tonne Taffy” – or “FatTaf” for short – their “beast” of a motorhome.

Tilly’s blog ident!

And this social media shout-out may lead to me meeting “the other” Matilda as Linda and Jon are currently planning and mapping their next tour, a post Covid “slow pedal north to Scotland.” If they get near our area – they are keen to link up with the “old git” and the “old gal” to give the two Matildas the chance to meet up! How exciting would that be?! I can’t wait!

The “other” ‘Tilly is a Viking Serengeti and weighs about 22kg naked and unloaded!

So to our ride – it was a real joy to be out on beautiful rolling countryside on quiet farm roads. And the best part of the trip was that despite a rather iffy weather forecast, Team Matilda successfully managed to dodge the showers. Fortunately not a spot fell on my dynamic crew – despite the evidence of rather wet roads on the last few miles, showing that there had been heavy showers.

It was fairly cloudy as we set off from our home base town of Auchterarder, tandeming out of town past Gleneagles and on towards Braco. At the junction with the A822 we turned right pedalling to the highest point of the ride – where a quick stop for a breather saw us capture (just) a huge flock of geese which decided to descend as the “old git” took a photo of the “old gal!”

Spot the geese! A huge flock of geese decided to descend as the “old gal” posed for a photo!

Beautiful rolling rural Perthshire countryside… and even a spot of blue sky!

Then a left turn at the Mill of Drummond signpost and a reprise of a wonderful 4.5 mile route thru local farms on amazingly well surfaced rural roads. This is part of the route used for the Muthill Sportive– but in reverse!

It is quite undulating but also quite adrenalin-inducing in a roller-coaster kind of way with some steep downhills – especially hurtling down past Muthill Golf Course before having to brake before re-joining the main road! The “old git” managed to get the Strava speedometer to register 38.7mph … despite the loud screams from the back! So obviously the target the next time on this route is to hit the 40mph barrier … but shhhh! Don’t tell the “old gal” just yet!

My dynamic crew stopped in the centre of the village of Muthill for an arty DIY coffee stop at the fascinating Muthill Old Church and Tower– which dates back to the 1100s and is now in the care of Historic Environment Scotland. Here the “old git” decided to express his inner artist and get a shot thru one of the ruined arches to a carpet of snowdrops.

An arty shot at Muthill Old Church and Tower … spot the snowdrops!

There were also some fun photos of Team Matilida where they (briefly!) removed their hi-vis jackets to reveal their retro Ag2r Tour de France cycling jerseys!

It’s always better when we’re tandeming together! Ag2r photoshooot laughs!

It’s the smiles not the miles that count for Team Matilda! More Ag2r photoshoot fun!

Photo shoot over it was jackets back on quickly to keep out the cold chill – and enjoy the welcome DIY coffee and cake! Then a breeze of a tandem cycle back to Auchterarder – including the masochistic pleasure of recording a personal best at the steep Machany Bridge sector. My dynamic crew also took 21 seconds off our time from our last effort on our personal nemesis of Easthill. Just another 20 seconds to go for a new PB there!

Great feelgood factor on returning to Matildas Rest from the exercise – which clocked another 22 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer taking the total to 181 miles from the 8 rides completed so far.

And the day got even better when the “old git” checked Strava to discover that my dynamic crew have been awarded the “Local Legend” accolade for no fewer than FOUR different sectors on the route! This causes the “old git” and the “old gal” much amusement given the fact that they are so very far from “local legend” status cyclists!

But a “Local Legend” accolade is an accolade no matter what – and they are quietly chuffed at the same time. Naturally their combined 4 stone weight loss is obviously a contributory factor – but probably more so is the fact that the roads they were pedalling on are clearly “roads less travelled” by local cyclists as the accolade is given for the most efforts on a particular segment over the last 90 days.

Strava officially recorded the ride as being worthy of 13 gongs – five personal bests; four 2nd bests; and the four “local legends”! The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 22.0 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 44 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.6 mph despite the ever present wind! Elevation was 1,285 feet. The maximum speed was 38.7 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,431 calories and produce an average power output of 204 W.

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

Once again there were hugely positive endorphins from #Lockdown2 Ride 8 for my dynamic crew – underlining what fun it is being out pedalling on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

Roll on the next fun spirit-lifting #tandem pedal! And of course roll on that potential meet-up with the “other” ‘Tilly!

Lockdown2 Ride6 – Keen as (french) mustard on pedal to La French Epicerie in Bridge of Allan with la pique-nique (shh!) – and BIKE Magazine feature.

The recently opened La French Epicerie – a fab deli with lots of goodies to takeaway!

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew enjoyed #Lockdown2 Ride6 with a keen as (French!) mustard #tandem to La French Epicerie in Bridge of Allan with la pique-nique! Shhh! There’s also news of a feature on Team Matilda in BIKE Magazine.

It’s no secret that the “old git” and “old gal” like their ‘petit peu de français’ – with Team Matilda having toured the country by tandem on many occasions. So when the “old git” heard about a new highly recommended French deli having opened in Bridge of Allan – there was only one destination for this pedal! And fortunately conditions were dry, but cloudy and relatively calm for their sixth fun #lockdown adventure – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

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

But before we get to the pedalling there was more welcome publicity for Team Matilda as we were featured in the March issue of BIKE Magazine Europe – over 5 pages in glorious technicolour!

The article – which was written by the “old git” – focuses on surviving #lockdown on a bicycle made for two, and the increasing popularity of my blog. It also highlights the growing Tandem Club UK membership numbers, showing the rapidly rising popularity of riding a #tandem!

The magazine is an on-line publication so click on the screen grabs of the feature below, and expand to read! Or you can click here and flick to page 62! (Subscription may be required.)

Bike Magazine feature – pages 62 and 63

Bike Magazine feature – pages 64 and 65

Bike Magazine feature – page 66.

So to our ride – we headed out of our home base town of Auchterarder past Gleneagles and out towards Braco. We then headed to Dunblane – stopping at the A9 flyover which showed the main trunk road was still fairly quiet as a result of drivers following #lockdown rules.

A9 Flyover at Dunblane – still fairly quiet due to #Lockdown2

Pedalling on we dropped down to Bridge of Allan and quickly found La French Epicerie on the high street – a recently opened deli with lots of authentic French culinary goodies on offer.

In fact this “old lady” tandem was ‘as keen as mustard’ to show our purchases, including Team Matilda’s favourite brand of French mustard – Edmond Fallot including a much sought after cassis moutarde! Team Matilda first discovered this ‘real’ French mustard in its home manufacturing town of Beaune during their Tour de Burgundy.

As keen as mustard to show our purchase of our favourite brand of Edmond Fallot mustard.

Gregory, the French owner, came on holiday to Scotland from Lyon with his wife Corrine – and they fell in love with the country and decided to uproot from France and set up in business here. Fabulous story and a great way to start a business! You need to pay a visit!

I was quite overawed at this man with a French accent, and this “old lady” tandem quickly became ‘Gregory’s Girl’ and took quite a shine to Gregory .. or maybe it was his sugar coated almond tarts!

Gregory’s Girl – I took quite a shine to Gregory – or maybe it was his almond tarts!!!!

Purchases made Team Matilda found a “non-picnic” bench to have la pique-nique! (which is obviously ok as it is the French version!)

Luckily we found a ‘non picnic’ bench to have la pique-nique!

The “old gal” was delighted with her selection of French smoked sausage and cheese, while the “old git” had a traditional baguette with ham and Comte cheese – while both had some of that yummy sugar coated almond tart with strong coffee!

The “old gal” happy with the French goodies purchased for la pique-nique.

But what was in their glass! Shhhh … you know what?! Clue: It was Team Matilda’s favourite “tonic”! Just don’t tell Nicola! (But for the avoidance of doubt … this is all tongue-in-cheek!)

But what’s in the glass?! Shhh … you know what?! Clue: Team Matilda’s “tonic”!

A superb selection for la pique-nique – and the good news is that La French Epicerie is planning to add French cheese and wine to their range soon … and knowing my dynamic crew’s penchant for le fromage et le vin, there is no doubt Team Matilda will be making a return visit!

Re-fuelled we set off on the return leg enjoying the ease at which we climbed some of the hills – a direct and noticeable benefit for Team Matilda’s combined 4 stone weight loss.

The “old gal” – who you’ll remember “doesn’t do hills” was even heard to say that this was so much easier! Maybe my dynamic crew do do hills now!

On the way back the results of la pique-nique required a loo stop – and the only place that was open with a loo was the M&S Foodhall in Dunblane … so, to coin a phrase from their adverts, “it wasn’t just any loo stop” – obviously!

To coin a phrase from their adverts, “it wasn’t just any loo stop” – obviously!

There was even the joy of breaking Team Matilda’s speed camera records on two cameras coming back into Auchterarder – setting new high’s of 26 mph (on the downhill one) and 24 mph (on the flat!) As we always say – simple pleasures!

There was a real feelgood factor when we returned to Matildas Rest – having clocked another 36 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer – which now sits at 134 miles for the 6 rides completed so far.

Back at Matildas Rest – with a huge feelgood factor after a fantastic outing – the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as as being worthy of an amazing 31 gongs – including four personal bests; 15 2nd bests; and 10 3rd bests! And incredibly once again the other 2 gongs were for being awarded “local legend” status on a sector – this time in both directions!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 36.0 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 53 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.5 mph despite the always present wind! Elevation was 1,950 feet. The maximum speed was 30.9 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 2,326 calories and produce an average power output of 193 W.

As always the route is brought to life in our Relive 3D mapping video – so click here to view, or on the image below.

Once again there were hugely positive feelings from #Lockdown2 Ride6. My dynamic crew continue to feel lucky, fortunate and blessed to be able to keep healthy – mentally and physically – with our madcap #tandem adventures on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

Roll on the next fun spirit-lifting #tandem pedal!

Lockdown2 Ride5 – Muc-Off clean up and fab new route to Mill of Drummond before our nemesis of Easthill!

Muc-Off works wonders leaving this “old lady” shining bright after the ignominy of a bath!

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew had a fun Friday with a Muc-Off outside bath clean up (for me!) followed by a sunny #tandem pedal on a fab new route to Mill of Drummond and Muthill before tackling our psychological nemesis of Easthill.

The “old git” and “old gal” decided to take advantage of sunny calm conditions for their fifth fun #lockdown adventure – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

Team Matilda decided to have a pedal on some new (to us!) quiet rural farm roads. You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

But before the pedalling, the day started with this “old lady” having the ignominy of having a bath (actually a cold water shower!) in the back garden at Matildas Rest! My dynamic crew even had to protect my saddles from the hose using their waterproof seat covers!

Truth be told I was badly in need of a spruce up as I had become a rather mucky tandem! The sun was out so it wasn’t too bad and I have to say that this Muc-Off stuff certainly worked wonders, showing that – despite my age – that I can still scrub up rather well! I was well chuffed with the results – sporting a gleaming frame again!

My dynamic crew had to protect the saddles from the hose tho! But this “old lady” scrubs up well!

Then after lunch – which allowed me to dry off and warm up! – Team Matilda pedalled off in glorious sunshine. The first part of the ride saw us head out of our home base town of Auchterarder on a familiar route past Gleneagles and out towards Braco.

A right turn took us on to the A822 – with a brief stop to take in the stunning views across the valley towards the A9 trunk road. Then Team Matilda decided to explore a left turning signposted to Mill of Drummond.

The magnificent views across the valley towards the A9 trunk road.

Left turn before enjoyed fab scenic countryside on well surfaced farm roads thru Mill of Drummond.

This was a sensational route on beautifully smooth surfaced roads thru fab scenic farming countryside – and is highly recommended. After Mill of Drummond the road drops down past Muthill golf course into the village of Muthill itself.

A long straight stretch, about a mile long, tree-lined all the way. Highly recommended!

My dynamic crew had done this section a couple of times – but in the opposite direction when taking part in the Muthill Sportive. Pedalling in this direction certainly involved a whole lot less climbing! Incidentally due to the current Covid restrictions the 2021 Sportive – which is usually held in June is now planned to be on Saturday 4 September. Organisers say the registration link will go live after the Easter holidays. One for Team Matilda’s diary I hope!

Causing a diversion – the “old gal” trying to divert attention from the DIY outside coffee!

In Muthill my dynamic crew tried to cause a diversion – by sitting behind huge yellow roadwork diversion signs! – to try to divert attention away from a brief DIY coffee and cake stop. This was partaken on a lovely bench outside Muthill Old Church and Tower – which dates back to the 1100s.

Lovely bench outside the historic Muthill Old Church and Tower which dates back to the 1100s.

Pedalling back from Muthill was a joy – and Team Matilda even found a way thru the closed section of road – due to roadworks – at Tullibardine … thanks to two friendly road workers who happily lifted this old lady over the barriers! They were healthy strapping lads! And whisper it but I am sure I saw the “old gal” look on enviously! They even offered to help when she got temporarily stuck trying to get her leg over the barrier! Let’s just say her face was as bright red as my newly cleaned frame! Sadly – and most unusually – the “old git” failed to capture a picture of this!

After that bit of drama it was time for my dynamic crew to tackle their personal psychological nemesis of Easthill … but I am glad to report that they found it much easier than expected … indeed recording their 5th ever fastest time on that sector! Which given the rustiness caused by the recent snow lay-off was more than a little pleasing. Me thinks the fact that they have jointly lost 4 stone between them may just have been a bit of a helpful factor too! Maybe they are actually getting the hang of this tandeming lark after all!

There was a real feelgood factor when we returned to Matildas Rest – having clocked another 20 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer – which now sits at 99 miles for the 5 rides completed so far.

Back at Matildas Rest – with a huge feelgood factor after a spectacular outing – the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as as being worthy of 7 gongs – including no less than four personal bests and one 3rd best! And amazingly, again the other 2 gongs were for being awarded “local legend” status on two separate sectors! So I guess my dynamic crew are getting that bit fitter as they grind out the miles! This was definitely the cause for celebration and a screen grab of Strava was again taken to be recorded for posterity!

Local legend status again on Strava!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 22.0 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 50 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.0 mph despite the presence of the wind! Elevation was 1,283 feet. The maximum speed was 32.2 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,477 calories and produce an average power output of 200 W.

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

Once again there were hugely positive endorphins from #Lockdown2 Ride 5 for my dynamic crew – underlining what fun it is being out pedalling on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

Another slightly longer route is planned in the next day or so to allow Team Matilda to be out in tandem to clock up more #lockdown miles on another fun spirit-lifting adventure!

Lockdown2 Ride3 – First ride in Tandem Club snoods after long snow lay-off and enjoying Sustrans publicity focus on Team Matilda!

Bringing out our inner Audrey Hepburn in the new Tandem Club anniversary snoods!

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew finally got back on my saddles after a long months enforced lay-off due to heavy snow and ice with the “old git” and “old gal” having their first outing wearing their new Tandem Club UK snoods. It also features Team Matilda enjoying being the subject of a publicity focus from Sustrans, who look after The National Cycle Network.

A whole 34 days after the second ride of #Lockdown2 the weather decided to warm up a bit and finally thawed the heavy snow and thick ice which had turned our home area in Auchterarder in south Perthshire into a permafrost winter wonderland.

The snow lay to a depth of around a foot at Team Matilda’s Auchterarder base.

Now as tandemers and cyclists know, snow and icy conditions are not remotely conducive to pedalling so my dynamic crew were stuck in doors – looking out at the snow which lay to a depth of about a foot.

The “old gal” and the “old git” did make good use of their time by embarking on a major DIY “Changing Rooms”-style project at Matildas Rest – decorating every room in the house over a four week period!

The “old gal” in “Changing Rooms” mode – wallpapering the bedroom with a zebra mural!

But despite their dedication to the DIY – and becoming “experts” at painting and wallpapering! – my dynamic crew were desperate to continue their second #lockdown adventures – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

There had been a glimmer of of hope that we would be able to get out on a romantic St Valentine’s Day pedal on our bicycle made for two – but the weather sadly decided not to play Cupid.

The “old git” and “old gal” did however have some heart-warming loved-up tandeming publicity to keep them occupied over their hot #lockdownlurve Valentine date night as Sustrans timeously decided to feature my Matildas Musings blog in a question and answer feature in a bid to give romantic inspiration to other cyclists! Naturally it focused on my dynamic crew’s story of how they met – with the headline: “Love on the National Cycle Network: how a tandem-biking blind date brought a couple together.” Click on the image to read the article!

The Sustrans feature.

The amusing feature also focused on the on-going success of my status as the UK’s only blogging tandem bike, and how our fun adventures in tandem help Team Matilda to survive lockdowns – as well as why tandeming is growing in popularity, and our favourite recommended route on The National Cycle Network of Rt 7 from Callander to Killin.

It is actually the second time in recent months that my dynamic crew have been featured by Sustrans as they made a “starring” appearance in a promotional video made to mark the 25th anniversary of The National Cycle Network #NCN25th.

Click on the video below and see if you can spot the “old git” and the “old gal” in their fleeting appearances at 36 seconds; 56 seconds; and at 1 minute 46 seconds! Blink and you will miss them!

All this publicity has been going to my head a bit – as a quiet demure and reserved “old lady” tandem!! – so back to the pedalling! My dynamic crew decided on a simple route to get their legs free from enforced inaction – a Braco loop with (whisper it!) another DIY coffee stop! You can check out the details of our route by clicking on the Strava map below.

The ride gave my dynamic crew their first opportunity to wear their new Tandem Club UK neck scarves – known as snoods or buffs – which was a welcome free gift to all members to commemorate the Club’s 50th anniversary this year in 2021.

As you can see from the picture at the top of this post the “old gal” decided on a pose that brought out my dynamic crew’s inner Audrey Hepburn – the “old git” played along although he was a tad disappointed that they had to make do with “Breakfast at Auchterarder”!

Then “the old gal” promised to take the “old git” on a fun mystery tour after pulling the snood right up over his face so he couldn’t see! At least his sunglasses matched!

The “old gal” promising to take the “old git” on a fun mystery tour!

That nutty picture session continued as that pose was reversed which left the “old gal” looking like she had been kidnapped and forced out on a ride – but she went willingly! … honestly!

The “old gal” looks like she was kidnapped and forced out on a ride! She went willingly … honestly!

Incidentally, if you are a tandem rider, and not a member of the Tandem Club UK – what are you waiting for? Membership is great value at just £15 a couple. For more details of how to join click here!

After a more sensible shot with the snoods as neck warmers it was time for the serious pedalling – with all three members of Team Matilda feeling a bit rusty. It was good to see it wasn’t just me – as an “old lady” #tandem – who was feeling the pain after our enforced lay-off!

But we almost didn’t get to ride as just before we headed off the “old git” decided to test my gears and found my chain was completely clogged up with mud and grit from our last ride – and my pedals wouldn’t turn. Seems the “old gal” had “forgotten” to give me a spruce up after my return to the garage! While the “old git” did his usual panicking routine, the “old gal” took control and in her role as Team Matilda’s chief (and only!) engineer got to work with a hearty doze of chain cleaner and a toothbrush which soon had me back in action!

We headed up thru the high street of our home base town of Auchterarder (the longest high street in Scotland by reputation!) continuing up past the back entrance to the luxury Gleneagles Resort and out towards Braco. We then turned right towards Crieff where we had a rapid (standing!) DIY coffee stop! This “not a picnic” was much required by the “old git” and “old gal” to keep warm!

A welcome cup of coffee for my dynamic crew – but obviously NOT a picnic!

The weather had promised an almost Mediterranean 11C – but there was a fairly fierce wind which meant the temperature never hit those balmy double digit high spots!

We then pedalling back towards Auchterarder – riding thru the plush grounds of the all shut up luxury five star Gleneagles resort, which sadly meant no posh afternoon tea for my dynamic crew! It was however quite sad to see the playground of the rich all closed.

The luxury five star Gleneagles Resort all closed up – so couldn’t get posh afternoon tea!

A quick photo at a flyover over the A9 revealed the trunk road linking the central belt with the Highlands was virtually deserted due to #Lockdown2.

Very quiet during #Lockdown2 on the A9 trunk road linking central belt to the Highlands.

On the final couple of miles back to Matildas Rest there was great joy for my dynamic crew with a new Team Matilda record being flashed up on a speed camera sign coming back into town – at 25 mph! Simple pleasures!

Back indoors – and after finding that my crew’s legs did in fact remember how to pedal! – the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as as being worthy of 5 gongs – including one personal best and two 2nd bests! And amazingly the other 2 gongs were for being awarded “local legend” status on two separate sectors! So I guess the legs were not that rusty! This was definitely the cause for celebration and a screen grab of Strava had to be taken to be recorded for posterity!

“Local Legend” status on Strava!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 19.6 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 44 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 11.3mph despite the fresh headwind! Elevation was 974 feet. The maximum speed was 32.0 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,241 calories and produce an average power output of 177 W.

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

The feel good factor from #Lockdown2 Ride 3 was a welcome feeling – reminding my dynamic crew that despite the vital Covid-19 restrictions, it’s great fun being out pedalling on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

Team Matilda is hoping the Arctic weather has now gone for the winter so they can clock up more #lockdown miles on more fun spirit-lifting adventures!

The Tandem Club neck warmers are a welcome addition to my dynamic crew’s kit!

Lockdown2 Ride2 – Avoiding snow patches on Braco loop with DIY coffee stop (which wasn’t a picnic, officer!)

Wintry skies, and even a patch of winter sunshine, with wonderful views over the A9 valley.

This blog is the slightly delayed story of my dynamic crew identifying a much needed weather window and escaped for a local #Lockdown2 ride – dodging the patches of snow pedalling on a Braco loop with (whisper it!) a DIY coffee stop.

A week after the first ride of the new #lockdown the weather suddenly turned significantly more wintry, resulting in a heavy snow fall. Now as tandemers and cyclists know, snow is not conducive to pedalling so my crew were stuck in doors. The “old git” was so bored he was forced to take a photo showing the only true measure of the depth of snow – the depth it comes up to on a prosecco bottle!

The only true measure of snow depth – where it comes up to on a prosecco bottle!

But of course under the new Scottish Government lockdown rules, my dynamic crew are not currently allowed to have one of their signature prosecco picnics anyway! So obviously it just had to be opened inside!

But the “old git” and the “old gal” were desperate for their second fun #lockdown adventure – while adopting Cycling UK Scotland‘s #cyclingfromhome mantra in #tandem in rural Perthshire, mainly on Sustrans Scotland and The National Cycle Network routes.

Fortunately there was a bit of a thaw over the weekend which removed most of the ice, and the “old git” poured over the weather forecast and identified a weather window for Monday where the temperatures were predicted to hit a balmy 6C over midday. (As you can probably imagine – and much to the “old gal’s” chagrin, the actual temperature was nowhere near 6C!)

The “old git” did a recce by car of their planned route in the morning to check that road conditions were safe – adopting his new role as Team Matilda Health and Safety Officer! – and reported back that the roads were mainly clear of snow with none of the nasty and dangerous black ice.

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

The route was a loop up thru the high street of our Perthshire home base town of Auchterarder (the longest high street in Scotland by reputation!) continuing up past the back entrance to the luxury Gleneagles Resort and out towards Braco.

My dynamic crew had to avoid some fairly serious snow patches en route!

All was going well as we dodged the remaining snow patches – with the weather as forecast and even the added benefit of some winter sun – till about 4 miles into the ride when the sky suddenly darkened and my dynamic crew were hit by a squall.

Fortunately the rain only lasted a few minutes and the “old git” tried to make bright of the situation by pointing out the dramatic rainbows – tho I am not sure the “old gal” was equally as impressed!

A right turn on to the A822 and a pedal towards Crieff brought glorious views over the valley before an “essential” halt in an ice clad lay-by for a much needed DIY coffee and caramel cake stop – which was obviously not a picnic (officer!) as we didn’t sit down!! (It was far too chilly!!)

Essential DIY coffee stop which obviously wasn’t a picnic (officer!) – as it was too cold to sit down!

Again the views over towards the sun-kissed snow-capped hills behind Crieff were real lockdown brain food! And the coffee was essential for thawing out with the temperature on the handlebar mounted computer barely rising above freezing at 0C!

View from the icy (non picnic!) lay-by looking over to the sun-kissed snow-covered hills at Crieff.

Pedalling on before my dynamic crew turned to ice, there was a sharp right turn along a farm road to Machanay and then right again heading along the Crieff – Auchterarder road towards Gleneagles and back to Matilda’s Rest.

Great joy for my dynamic crew with new Team Matilda record being flashed up on the speed camera signs coming back into town – at 24 mph and 23 mph respectively.

Back indoors while de-icing at Matildas Rest the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as as being worthy of 5 gongs – one personal best and four 2nd bests – which was a bonus given the somewhat “iffy” road conditions!

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 16.6 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 27 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 11.4mph despite the chill factor! Elevation was 876 feet. The maximum speed was 30.4 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,077 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 feel good factor from #Lockdown2 Ride 2 was fabulous – and most definitely helped by a reviving bowl of steaming home made ham and lentil soup!

It just continues to prove that, despite the restrictions, it’s great fun being out pedalling on a bicycle made for two in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle Campaign, Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, Auchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

If only the temperature would rise a bit! Brrrr!

Lockdown2 Ride1 – First 2021 outing for Team Matilda minus 4 stones with new orange jerseys!

My dynamic crew starting 2021 fitter and healthier having lost 4 stones on Keto diet plan.

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.

The Perthshire Advertiser article on Team Matilda in Lockdown 1.

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 git” and the “old gal” are feeling good after losing exactly 2 stones each!

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!

Emphasising the weight loss! 2 stone is 12.5kg which is 12 x 1 litre bottles of water!

The “old gal” certainly doesn’t fancy carrying 12 litres of water around all day!

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.

The winter wonderland view from Matildas Rest – very scenic but not safe for tandeming!

Lockdown exercise was restricted to a walk over the snow covered local 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!

New orange cycling jerseys to match the helmets! The CCC pro-cycling team colours!

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!

The “old git” – aka Colin – has changed the CCC initials on the front to mean Colin’s Cycling 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!

Clear blue skies, bright sunshine and long shadows! But it was bitterly cold!

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.

Visibility was brilliant in the cloudless skies with this view towards Crieff.

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.

The “old git” surveying fairly quiet traffic levels on the A9 trunk road – but not as quiet as 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?