Matilda meets the other ‘Tilly the tandem on a long awaited date on a wet and windy ride to Perth!

I was uber excited at finally meeting “the other ‘Tilly the tandem” and her crew Linda and Jon.

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew’s superb fun ride where Matilda finally gets to meet “the other ‘Tilly the #tandem” on a long awaited date on a wet and windy ride to Perth!

Excitement had been building for weeks about my big meet up after I amazingly discovered there was another bicycle made for two called Matilda out there – tho this one is affectionately known as ‘Tilly for short by her crew of Linda and Jon Reed.

The other ‘Tilly’s crew are on “a slow pedal” to Scotland from their base near Ipswich and have pedalled over 600 miles for the big event!

You can check out the details of our (somewhat shorter!) route by clicking on the Strava map below.

I was uber excited when my dynamic crew said today was the day and we headed from our home base of Auchterarder to meet ‘Tilly at Bridge of Earn as they pedalled on their route from Kinross to Perth! Unfortunately Team Matilda was hit by a heavy squall en route, and was forced to dry out over a welcome coffee at the newly re-opened The Earn Coffee Shop while waiting.

But that was soon forgotten and the big meet happened on the Brig which spans the River Earn and there was much parping of my horn as Team ‘Tilly came into view, which the “old git” recorded on video for posterity! So click here to view or on the image below.

After the “old git” and “old gal” introduced themselves to Linda and Jon – and I said a big friendly hello to ‘Tilly – there was time for the obligatory photo opportunity showing the two tandems!

I gave the other ‘Tilly the tandem a welcome “kiss” at the Brig at Bridge of Earn!

Linda and Jon have pedalled over 600 miles from Ipswich to meet Matilda on their Viking Serengeti.

The schedule then saw the two tandem crews to have a short ride together from Bridge of Earn, pedalling on The National Cycle Network Rt 775 into Perth City Centre.

The tandem crews pedalling into Perth on The National Cycle Network Rt 775.

Once in the city centre the “old git” had organised a celebratory glass of prosecco – followed by great coffee, toasties and cake at the brilliant Artisan – Espresso & Wine Bar, while us tandems had a good catch-up and got to know each other a bit better!

The two Matilda tandem crews enjoying a glass of prosecco at Artisan Espresso and Wine Bar!

It would need to be said the other ‘Tilly is somewhat more experienced and wider travelled than me! Linda and Jon have been riding tandems for 25 years and ‘Tilly is their third one – a Viking Serengeti which has clocked up around 40,000 kms and been to no less than 48 countries.

Jon, Captain of Team ‘Tilly and “the old gal” toasting the new tandem friendship!

The “old git” and the “old gal” hit it off immediately with Linda and Jon who recounted how they suggested meeting up after reading about Team Matilda in BIKE Magazine Europe back in March where we appeared over five pages in glorious technicolour!

Linda, Stoker of Team Tilly and “the old git” toasting the Matildas meet up!

And apart from the coincidence of our tandem names, ‘Tilly also has 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 … and a Stoker who doesn’t like hills!

I do however have to stress one difference, that ‘Tilly’s blog is written by her Captain Jon – unlike me who is of course the UK’s only blogging tandem!

Cheers! The two Matilda tandem crews had to drink the prosecco outside to meet Covid rules.

A couple of hours flew by in what seemed like minutes as we all swapped stories about tandem tours, trips, adventures and of course misadventures!

All too soon it was sadly time to go our separate ways – but only after some photos on the banks of the River Tay in Perth. I must say I was a tad envious that the other ‘Tilly the tandem had a rear name plate which looked just like a number plate! I may try to persuade the “old gal” I need one of those!

Here I am getting to know the other ‘Tilly the tandem on the banks of the Tay in Perth city centre!

Rear view! I must say I was a tad envious of the other ‘Tilly the tandem’s number plate!

Front view! The other ‘Tilly the tandem was heavily loaded up for touring.

A final shot of Linda and John of Team ‘Tilly before the crews had to go their separate ways.

Linda and Jon headed to the luxury of their hotel, just a few hundred yards away across the river, while the “old git” and “old gal” pedalled off – but immediately hit a brutal strong headwind which stayed against us every mile of the pedal back to Matildas Rest.

It was so energy sapping the “old git” suggested stopping at The Kirkstyle Inn for a reviving tonic (with a small measure of the amazing new house ‘Little Earl’ gin in it!!) to ensure they got home. The “old gal” thought this was one of his best suggestions while tandeming … ever! Tho it almost didn’t happen as the Kirkstyle’s new outdoor Garden Larder was really busy – but my crew enjoyed their drinks on extremely comfortable hand crafted chairs made from the wood of spirit barrels. How appropriate!

My dynamic crew had to stop for a tonic to refuel (with a small measure of gin) at the Kirkstyle Inn.

Suitably refuelled – and with clouds building and threatening another downpour – my dynamic crew battled the headwind for the final four miles back from Dunning as quickly as they could and were much relieved to get home just seconds before the rain started and so avoided another soaking.

Safely out of the wind at Matildas Rest, the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of 3 gongs – quite amazing given the adverse weather conditions – one 2nd best, and two 3rd bests.

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 35.9 miles with a moving time of 3 hours 04 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 11.7 mph despite the headwind on the return leg! Elevation was 1,681 feet. The maximum speed was 30.9 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 2,171 calories and produce an average power output of 176 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.

Shame about the wind and the rain but it was still a fabulous fun day out in tandem in our rural Perth and Kinross Cycle CampaignPerth and Kinross Countryside TrustAuchterarder Community Cycling and Love Perthshire area.

And of course it was very special for me to finally get to meet the other ‘Tilly!! But the big question I am sure all my blog readers are wondering is … will there be a second date?!!

There is talk that Linda and Jon want to meet up again when Team Matilda are down in their home patch for the Nutty Tandemers Club 2021 Tour de Suffolk, which is planned for September. Now, if that happened, it would result in a trio of tandems!! So watch this space!!

Breakout of Lockdown2 ride on National Cycle Network Rt7 and The Coig Rt1 from Irvine to Ayr

Basking in the sun at the start of our ride at Irvine with Ailsa Craig showing just above my front saddle!

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew had a superb Breakout of #Lockdown2 sunny tandem ride on The National Cycle Network Route 7 and The Coig Route 1 from Irvine to Ayr and back – with a small measure of gin thrown in too!

There has been just over a month of enforced inactivity for Team Matilda as the “old gal” was finally able to return to her hairdressing salon as Scotland slowly emerged from Covid #Lockdown2 and not surprisingly faced overwhelming demand from customers who have gone without haircuts since the end of last year. This meant working crazy hours of effectively 8am till 8pm six days a week, so there was no time – or energy! – for pedalling. And obviously that has meant no blogs for me to write either!

Selfie time for my dynamic crew delighted to be returning to action on a bicycle made for two!

But after five weeks, things calmed down a bit and my dynamic crew were keen to get back on my saddles for some much needed exercise on a Breakout from #lockdown adventure. With restrictions on travel across Scotland lifted, the “old git” decided the schedule would be to head to one of the “old gal’s” favourite #tandem rides – along the Ayrshire Coast Cycleway. The start point would be the Coastwatch Scotland car park in Irvine, with a picnic lunch at the turnaround point of Ayr beach.

The Ayrshire Coast Cycleway forms part of Sustrans Scotland NCN Rt7 and is also a key part of Route 1 of The Coig – which is Gaelic for five and is a new tourism initiative comprising five cycle friendly routes around Ayrshire and the Clyde islands.

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 I have been passing the period of enforced inactivity by helping the “old git” making my own blend of tandemers gin! Yes you heard that correctly! A Scottish gin called “Matilda’s Merry Mix!”

You see, my dynamic crew are partial to the occasional artisan gin and the “old gal” bought the “old git” a gin making kit. He bought a bottle of unflavoured vodka and added the juniper berries and then a few days later added the mix of botanicals.

Matilda’s Merry Mix – the very exclusive self brewed blend of tandemers gin!

After infusing for around a week, and a filtration, the result was an amazingly tasty lightly spiced gin. The “old git”, being the creative type, came up with the name ‘Matilda’s Merry Mix’ and created a suitable label for the bottle!

The gin is highly exclusive of course – a bit like me! – as the recipe created just a single bottle! It it is unlikely to last long as a collector’s item … but it sparked a bit of fun!

So to our ride … My dynamic crew were up at very early o’clock to drive to the west coast but were rewarded with a beautiful sunny morning on arrival in Irvine – allowing for some great sun-kissed photos before rolling out on our adventure.

The “old git” getting ready to roll in the stunning morning sunshine at Irvine Beach.

The “old gal” surveying the amazing vista and stunning sky before the off.

My dynamic crew were pleasantly surprised to find they were not rusted up and remembered how to pedal and set off with great gusto! A mild tail wind and pedalling along some almost motorway-smooth tarmac on long sections of the cycle path saw us quickly pass thru Troon and onto Prestwick Promenade in what seemed like no time – buoyed by the (almost warm but not quite!) sunshine. A loo stop was called by the “old gal” where she discovered that South Ayrshire Council has recently implemented a 30p charge on all public loos! Or as the “old git” quipped: “30p to have a pee!”

Time for photos with the “old gal” sitting on a bench with a fabulous view – looking towards the island of Arran, known as Scotland in miniature, in one of those colourful sea meets sky pictures – with almost unnatural shades of blue! It is worth clicking on the images to see it in a larger size!

Bench with a view! What a fab vista looking across to Arran from from Prestwick Promenade.

Ahoy there! The “old gal” looking out across the Firth of Clyde to the island of Arran.

The Ayrshire Coast Cycleway is well signposted and easy to follow – ideal for newbies to the NCN and The Coig – with dedicated painted cycle lanes on stretches along the promenades at Troon, Prestwick and Ayr. Pedalling onwards, the route took my dynamic crew into Ayr – which was hugely busy with people desperate to escape the recent lockdown and get some sea air. But it was good to see that nearly everyone was keeping to social distance rules.

With the sky turning a bit cloudier, my dynamic crew found a sheltered bench in gardens just off the promenade to enjoy their picnic lunch – and signature prosecco toast, naturally! – while enjoying the stunning views out to Arran and Ailsa Craig – aka Paddy’s Milestone. Great brain food to go along with the sustenance food!

Prosecco picnic time at a secluded garden spot at Ayr beach giving protection form the chilly wind.

Is it OK to leave bicycle tyre tracks too? says Matilda, asking for a friend!!

With the sun having disappeared temporarily behind heavy cloud, the “old gal” decided a coffee was required to heat up a bit – and fortunately the easing of Covid restrictions now allowed my dynamic crew to sit inside to restore body temperature.

Suitably revived, the sun started to re-appear and there was an opportunity for a couple of photos of my dynamic crew’s new dayglo orange sunglasses – which just so happen to perfectly colour coordinate with their bright shiny cycling helmets!

New dayglo orange sunglasses for my dynamic crew made their first appearance!

Smile! The future is orange! Very orange! At least my dynamic crew won’t get lost!

A quick pedal of the full length of the promenade saw the “old git” spot one of several NCN Millennium signposts dotted along the route pinpointing distances and directions.

Millennium signpost on NCN Rt7 at the far end of Ayr beach, with Arran in background.

The wind had picked up a bit so the return journey was a bit of a battle – but still highly enjoyable. The “old gal” in particular liked the stretch between Prestwick Airport and Troon where the broom was in full yellow bloom – which traditionally signals a warm summer is on the way!

Plenty of yellow on the broom – a traditional sign that summer and warmer weather is on the way!

My dynamic crew then blasted back to the start point at Irvine for a re-fuelling coffee and cake at the Small Talk Coffee and Gift Shop which looks out on to the harbour.

Back at Matildas Transport, the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of a superbly pleasing total of 24 gongs given my dynamic crew’s rustiness due to a lack of pedalling – made up of 5 personal bests, 9 second bests; and 10 third best times.

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 36.5 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 52 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.7 mph – which given the inevitable coastal winds was perfectly acceptable – while the elevation was 550 feet due to the route mainly running along the edge of the sea. The maximum speed was 21.3 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,530 calories and produce an average power output of 132 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 with Scotland on a clear route map out of restrictions, my dynamic crew’s NCN Rt7 and The Coig Rt1 pedal clocked up a final 36 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer, taking the total to 327 miles from the 14 rides completed. The “old git” and “old gal” feel this is a pretty reasonable mileage given the fairly severe winter weather around Matildas Rest which hit almost as soon as #lockdown was announced.

There were hugely positive feelings from the breakout of #Lockdown2 ride – with obvious signs that things are looking brighter on the pandemic front. My dynamic crew continue to feel lucky, fortunate and blessed that they have been able to be able to keep healthy – mentally and physically – with our madcap #tandem adventures on a bicycle made for two during the enforced restrictions! Lets just say my spokes are firmly crossed that there won’t be a #lockdown3 any time soon.

Meantime this “old lady” tandem is uber excited about my next scheduled ride when I am hopefully going to get to meet my namesake! yes 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 Linda and Jon Reed – who are based in Suffolk – who have been riding tandems for 25 years! They loved the article and reached out to say hello given the coincidence of the name! Their granddaughter shortened their Matilda to ‘Tilly!

The other ‘Tilly the Tandem crossing into Scotland with crew Linda and John.

Now ‘Tilly is a Viking Serengeti and is Linda and Jon’s third tandem – and is a bit more experienced than me! Her crew do lots of touring and ‘Tilly has notched up a staggering total of nearly 40,000 kms and been to no less than 48 countries.

Apart from the same name there are other coincidences – as ‘Tilly also has a stoker who doesn’t like hills – just like the “old gal”! And 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.

Team ‘Tilly are currently on a Breakout from Lockdown tour – a “slow pedal north to Scotland” from their Suffolk base. And on Sunday –  as long as weather gods play along – I am getting the opportunity to meet ‘Tilly as the “old git” and “old gal” are meeting up with Linda and John as they pedal thru nearby Bridge of Earn, and ride together into Perth. The tandem crews will catch up over some food and drink while us tandems will have a good natter! How exciting is this all going to be?! I can’t wait!

Lockdown2 Ride13 – Trying (and failing!) to beat rain to Forteviot but welcome stop at new Garden Larder at Kirkstyle Inn in Dunning

The Kirkstyle Inn adapting to the Covid restrictions with a new business venture – the Garden Larder.

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew had a fun #Lockdown2 Ride13 tandem trying (and failing!!) to beat the rain to Forteviot, but had a welcome stop at the new Garden Larder at The Kirkstyle Inn in Dunning.

The “old git” and “old gal” were keen to get back out in tandem to get some much needed exercise for their 13th #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.

The weather had turned a bit unseasonal of late – but there appeared to be a brief weather window on Wednesday morning where the “old git” felt Team Matilda might squeeze in a flutter to Forteviot before the rain which was forecast for just before lunchtime. But guess what – the rain arrived early!

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

The wind had abated and it was relatively mild, so my dynamic crew decided to risk baring their legs for today’s ride. Even the “old gal” wasn’t cold so it must have been quite mild!

So we headed off from Matildas Rest and out of our home town of Auchterarder in a different direction to most of our recent rides. We pedalled on fabulous gently undulating quiet country roads towards Dunning and then on to Forteviot.

With little wind I am delighted to say that Team Matilda fair whizzed along as the synchronicity factor of the “old git” and the “old gal” kicked into gear, and we arrived in Forteviot in what seemed like no time at all.

Synchronicity kicked in to gear and we soon arrived at Forteviot – an ancient Pictish capital of Scotland.

Forteviot is steeped in Scotland’s medieval history as it was an ancient Pictish capital of Alba – where King Kenneth MacAlpin died in the 9th Century.

There we saw the amazing Cradle of Scotland- A Stone for Forteviot which is a proud centrepiece to the village – a large carved stone inspired by the strong Pictish culture and the the historic Dupplin Cross.

The original rare 3m high cross, carved out of sandstone in around AD800, once stood in the palace of the Pictish Kings at Forteviot. It is now housed in the nearby St Serf’s Church in Dunning – which we passed – and is looked after by Historic Environment Scotland.

The “old gal” at the Pictish stone carving at Forteviot to mark the area’s role in the birth of medieval Alba.

The carving forms a vivid centrepiece to the village green and the quaint houses formerly occupied by the workers on the Dupplin estate, which were built in 1927. The Heritage Lottery funded Pictish Stones project has provided the area with a key legacy monument marking the area’s important role in the birth of medieval Scotland.

There was time for a nutty picture opportunity at the superbly hand crafted village bus stop – where the “old gal” tried to thumb a lift – more in hope than expectation!

The “old gal” thumbing a lift (more in hope than expectation!) at the bust stop in Forteviot.

The eco-friendly bus shelter was created as part of the Tay Landscape Partnership funding for the area by local forester Jim Thomson who runs his own Woodland Craft business. The shelter also houses a brilliant information board giving lots more detail about the deep history of the area.

Meanwhile the “old git” was keen to show off his bare legs – posing in front of the historic Forteviot Village Hall!

The “old git” at Forteviot Village Hall, bravely baring his legs to the elements!

The village is really beautiful and worthy of a visit – including the Aberdalgie Forteviot Church of Scotland with some very historic headstones in its graveyard.

The “old git” at the AberdalgieForteviot Church of Scotland – just as the first spots of rain fell.

Just as my dynamic crew decided to start their return journey the first spots of rain started to fall so it was heads down and pedal to cover the miles back home. There was a stop for a breather as they cycled back thru Dunning – a village which is also rich in history having been burned to the ground during the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion.

Great to see that the friendly country pub called The Kirkstyle Inn – which my dynamic crew have been known to visit from time to time for a small libation! – has just opened a new venture called The Garden Larder offering a superb takeaway service of coffees, cakes and sandwiches to help it survive the current Covid restrictions.

There is also an intriguing sign – saying ‘Practice Pheasant Crossing’ – to encourage drivers to slow their speed driving thru the village! Naturally that was too good a photo opportunity to ignore!

Intriguing sign to encourage drivers to slow their speed at The Kirkstyle Inn in Dunning!

The Garden Larder also offers a small range of locally sourced deli items like artisan bread and herbs as well as a range of gifts from local artists.

The “old gal” and “old git” treated themselves to a perfectly brewed strong coffee and a yummy home made fruit scone with a slice of delicious caramel shortcake. And if my dynamic crew’s licking of their lips at the tasty treats is anything to go by, then Jamie – mine host at The Kirkstyle Inn – is on to a winner!

The newly opened Garden Larder offers a great takeaway service of cake coffee and sandwiches.

With the rain now falling a good deal harder, it was a quick blast back from Dunning for my dynamic crew – with the “old gal” in particular giving an extra push in her duties as my stoker as she doesn’t like pedalling in the rain!

Despite the rain arriving earlier than forecast, it was good to be out getting some exercise and the ride clocked another 15 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer, taking the total to 291 miles from the 13 rides completed so far.

Back at Matildas Rest, the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being amazingly worthy of 3 gongs given the weather – two personal bests; and one 2nd best.

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 15.6 miles with a moving time of 1 hour 05 minutes. The average speed was a very healthy 14.3 mph despite – or perhaps because of – the rain! Elevation was 709 feet. The maximum speed was 25.3 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 892 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.

Shame about the rain but there were still 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.

The flutter to Forteviot was certaily good fun – my dynamic crew just want a more accurate weather forecast for the next pedal … and perhaps some of that much warmer weather that Englandshire is currently experiencing!

As for me, this “old lady” tandem needs a rub down with an oily cloth to keep my bits lubricated!

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 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 Ride7 – Spring has sprung so first appearance of la bouclèe … but only with tonic – not prosecco! – on ride to Bridge of Earn.

Spring is in the air! Lots of snowdrops adding a splash of colour just outside Dunning.

This blog is the story of how my dynamic crew enjoyed a fun #Lockdown2 Ride7 #tandem adventure where Spring has sprung, so the first appearance of La Bouclée … but only with tonic water – not prosecco! – on a ride to Bridge of Earn.

The “old git” and “old gal” were keen to get back out in tandem taking advantage of calmer conditions for their seventh 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.

It was Team Matilda’s first ride of meteorological Spring so the “old git” dutifully looked out my la bouclée wine carrier to give it its first appearance of the year. But only to carry a bottle of tonic water – not our favoured prosecco due to adhering to #lockdown restrictions.

First ride of meteorological Spring so my trendy la bouclèe French wine carrier makes an appearance …

… but only to carry tonic water … not our favoured prosecco… due to #Lockdown2 restrictions.

Hopefully my dynamic crew will be able to enjoy their infamous and trademark prosecco picnics again before too long.

Hopefully time for our prosecco picnics again soon!

The “old git” decided the “old gal” needed a change of scenery – he is very thoughtful that way, you know! So we headed in the opposite direction to recent rides, heading out of our home base town of Auchterarder on a ride to Bridge of Earn, some 13 hilly miles away!

It was all part of the “old git’s” masterplan to show the “old gal” the benefits of their combined 4 stone weight loss on their tandeming exploits. And I am pleased to report she was impressed as we fair whizzed along – and those hills which previously caused difficulties hardly seemed to exist! The difference is profound – especially this early in the tandeming year!

We pedalled on fabulous rural country roads firstly to Dunning, then on to Forteviot – famous for being an ancient Pictish capital of Scotland. Spring may have officially been in the air – but the sun stayed stubbornly behind the cloud on the outward leg. That made the DIY coffee and cake stop at Bridge of Earn, very welcome … if not essential. And once again it obviously was not a picnic!

The coffee helped revive the “old gal” after a chilly pedal on the outward leg.

The coffee stop at Bridge of Earn was a DIY affair … rather than a picnic!

Fortunately the sun broke thru the clouds on the return pedal which made the ride considerably more enjoyable. It was a real joy to be tandeming into bright sunshine the whole way home – with sunglasses actually a necessity rather than a fashion statement!

With the sun out there was time to enjoy the signs that Spring has sprung into bloom with beautiful carpets of snowdrops adding a splash of colour at the side of our route. The “old gal” called a photo halt to get some pictures of the snowdrops at both Forteviot and outside Dunning.

Basking in the bright sun and enjoying the backdrop of a carpet of snowdrops at Forteviot.

The “old gal” even spotted some ‘Yellow on the Broom’ which is a sure sign of the weather improving here in Scotland. In just a few days it will be in full bloom – which will match my dynamic crew’s jackets!

Yellow on the Broom! Definite signs that Spring is springing into bloom! And the sun appeared!

There was a real feelgood factor when we returned to Matildas Rest – having clocked another 26 miles onto the #Lockdown2 milometer – which now sits at 160 miles for the 7 rides completed so far.

Back at Matildas Rest – with a real boost and optimistic feeling from seeing the first signs of Spring – the “old git” checked Strava which officially recorded the ride as being worthy of 5 gongs – one 2nd best and four 3rd bests – which is pleasing at this early stage in the year for a well travelled route for Team Matilda.

The detailed Strava figures showed my dynamic crew tandemed a distance of 26.7 miles with a moving time of 2 hours 04 minutes. The average speed was a healthy 12.9 mph despite the always present wind! Elevation was 1,301 feet. The maximum speed was 33.8 mph and Team Matilda managed to burn up 1,580 calories and produce an average power output of 190 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, once again there were hugely positive feelings and great exercise from #Lockdown2 Ride7. 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.

Let’s hope for more Spring weather – combined with seeing the green shoots of Spring on the next fun spirit-lifting #tandem pedal!

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!