Well we weren’t expecting that!

Posted by on 23, Feb 2022 in 2022 - USA, Tilly the Tandem, UK, USA

On our LEJOG tour last year we bumped into full time hard core cycle tourer Pete a number of times. He’s currently in Spain having spent a couple of months heading up and down the side of mountains in the Canaries which sounds like an awful lot of hardwork to us, but he loves it.

Out of the blue he dropped us a chat with a picture of us and Tilly en route to Southampton that had been taken by a guy we met on the way down. It already had 430 likes and some amazing comments. We tend to think of what we do as pootling about and not really very adventurous, particularly as we meet people like Pete who have cycled all over the world, but judging by the comments we may be selling ourselves a bit short! Apparently we are inspiring, whilst we tend to think of ourselves as perspiring…

But our fame didn’t stop there. You may remember we got mentioned on Instagram by the Airbnb host in Littlehampton. Well Sandra, the owner, got quite a few comments about us which we certainly weren’t expecting and one from a Cunard staff member.

The Cunard staff member then contacted us directly and asked if Cunard could feature us on their Valentines day post as we are heading down to Southampton to catch the Queen Mary 2 to New York City.

This, apparently is very romantic. That’s not a word that would normally feature when describing a cycle tour in England in February. Rheumatic, cold, very very windy and occasionally damp, wet and hard work would all land top spots ahead of Romantic, but apparently I’m an old Romantic after all.

Of course we said yes, and Tilly and us duly featured on their Valentines spot.

We’ve chatted to a lot of people on the way down and had the usual dreamy romantic looks form female half’s of couples and the very wary ‘you’re not getting me on one of those with you’ looks from the other half of the couple. If only those guys knew you didn’t have to buy roses, a posh meal and a valentines card to be Romantic, you could just cycle 400km in February instead. Hey ho!

But the people we’ve chatted to have all been so enthusiastic about our tour, we’ve had the nicest comments, smiles and thumbs up we’ve ever had. It’s been heart warming, which is good ‘cos we usually are freezing when we stop to talk to anyone.

But we arrived in Southampton and stopped to take a quick photo at the Dock gate to get yelled at by one of the security guards that photos weren’t allowed, I wonder what he does about dash cams? Still, we got the pic anyway and checked into our hotel for the packing process.

Our hotel was fab, we’d been in touch with them constantly and had our cruise clothes and bike box sent to them by post which they had kindly stored in their office. They’d said we could do our packing in their office too – excellent hotel, very very nice staff and good rooms too. And we’d been upgraded to a sea view and could see the Queen Victoria at berth from our windows.

We packed Tilly, weighed our bags, double checked them and Linda then spent a sleepless night worrying that something would go wrong. But, it all went like clockwork and we were deposited by the taxi right next to the ship with a large number of porters a bit baffled by our Tandem box.

They quickly came to help, and Tilly, a porter, the duty manager and me all went off to X Ray Tilly on the crews xray machine as she was far too big for the standard luggage belt. She then had to be hand carried to the ship – special treatment naturally – as we headed off for our covid test which was simple and we sat for 30 mins waiting for our results.

When we got the all clear we then boarded and went to our cabin to find we had a complimentary bottle of champagne and chocolates as a thank you from the Instagram media team – we could get used to this fame thing!! And our porter Ting asked us if we’d like them to store Tilly for us rather than have her brought to the cabin as he said they didn’t fancy lugging her up the stairs, which of course we were more than happy with.

We then went on a tour of the ship and met the fitness instructor who gave us a lecture about keeping fit and active until Linda pointed out we had cycled down from Ipswich! We’ve obviously done the usual thing on a cruise and sworn we will go to the gym to use the cycle machines a few times (which we clearly won’t) and the fitness instructor gave us a special pass to cycle in our Crocs due to our celebrity status – or more likely he knew we would eat, drink and make merry rather than use an exercise bike!

We did book a spa visit for my birthday though and that does mean we have to walk past the bikes so maybe that counts as exercise.

For some reason we’d been allocated a window seat for dinner (media team again perhaps) and had our dinner, a quick drink in the Commodore club and retired for the night.

We woke for my big 60th birthday to find the entertainment manager announcing the fact on the ships TV broadcast and the seas crashing past the windows as QM2 sailed into a force 6 wind with, apparently worse to come….

6 Comments

  1. Superbly entertaining as always… and truly deserved celebrity status for the other Tilly the tandem and her crew!

    • I think both Tilly’s are attention seekers!!

  2. You two are amazing , where do you get the energy from! Let alone putting up with each other at such close proximity Jo would’ve killed me by the time we’d cycled out of Ipswich 🤣enjoy a restful cruise 🚢 until the no doubt crazy long cycle ride and happy birthday 🥳

  3. What an exciting and happy time. Loved reading this Belated Happy Birthday. Have a good time in USA.

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