Saturday, May 1, 2010

Lookin' SWEET Upon a Seat of a Bicycle Built for Two


Tomorrow is the annual Five Boro Bike Ride which follows an interesting route, but for now I’d like to spend a few moments telling you how I am (as well as others who are visually challenged or blind) are able to enjoy cycling in spite of being legally blind. I have always enjoyed bike riding, and I did learn to ride a bike as a child despite my physical challenges, but years later because of my struggle with vision (especially in relation to depth perception and lack of visual fields), I had to stop bike riding completely. Therefore I was elated to receive an e–mail from The Achilles Club — an organization normally associated with running — in June of 2008, inviting folks who were totally blind, or who had other visual challenges, to participate in The Twin Tandem Program that it was starting. Twelve tandem bikes had been donated for this purpose.

On the first day of the Achilles Meet–Up Series that June, we met at Engineer’s Gate in Central Park, where everyone was offered the opportunity to participate in riding loops within the park. There were a dozen captains and stokers. We even had a captain named Juliet and a stoker named Romeo. There was also a stoker named Daisy, and her presence was not lost on us as we sang the “traditional” twin tandem song, Daisy Bell.

The following year, in May 2009, the Achilles Tandem Program participated in The Annual Five Boro Bike Tour. The photograph posted above is one I purchased from Brightroom Photography. It was taken at the start of The Five Boro Bike Tour, last May 2009. My captain and I completed in spite of the all–day–rain. She is the person who was initially assigned to be my captain at the onset of the Twin Tandem Program. In addition to the Achilles Twin Tandem rides within Central Park, I’ve participated in many “private” rides (with a variety of captains, male and female) as well as group rides since that first Twin Tandem Meet–Up in June 2008. These group rides include The Transportation Alternatives Ride (twice), Trudy Hutter’s Annual Group Ride to the Festival of Lights in Dyker Heights (twice), and The Twin Lights Ride (in the New Jersey Highlands). We competed the ride last year in site of the torrents of rain. This year there is no rain predicted but instead it will be extremely hot. We plan to ride anyway, so if I am not too saddle sore, I’ll let you know how we did in a post tomorrow night or Monday morning. Meanwhile, for those of you interested in participating in rides, see the following links:

Trudy Hutter’s Annual Group Ride to the Festival of Lights in Dyker Heights (This is the December 2009 info but December 2010 will be similar.)
The Twin Lights Ride (Highlands Ride in New Jersey)
The Five Boro Bike Tour

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