Tandem Cycling - Opportunity comes knocking.......
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08-07-03, 04:28 AM
Would you take up an offer to be a captain for a blind stoker for next Paralympic Games in Athens? I have been requested to take up this challenge but I feel I am not mentally prepared to handle a blind stoker. I have checked through web sites and looked around for book references about tandeming with Blind and came up with nothing. Would really appreciate if anyone here who has been through a tandem road bike race especially with a blind stoker, give me a few pointers what to expect. If there are relevant web sites I could refer to would be really helpful.
Just to let you know more about myself:
1)Have never ridden or raced on a road tandem before. I only use my mountain bike tandem for touring and recreation long distance cycling. In both instance, my stoker are normal people with perfect eye sight.
2)Only a couple of race experience on a single road bike and mountain bike at a local derby.
3)We will be the 1st batch of tandem riders from Malaysia to compete in a cycling event in any Paralympic Games. Which means, I canít refer to previous rider for their experiences.
4)I do not who know my stoker is but will be meeting up with her sooner or later. I hope she is about my height and size.
5)I am on barely 5ft 1in. I had a fair bit of problem looking for a road bike that fit me and eventually, I had to custom made it. I am using a 42cm(centre to centre) size road bike. A 44cm would have been manageable. Does anyone have recommendation of a extra small frame tandem road bike available in the market that is suitable for road race?
6)Coach and tandem will be assigned to us in the near future but right at this moment, we are on our own.
May be I am just too chicken out to take up this challenge. What would you do? Would you have grab it with no hesitation?
Any tips or information is really appreciated.
08-07-03, 06:24 AM
If you send me your Email address off list (send to: Mark@WeRLivingood.com) I will pass your question along to several sight impaired stokers who I'm sure will be more than happy to answer your questions about being a tandem pilot for a blind stoker.
Here are a few links for more information on tandem racing for sight impaired teams:
IBSA Overview & Rules:
Additional sites to check based on Google Search results:
08-07-03, 09:37 AM
Tandemania, if you would like, send me a PM and I'll be glad to give you an e-mail address of a blind stoker in my club that I've riddin with and know, he's a really cool guy and is a blind stoker also..We have a group of them that are members of our club, and just really love riding and doing what they do..
Like Mark say's here, I'm sure he would also be glad to answer your questions..
08-07-03, 10:07 AM
I don't know anyone that is sight impaired, but as the stoker on our tandem I'd said that the stoker needs to be very comfortable with the abilities of the captain. My captain isn't the best at communicating with me (too much talking - but he's an excellent captain & I have total faith & trust in his biking abilities), so I have to go by the feel of the bike to know he's changed gears, braking, turning, etc. It does become very intuititive (feel the bike). He'll tell me when he wants more power & if he wants me to clip out (I don't stay on the back at stops, etc. - we both clip out on the right & start up together). The stoker can only see side to side (forward you're only seeing the back of the captain) so it's the captain's responsibility to watch out for, and respond to, any hazards. I don't think riding with a sight impaired stoker will be much different than riding with one that isn't. As long as you're comfortable captaining the tandem & you do practice rides before the event so you're comfortable with each other's style, you should be just fine.
08-07-03, 03:24 PM
I have a blind stoker (my husband) -- but I don't think they're really much different from any other stoker, to be honest. I call a lot of stuff, like changing gears (our bike is old and the shifting less quick), and I tend to give him a lot of info on pacing on hills and so on (we live near mucho mountains), and he has double-sided clipless pedals, which he finds helpful for finding the clip quickly. I've captained for guys who were probably a good 60 lbs. heavier than me, as well, who are blind; it's possible to hold up a tandem with one foot at a long light with no instability or extra exertion. I'm 5'6", though.
We have 8 or 9 years tandeming experience, none of it competitive. If we can offer any assistance, though, let us know. I don't mind answering questions on working with blind folks in general, either -- no question too ridiculous! (Though of course blind people come a wide range of personalities and abilities. :) PM me if you like, and I'll try to figure out to retrieve your message. I would love to race someday -- can't wait to hear how your race goes.
08-07-03, 07:01 PM
Thanks for the Email. I've sent off a note to some of the sight impaired stokers and/or their pilots who I've "met" via other forums on the Internet. One addressee bounced so I'll have to try and re-send that note.
With regard to the extra-small tandem you're looking for, that could be your biggest challenge. I think the only tandem builder who offers a "stock" extra-small sized tandem is Bilenky and it's got a 50cc captain's seat tube which is most likely still too tall. However, there are several builders -- Meridian, Co-Motion and Bushnell come immediately to mind -- who could easily design and build a properly sized tandem for you and your pilot in a relatively short period of time and for a reasonable price. However, currency exchange rates and/or duty might be an issue.
Three of the builders have Web sites to whom I've provided links below.
Bushnell does not have a Web site, per se, but there is a Web site that has a Bushnell information page and that URL is below:
There are many other tandem builders listed off of my tandem information Web page at the following URL: http://home.att.net/~thetandemlink/tandems.html#anchor1145574
As for the last question, "should you?" I think it's the type of opportunity that doesn't come around often for many people, if at all, and if you can find a way to participate you should. You'll have meet a bunch of facinating people, many of whom will likely become life-long friends, you may find the experience has a profound change on what you'll do later in life, and you'll most likely always be faced with the big "what if" you opt to pass on the opportunity.
Just my .02.
08-07-03, 07:51 PM
Thank you to all of your replies.
Mark, many of my fellow cyclist jaws almost dropped out when I told them I would like to give Paralympic a pass. Those who knows me, knew that I had tried to make it to the national team during my younger days but my competitive spirit just died down as I became older.
Does anyone know if there is a DVD or VHS manual cycling and training with Blind? Anything that is similar to "train like a Golf champion". Anything that shows you step by step sort of instruction. I have this strong feeling the 3 of us(2 guy captain and me) will have to do a lot of our own research and training.
I think at this moment, I start looking around for a tandem that fits me. Tax and duty is not an issue as I am sure the Malaysian Association for the Blind(MAB) should be able to get excemption.
My email is email@example.com If there are anymore information you could relate to me, I would really appreciate it.
08-07-03, 08:26 PM
I wouldnt pass it up. To help someone do something like that is awesome
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