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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 12-10-09, 07:31 PM   #1
stevegor
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Me and my BIG mouth.......

I've posted here before about my VI stoker, who is not from a cycling background, but very fit. He has taken to tandems very keenly and recently we completed a 100 km Audax ride with 4 other tandem teams from our local area. We both enjoyed it.
Vision Australia has a small article in its newsletter:

http://www.visionaustralia.org/info....=823&news=1479

In the article, my stoker, David, says that 100 kms is not long enough!! (I think he's hooked)
So I've offered him a challenge to ride 100 miles to my friends house, stay overnight then ride back 100 miles the next day....he reckons that would be great......Me and my big mouth.

PS: Just had an interview with a group that looks after autistic children/adults and there is a possibility of some employment with taking clients tandem riding, bush walking etc. At last a job I might enjoy??

Last edited by stevegor; 12-10-09 at 07:33 PM. Reason: correction
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Old 12-11-09, 07:53 AM   #2
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stevegor, Some of us in the local tandem club have been talking with several local organizations about providing tandem rides for the visually impaired. I see from the article you've been doing this for about a year. Do you have a guide or special set of suggestions for a newby? I think this would be fun and am excited about the opportunity, however I am a little stressed about it too. I really want it to be a positive experience for the stoker.
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Old 12-11-09, 06:07 PM   #3
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stevegor, Some of us in the local tandem club have been talking with several local organizations about providing tandem rides for the visually impaired. I see from the article you've been doing this for about a year.

Do you have a guide or special set of suggestions for a newby? I think this would be fun and am excited about the opportunity, however I am a little stressed about it too. I really want it to be a positive experience for the stoker.
Hi DKMcK,

To help another person who otherwise cannot enjoy the experience of cycling etc, is a great privilege, even life changing for both of you....and HEAPS of fun!!

Firstly, I attended a day long course with Vision Australia, (VA), to learn how to guide VI clients while walking, explaining the surrounds and obstacles. Generally making the walk interesting, then I joined a VI walking group where I met David my stoker, so we got to know each other before we rode together.
Prior to riding with David I helped the VA Rec officer with a "come and try tandem" day with some VI primary/junior school boys at the local velodrome, the boys were very excited and loved it. We started off very gently doing some slow laps to get them used to sitting still and pedaling correctly...... until my young stoker realized his friend was catching us on the other tandem, then he yelled "FASTER,FASTER".
The rest of the day was spent playing games and making pizzas for lunch, a great time.

I was a bit nervous to start with David on the road, but as he is very fit and sits still we seemed to gel from the very first ride. I raced on solos for years and still ride with "the boys" on Sat morn hammerfests, so my fitness and road sense is good. I've found if I explain to David what's happening around us with the traffic or describe the scenery or generally chat about whatever, we have great time and I think that's the key....be friendly, positive, handle the tandem smoothly, communicate and you will have NO worries.

If your stoker is unsure of anything, be patient, explaining things clearly, don't push them too hard too soon, realize they may get frustrated by their disability. and you might find you have a friend for life, and your life will be greatly enriched, Good luck and let me know how it goes...PM me if you like.
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Old 12-11-09, 09:27 PM   #4
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I love riding with my 14 year-old. He has Down syndrome. He absolutely loves riding. His low muscle tone does not mean he is making a huge contribution, but that just means I get a better workout. What a great way to share riding with people that can't ride on their own. I hope he will be able to ride on his own some day.
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Old 12-13-09, 12:34 AM   #5
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Gee, over 150 views and only 2 replies........this tandem subforum are a tough crowd to break into.
Maybe Aussie posts aren't that interesting?
Just be careful you don't get too elitist like some roadies.....
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Old 12-13-09, 01:35 PM   #6
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Gee, over 150 views and only 2 replies........this tandem subforum are a tough crowd to break into.
Maybe Aussie posts aren't that interesting?
Just be careful you don't get too elitist like some roadies.....
Don't be so harsh. Tandem riders are a rarity and you want discussion from those with a specific experience. There may not be to many out there that can give a meaniful reply.
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Old 12-13-09, 02:09 PM   #7
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Gee, over 150 views and only 2 replies ...
You were looking for replies to ... what exactly? You asked no question! As for people commenting about your post in general, well .....

Tandems are a small enough subset of the cycling community, and within that subset you want to talk to those who do overnight double century tours, then further limit the group to those who've done it with VI stokers!

That narrowed the field down to one individual who could truly relate, and he answered you!

Seriously though, reading your post DID in fact get me thinking. I have ridden before with VI stokers, and know it does bring a certain sense of enrichment to me, but more importantly than that, it brings a sense of freedom to the stoker who could not otherwise ride.

As a Vietnam vet, I have been thinking seriously about going down to the local veterans hospital and hooking up with some VI vets to ride. Beside all the above rewards, at 57, I could use a 25 year old Iraqi vet "motor" on the back!
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Old 12-13-09, 02:43 PM   #8
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There was a call for captains this past spring interested in participating in a program for VI Vets. I was too new at tandeming last year, but would definitely like to be part of an ongoing program. Our daVinci should work well for this and I've got a long Thomson seat post that lets me put one of my 6' sons on the back. This is the least we can do to give something personal back to the men and women who have sacrificed for their country. I was very disappointed when my employer, a defense company, acknowledged celebration of a niche diversity program on Veterans day without mention of Veterans' day. Nothing against diversity, but I thought the omission was disgraceful.

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Old 12-13-09, 03:11 PM   #9
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Sorry, no offense meant...I suppose you're right, we are a unique crew, just wish our tandem scene over here was as active as the US.
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Old 12-13-09, 03:54 PM   #10
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.... just wish our tandem scene over here was as active as the US.
Piece of cake, mate! Someone put Cadel on a tandem, and someone take pictures! Done.

EDIT: Or Robbie McEwen, or ......
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Old 12-13-09, 04:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DKMcK View Post
stevegor, Some of us in the local tandem club have been talking with several local organizations about providing tandem rides for the visually impaired. I see from the article you've been doing this for about a year. Do you have a guide or special set of suggestions for a newby? I think this would be fun and am excited about the opportunity, however I am a little stressed about it too. I really want it to be a positive experience for the stoker.
Cincinnati has a group that rides tandems with visually impaired stokers on the local bike trail. Here's their web page: tukandu.org, and here's a link to photos from a recent ride. It looks like they have a wide range of stoker abilities on these rides, from short rides to 50 mile rides.
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Old 12-13-09, 08:09 PM   #12
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Piece of cake, mate! Someone put Cadel on a tandem, and someone take pictures! Done.

EDIT: Or Robbie McEwen, or ......
Actually, when Robbie is home in Queensland he does take a VI stoker for regular rides. I think his stoker paid him a surprise visit before the start of a stage at Robbie's last TDF.
As for Cadel, Stewy O'Grady, Matt Wilson and the rest of the Aussie stars, if they would give some of their time to take VI stokers out, it might encourage more to come and try tandeming, which would be a good thing.




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Cincinnati has a group that rides tandems with visually impaired stokers on the local bike trail. Here's their web page: tukandu.org, and here's a link to photos from a recent ride. It looks like they have a wide range of stoker abilities on these rides, from short rides to 50 mile rides.
FANTASTIC!!, that's what I'm talking about.
In my town there are some ladies who talk special needs children out as well, I've offered my services so I hope they take me up on that.

One thing I can say about riding the tandem, it's strengthened me up for competitive solo group rides on Sat morn.
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