I wanted to share my first experience as a tandem captain! I volunteered last week for PEAC (Program to Educate All Cyclists), a national leader in the field of teaching individuals with disabilities cycling skills. The program believes that everyone can learn to ride a bike. The one-on-one training starts new riders as a stoker on their fleet of Bike Friday and Cannondale mountain bike tandems, and then progresses them thru walking, pushing, leaning etc single bikes until the child or adult is successfully riding alone.
We had about 35 people signed up, with mild to severe disabilities (Down's syndrome, amputated leg due to bone cancer, and so on). Six successfully rode a single bike for the first time - wow, we had some million megawatt smiles!
For some, riding independently will take a few months or years so for them the goal was to teach a parent how to captain a tandem. The tandems have to be very adjustable since this program teaches such a wide variety of riders. So despite my 5'-1/2" height (I can't standover our own tandems), I was easily able to captain the Bike Fridays and Cannondale tandems. It was very strange to have my husband behind me as stoker (and - he was the worst stoker I had all day - apparently experienced captains do not adjust easily or quickly to the back of the bike). By the end of the day, I'd helped to train five new captains!
I can't remember having so much fun.