Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Tandem Cycling
Reload this Page >

Teaching a blind stoker- what would you say?

Notices
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!

Teaching a blind stoker- what would you say?

Old 09-27-21, 11:05 AM
  #1  
blacknbluebikes 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
blacknbluebikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: NJ, USA
Posts: 979

Bikes: two blacks, a blue and a white.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 330 Post(s)
Liked 529 Times in 265 Posts
Teaching a blind stoker- what would you say?

So, some close friends of the family, I'll call them "Jack and Diane," have been struggling for the last few years as Jack has been losing his vision. These days, Jack is legally blind and has recently gotten a seeing-eye dog. Nonetheless, Jack is still remarkably active and goes to cross-fit 3x per week. Diane is an active cyclist, purely recreational, and wants to start learning to ride the tandem they just purchased, but isn't quite sure how to get started. Clearly, this is a question of "communication protocol." So, I figured I'd ask the tandem community - what would be your command set? how would you, sitting up front, communicate with Jack clearly and consistently?
blacknbluebikes is offline  
Old 09-27-21, 12:42 PM
  #2  
fooferdoggie 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 1,690
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 472 Post(s)
Liked 589 Times in 352 Posts
wife and I just went through this. I am bad with communication so it was a struggle. Now my wife can feel turns and breaking so she does not need all the commands.. we just used basics turning left or right braking and starting and bumps.
fooferdoggie is offline  
Old 09-27-21, 01:02 PM
  #3  
sapporoguy
Full Member
 
sapporoguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 205

Bikes: 2000 Santana Sovereign SE; 2005 Co-Motion Speedster; Kona Kilauea with various dorky commuter accouterments; Mercier Kilo TT fixie; Burley Fladbed trailer for groceries, bags of cement and the like.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 66 Times in 29 Posts
Check out the excellent series of step-by-step videos posted by Trailblazers, a tandem-cycling club for blind stokers and their captains; I watched all these and got some good tips even for us sighted teams. The Blind Stokers Club in San Diego also has some good info including videos.
Check out both clubs' videos and maybe email them for guidance.
I just piloted for a blind stoker this Saturday for the first time and had great fun. To be sure, he was an experienced stoker and very quickly it felt like piloting for my usual stoker!
sapporoguy is offline  
Likes For sapporoguy:
Old 10-01-21, 12:56 AM
  #4  
Leisesturm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5,194
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1964 Post(s)
Liked 426 Times in 305 Posts
I have been tandeming with a blind stoker since 2005. My own eyesight has declined precipitously in that time. I stopped driving around 2012. We have several tandems that are optimized for different kinds of cycling since we live a car free existence. Even though the couple in the o.p. plan to ride recreationally I would suggest that their tandem be set up like a city or commuter bike: flat or riser handlebars that are 23" wide or as wide as possible.

All of our tandem friends are retiring as the Captains lose their upper body strength. Since I don't have that option I keep to regular upper body strength training work in the gym 3x/wk. A female Captain needs all the leverage she can get from wide handlebars and an upright seating position. Teaching the Stoker to signal turns is a good way for the Captain to be able to keep both hands on the bars at all times. I'll say: 'Signal Left or Right' and I expect my Stoker to keep signaling until I give a 'Cancel' command. I try to 'Cancel' before actually heeling over for the turn so my Stoker can get both hands on the bars.

I have found it useful to signal when stopping pedaling for any reason. "Stopping" simply means we are (temporarily) no longer pedaling. It does not necessarily mean we are actually going to stop. In fact, we usually are not going to stop. Once the reason for coasting is over I resume pedaling without announcement. The cadence to use is implicit through the timing chain. No IPS on our rigs and my Stoker wouldn't have it any other way.

I signal front shifts with a 'Gears' command so we can reduce pressure slightly for the shift. Again, I do not announce the resumption of cadence, I just do it. Seems to work. I do not announce rear shifts unless they are under load. If I need a sudden burst of speed I will call, "Power". That's pretty much it.
Leisesturm is offline  
Old 10-01-21, 12:23 PM
  #5  
Alcanbrad
Full Member
 
Alcanbrad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 401

Bikes: '14 CoMo Carrera, '11 CoMo Primera co-pilot, '98 Santana Visa, a Plethora of road bikes, A commuter/Gravel beast (and 1 MTB)

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 98 Post(s)
Liked 38 Times in 32 Posts
Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
...
Teaching the Stoker to signal turns is a good way for the Captain to be able to keep both hands on the bars at all times. I'll say: 'Signal Left or Right' and I expect my Stoker to keep signaling until I give a 'Cancel' command. I try to 'Cancel' before actually heeling over for the turn so my Stoker can get both hands on the bars.

I have found it useful to signal when stopping pedaling for any reason. "Stopping" simply means we are (temporarily) no longer pedaling. It does not necessarily mean we are actually going to stop. In fact, we usually are not going to stop. Once the reason for coasting is over I resume pedaling without announcement. The cadence to use is implicit through the timing chain. No IPS on our rigs and my Stoker wouldn't have it any other way.

I signal front shifts with a 'Gears' command so we can reduce pressure slightly for the shift. Again, I do not announce the resumption of cadence, I just do it. Seems to work. I do not announce rear shifts unless they are under load. If I need a sudden burst of speed I will call, "Power". That's pretty much it.
We do pretty much the same, but with different words. I use STOPPING for stopping, PAUSE to pause pedaling without stopping, SHIFT when announcing a shift of rear gears, and FRONT to announce a shift of chainrings.

In the end, it doesn't matter as long as it's consistent and understood within the team.
Alcanbrad is offline  
Old 10-01-21, 12:50 PM
  #6  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 13,041

Bikes: Stormchaser, Paramount, Timberjack, Expert TG, Samba tandem

Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2814 Post(s)
Liked 1,639 Times in 1,077 Posts
Tell him, "Activate interlock... Infra-cells up... Dyno-therms connected... Mega-thrusters are GO!"
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is online now  
Old 10-01-21, 09:22 PM
  #7  
Kat12
Full Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 290
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 325 Post(s)
Liked 277 Times in 198 Posts
I ride with a friend who's blind. We kind of picked up the communication from the start, luckily. We were both first-time tandem-ers, so it was a learning curve for both of us at the same time!

We start with a "Ready? 1, 2, 3, go" sort of thing or some variation. I'll say "bump" if we're about to hit one (I've caught myself even doing it when on my own bike or driving, lol), or if there's rough pavement or gravel, or "duck" or "face trees!" if there are some low-hanging branches. I let her know when we're going past the section where the bushes hang out onto the sidewalk so she knows she'll get scratched. I tell her if I'm shifting, or she'll request a shift if she wants. I'll tell her "we're coming up to a stop sign, and we're slowing down and stopping with our right foot down... now." (We're still working on our rhythm between my braking and her putting a foot down, since it's hard to "feel" the right moment.) I'll tell her when we're going to turn and she signals, and she's also in charge of the bell. I let her know things like "we're crossing a street now" or if there is a loud or close car coming so it doesn't startle her. I tell her when we're slowing, and when we're going to coast (and sometimes when we start pedaling again, but now sometimes I don't need to).

And she also knows that in case we suddenly get into something hairy where we might not have time for a lot of conversation, all she might get is a harried-sounding "swerving!" or "stopping!" or "falling right!" (But I try not to let us get into hairy situations.)


Originally Posted by sapporoguy View Post
Check out the excellent series of step-by-step videos posted by Trailblazers, a tandem-cycling club for blind stokers and their captains; I watched all these and got some good tips even for us sighted teams. The Blind Stokers Club in San Diego also has some good info including videos.
Check out both clubs' videos and maybe email them for guidance.
I just piloted for a blind stoker this Saturday for the first time and had great fun. To be sure, he was an experienced stoker and very quickly it felt like piloting for my usual stoker!
Oh, I'm looking forward to watching these. Wish I'd had them when I started!
Kat12 is offline  
Old 10-02-21, 07:59 AM
  #8  
Alcanbrad
Full Member
 
Alcanbrad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 401

Bikes: '14 CoMo Carrera, '11 CoMo Primera co-pilot, '98 Santana Visa, a Plethora of road bikes, A commuter/Gravel beast (and 1 MTB)

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 98 Post(s)
Liked 38 Times in 32 Posts
Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Tell him, "Activate interlock... Infra-cells up... Dyno-therms connected... Mega-thrusters are GO!"
Alcanbrad is offline  
Old 10-03-21, 04:16 PM
  #9  
surveyor6
Senior Member
 
surveyor6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Houston area
Posts: 246

Bikes: 1961 Higgins Flightliner

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 68 Post(s)
Liked 100 Times in 69 Posts
When I did the MS-150, over a decade ago, we had a legally blind lady on our team that owned a tandem. She would conscript captains from her riding club to do charity rides with her. She was already an experienced stroker when I met her.
surveyor6 is offline  
Old 10-03-21, 06:29 PM
  #10  
fooferdoggie 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 1,690
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 472 Post(s)
Liked 589 Times in 352 Posts
wife and I just got our Lumos helmets from kickstarter. I have a turn signal button the helmet beeps so now that will sign her when I am turning should work well as her helmet will be the one beeping
fooferdoggie is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.