How many barriers exist to riding a bicycle? Some feel overwhelmingly isolating, and others simply take a friend or friendly gesture by someone unknown to enjoy and meet any challenge. In my first ride with a blind stoker (the name for the individual on the back seat of a tandem bicycle), I was able to meet an international student from Alexandria, Egypt that loved every moment of the ride. His humor, flexibility, and sense of adventure helped me quickly forget any of my own nerves or my anticipating to have a nervous rider siting behind me.
Ride the Drive (the local open streets celebration) in Downtown Madison hosted the first of many (first Sunday of the month) tandem social events. The Wisconsin Bike Fed, Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired and Bike Madison are partnering to pair blind & visually impaired riders (or simply new riders that want to enjoy a bike ride) with tandem owners and experienced captains.
At our first event an outpouring of generosity in the community gave us a greater supply of tandems and captains than we had stokers looking to join the event, as our second event approaches we’d like to grow the demand and to get new riders enjoying the city by bike. Eventually we will have a contact list of all interested volunteers and riders to help make this more and more of a regular event.
As June flies by, all interested tandem owners, captains (folks that have previous experience or want to build experience in steering the tandem) and stokers can contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let me know of their interest in our monthly rides.
On Sunday July 6th, we’ll be meeting again at 10am at the Wisconsin Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (754 Williamson St.) and will go for a 1-2 hour social ride around lake Monona and Monona Bay.
Please pass this invitation on to friends and family, all are welcome and we hope to grow the message that everyone can ride and everyone can enjoy helping make that happen.