All it takes is a good tandem bicycle, preferably a road racing type, and of course a very keen, willing and regular partner often refered to as a Pilot.

Exocet Tandem on The JockAs you can see, a tandem is just a double bicycle, with the sighted Pilot doing the steering, changing the gears, and braking, whilst the blind cyclist, often called the stoker, sits behind he's Pilot and they share the pedalling. Optionally the blind rider can operate the gears and an additional brake if the tandem were adapted so.

Note the following about a tandem:

  1. "The front and rear pedals are linked via a link chain usually on the left of the tandem."
  2. "The main drive chain and gears are very simlar to a solo bicycle's, also onto the right-hand side of the rear wheel."
  3. "The brakes, gearing system and all other parts are those used on any solo bicycle, just longer cabling required for rear brakes and gearing operation."

Tandem cycling has picked up dramastically in South Africa over the past 10 years amongst sighted cyclists, especially mixed couples such as husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend tandem combinations. Unfortunately blind tandem cycling is not very popular here, mainly due to the tandems been very expensive to purchase and maintain, and also regular sighted pilots availability.

I had cycled for over 5 years, and we made it to the SA's in my 2nd year, but didn't goto Colorado Springs due to SA politics. I nevertheless enjoyed the cycling, until I got involved with horses of course, and changed my priorities, but will always take on a cycling ride or challenge if I get near a tandem again. We used to affectionately call the tandem "The Bus" due to it's characteristics.

Click on one of the below links to view info on other long distance sports:
Endurance Riding
Road Running
Padelling double Canoe

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