On this episode of the My Cycle My Mobility Aid blog and podcast, Madhur talked about her love of tandem cycling.
Madhur had used an exercise bike at home but never really cycled outdoors. Then she heard about a local club that was pairing visually impaired riders like herself with tandem pilots…
Madhur’s found her real cycling loves are speed, distance and hills:
Anything under 30 miles is really too short – 60 miles and above is more Madhur’s thing. Her first ride with one pilot was 72 miles!
She’s really enjoyed track riding at Lea Valley velodrome, and is a bit disappointed that Ride London has moved from hillier Surrey to flatter Essex as she enjoys the challenge of hill climbing.
But finding pilots can be a real challenge:
There are various clubs, social media groups and matching service for visually impaired riders and tandem pilots – but finding someone who lives near enough for regular riding is difficult. It can take months to find a suitable match.
Madhur finds tandems great fun to ride – but they have their difficulties, too:
“We get people saying, Oh, it’s easier if you’re on a tandem, you know, you’ve got the power of two, but actually, it’s a lot harder because the bike is bigger. It’s heavier, is harder to steer around corners and bends so it’s harder on a tandem.”
And it’s not just the riding that Madhur needs to think about as a visually impaired person:
“If I’ve got a male pilot going to the loo would be an issue. But I make sure I don’t need to go to the loo when I’m out. I drink milkshakes which rehydrates you without the need to go to the toilet. For me anyway. It works for me. I don’t drink water when I’m out.”
With the weather improving, Madhur’s got a new pilot lined up ready to get out on more long and hilly rides!
“A guy came up in my area to ride with me so I was well over the moon. When the weather gets a bit better, he’s dying to get out with me on the bike.”
In the end, the biggest bonus of tandem riding is how friendly it is:
“I mean, sighted people like them as well. I think is the fact you’ve got somebody to talk to the whole time, you know?”
You can listen to all Madhur’s great anecdotes and tips – and to the rest of our fortnightly My Cycle My Mobility Aid podcast series as well on our My Cycle My Mobility Aid podcast channel, or download the transcript. We have campaigning resources and support available via our website at www.wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk , too.
If you would like more information or to share your story for our campaign please contact Kate@wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk