Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

Yes, People with Vision Loss Ride Bikes Too

by Daniel Parker, RDPFS Intern

Even for those people with vision loss who are not particularly athletic, tandem cycling is a popular pastime. It involves two people riding a tandem bicycle, which is basically two bicycles mounted on one long frame. The blind person sits on the back of the bike, with their handlebars locked in place, as they play no part in steering. The person in this position is known as the stoker. The front person, called the captain or pilot, is responsible for steering as well as calling out directions and instructions to the stoker. The tandem community is served by many organizations and clubs on the local and national level. Tandem is covered by the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA), whose tandem website covers several aspects of the sport, including an annual training camp held at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Readers familiar with this Bulletin’s coverage of Camp Abilities may be aware that the camp has provided tandem instruction for several years. In addition, the Tandem Club of America, founded in 1976, is a forum for tandem enthusiasts across the country to connect and share tips, experiences, and more. The Club publishes the DoubleTalk blog and maintains a comprehensive resources page with lists of builders, dealers, state clubs, and general maintenance tips, among others. An example of a local organization is InTandem Bike in New York City, which holds evening and weekend rides in Central Park, participates in the city’s Five-Borough Bike Tour, and convenes bigger events such as a planned 2023 ride across the Mario Cuomo Bridge. Bicycling Blind also has a list of organizations by state, and Tandem Cycle Works hosts a tandem events page discussing noteworthy and interesting tandem tours in the U.S. and destinations around the world.