NCBI Laois and Offaly on a Tandem!
Have you ever wanted to feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face, as you cycle around on a summer’s evening? For most people who are blind or vision impaired this might seem like a dream, but, not any more. With a tandem you can make this dream a reality. A few weeks ago I was introduced to tandem cycling, and to be honest, I was a little apprehensive at first. However my fears were allayed when I tried it out with my encouraging and well-experienced pilot, P.J. As the adrenaline flowed I knew I was not going to turn back, I was hooked!
Tandem cycling in NCBI Laois started back in 2006. It was a collaboration between NCBI and Laois Sports Partnership. On the 18th of November of that year they had a “Come and Try Day” which proved very successful. As there was great interest in the idea, plans were put in motion over the winter months and were ready to take off in April 2007. This year the tandem cycling has been continued and ran from May to the end of September.
It is not only people with vision impairments in Laois who can enjoy the weekly sessions, people from Offaly can also get involved in the activity. The NCBI, Mountmellick Development Association (MDA) and Brian Bonham of Laois Tripp provide transport for those who are not in the immediate area. The venue is the new leisure centre in Portlaoise town which has a suitable track for cycling. Apart from the cycling there is an opportunity to meet and have a chat afterwards over a cuppa.
The NCBI’s Community Resource Workers, Mary Cawley (Laois) and Aileen Ahern (Offaly), ensure that the cycling takes place every Thursday night between 7pm and 9pm and even take on the role of pilot when required. Indeed Aileen is now one of the foremost pilots in the region! The cycling depends hugely on the volunteers who pilot the tandems. One of these volunteers, P.J. Gorman, deserves special mention, as he has been a pilot from the very start.
If you are interested in taking up this wonderful opportunity to experience the thrill of tandem cycling please contact your local NCBI office. I highly recommend it!
— Aran Murphy.