Tag Archives: blind cycling

100% adrenaline rush: Tandem cycling at the Velodrome!

Photo of Chris lewis and his pilot banking at the olympic Velodrome

Imagine being at the top of the banking at the Velodrome on a tandem!

The Olympic Velodrome in Stratford runs two-hour para sessions for disabled cyclists every other week on a Monday afternoon.  If you like experiencing something different whilst getting an unbelievable work out you should give it a go!

They provide pilots and the necessary kit although you can take your own helmet along. I have taken part in these a number of times over the last few years. It is nothing like riding my tandem out on the roads around London, I can assure you.

The first thing you notice is that you take a lift down into the bowels of the massive venue. You emerge into the middle of the track and you can hear a lot of echoing around the venue. The tandems themselves are ultra-lightweight carbon fibre. Nothing fancy, fixed wheels, no gears, racing saddle and drop handlebars. Oh, and yes, those cleats that clasp your special shoes to the pedals.

The staff are accustomed to helping everyone so don’t worry if you can’t get your feet into the cleats. But, be careful to listen to the instructions as getting started is a question of balance and listening to your pilot.

What is evident from the start is that the track creaks!

It is built of wooden panels on a slatted wooden frame that flexes with the weight of the cyclists. And, the most important feature, it is steeply banked, at quite an angle on the straights but severely on the ends.

 

Photo of Chris lewis and his pilot at the olympic Velodrome riding between the blue and red lines
The photo above is of Chris lewis and his pilot at the Olympic Velodrome, riding between the blue and red lines.

The lowest level is flat and solid just to give you a chance to get used to the motion. For those who can see, the photos show there are then a series of coloured lines going up the banking. If you have watched it on the telly you can see that it looks steep. After I had finished the session I asked the organiser if I could walk up and feel the banking.

Shoes removed, I walked up in my socks along the finishing straight. I got about halfway before I slid down. Socks off, I walked to the top. I was around 10 feet above my pilot who was standing in the middle! After that, we went to the end of the track. I couldn’t get even a couple of feet up the banking here as it is just so steep.

Once you cross the first line onto the actual track you can hear the boards crackle. The pilot gradually increases the pace until you are flat out. The circuit is only 250 metres in total so there is no real straight or bend, just continuous cycling! Bizarrely, you get buffeted a lot from the air.

Yes, it is inside but you are pushing against the air with nowhere for it to go so it causes buffeting. Going around the track at the lower level is pretty straightforward.

Obviously, you have got to be pushing in sync with the pilot but frankly, the pedals don’t allow you not to do so. Trying to do a number of laps flat out is lung-busting, to say the least. Then, with a little more confidence, the pilot takes you up the banking. This requires significantly more peddle power. At the top of the banking, there is a hiatus before you suddenly drop down at an amazing speed, pulling a few Gs, and swooping onto the bottom of the track is exhilarating!

And, once your ten or fifteen minutes of peddling is done you can’t just stop. There are no gears on the bike, nor breaks, so you just gradually slow down by not pedalling. Coming into the end is a test of accuracy from the pilot and then the joy of sitting down, deep breathing and gulping lots of water plus something energising to eat or drink before heading out again! Depending on how many other people are on the track you will get four sessions in the slot.

If you like cycling or just like doing different things, this is an amazing way to test out your fitness and fearlessness whilst also experiencing an Olympic venue!

The photos don’t do justice to the speeds you achieve nor the steepness of the banking but I can honestly say it is one of the best sporting activities I have ever done.

You can book online and ask for a tandem and a pilot.  Ask for Nicky!

 

by Chris Lewis    |  Twitter: @Chr1sLew1s

 

 

Olympic Velodrome event info below

The Olympic Velodrome in Stratford runs two-hour para sessions for disabled cyclists every other week on a Monday afternoon

Email: velopark@leevalleypark.org.uk |  Telephone:  03000 030 613  * we’re currently unable to answer telephone calls so please email us with any queries that you have.

Website: https://www.visitleevalley.org.uk/lee-valley-velopark

Address: Lee Valley VeloPark, Abercrombie Road, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E20 3AB

 

Want to try  a free E-bike ride?

These Free Side-by-Side eBike Ride sessions are available every week!  Booking Required. Providing blind and partially sighted people with a safe and enjoyable opportunity to get out cycling across the city and its many green spaces.

Collect some shopping, visit a place of interest or just go for some exercise – the FREE service is a great new way for people to travel more accessibly around the city 

So please do get in contact if you want to attend sessions. We would love to welcome you along, please contact Nikki Ray from Bikeworks Nikki.Ray@bikeworks.org.uk 07833 757954

There will be two-time slots available on each of the days.

Weekdays session times:

  • Session 1 is from 9.30 am until 11 am,
  • Session 2 is from 11.30 am until 1 pm.

Weekend session times:

  • Session 1 is from 10 am 
  • Session 2 is from 12 pm

Next Cycling: Ride Side-by-Side events below

To book and for more info – Click the date you want below.

If you are keen to come along to one or more of the sessions, please contact Nikki Ray from Bikeworks Nikki.Ray@bikeworks.org.uk 07833 757954

 

 

Metro Blind Sports Social Networks

Get all the latest blind & partially sighted event information & news as soon as we do!

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Metro Blind Sport membership:  more info or Join here

 

Cycling: ‘Have a Go” 25 Jan

Group photo of smiling tandem cyclists and their pilots in the countryside at the camera Text says Tandem Cycling with Merton Sports and Social Club
Venue:
At the rear of the
Guardian Centre, 67 Clarendon Road SW19 2DX    
Time:
10.00 am - 1.00 pm
Phone:
07500 913 223
Date:
25th January 2020
Cost:
Free


‘Have a Go” Tandem Cycling Workshops

Merton Sports and Social Club runs regular ‘Have a Go” workshops for anyone who is keen to learn how to ride a tandem, either as a back rider (stoker) or a front rider (pilot).   Stokers can try riding a tandem with an experienced cyclist and practise their pedalling technique, while pilots can learn the basics of handling a tandem and how to interact and communicate with visually impaired stokers.

MSSC’s next tandem training/confidence building workshop will be held on Saturday, 25th January 2020.  The session is open to anyone keen to learn how to ride the front of a tandem and those who have already tried but would like to develop their skills and confidence further. Light refreshments will be provided.

Event Details

WHERE:   At the rear of the Guardian Centre, 67 Clarendon Road SW19 2DX                              (about 10 minutes’ walk from Colliers Wood Underground  Station)

WHEN: Saturday,  25th January 2020  TIME: 10.00 to 13.00

CONTACT:  Email: cycling@mssc.org.uk  or Telephone: 07500 913 223

We need an idea of numbers, so please let us know if you plan to attend and if you would like sighted support from Colliers Wood Underground Station or a nearby bus stop.

If you would like to give tandem riding a go, but cannot make the workshop on 25th January, please get in touch and we can arrange an alternative training session.

For more information about MSSC and all its activities, visit the website at www.mssc.org.uk.

MSSC Tandem Section   Email: cycling@mssc.org.uk

Following the training,  the short rides held every third Saturday of the month are ideal to start with. No more than 25 miles, and following quiet routes as much as possible, these rides are very social and relaxed. On the first Sunday of the month, we pedal off on the longer ride, venturing further afield, covering around 40 or so miles, equally rewarding but a little harder work.  During the spring and summer, we have a weekly evening ride and also run cycling weekends with an overnight stay.

 

 

Cycling Track Lee Valley 16 Nov

British Cycling & HSNC UK Road Event
Venue:
Lee Valley Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 3AB
Time:
08.00 am - TBC
Phone:
Date:
19th October 2019
Cost:
£10 + £1.00 Application fee 


British Cycling & HSBC UK – Tandem Track and Road Events

check below for HSBC UK Disability Hub London Sessions for 2019       

  • Date: 16 Nov 19 Time: 08:00 HSBC UK Disability Hub Session – Lee Valley VeloPark (Track)–  Venue:  Lee Valley Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 3AB  Cost: £10.00 + £1.00 Application fee

Book  here: http://bit.ly/BCTandemCyclingLondon2019

If you require any further information then please do not hesitate to contact lead coaches Russell Hampton & Dave Ryan.

RussellHampton@britishcycling.org.uk

daveryan@britishcycling.org.uk 

 

Cycling Track Lee Valley 19 Oct

British Cycling & HSNC UK Road Event
Venue:
Lee Valley Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 3AB
Time:
08.00 am - TBC
Phone:
Date:
19th October 2019
Cost:
£4 + £1.00 Application fee 


British Cycling & HSBC UK – Tandem Track and Road Events

check below for HSBC UK Disability Hub London Sessions for 2019       

  • Date: 19 Oct  Time: 08:00 HSBC UK Disability Hub Session – Lee Valley VeloPark (Track)–  Venue:  Lee Valley Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 3AB Cost: £4.00 + £1.00 Application fee
  • Date: 3 Nov Time: 11:00 HSBC UK Disability Hub Session –London (Herne Hill) Venue:   Herne Hill Velodrome, Burbage Road, London, SE24 9HE  Cost: £5.00 + £1.00 Application fee
  • Date: 16 Nov 19 Time: 08:00 HSBC UK Disability Hub Session – Lee Valley VeloPark (Track)–  Venue:  Lee Valley Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 3AB  Cost: £10.00 + £1.00 Application fee

Book  here: http://bit.ly/BCTandemCyclingLondon2019

If you require any further information then please do not hesitate to contact lead coaches Russell Hampton & Dave Ryan.

RussellHampton@britishcycling.org.uk

daveryan@britishcycling.org.uk 

 

Cycling Track Lee Valley 21 Sept

British Cycling & HSNC UK Road Event
Venue:
Lee Valley Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 3AB
Time:
08.00 am - TBC
Phone:
Date:
21st September 2019
Cost:
£4 + £1.00 Application fee 


British Cycling & HSBC UK – Tandem Track and Road Events

check below for HSBC UK Disability Hub London Sessions for 2019       

  • Date: 21 Sep Time: 08:00 HSBC UK Disability Hub Session – Lee Valley VeloPark (Track)–  Venue:  Lee Valley Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 3AB Cost: £4.00 + £1.00 Application fee
  • Date: 6 Oct Time: 11:00 HSBC UK Disability Hub Session – London (Herne Hill)  Herne Venue:  Hill Velodrome, Burbage Road, London, SE24 9HE Cost: £4.00 + £1.00 Application fee
  • Date: 19 Oct  Time: 08:00 HSBC UK Disability Hub Session – Lee Valley VeloPark (Track)–  Venue:  Lee Valley Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 3AB Cost: £4.00 + £1.00 Application fee
  • Date: 3 Nov Time: 11:00 HSBC UK Disability Hub Session –London (Herne Hill) Venue:   Herne Hill Velodrome, Burbage Road, London, SE24 9HE  Cost: £5.00 + £1.00 Application fee
  • Date: 16 Nov 19 Time: 08:00 HSBC UK Disability Hub Session – Lee Valley VeloPark (Track)–  Venue:  Lee Valley Velodrome, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, London, E20 3AB  Cost: £10.00 + £1.00 Application fee

Book  here: http://bit.ly/BCTandemCyclingLondon2019

If you require any further information then please do not hesitate to contact lead coaches Russell Hampton & Dave Ryan.

RussellHampton@britishcycling.org.uk

daveryan@britishcycling.org.uk