Tag Archives: Blind Tandem Cycling

Cycling: The Velodrome Experience

Three photos of Mark and Ashrafia on a tandem at the Velodrome

The Velodrome Experience by Ashrafia Choudhury

When I got there I met with Mark the ‘pilot’ who would be cycling with me on the track.
Mark was really lovely and told me what to expect and put my mind at ease, as nerves soon transformed into excitement.

I could tell Mark has worked with VI people before, as his audio description of the pedal lock, the special shoes and details were clear and reassuring.

Mark gave me the courage to be in control of my experience by saying that ‘Communication is the key’ – if I want to go faster, slower, if I want to stop, or if I want more time on the track!

I felt comfortable that we could ride the way I wanted to.

Mark and Ashrafia at the Velodrome below!

What does it feel like?

I didn’t have a care in the world!  It was an amazing distraction, I felt free, free from my thoughts, disability, totally free and in the moment.

Feeling so free was helped by having someone there with me, so I knew I was safe, and if I wanted to we could stop.

I was buzzing afterwards, high on endorphins, I was so happy and having fun, and getting fit without realising!

The ride wirth Mark gave me a kick start to want to get into fitness – he helped push my fitness to the next level, as my body felt flowing and this is a feeling I want to keep.

For myself – I found I needed padding for my derrière – possibly because I wasn’t used to it – so this would be my advice to myself for next time!
I can’t wait to go again!

Ashrafia Choudhury
(Chairperson of Beyond Sight Loss)

 

Olympic Velodrome event info below

The Olympic Velodrome in Stratford runs two-hour para sessions for disabled cyclists on certain  Monday afternoons, please call to confirm before travel.

Dates:  Mon 27 June,  22 Aug,  12, 26 Sept  2022  Time: 2 pm

Book Online: https://tinyurl.com/CyclingVelodromeBook

£17.00   Address: Lee Valley VeloPark, Abercrombie Road, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E20 3AB

Email: velopark@leevalleypark.org.uk |  Telephone: 03000 030 613

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

 

Metro Blind Sports Social Networks

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

Metro Blind Sport: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Instagram   |  LinkedIn

Metro Blind Sport membership:  more info or Join here

 

 

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Cycling: The Velodrome Experience by Ashrafia Choudhury

Three photos of Mark and Ashrafia on a tandem at the Velodrome

The Velodrome Experience

When I got there I met with Mark the ‘pilot’ who would be cycling with me on the track.
Mark was really lovely and told me what to expect and put my mind at ease, as nerves soon transformed into excitement.

I could tell Mark has worked with VI people before, as his audio description of the pedal lock, the special shoes and details were clear and reassuring.

Mark gave me the courage to be in control of my experience by saying that ‘Communication is the key’ – if I want to go faster, slower, if I want to stop, or if I want more time on the track!

I felt comfortable that we could ride the way I wanted to.

Mark and Ashrafia at the Velodrome below!

What does it feel like?

I didn’t have a care in the world!  It was an amazing distraction, I felt free, free from my thoughts, disability, totally free and in the moment.

Feeling so free was helped by having someone there with me, so I knew I was safe, and if I wanted to we could stop.

I was buzzing afterwards, high on endorphins, I was so happy and having fun, and getting fit without realising!

The ride wirth Mark gave me a kick start to want to get into fitness – he helped push my fitness to the next level, as my body felt flowing and this is a feeling I want to keep.

For myself – I found I needed padding for my derrière – possibly because I wasn’t used to it – so this would be my advice to myself for next time!
I can’t wait to go again!

Ashrafia Choudhury
(Chairperson of Beyond Sight Loss)

 

Olympic Velodrome event info below

The Olympic Velodrome in Stratford runs two-hour para sessions for disabled cyclists on certain  Monday afternoons, please call to confirm before travel.

Dates:  Mon 27 June,  22 Aug,  12, 26 Sept  2022  Time: 2 pm

Book Online: https://tinyurl.com/CyclingVelodromeBook

£17.00   Address: Lee Valley VeloPark, Abercrombie Road, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London E20 3AB

Email: velopark@leevalleypark.org.uk |  Telephone: 03000 030 613

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

 

Metro Blind Sports Social Networks

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

Metro Blind Sport: Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Instagram   |  LinkedIn

Metro Blind Sport membership:  more info or Join here

 

 

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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!

Metro Blind Sport:  Facebook   |  Twitter   |  Instagram   |  LinkedIn 

Metro Blind Sport membership:  more info or Join here

 

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Tandem Rides in Aug with MSSC

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:
67 Clarendon Road, Colliers Wood, London, SW19 2DX
Time:
varied 9am, 9:30am, 10am - varied
Phone:
Date:
01st August 2021
Cost:
Free to try out


Booking up Rides in July and August with MSSC

Merton Sports and Social Club for Visually Impaired People Rides will take place on the first Sunday and third Saturday of each month, sufficient pilots and ride leaders permitting.  We regret that your place cannot be guaranteed until we have secured enough pilots.  If we do not have enough pilots or ride leaders to run four rides, we will have to decide which ride levels are viable given the pilots and leaders available.

We are still trialling a new google online form which we ask all pilots and stokers to complete, in order to sign up for a particular ride.

Tandem Ride Sign Up

To book for a ride on Sunday 1st August, please use the following link:-

https://forms.gle/HbHavEJsRvhLGzrq5

To book for a ride on Saturday 21st August, please use the following link:-

https://forms.gle/Djp86yq5tZoBh5od9

As usual places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to paid up members, and you should receive confirmation no later than the Thursday before the ride.

Again, we regret that your place cannot be confirmed until we have secured enough pilots and ride leaders.

You are welcome to try out a few activities before committing to becoming a member.

 

Ride Leaders Needed

We urgently need to expand our pool of ride leaders as well as pilots.  If you have experience of leading cycle rides or would be keen to have a go, we would love to hear from you.

If interested, training is given 👉 Please email Cycling@MSSC.ORG.UK

We wouldn’t throw you in at the deep end: you could always start as a deputy/backmarker and do some shadowing, before progressing to the role of ride leader.  Please do get in touch at the below email address and we can always have a chat about it.

Remember solo cyclists are welcome on our rides and often serve as good backmarkers!

 

Merton Sports and Social Club for Visually Impaired People

For more information on the Merton Sports and Social Club for Visually Impaired People and membership see the link below

Email: membership@mssc.org.uk.  | Website:  http://www.mssc.org.uk/

To join MSSC, please contact our Membership Secretary who will be happy to provide you with a simple form to complete and details of how to pay your subscription.

Email: membership@mssc.org.uk.

 

Interest in try  out Cycling -links below

Link to our Cycling page: Metro Cycling page

Link to our Cycling video: Cycling Video

 

 

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Tandem Rides with MSSC

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:
67 Clarendon Road, Colliers Wood, London, SW19 2DX
Time:
varied 9am, 9:30am, 10am - varied
Phone:
Date:
04th July 2021
Cost:
Free to try out


Booking up Rides in July and August with MSSC

Merton Sports and Social Club for Visually Impaired People Rides will take place on the first Sunday and third Saturday of each month, sufficient pilots and ride leaders permitting.  We regret that your place cannot be guaranteed until we have secured enough pilots.  If we do not have enough pilots or ride leaders to run four rides, we will have to decide which ride levels are viable given the pilots and leaders available.

We are still trialling a new google online form which we ask all pilots and stokers to complete, in order to sign up for a particular ride.

Tandem Ride Sign Up

We are still short of pilots for rides on 4th and 17th July.  The link to book is:-

https://forms.gle/UUvXVu2JCLytbrAt7

MSSC still short of pilots for some rides, If interested, training is given
👉 Please email Cycling@MSSC.ORG.UK

To book for a ride on Sunday 1st August, please use the following link:-

https://forms.gle/HbHavEJsRvhLGzrq5

To book for a ride on Saturday 21st August, please use the following link:-

https://forms.gle/Djp86yq5tZoBh5od9

As usual places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to paid up members, and you should receive confirmation no later than the Thursday before the ride.

Again, we regret that your place cannot be confirmed until we have secured enough pilots and ride leaders.

You are welcome to try out a few activities before committing to becoming a member.

 

Ride Leaders Needed

We urgently need to expand our pool of ride leaders as well as pilots.  If you have experience of leading cycle rides or would be keen to have a go, we would love to hear from you.

If interested, training is given 👉 Please email Cycling@MSSC.ORG.UK

We wouldn’t throw you in at the deep end: you could always start as a deputy/backmarker and do some shadowing, before progressing to the role of ride leader.  Please do get in touch at the below email address and we can always have a chat about it.

Remember solo cyclists are welcome on our rides and often serve as good backmarkers!

 

Merton Sports and Social Club for Visually Impaired People

For more information on the Merton Sports and Social Club for Visually Impaired People and membership see the link below

Email: membership@mssc.org.uk.  | Website:  http://www.mssc.org.uk/

To join MSSC, please contact our Membership Secretary who will be happy to provide you with a simple form to complete and details of how to pay your subscription.

Email: membership@mssc.org.uk.

 

Interest in try  out Cycling -links below

Link to our Cycling page: Metro Cycling page

Link to our Cycling video: Cycling Video

 

 

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