The thrill of tandem cycling with Berkshire Vision
Georgia Collins experiences the feeling of freedom riding a bicycle again
It's such an indescribable feeling of freedom, feeling the wind brushing past your cheeks, the smell of the countryside – and something I haven’t been able to do since losing my sight.
What am I talking about? Riding a bicycle, and I have Berkshire Vision to thank for enabling me to enjoy this sport once again.
I received a phone call from a lovely lady who worked for the charity informing me that there was going to be an opportunity for me to tandem cycle in Windsor. My immediate reaction was that it wouldn’t be the same.
It most certainly isn’t the same, as someone else is in control of where the tandem actually goes, a good idea considering my obvious disadvantage.
However, it does mean that I still experience all of the wonderful things about cycling, but just from a blind person's point of view.
Which means trusting completely that the pilot – tandem speak for front rider – will be good at describing what is going on around you.
Just imagine, if you will, the sensation of moving forward at speed while closing your eyes. It can be most disconcerting, but absolutely exhilarating at the same time.
Although on our last tandem session riding round Greenham Common, we were rudely interrupted by a herd of mooing black and white cows. We had to cautiously cycle right through the middle of them, not an experience even I’d want to repeat twice.
Berkshire Vision do some fantastic work, that even I wasn’t aware of until last summer, and tandem cycling is just one sport they offer for visually impaired people.
I’ve recently taken part in sports I never would have thought possible before getting in touch with them, like tennis and even track running.
Sometimes it's worth taking a chance on things, and really sometimes the impossible is entirely possible, it all depends on how much you want to do it.
I’ve rediscovered my love of cycling all thanks to Berkshire Vision, and they’ve even given me the confidence to acquire my own tandem at some point, just as soon as I can find a sighted person to drive the thing.
Why not try something new yourself? You may just be surprised.
To support Berkshire Vision and the work that they do you can visit http://www.berkshirevision.org.uk