This is a personal appeal made in the hope that able and willing cyclists will volunteer to pilot my much-loved Longstaff tandem from time to time.
I am a keen cyclist and member of Beacon Roads Cycling Club for more than 35 years. I became registered blind in the mid-1970s when I was 34, due to the eye condition retinitis pigmentosa (RP), when tandem cycling proved to be the ideal sporting activity for me to pursue.
My first pilot was a longstanding member of the Beacon Roads Cycling Club and, after borrowing a tandem initially, we decided to buy a Claude Butler as a joint venture. In 1998, George Longstaff built me a custom-made tandem, which has been well-serviced and maintained and which remains well used today.
Now in my 70s and totally blind, I remain fit and active thanks to my cycling with a number of pilots and through walking both with my guide dog Olly and friends.
Naturally with the passage of time a few of my pilots are reaching retirement age in their late 70s and 80s, and therefore I am appealing to other experienced cyclists who would be willing to “make up the numbers” and help me continue this great passion, at times and frequency to suit them.
I enjoy cycling distances up to 40 miles or so at a sociable pace and with or without a café stop. As recently as November 2017, together with a friend from Gloucestershire, I cycled from Cofton Hackett to and from Dursley over a weekend, a round trip of 140 miles.
Although I am totally blind I am more than capable of navigating a bike ride throughout Worcestershire and many parts of Warwickshire, my nickname being “The Sat Nav”!
Piloting a tandem versus a solo bike will undoubtedly take a little getting used to, however I am sure this will be achieved very quickly.
Roger Green, Cofton Hackett