Tandem Training with Wheels for Wellbeing
Wheels for Wellbeing are a brilliant inclusive cycling charity working to remove barriers to cycling.
They run all ability cycling sessions at Herne Hill Velodrome and Croydon Sports Arena. This summer, they are running training sessions for riders looking to learn how to pilot a tandem with a visually impaired stoker.
We joined in and had a fantastic time (as the photo shows), though it was also a rather sad morning in that Abs Tripp, their fantastic engagement officer, was delivering the training for the last time. She was knocked off her bike in an horrendous accident this spring and is still recovering from it, making cycling painful and unpleasant. See her speech about it at the Stop Killing Cyclists protest in January.
We asked Abs about where we could safely learn to ride our tandem in Croydon or a route we could use from the Arena and it seems.. there isn't really one. Protected cycle tracks are virtually non-existent in Croydon and getting on the train to Shadwell and onto the East-West Cycle Superhighway seemed to be our best bet. Luckily, TfL Overground trains are roomy enough to jump on with a tandem; many operators don't allow them, making it especially hard for the Wheels for Wellbeing team when they need to find longer rides (on roads with safe space for cycling).
Perhaps one day we'll have some of these fantastic blue CS lines heading all the way to us down in CRO, or even at least a link from Victoria or London Bridge to a CS. But for now, our tandem training options remain sadly limited in our home town.