Windsor

Visually impaired experience Windsor on tandem bikes

The visually impaired are getting to experience cycling across the city thanks to the Windsor Tandem Cycling.
Emmanuel Blaevoet, right, started the Windsor Tandem Cycling Club when he and his wife Rebecca, left, who is blind, moved to Windsor. (CBC)

The visually impaired are getting to experience cycling across the city thanks to the Windsor Tandem Cycling Club.

Now in its second year, the visually impaired are teamed up with people who can see and together they pedal a tandem bike throughout the city.

Emmanuel Blaevoet started the club when he and his wife Rebecca, who is blind, moved to Windsor. The pair has been cycling together for years. Blaevoet is the captain when they bike and he decided to give Windsorites the same experience.

Rebecca said the activity provides health and social benefits.

"Visually impaired people do tend to feel more isolated than sighted people do, I suppose," she said. "It's harder to find group activities and sometimes they are not age appropriate or they aren't interesting or whatever. So, we found that one of the biggest comments we get is, it's so nice to get around visually impaired people and do something fun."

The club currently has five bikes donated by the public and has volunteer captains, some who have had no experience working with the visually impaired.

Blaevoet said there has to be communication as both people are peddling.

"You have to announce what is going to happen. There is a traffic light coming, 50 metres, 30 metres, ready to stop, stop," Blaevoet said.

Interest has grown for the club, with about 20 visually impaired people wanting to bike, but Blaevoet said they need more sighted volunteers to match as only 12 people have expressed interest.

At this time, the club is only peddling in Windsor. There is hope to eventually pedal in Kingsville and Leamington.

With files from Meg Roberts

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