Biking With The Blind

6 06 2012

New experiences are important.  They keep you growing, thinking and challenging instead of stagnating.  A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take on a new experience: biking with the blind.

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers an extra-curricular activity for their students: tandem cycling.  It’s great exercise and an opportunity for the students to feel part of something bigger and race up and down hills with the wind in their hair.

Until my visit, I had never really interacted with blind people – especially not blind youth.  But it was amazing to see how well-adjusted and fearless these kids were.  One of the girls was dictating a Facebook status update through her phone just before we pulled out.  After practicing piloting and backseating a tandem with my friend Monica, I didn’t know that I would have the guts to ride without sight all around Austin. (One option was for me to try riding blindfolded with a sighted pilot.)

Our Tandem Bicycles Were Similar To This One

Our Tandem Bicycles Were Similar To This One

By the end of the 20 minute practice session, I wasn’t feeling steady enough on the tandem to take on responsibility for another life so I rode alongside the group (as did many others).  But on that day, I rode three different bikes, biked further and faster than I ever had, took on new (and potentially intimidating) experiences and came back home with the confidence to ride the scooter (which I did – still building up practice).

A successful evening.

posted by ayo

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2 responses

16 06 2012
tiffany of camp1899

very cool! as a child, one of the schools i attended in florida was attached to a school for the blind and we had required time spent there, it was amazing, and although i certainly don’t remember everything, what signing i know is 100% from this experience!! great post! t.

20 06 2012
ayo

Wow. I’d love to hear more about your experiences – especially as a child – and your memories of the interactions.

Maybe in person? Yair and I may be traveling through Denver this July. Will you be around?

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