‘Ping’ Weather looks good for weekend. Both days. Hope you are free and can suggest a time? Thanks Andrew.

That’s the kind of text message I get a day or two before every weekend. It’s the text message I look forward to every week amongst all the clutter. I know I’m going to learn a lot and the weather will be great. Well, it has been so far but we decided a little bit of snow, rain, sleet or any other type of adverse weather would not deter us from going out.

Andrew is my tandem bike pilot. Although Andrew works full-time Monday to Friday, he always manages to take me out for a spin on my bike for an hour or two most weekends. The only times we’ve missed a weekend ride are when I’ve been unavailable.  

How I met my cycling buddy

Miriam, from Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria is always on the prowl for volunteers to make goals become reality for people who are blind or have low vision. So, a few months after she put a request on the BSRV website and Facebook page for a volunteer tandem bike pilot, along came Andrew.  Andrew’s ‘job’ as per the job description was ‘to pilot a tandem bike for a visually impaired woman for cycling trips around the Gen Eira area’.

We hit it off immediately

At the mandatory meet and greet, I discovered that Andrew just happens to live about 10 minutes from my place and knows the Glen Eira area well. Not only that, we both share a passion for our local area.  A few days after the meeting, we were on the saddles.

Riding around the local parks and reserves

For me, tandem cycling is not just about the ride. It’s also about becoming familiar with the parklands and what they have to offer. With Andrew, I couldn’t have asked for a better cycling buddy because he’s always eager to share his knowledge of the parks and visual descriptions of the surrounds. I’d say he’s an absolute park guru, knowing all the ins and outs of the parks in the vicinity.  As a long-term resident of Glen Eira, he also has lots of stories to tell about his family visits to the parks over the years when his daughter was a little girl. As a more recent resident in the area, I’m embracing the opportunity to explore and discover more about my surroundings. And there’s no better way to do it than travelling on the back of a tandem bike with my trusty pilot up front.

A Glen Eira parks advertisement

Our first park ride was at Caulfield Park which is the largest park in the area. It has multiple sports fields and playgrounds that cater to a diverse range of recreational activities. It’s always busy with kids playing sports, while others are walking their dogs or enjoying picnics under the rotunda or picnic shelters. The park even has a lake complete with a variety of water birds. It’s like a little taste of the country hidden away in the suburbs. But it’s not the only park in Glen Eira. There are more than five pages worth listed on the Glen Eira City Council website. Not sure if I have enough years left to explore all of them. But while ever I can still ride and Andrew is available, I’ll certainly be giving it a go!