Cofrin Park

Cofrin Park
Cofrin Nature Park

Monday, April 1, 2013

RAGBRAI: A Tandem Riding Adventure: The Blind Biker Rides the Trails.



Chuck continues his tandem training with his first bike trail ride.
Enter Chuck:

RAGBRAI: A Tandem Riding Adventure
The Blind Biker Rides the Trails
I felt an unfamiliar Florida winter chill against my skin —with the wind blowing from the north and the temp in the 50’s, on the morning Jim Wright and I chose to ride the bike trail. Jim arrived at my home around 11:30 bearing gifts: cycling shorts, jerseys, socks, arm warmers, a water bottle and a helmet.  I was overjoyed to receive these gifts.  Jim suggested that I wear the long sleeve jersey and another short sleeve one on top for warmth, when he saw me dressed for a summer ride.
We sat and discussed our strategy for the ride, I trusted Jim to select the best route. Jim knows the safest areas to ride in the city and he chose a great one.  We rode for about one hour and thirty minutes.    
Prior to the ride, Jim gave me a quick lesson on the importance of bicycle maintenance before the ride: check the tires, the pedals and the seats.  The seats are especially important because a slightly incorrect seat-setting will cause your butt to get sore. I can attest to that fact: I am sitting on an ice pack as I write this.
We began our ride on the city streets.  The ride through busy traffic did not intimidate me, however, as Jim’s confidence level helped me feel very comfortable. Before I knew it, we had passed through all the traffic and were cruising down SR 121 at a healthy 30 mile per hour pace. 
As we rode, my mind rambled along into a past memory: I was 12 years old again, the wind whipping my face and feeling alive with excitement. We were Batman and Robin off to save the citizens of Gotham City.  It was so amazing!  I felt the adrenaline rush through me and nothing mattered except the ride.  The best part of this adventure was having someone right in front of me to share the experience, as I re-lived my happy, 12-year-old self.
On our return, we passed some of Jim’s riding buddies of many years. I got to enjoy being a part of the club; and thankful for our new-found friendship. 
During the ride, we only had to stop the bike two times; once for a gear malfunction and the other for a stop light.  Jim has so much experience that negotiating stops and turns are second nature to him.  I just did as he commanded and all was well. 
 When the ride ended, I realized the importance of the seat position: mine was off, so I found it difficult to walk, stand, sit or even lie down, when I finally dismounted the bike.  Jim promised to adjust the seat for our next ride. 
The ride taught me that spin class and outdoor riding affect your body differently.  I made a mental note to set the spin bike in the same configuration as the tandem bike.
The work I’ve put into my riding adventure has opened up the cycling universe, including Jim and his circle of friends, who have also invited me to ride with them. We’re all just a bunch of 12-year-olds taking off on our bikes to excitedly discover our world—perhaps seeing it for the first time, which is the best.

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