Tandem cycling lets two riders’ cycle together and consists of a sighted pilot at the front who communicates what’s ahead to the person with vision impairment in the rear seat, known as “a stoker”. Both riders pedal while the pilot in the front also steers.
Your tandem pilot can also give you information about surface changes, obstacles, turns, upcoming hills, and when to brake.
Recreational tandem cycling
Tandem cycling is attractive to all ages and genders. Any mix of age and gender is possible. Tandems suitable for young children are also available. It is an activity that can be enjoyed along with friends or family. It takes only a few minutes to master the art of piloting a tandem so anyone who can cycle can do it competently.
Competitive tandem cycling
Those who practice competitive cycling as a sport participate in both road based and velodrome (indoor track) based races. These races require distinct skills and specialist tandems. Both cyclists have to train and race as elite sportsmen and women. They require a mixture of speed, strength and endurance depending on the specific event.
Cycling was introduced as a Paralympic Sport in Seoul in 1988. Ireland first competed in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. The three vision impairment categories (B1, B2 and B3) compete together. On the road tandems compete in road races, one-day competitions or competitions by stages which last several days.
On the track they competition distances are 200m sprints, 1km time trials or 4km pursuits. Men normally compete over longer distances compared to women. Para-cycling uses the technical regulations of the International Cycling Union (UCI) at all cycling competitions. Visit the UCI website at www.uci.ch or the Paracycling section of the Cycling Ireland Website www.cyclingireland.ie