Charity Galloways, which supports more than 6,000 blind and partially sighted people, have taken delivery of a new tandem machine. Now they are calling for more volunteer 'pilots' to come forward for steering and seeing duties.
The new bike, bought by Lancashire County Council, replaces a worn-out model used by a tandem cycling group based at the Sight Advice Centre in Chorley. The new Thorn tandem has a special coupling system allowing the frame to be split for transport by car. Accessories and two services will be provided by Broadgate Cycles of Penwortham.
Kevin Lonergan, sight advice centre manager, said: "Tandem cycling is fantastic for blind and partially-sighted people – it's a healthy and fun activity that wouldn't normally be available to them. It is very popular and it is a tremendous thrill for people to have the pleasure of being taken out by someone.
"But we can't run trips out without the volunteers to make it happen. Becoming one of our trained cycle pilots is a great way to keep fit and put a smile on someone's face.
"I'm really grateful to the county council's Accessibility Planning and Social Inclusion team for buying this bike. Our current cycles are past their best, expensive to maintain and impossible to transport without a large van."
Keith Young, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “Lancashire County Council promotes healthy, sustainable travel and social inclusion across all sections of the community. We aim to make a real difference to the lives of blind and partially-sighted people by supporting Galloway's tandem cycling group."
Bikes belonging to the sight advice centre are also available to loan for cycle touring holidays or for people to try out cycle commuting without having to buy an expensive tandem themselves.
If you would like to volunteer as a pilot, telephone the Sight Advice Centre on 01772 744148. Galloways is a unique registered charity based in Lancashire and relies entirely on the generosity of the general public, partnerships with other organisations, and a band of 450 volunteers.