Our friend Sue Buckley from the Knoxville, Tennessee area sent us a note with a link to the article (below) from Section A of the October 25th Bearden Shopper News that focused on how the not-for-profit Visually Impaired / Blind Enhance Services (VIBES) makes cycling accessible to the sight impaired community.
Before getting into a few more details and anecdotes, let me pass along VIBES’ solicitation for support of their cycling program; here’s what they need:
- Cycling essentials, such as new or lightly used helmets, pedals, shoes and other things that a new cyclist would need to have a great cycling experience.
- Volunteers… specifically tandem pilots with or without their own tandem(s).
- And if you have a tandem that’s gathering dust, well… you know, that would be cool.
Sue and her husband John — both of whom are blind — founded the mentoring program with the goal of helping blind or visually impaired teens transition from high school to the work force or college. The age of members has expanded to encompass young adults and the scope is now living independently and expands on extracurricular activities such as hiking and cycling. You can read a bit more about the organization and its founders in this Knoxville News item from June 23, 2009.
I believe I first came to know Sue via an internet exchange a few years back when she moved to the Knoxville area and was interested in finding out more about the tandem community. Since then she’s kept me up to date on an amazing array of endeavors, including her participation in the Paralympic Training Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs: she’s an amazing person. We finally had a chance to meet and ride with Sue and her tandem pilot Steve Penegar this past summer during our annual Freeloader Tour Stop at Club Patterson in Louisville, Tennessee.