Cities attract people with visual impairments for a variety of reasons, for one thing cities are often less auto-dependent than their suburban or rural counterparts. Because they tend to offer more mass transit options, more paratransit options, and friendlier pedestrian environments, cities allow the blind or visually impaired to function independently without having to be driven everywhere. Sadly though, many blind people are unable to partake in one of city life's great pleasures: bicycling. A young non-profit is looking to change that, however.
The U.S. Blind Tandem Cycling Connection, a 501(c)(3) corporation, aims to “connect blind and visually impaired cyclists with sighted cyclists” so they may ride together on tandem bicycles. With a sighted captain at the front of the tandem to steer, shift, brake, and pedal, a visually impaired "stoker" on the back of the tandem can experience the joys of bicycling while acting as the team's second motor. But finding a tandem partner isn’t always easy. That’s why the non-profit has set up a match.com-like website to help pair sighted captains and visually impaired stokers based on their locations, skill-levels, and the type of riding they are interested in.
The website isn't limited to urban cyclists, but the site's map shows small clusters of tandem cyclists looking for partners in nearly every U.S. city. So, if you're interested in partnering up with either a sighted captain or visually impaired stoker, be sure to check out the organization's website: bicyclingblind.org.