Volunteers with Toronto Trailblazers lead the blind on tandem bicycles across the GTA
Alan Morrison, a 71-year-old Summerhill resident, takes members out on the tandem as often as possible, since he first spotted the Toronto Trailblazers’s booth at a bicycle show several years ago.
When Ingeborg Jenkins lost her eyesight 12 years ago, the 75-year-old worried she would no longer be able to keep up with her active lifestyle. But thanks to the individuals from Toronto Trailblazers — the community-based recreational cycling club — she is able to go cycling as often as she wishes, on a tandem bicycle, lead by sighted volunteers like Alan Morrison.
Morrison, a 71-year-old Summerhill resident, takes members out on the tandem as often as possible, since he first spotted the organization’s booth at a bicycle show several years ago (he later returned to staff the booth himself).
“It’s just a great organization,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot about the great courage and stamina so many really fine people who are blind have.”
Ingeborg Jenkins lives right next to CNIB and is what Toronto Trailblazers refers to as a “stoker” — a blind, deaf-blind or vision impaired individual who rides on the back of the tandem bicycle.
Although Jenkins has some vision, she has trouble discerning street signs, lacks depth perception and is unable to navigate around unknown terrain. But with the help of volunteers or “captains” like Morrison, she manages just fine.
“There are certain etiquettes when you’re riding a tandem bike,” she said. It is the captain’s job to alert the stoker when to slow down, when to stop and to relay what’s coming. “You can imagine the trust I have to have in the person in front of me,” she added.
But both Morrison and Jenkins insist that it’s nothing but a good time.
“It’s social, you talk, you go on outings, you have fun,” he said cheerily, while Jenkins heartily declared that captains are “absolutely the most amazing people you’ll ever meet.”