‘A terrifying experience, and one that I won’t forget’

As I pulled up in the car to interview members of the Blind and Partially Sighted Cycling Club, I could see Chairman Robert Downes whizzing around the carpark just opposite the Blind Centre on a tandem bike.

Thinking to myself, ‘I wouldn’t fancy being on the back of his bike’ - little did I know that half an hour later I’d have a helmet, a Club top and a blind fold on, experiencing what Club members feel as they sit on the back of the tandem bikes.

“You have to give it a go,” urged Robert.

“We make all our volunteers do this, so that they know how it feels to be on the back.”

My arm was twisted - and I reluctantly hopped on the back of the bike behind Robert.

To say I felt scared would be an understatement.

To be fair, Robert promised me he wouldn’t go fast, and he didn’t - I gripped the handlebars as tight as I could, as I felt every wee bump and jerk on the bike.

During the very short cycle, I became more aware of noises around me - the sound of the chain on the bike, the wind rushing through the vents in the helmet - it was a terrifying experience and one that I won’t forget.

It certainly made me think about how these brave people go through their lives, and how this Club, based at the Blind Centre, is changing their lives.

I take my ‘helmet’ off to the volunteers - it is very clear that they are making a huge difference.