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Blind Sports Expo 09 – 3 December

FIT-Ability took along a tandem to this mid-week event held on the International Day of People with Disability by VISACT (Vision Impaired Sports ACT). A volunteer pilot was able to offer tandem rides to people with vision impairment trying out new sports.

Hartley Lifecare Challenge – 28 November

FIT-Ability fielded a full team of 12 riders (five with vision impairment and one with autism) in the 460 km Hartley Challenge from Canberra to Charlottes Pass and back again. Through regular training, the riders managed to ride further and climb higher than the previous year and to contribute towards the $375,000 raised for Hartley Lifecare. The hard work of the team members, drivers, training pilots, Shane and Co. at Bike Culture, Wayne Kotzur, The Sports Club Kaleen, those who lent tandems, and many others, ensured a successful ride.

Tour de Femme – 8 November

MaryAnn Simpson organised yet another brilliant ride to celebrate the Tour de Femme’s 20th anniversary. Once again, Kerry and Brandie won the tandem category made up by seven tandems.

Tour de femme 2009 4

First Canberra Tandem Festival - 19-20 September

Tandems took to the tracks on our first Tandem Festival, coinciding with Canberra’s annual Floriade event. Nothing delights as much as the sight of ten or more tandems ling up and lurching off to see the sights and sites of our town. Saturday saw us touring around the East Basin of Lake Burley Griffin, through the Wetlands, then following parts of the 2001 Federation Trail to Dickson and back though ANU to our meeting place at Regatta Point. A good morning’s ride in glorious spring weather with morning tea at the National Museum of Australia was a great way to go. A dinner on Saturday evening at a local club was lots of fund as we met other riders over dinner.

On the Sunday we took off west to complete the lake ride and visit Parliament House and the Portrait Gallery. This is tame stuff to seasoned Canberra riders but we had two tandem pairs out for their first rides and four tandems from interstate who very much enjoyed the landmark buildings, the bike paths, the views across the lake and two days of fine weather. Locals enjoyed showing our visitors around and appreciating again the advantages cyclist have here.

Blind Courage comes to Canberra – 24 April

Lorin and Dean Nicholson cycled through Canberra on their four week 4,000 kilometre trek from Perth to Sydney to raise funds for Vision Australia. The brothers, who are both legally blind, were also raising awareness of the significant abilities of people who are blind or have low vision.

Lorin and Dean met up with gold medal winning Para-Olympian Lindy Hou at Yass and her pilot, Elton. Just out of the city they were further joined by another 9 tandem bikes organised by FIT-Ability, all with vision impaired riders.

Arriving in the city’s heart, with a contingent of several tandems in tow, the Blind Courage riders received hearty applause when they showed up in Garema Place with a police motor cycle escort at the front and back of the peloton.

Bike for Bibles on a tandem – April

In April Rosemary and Lindy from FITability, rode a tandem 3,200 km from Cairns to Melbourne with Bike for Bibles.

Community participation

This year FIT-Ability volunteers attended the Post School Options Expo for students with a disability in the ACT and the YWCA WAM Have a Go Day which is a sports day for women living with disabilities or mental illness. Participants were able to ride tandem bikes in the company of a trained pilot or with the bike stationary on a stand.

A generous donation

Two Apollo tandems, helmets and other cycling gear were generously donated to FIT-Ability by the Bike South West Bicycle Users Group (Sydney).