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Our tandem cyclists race in Canberra

A dozen FIT-Ability tandem cyclists are racing regularly with the ACT Veteran's Cycling Club and occasionally with the Vikings Cycling Club; including six visually impaired riders.

Triathlon ACT and FIT-Ability

Triathlon ACT offered a great program to support disabled people participating in triathlons. FIT-Ability's Lindy Hou completed several triathlons and was guided by FIT members.

FIT-Ability program grows

In 2010 FIT-Ability affiliated with Vision Impaired Sports ACT (Visact). Visact is the peak organisation representing groups providing sporting activities for people with vision impairment in the ACT. These include Cricket, Goal Ball and Golf. Visact Tandem (FIT-Ability) is the newest member.

Through the generosity of Lord’s Taverners ACT, the Lonsdale Street Cyclery, Cannondale and the ACT Government through a Health Promotion Grant to Visact, FIT-Ability has added two Cannondale road tandems to its fleet of bikes.

FIT-Ability secures funding from Disability ACT

In 2010 FIT-Ability secured a Disability ACT Innovation grant to promote its program and attract sponsorship to keep our fleet of tandem bikes in safe working order.

FIT-Ability wins the Chief Minister’s Award for Inclusion in Sport 2010

The 2010 ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Awards were presented as a gala celebration on Thursday 7th October at the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra.

This award was presented to FIT-Ability with the following citation:

FIT-ability provides visually impaired people full access to cycling by providing a sighted rider at the front of a tandem bicycle. The visually impaired rider can enjoy the combination of undertaking a physical activity while extending their social network through a social and competitive sporting activity that is normally out of reach. Tandem riding is also offered to people with other disabilities such as those with autism, amputees, and intellectual disabilities.

FIT-ability facilitates participation either through enabling events with a trained partner, or by training a carer or family member to be their tandem partner. They also provide short-term loans of tandem bikes until people can acquire their own.

A sporting activity normally outside the reach of many people with disabilities, FIT-ablity provides complete inclusion to people interested in cycling or expanding their sporting experience while opening doors to a myriad of related social activities and networks.

Hartley Lifecare Ability Challenge – 27 – 29 November

This was another great year for the Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets tandem team in the Hartley. We fielded a full team of 6 bikes with 5 cyclists with vision impairment and one with autism. In preparation for this gruelling ride the team trained for months including rides of over 100km in a day. The team rode further than the previous year and on day two all riders completed the climb to Perisher (the ride to Charlotte’s Pass was closed to bikes by bad weather) and half the team rode from there all the way back to Jindabyne. The riding on day three finished with the compulsory ride back in to Canberra in driving rain! Most importantly, team members and our other fantastic supporters helped the team raise $18,000 for Hartley Lifecare.

Hartley 2010 8

Fitz’s Challenge - 31 October

Russell and Peter achieved the outstanding result of completing the Fitz’s Classic 165km ride. After commencing the ride in driving rain the day cleared up and the two riders untiringly pedalled the relentless hills of the course – no mean feat on a tandem. Even Fitz’s Hill was conquered! They returned to Stromlo Forest Park at the very end of the day having delivered one of the greatest rides in FIT-Ability history! Two other tandem pairs completed shorter but very challenging rides.

Tandems conquer the 5 Peaks - 10 October

Seven tandems joined the Rotary Spring Tour of Canberra. And this year 2 tandems conquered the 100km ride and all 5 peaks – getting to the finish line at the very end of the day. Pedal Power volunteers and the Woden Rotary Club provided fantastic support for the tandems and their vision impaired riders.

A great result in the 2010 Tour de Femme

Five tandems raced in this year's Tour de Femme, with Kerry and Brandie again achieving the best result of just on 32 minutes for the 20km course.  This placed them in the top 30 of close to 500 riders.

 Second Canberra Tandem Festival – A tandem bike mixes it with a single bike during the 2010 Tour de Femme18 to 19 September

This year our Tandem Festival, which coincides with Floriade, was attended by a number of interstate visitors and even more local tandems. As well as offering relaxing sightseeing rides around the national capital, a longer ride out to Gundaroo was also offered. The dinner on Saturday night was enjoyed by all.

FIT-Ability cyclists ride in World Para Cycling Road Championships - August

Two tandem riders, Kerry and Brandie, competed in the Australian team at the 2010 World Para Cycling Road Championships in Canada, taking one our tandems as their training bike. Prior to this event together they had won a Gold in the 27km Time Trial and Gold in the 80km Road Race at the 2010 Australian Para Cycling Road Championships, Silver in the 1km Time Trial and Silver in the 3km pursuit at the 2010 Australian Track Championships, and Bronze in the 1km time trial and Silver in the 3km pursuit at the 2009 NSW Track Championships.

FIT-Ability actively supported their training through the long term exclusive loan of a road tandem, and through regular racing offered by the Veterans and Vikings racing clubs.

World Championships 2010

Sport Expo for people with disability – 27 February

FIT-Ability was one of several organisations attending this event for around 50 school aged children with disabilities. The tandem bike pilots offered rides to children and provided training to parents and carers who were then able to ride with their own children. The event was run by ACT Sport and Recreation Services at the AIS. Through participation in this event a family with a young child with a disability learned about tandem cycling and later acquired their own tandem for family rides.