Blind Courage

22 04 2010

Late last month, a couple of blind brothers set out on tandem bikes with a couple of sighted mates to ride across Australia. Clearly insane, clearly inspirational – in equal measure. I’ve been following their journey on their blog at Blind Courage.

When I discovered that they were planning on riding through my home town, I knew I wanted to ride with them. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. On Day 28, they rode from Narrandera (about 100km west to Gundagai, about 90km east). They have basically sent out an open invite to any local riders who’d like to travel with them, and as I said, I was dead keen. The only decision – where to ride? Should I do the whole 100km Narrandera to Wagga leg with them, or just ride out from Wagga and meet them on the road, then ride back in? Should I leave Wagga with them and ride with them out to the Hume Hwy? Lots of choices.

In the end I decided that I’d ride out to meet them on their way into town, and escort them in. Some others from Bicycle Wagga Wagga had the same idea. Awesome. My only concern was that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Tandem bikes are generally faster than road bikes, a result of a better power-to-weight ratio.  The guys are averaging around 28kph (17.5mph), and while I can easily do that for the first hour or so (two hours on a good day), I’d struggle to do it for 3+ hours. (It turns out that they averaged 30.1kph for the day

Fate however, got in the way. And by fate, I mean life, and by life I mean work. I was rostered to start at 6am, and despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get anyone to swap the shift. I was sure I’d be able to, normally people jump at the chance to be finished work by lunch time. Very disappointed. I should have planned ahead and booked the day off, but I simply forgot. The 6am shift is my favourite as it affords me the most family time, but still, it was my own stupid fault really. 

By all accounts, they had a good day. The local news picked up on it, which is pretty remarkable considering the quality of journalism in this town. I couldn’t even get down to the meet & greet in town. Ah well.

Anyway, the boys are almost done. Less than a week to go and they’ll be in Sydney, the capital of Australia. OK, it might not be, but it should be.

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