Glasgow Tandem Club
GLASGOW TANDEM CLUB - BETTER LIFE CYCLES
We are a Glasgow based cycling club of vision impaired and sighted cyclists. Our aim is to provide tandem cycling opportunities to vision impaired people living in Glasgow and the west of Scotland. We have a small fleet of tandems available for group use, funded by the RS McDonald Charitable Trust, together with tandems donated by Talking Tandems ( a Fife based tandem group) and other supporters.
We provide regular organised cycle runs and training for vision impaired stokers and sighted pilots.
We focus on social rides, bringing vision impaired and sighted cyclists together, promoting social inclusion and equal access to the enjoyment of cycling, improving the physical and mental wellbeing of our members.
Glasgow Tandem Club was formed in 2018 due to the drive of Anne Fraser, a keen vision impaired tandem cyclist who wanted to develop a club in the West of Scotland similar to those in other parts of the country. With support from Big Bike revival, RNIB Connect and Glasgow based all ability charity Free wheel north, stokers and pilots were identified and supported to develop skills, and a small group started going on regular monthly rides, taking in many local cycle path networks and some road routes including around the beautiful island of Bute.
In 2019, Cycling UK successfully applied for funding from the RS McDonald Charitable Trust for our tandems, but there was nowhere to keep them! After a long search for suitable storage Glasgow Life gave permission to site storage at a local facility, and Glasgow Cycling UK members group donated the funding for this from their Eddie Marshall bequest. So, in September 2019 the club was able to receive and store their own tandems and was able to provide more taster and training sessions.
Monthly rides continued, expanding the range of routes. Another Glasgow based charity, Bike for Good, came on board and offered help with transporting the tandems to ride start points, and mechanical assistance for regular maintenance.
As with other cycling groups, covid stopped play, just as the club was on track recruiting more pilots and stokers, but as restrictions were lifted we have been able to resume all our activities.
Glasgow Tandem Club in 2023 - our best year yet!.
We had a very successful year in 2023. Our membership has grown to over 40 and regular rides can be up to 10 tandems or more. We continue to expand our routes, this year taking in a couple of routes in the east - the two bridges challenge and around the Forth. In April we ran our first weekend away in the seaside town of Dunoon. 8 tandems completed the 5 ferries route on that trip. In the summer, 3 of our members completed a Land's End to John O'Groats trip, raising over £3000 for club funds. We have benefitted from funding from Cycling Uk to buy new tandems, including our first e-tandem. Several members also completed the Straven 50, a local 50 mile sportive event. We have also seen two more of our tandem pairs complete 100 mile rides. We look forward to 2024, with plans for another weekend away already well developed.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
We are always looking for enthusiastic, confident and experienced cyclists to become tandem pilots (front riders) for vision impaired stokers.
We are also keen to reach out to vision impaired people who want to cycle but believed it wasn’t possible.
So, if you are, or someone you know is vision impaired with a reasonable level of fitness and keen to give cycling a go, we want to hear from you!
If you'd like to get involved contact Anne Fraser on 07789 174 966.
Information about the group rides
Group rides are every second and fourth Saturday of the month, starting from either the club base in Glasgow or a local railway station. We have up to six tandems and several solo support bikes on each ride. Rides are typically 20 - 35 miles and include a stop for lunch or coffee. Shorter rides and "taster" sessions are arranged from time to time for new members and prospective new pilots and stokers.