Welcome to the Autumn Edition of the Tandem Talk.
Here’s a bit of a run-down on what’s been going on in the world of WATCAC over the past few months.
There have been two rec rides since the last newsletter:
In April 4 tandems and 1 bike (yours truly) cycled from Bayswater Train Station into the city and back. Along the way, we negotiated “Trafalgar Bridge” at Claisebrook (RANT “part of the PSP network, but you can’t ride your bike across it – don’t get me started”), the Weetbix Kids Try-Athlon at Elizabeth Quay (thanks, we found a better way around, sans pavé*) and a rather steep hill with the added bonus of several speed-humps and a gate at the top (sorry, my bad. Wrong turn).
Amazingly, everyone stayed upright, but this demonstrated how important good communication is. None of the stokers, even those with good vision, could see the gate at the top of the hill. All they got was a whole pile of swearing from the pilots when we saw the gate. End result was stokers pushing harder, thinking they needed to get up the hill, and pilots trying to stop before crashing into the gate.
After all that excitement, it was time to find a coffee and then head to the City of Bayswater Have-A-Go day, where Dee was heading up the Swish display. Swish is like table tennis, except you push the ball under a barrier in the middle of the table, rather than bounce it over a net. It’s good fun and can be very competitive. Talk to Dee if you would like to know more.
Our May rec ride was a much more sedate affair. Numbers were down a little, due to a clash with Mother’s Day, and an iffy weather forecast. But the rain held off and it was only windy on the way home. Three, all female, tandem pairs and one male domestique – which seemed appropriate for Mother’s Day- cycled South along the beach, from Cottesloe Station to Coogee Beach and back again along the railway line, with no incidents to report.
Our next Rec Ride is on Sunday 11th June, departing from VisAbility at 9:00 and heading East along the river to Garvey Park.
*sans pavé =without cobblestone
There have been four club rides since the last newsletter.
On the 19th March 2 tandems and 2 singles completed the “Thomas the Tank” ride in the Swan Valley while some other members participated in the Giro d’Perth as part of Bike Week.
April 2nd was a big day – The Five Dams Challenge was on! While none of us are quite mad enough to do this event on a tandem, it’s 214km with 2,000m of climbing after all, some of our members took up the Three Dams Challenge, which is only 145km and probably one less hill. The rest of us (two tandems and 4 singles) took up the Five Domes Challenge, cycling a loop from VisAbility that took us past the Dome cafes in East Vic Park, the airport, Bassendean, Maylands and Vic Park. There was a coffee stop at the airport and Vic Park but we managed to cycle past the others without stopping.
Two weeks ago, 3 tandems and 3 singles extended themselves by “time trialing” along the Kwinana Freeway from Murdoch to the services near Safety Bay Road. Think straight and fast and non-stop for 30km. After a short recovery, we headed back into a fresh northerly breeze stopping, appropriately, at Fiona Stanley Hospital for a well-earnt coffee. Congratulations to those who improved on their speed and/or distance and resisted the lure of a train ride home.
Last Saturday several of us warmed up for the Spin Challenge with a 50km ride around the southern suburbs. Despite the forecast, the rain and wind held off. Some in the bunch even declared it a 21-carrot ride, although this was mostly due to the fact that a truck had lost several bags of carrots along Karel Ave and we had fun dodging the squashed and broken remains.
The next Club Ride will be on Sunday, 4th June, leaving from VisAbility at 8:30.
WATCAC Pedal and Paddle
The last day of April was a beautiful sunny day and, in the morning, 22 WATCAC members and friends assembled at Adachi Park for the inaugural Pedal and Paddle. Eight tandems and 6 single bikes rolled out, following the Swan-River-Ramble along the banks of the Swan River, past Ascot Racetrack, over Tonkin Highway, through Bayswater and Maylands and crossing the river again at Windan Bridge, past Belmont Park Racecourse and back to our start point – just over 20km.
Once back to Adachi Park we traded our bikes for kayaks and paddled upstream to a sizeable island in the middle of the Swan River. For many this was a great opportunity to try out something new, and to discover a new part of Perth. It was also a chance to say, “The one at the back’s not paddling!”. The synergies of working out the upper body after a ride are obvious, and I wasn’t nearly as sore as I thought I would be.
I can’t believe I have lived all my life in Perth and didn’t know Black Swan Island (or Kuljak Island) existed, so I had to look it up on Wikipedia Kuljak_Island . It is about the same size as Heirisson Island (where the Causeway crosses the river) and was built as part of the Ascot Waters Development to give an undeveloped appearance to the river from Tranby House. The island is now a habitat to many birds and has walk-trails and picnic areas.
The day was capped off with a yummy lunch of fajitas, prepared by Paul and Jo, who with Haylee, also supplied the kayaks and the idea for this wonderful day. A huge thankyou to them, and everyone involved in making this happen. I’m sure it will be in the calendar again for next year, if not before.
WATCAC Members have participated in several community rides over the past few months.
Anthony, Haylee and Forrest completed the 3 Dams Challenge. After surviving the atrocious conditions of last year’s Around the Bay I don’t think they see anything as a challenge.
Trevor rode the Over 55s Cycling Club 4 Dams Challenge, completing 170 km in 7 hrs 8 mins, excluding stops, and climbed 2,100 metres in perfect weather. There were 17 riders that participated in this ride, including one female and several septuagenarians. Impressive.
The MSWA Night Ride, organised by Perth Integrated Health Cycling Club, was on a Friday night last month. Adriana & Anthony, Deanne & Jennifer, and David scrambled to get to Applecross on a Friday night, but then enjoyed riverside views of this beautiful city at night, cycling 40km around Applecross, Salters Point, South Perth and Como. Although some of the directional signage was difficult to see in the dark, this is another fun, well organised event that I can recommend to our members.
It does a lot to raise awareness about WATCAC when we are seen at these events. And one of the Associations goals is to “Integrate blind and vision impaired cyclists into mainstream cycling”. If you would like to take part in any event such as these, and need help with resources and/or logistics please talk to a committee member. We can help.
868 Gourmet Café Spin Fundraiser
Last Sunday four tandem teams participated in the inaugural 868 Gourmet Café Charity Cycling Event. Brad, the café manager, very generously organised the day and donated all the proceeds to WATCAC. Money was raised from the sale of raffle tickets, with the winner taking home a Western Force Jersey signed by the 2017 squad, as well as from encouraging people to compete on stationary Watt bikes supplied and run by Brad from the Exercise Institute.
The Watt Bikes measure the power you can generate on the bike, which is a good indication of how well you can get yourself (with your bike) up and over a hill. Western Force players, Harry Scoble and James Verity-Amm came and had a go. Despite numerous attempts, we weren’t quite up to the same standards as these two professional, elite athletes. Maybe next time…
In addition to the Watt Bikes, WATCAC had four of our road bike tandems set up on stationary trainers. We demonstrated to a friendly and supportive crowd, how fast we could make the pedals go around. We also had fun swapping the stokers and pilots around on the bikes. Anthony and Erin even found time to make a little video about WATCAC.
Unfortunately, due to the poor weather, we didn’t get the tribes of MAMILs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) coming through, but there are plans to repeat the event during the Vid Park Street Festival later in the year.
A huge thank you to Adriana & Anthony, Erin & Haylee, Kate & Roland and Dee & Jennifer for giving up their time to participate in this, and to all who came down and stood in the rain to support us.
All the jerseys from our last order are gone (save for 1 XXXL sleeveless and 1 M Sleeveless) and the ones that have been worn regularly are looking a bit old and sad. There will be a new order placed soon. So that we can plan, please let me know if you want to order a new jersey, and what size you need.
Thank you to everyone who has paid their Membership Dues and for your continued support.
Membership fees ($30 per year) are now overdue and bike hire fees ($50 for 6 months) are also due if you pay 6 monthly.
Payment can be made by bank transfer to WATCAC
Account Number 4196458
To help with tracking payments, please use your surname in the payment description.
Your membership fees help cover the cost of maintaining WATCAC’s fleet of bikes, and the trailer to store and transport them in. Being a financial member also means that you are covered by our insurance should anything untoward happen on an organised WATCAC ride or event.
If your contact details need updating, please complete the WATCAC Membership form and give it to a committee member or email to email@example.com. A copy can be downloaded from our website under About >> Membership, or click here: Membership Form
ICE – In Case of Emergency
As part of our duty of care to WATCAC Members, we are now offering Taggisar ICE Stickers to all members. These stickers have a unique QR Code that you can register your personal details against, such as emergency contact numbers and medical information. With one of these stickers attached to your helmet or bike or anything that you carry with you all the time, your ICE information can be accessed should you be unable to communicate it.
If you are a financial WATCAC member please contact me to get your Taggisar ICE Stickers.
Upcoming WATCAC and Community Rides
4th June WATCAC Club Ride
Departing from VisAbility @ 8:30a.m.
11th June WATCAC Rec Ride
Departing from VisAbility @ 9:00a.m.
18th June WATCAC Club Ride
Departing from Bassendean @ 8:30a.m.
25th June Cyclo Sportif – Swan Valley
Blind Citizens Conference, Mandurah
Swearing makes you stronger
And finally, researchers have confirmed that swearing during tasks, such as cycling uphill, boosts performance. The results of the study were presented recently at the British Psychological Association meeting in Brighton. The findings may not come as a surprise to those who have let rip with profanities to spur themselves on. Stephens, the paper’s author, recalls a friend of his who took part in a tandem bike ride from Reading to Barcelona to raise money for a mobile chemotherapy unit. “Swearing was a prominent feature of them powering up the Pyrenees,” Stephens said.
Keep it M rated, but feel free to swear away to get yourself up that hill – especially if there is a closed gate at the top of it.
Happy and Safe Pedalling,