Tandem Talk August 2017

Welcome to the Winter 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.

 Recent Rides

Rec Rides

There have been two Rec Rides since the last newsletter

A sunny day in June saw an awesome turnout of seven tandems and four single bikes – that’s 18 riders in total! We started in Vic Park, made our way through the Burswood peninsular and turned east onto the PSP that runs along the southern side of the Swan River. A section of this path runs between the river and Ascot Racecourse. One day I would love to cycle it as a field of horses race down the back straight. We followed the river all the way to Garvey Park where some took up the opportunity to indulge in the biggest scones I have ever seen. Delicious.

For the return journey, we took the path along Tonkin Highway and Leach Highway. The temptation of a long, wide, straight path, after the twists and turns and ups and downs of the riverside path, was too much for some (or maybe it was the scones). Either way, the trip home was quite a bit faster than the ride out.

The June ride was so good four tandems, led by Roland on his single bike, did it again in July. Unfortunately, Connie and Sue only made it partway, due to a broken chain.

The August ride was cancelled due to bad weather.

Our next Rec Ride is scheduled for Sunday 10th September. Check your email or Facebook for details.

Club Rides

There have been five Club Rides since the last newsletter. At least I think that’s right. It got complicated.

On June 4th, ten riders (4 tandems and 2 single bikes) did the Jandakot loop from VisAbility and on June 18th eight riders (3 tandems and 2 single bikes) completed the Thomas the Tank ride from Bassendean through the Swan Valley.

There was a “bonus” ride on the last Sunday in June, when Erin with Trevor, Kate with Roland, Adriana with Anthony and Haylee and Paul rode from Vic Park to Mandurah to visit the Blind Citizens WA 2017 State Forum and promote WATCAC. By the time the team had returned home they had cycled 100km, a first for Erin and Kate. Well done.

I can’t remember if it was because people were still worn out from the week before, or if it was due to bad weather, but the first Club Ride for July was cancelled. Let’s say it was due to the weather.

Then it gets complicated. There were attempts to get lots of distance in the legs in preparation for the Rapha 100 ride at the end of July, but there was also a lot of other events going on and the wintery weather wasn’t making it easy. The second scheduled ride for July got shifted to a Saturday afternoon and saw a small contingent (two tandems and one single) brave terrible weather to head back south along the freeway.

The last weekend in July was the Rapha 100 Challenge Ride. See below for this epic tale, sure to go down in the WATCAC history books.

August has been kinder to the Club Riders, and there is a smidge of spring in the air. The two August Club Rides were well attended and, to the best of my knowledge, passed without incident.

The next Club Ride will be on Sunday, 3rd September. Check your email or Facebook for details

Mountain Bike Rides

In addition to WATCAC Rec Rides and Club Rides, the Fandango Mountain Bike Tandems have been getting a work out on the trails, with several members training for community mountain biking events. It seems that riding in the wet is a lot more fun when there is mud involved.

If you are interested in having a go please let one of the committee members know.

Community Rides

Rapha 100 Ride

The Women’s 100 is an event designed to inspire cyclists across the world to come together and ride 100km on the same day. This year, over 7,000 women took part in organised rides all around the globe. I have to add that most of them were in the northern hemisphere, where it was the middle of summer.

On a very wet July day, while it was still dark, three tandems and one single bike from WATCAC gathered with a group of other keen cyclists and prepared to participate in Perth Integrated Health Group’s (PIHCG) supported 100km ride. As mentioned before, due to an unseasonably wet July, the preparation had not been brilliant.

David and I had decided to forgo the early start and meet the group around the 60km mark in Nedlands. But Adriana and Anthony, Kate and Roland, Connie and Sue and Haylee were at the Canning Bridge start point, and ready to do the full 100km.

Kate was so ready and eager to complete the challenge that she leapt onto the bike with too much enthusiasm, launching herself over the saddle and ending up on the ground on the opposite side of the tandem, unfortunately collecting the back wheel of Connie and Sue’s tandem on the way down.

Bruised, battered and bewildered, Kate nevertheless picked herself up and started the ride with everyone else. At 2.5km Connie and Sue called it quits, unable to ignore the buckle in their back wheel any longer. They spent the rest of the morning watching the torrential rain from the comfort of their sofa hugging warm mugs of coffee.

At Point Walter, others in the group noticed that Kate’s injuries were probably much worse than originally thought, and she abandoned the ride. Kate and Roland spent the rest of the morning at Fiona Stanley Hospital Emergency Department with Kate getting some serious darning done on her derrière.

Adriana and Anthony and Haylee continued the ride and met David and myself at the planned rendezvous point outside Steve’s in Nedlands. By this stage everyone was very wet and very cold and the ride leader decided to shorten the ride and head straight back to the Canning Bridge start point. I think if you add up all our individual distances ridden that morning, we may have made it to 100km…. just.

While this seems like a litany of disasters it must be said that PIHCG did a great job of looking after everyone and running this event. I can recommend with confidence all the community rides that they organise throughout the year.

In the de-briefing and analysis of the day’s events the WATCAC committee has come up with two key points:

  1. Our initial, introductory clinics should be followed up with clinics to update the skills of our current riders
  2. We need to cater to our members who want to extend their riding capabilities, wherever that may be.

Read on for more information.

Refresher Clinic

Scratch below the surface of WATCAC and you will find a wealth of experience and knowledge. We are planning on bringing that knowledge to you in the form of a refresher clinic – or more of a “come and share” day – with pointers on training, recovery and nutrition along with some gentle reminders of things we know, but may have got a bit lackadaisical about.

We are still in the planning phase, so let us know what you want, when you want, and how. Does after a Rec Ride suit you? Or on a week night?

Check your email and Facebook for details and updates.

Challenge Rides

In a similar vein of continual improvement, we are hearing the need to support our members in achieving their cycling goals. Whether it’s getting on the bike more often, going further, going over hills or going faster, we all like to feel that we are doing better.

To this end WATCAC will be planning some Challenge Rides. The committee has come up with the goals of riding 30km non-stop for our Rec riders, and 100km for our Club riders but maybe you want to do something completely different. Cue Spice Girls “So tell us what you want, what you really, really want!”

On these rides, you will be fully supported. There will be designated leaders, coaches and tail-end Charlies, all making sure that you can do the 50km MS Ocean Ride, or the Rapha 100, or ride across Australia (or Italy). Cmon! Get creative. There’s a couple of blokes (one vision impaired and the other with partial paralysis) currently training to take a recumbent tandem from the lowest point of Australia, at Lake Eyre, to the highest point, at Mt Kosciuszko!


WATCAC now has its very own Facebook page, which can be found here.

We will use the page to promote WATCAC to the wider community, post notifications of upcoming rides (in addition to your regular emails) and report on rides and other events. We will endeavour to do this while maintaining the privacy of our members. Talk with a committee member should you have any concerns.

Please “like” and “follow” us.

Upcoming WATCAC and Community Rides

3rd September                   WATCAC Club Ride

10th September                 WATCAC Rec Ride

17th September                 WATCAC Club Ride

30th Sept to 3rd Oct           Life Cycle Off-Road for CanTeen (Pemberton – Walpole & Beyond)

14 – 15th October             The Beverley Heroic Bike Weekend for All Bikes

18th October                       Ride to Work Day

22nd November                 MSWA Ocean Ride – Fremantle to Hillarys: 30, 50, 70 and 100 km Rides.

Thank you

Finally, most of you are probably aware that in early July our son was diagnosed with cancer. We are nearing the end of his treatment now and everything is pointing to a very positive outcome. I would like to take this opportunity to say a great big thank you to everyone for your support at this difficult time, especially to Roland and Anthony for taking on the Ride Coordinator’s role, Dee for her understanding, to those who have jumped onto the front of the Perkins for her (just don’t get too comfortable there) and for the committee. I never imagined when I decided to volunteer as a pilot for WATCAC that I would find such an amazing group of people. Thank you.

Happy and Safe Pedalling,



Rapha 100 Ride
Adriana and Anthony on the Rapha 100 Ride, trying to outrun the rain