A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to speak at a Mentee/Mentors evening for The Blind Foundation.

The contact there had heard us speak a month earlier whereby we shared some tools around goal setting and how that contributed to our adventure before dementia travel lifestyle – especially the tandem ride across Canada.  She wanted us to share our dream it, design it and do it 3-3-5-3 Best Year Ever tool to help participants focus on their dreams they want to realize.  Excuse the pun but they have an amazing sense of humour when able sighted folk mistakenly refer to anything to do with the ability to see things and they can’t!

There was no point in showing our power point image presentation.   Instead, we adjusted our narrative to use more descriptive words and worked hard to describe the illustrations we wanted them to picture in their minds.  It went well.

Whilst mingling with them and their guide dogs afterwards, we learnt volunteers take some of the group for cycle rides on the back of tandems.  This resonated with us somewhat and how easy was it for us to sign up to be a volunteer a couple of mornings a month.

One couple present had a tandem.  With Chris (fully sighted) on the front and Nicola (visually impaired) the stoker on the back, Chris was not confident on sharing the tar seal with other traffic.  With a goal to travel around New Zealand to ride as many of the off-road mountain tracks as possible, they hadn’t yet taken to some of the mountain bike tracks in our own back yard, Christchurch.

We arranged that we would chaperone them around McLean’s Island mountain bike track and give them some coaching on manoeuvring a tandem with all the bells and whistles of staying up right; negotiating an incline and/or decline; navigate sharp bends; and slalom the natural obstacles of a protruding rock or tree root or stump.  Nicola warned that coarse language is sometimes necessary to remind the fella on the front of the pillion passenger on the back.

The experience was one of the blind leading the sighted.

Their tenacity to get out and blat the ten kilometres was beautiful.  And with only one swear word moment!

They have a re-kindled enthusiasm to get on with their training because they took the leap of faith.  In us.  But more so in themselves.

Our reward, to watch Chris and Nicola achieve something they have procrastinated in doing for however long.  We couldn’t but help rouse the ducts to well up and weep a smidgeon.

Damn those tears of happiness.  Now we had impaired vision!

Well done Chris and Nicola.  The New Zealand mountain bike trails beckon.