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Tandem Bicycle Riding

Ivonne and Artie, two visually impaired athletes from the Achilles Track Club (a running and wheel-chair racing organization for athletes with disabilities) are leaving Saturday morning for an 8-day bicycle ride in upstate New York! They'll be riding tandem bicycles with two "captains," Xoe and Rob.

Let's wish them luck! This is the first time either of them has done this. It should be an adventure. They'll be checking in during the week and letting us know what adventures they encounter.

Internet cafes with talking computers are spars in upstate New York, I understand, so Ivonne and Artie will be phoning in with updates and, we hope, interesting stories which I'll post here. If they don't have any interesting stories, I'll make some up, so check back over the next week and a half.

Do you have questions? stories of your own? Have you ever gone on a long bike ride? Tell Artie and Ivonne (and the rest of us) about it so they know what they're getting into.

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Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding

Or if you wonna relocate tandem from any borough to Manhattan you can check our [url= Movers[/url] moving company.

Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding

guys for Tandems i recommend
company. We've been riding Tandem with my brother in Central Park. He enjoyde it.

Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding

Hi guys,
If anyone who would like to ride through Central Park, there is a Bike Rental Central Park company who give special discounts to people with vision loss. If you come to Central Park, do not hesitate to bother them, get your special discount and rent a tandem bike. - bike rental Central Park

Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding

I am the sole caregiver for my blind husband and mother with Alzheimer’s I hope I have found a way to make money from home where I can be here for them. Please pass along this link to my store. God Bless

Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding

My name is Sabra.. This is EXACTLY our situation I am 5'2" & a half you know and he is 6.0 I cant even touch the peddles. We are looking into those tricycles or quadicycles that have side by side bucket seats. my email is
in response to:
Does anyone know the dimensions of the tandem bikes that Achilles owns? My husband & I want to ride with you, but we have an odd-size configuration. I, at 5'3", have to captain, and my husband is 6'1". We used to own a tandem but had to trick it out so that we could fit. My legs are so short, I can't stand over most bikes that are big enough for him. Does anyone now if it would work on any of the achilles' bikes?

Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding


I see this is an older post,...but boy! That sounds like FUN!!!

Any VI/Blind gentle men in the Dallas, TX area interested in giving it a go with a very fun and interesting outdoors lover,...hop on the back and we will go zooming near the lakes. Problem is,..we first have to find a tandem.:0


Re: Tandem Bicycle Riding

Zoe just e-mailed a link to a nice article about the ride. It's at

Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding

I was wishing I could take a trip like the one you're on! Problem is, I'd be just another piece of equipment you'd have to load & unload! It really sounds totally exciting! Real camping out & stuff! Makes me think of hot dogs over an open fire! (But then MOST things make me think of hot dogs!)

Anyway, since I couldn't go with YOU, I decided to take a little trip of my own.... I drove my friend's car, (a few inches backwards & a few inches forward again in its parking space.) I DID say it was a "LITTLE" trip, didn't I?! :) For me though, it was another milestone in my effort to gain some real freedom in my life.

So maybe in the future I'll just tag along in my CAR, while you guys peddle up & down all those HILLS!!! (Of course, by the time I can do THAT, it'll be SO far in the future that all Achilles guides will be ROBOTS! & they'll all be running Microsoft operating systems, [which of course, NEVER MALFUNCTION OR CRASH,] but on the off chance that anything ever DOES go wrong, I'll be RIGHT BEHIND YOU IN MY S U V, ready to run them over and squoosh them before they can murder you and eat your brains!!!)

Actually, maybe I'll drive up to see you RIGHT NOW! You'll know it's me if you hear a car horn doing Morse Code! :)

That's it for now......
Don't ride through any DOODY!

Saturday's tandem update from Ivonne

Ivonne reports that Saturday's leg of the journey to a town near Schenectady, was a leisurely 47 mile ride with not one, but two official Achilles ice cream stops.

They rode along the Mohawk River part of the way, and at one point stopped at a native village for more education. They saw a shrine to a native American from the 1600s, Kateri, and learned that she is very near to becoming a saint.

It was a pleasant, clear day with no rain until 3:30 or so.

They pitched the tents and went to a big pasta dinner for the whole group, then caught a little polka music. Rob and Ivonne went to Duncan Donuts for chai and coffee.

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Artie adds a postscript to Friday's update: he says it was 62 miles in the pouring rain and it was fun! He sounds like he's really enjoying himself.

Friday's tandem update

Ivonne called in Friday night at almost 10:30 with this update.

The team woke to pouring rain Friday morning. Artie found about two inches of water had seeped into his tent and he would have floated away if it hadn't been for his mattress! They got the tents wrung out in the pouring rain and headed out on the day's 62-mile ride to kanajahari. The first six miles were on a state route, then they joined up with East Bicycle Route five again, toward their first planned rest stop at 18.7 miles. Along the way, Ivonne and Zoe found a quaint bakery and stopped for hot chocolate and a muffin while they waited for the rain to let up. When it showed no signs of stopping, they hoped the sag wagon would pick them up, but they finally struck off in the rain on the tandem.

After some time, the sag wagon did pick them up and took them about ten miles to the rest stop. They continued on the rest of the way by bicycle to Kanajahari High School

There, Artie and Ivonne stayed at the hotel while Zoe and Rob had a free night. Rob and Zoe took a walk and found where Susan B. Anthony taught for four years and saw lots of rainbows piercing the clouds. Ivonne and Artie ordered personal pizzas and other goodies and watched the Yankee game.

Rob and Zoe also talked to some of the other cyclists and found out some of them thought our group was a family! Apparently, Rob and Zoe are married, Ivonne is their daughter, and Artie is Rob's father! (Does Susan, Artie's wife, know about this?)

Thursday's Tandem Update

Ivonne phoned in this update Thursday night around 8:30.

The Achilles group started the day with hot showers at the Quality Inn, followed by a shuttle ride to the campground at the inner harbor in Syracuse.

they had fluffy pancakes cooked on a griddle that was about four feet long!

They headed out on the bicycles over lots of rolling hills into the downtown area of Syracuse, where the group stopped at the Canal museum. They toured an actual canal boat and heard about how boys starting as young as eight years old worked two six-hour shifts each day with the mules in the 1800s.

Back on the old, historic Erie Canal trail, Rob and Artie sighted four bald eagles and 28 turtles by the time they stopped counting turtles!

Zoe and Ivonne flew along, passing other riders, until (somebody said this wasn't like the Tour de France) the front tire caught a muddy puddle and they both became projectiles! (This is Ivonne's description.) They were bruised on the right side, but finished the ride and were in "good spirits," Ivonne said, when she called. Apparently there was no real damage.

After they headed off again uninjured, Zoe and Ivonne met up with Rob and Artie at mile 35 of the 50.5 mile day and found the guys had an aneurysm in their front tire and had to wait for the mechanic to come and make repairs.

During the day, Zoe and Ivonne had popsicles, but it was Rob and Artie who found the ice cream stand this time and had the team's daily ice cream.

They traveled on to Fort Stanwick, where Artie met the mayor, James Brown, who gave him his card and told him to give a call anytime he was in town! Only Artie...

Zoe and Ivonne stopped for more sight seeing before stopping for the night. They visited an historic canal village where they rode a steam engine and saw mules towing a barge.

When they arrived at the camp, newly-promoted Sherpa First-class Artie along with Sherpa Rob had pitched the tents and had everything ready. The group had dinner at an artistic restaurant, then went back to the campground. It was raining on and off, but the group was cozy and dry inside the tents when they called.

Postscript to Wednesday's tandem update

Artie called at about 6:30 Thursday morning because he had forgotten to tell us that Rob, the media man, has been arranging interviews at every stop. On Wednesday they were interviewed by both ABC and CBS, and talked about tandem riding and Achilles in general. Rob is doing a great job with the media!

Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding

Does anyone know the dimensions of the tandem bikes that Achilles owns? My husband & I want to ride with you, but we have an odd-size configuration. I, at 5'3", have to captain, and my husband is 6'1". We used to own a tandem but had to trick it out so that we could fit. My legs are so short, I can't stand over most bikes that are big enough for him. Does anyone now if it would work on any of the achilles' bikes?

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Hey Ivonne,Artie and so on.
It's really encouraging to see you guys out their riding like your head ant good. for eight days too.Stuff respect.Anyway,big up to your captain's for me.

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Hey Dad-
Following the progress. Watch out Lance Armstrong!! Really proud- and all the best!
Matt & Tammy

Tandem Riding update for Wednesday

The group, with Ivonne as spokesperson, called in Wednesday night at about 10:30 with that day's update.

Sherpa Rob heard distant thunder, so the group decided to wait and see what the weather would do. They were waiting at the Mynderse Academy in Seneca Falls, so Ivonne made a guest appearance at a math class and talked about Achilles, the ride, and how math is so important (Ivonne majored in math in college, if I remember right. She probably factored some polynomials for them since they had time to kill).

After checking the Doppler weather via the Internet, the group decided to wait four hours, until noon, when the thunderstorms were predicted to clear. They headed out and immediately found signs of bicycle route 5, headed for Port Byron and lunch with the locals. There, they saw the romantic side of Rob, who was reminded of his college days and the romantic poets.

Along the way they passed the Montezuma Refuge where they saw a few heron. Montezuma, according to Ivonne, was a day late, though, as the revenge had gotten to Zoe the day before.

On they went on route five, through rolling farmland, where dairy cows mooed at them. Some Canada geese followed Rob and Artie on the bicycle.

They traveled on the rolling hills at about fourteen and a half miles per hour ( I want to know how they know this) until they hit the muddy trails of the canal's towpath. This was a narrow, muddy, mulch-covered path that led along the canal and the going was much slower. They headed into camp under torrential downpours.

Here, they were graced with Artie's ability to coordinate. he had already booked two rooms at the Quality Inn and had arranged for a shuttle bus to take them from the inner harbor where they were camping to the motel!

They threw their laundry into the washers and driers, with half of their clothes running away from their bags because they smelled so bad.

They wined and dined at the Colorado Mine Company, phoned in their update, and headed off to real beds!

Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding

Hey Artie and Ivonne - Jerry and I are rooting for you!!!!! And Ivonne, remember to feed the worm. Artie - make sure Ivonne makes the same promise I made to you on Kilimanjaro if you make it to the finish line. I'll have the tent waiting!!!!!!

Tuesday's Events in the Tandem tour

Ivonne called Tuesday around 8:30 with this update. Here it is with my edits, and I hope I have place names right.

Tuesday, the longest day, started at 5:45 when our group woke up to Rob's "Morning Song." The tents were so wet from the dew, they had to wring them out as if they'd been caught in a thunderstorm while they were sleeping.

After breakfast, the group started again along the canal, through neat little towns. Zoe and Ivonne stopped at Mastedon's where a woman, Terry, was the first to invent saddles for women.

At one point, Zoe and Ivonne took off on the roads, while Rob and Artie followed the route along the canal that had been planned for them. Artie and Rob started flying past other riders, up hills so steep some cyclists had gotten off to walk. Two distance runners on a tandem pack a lot of power!

Before the lunch stop in a town that I think Ivonne said was name Newark, Zoe and Ivonne found a small ice cream stand and stopped for a snack. Then, because of some miscommunication, the two pairs didn't find each other at lunch, and continued their trip separately.

Ivonne and Zoe's route took them up and down nice hills, past barns, cows, and horses. Ivonne said miles forty through sixty-six were roads that were nicely paved and hilly.

The day's ride ended at Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the women's movement. They set up camp ( no mention of the division of labor today) and the group had a wine and cheese reception before having dinner at a place called the Pump House. There was dollar twenty-five beer, good vegetable wraps, and garlic mashed potatoes (there might have been other options, but we're getting this story from Ivonne).

When they called, the group was waiting for the shuttle bus that would take them from the park area where they had had dinner back to the campground. Tomorrow they'll head into Syracuse. Julius, one of our regular Achilles athletes, is there on vacation, so our group hopes to meet up with him there. They promise to let us know.

Monday's Tandem Ride Update from Artie

Artie called in Monday night with a series of phone messages describing Monday's events.
He says it was a magnificent day. There was a threat of rain, but they were always ahead of it, so they missed the downpours.

They rode 53 miles on Monday, for a trip total so far of 100 miles! Tomorrow is the biggest day; they'll travel 66 miles through the toughest part of the course.

Today's route was beautiful. They traveled along the canal and passed through charming small towns. One town had eight grand, beautiful churches in the space of four blocks. Unfortunately, Artie says, the population is very depleted in these towns because industry is very low.

Along the canal they saw what were called "low canal bridges" which opened straight up hydraulically to let the boats pass through.

Artie said everyone was riding well. For the last 15 miles of the day, Sherpa Rocket Rob was pushing himself and Artie to get to camp. He and Artie flew at about a 15-mile pace to try to get to camp in time to set up the tents for Zoe and Ivonne so the ladies could have their mint juleps with their feet up before dinner. They hoped, too, they might beat a thunderstorm.

Alas, when they arrived at camp, they found out the equipment truck had broken down and they would have to wait, as it turned out, for two and a half hours. So, with no tents, no food, no luggage, Zoe and Ivonne went off in search of ice cream.

While they were waiting for the truck, Media Director Rob found Fox News and they interviewed Artie, who told the viewing audience all about Achilles, the running, the tandem program, and the 5-mile Hope and Possibility Race coming up on August 1 in Central Park (new York City). Hopefully a few people will come down for the race. Artie says they would have interviewed Ivonne, but she was off having ice cream.

At last the truck arrived, the tents were pitched, and everyone had a late dinner. Since they were camping on the grounds of a college campus, they visited other parts of the campus, then came back to tent city to relax.

They called shortly after eight PM Monday night and were listening to a rhythm and blues singer and guitar player. They're resting up, getting ready for their biggest day. I heard Taskmaster, I mean Sherpa, Rob in the background saying they would have to break camp early Tuesday morning!

A Second Update from Ivonne

another phone Update from Ivonne

Ivonne called again Sunday night, this time to update us on their Sunday exploits. I love the way Ivonne tells a story; we have detailed descriptions of food in every phase of the trip.

After a peaceful night's sleep, broken only by the roaring trains,Sherpa Rob woke the group with his "morning song." We'll have to get a full description from Ivonne later.

First, they went off to breakfast: scrambled eggs, bagels, coffee, french toast, fruit, everything you could want (see what I mean about Ivonne's story-telling?).

When Ivonne, Artie, and Zoe got back to the camp, Sherpa Rob had already broken down the tents and they were ready to roll! So, off they went to the start ceremony with all the riders. This was a big organized ride with lots of cyclists. It was a long ceremony, including the Star-Spangled Banner, which seemed to Ivonne to go on for hours (of course, remember that she hadn't eaten now for more than an hour).

Then they were off! Zoe and Ivonne shared one tandem, Zoe as captain and Ivonne as stoker. They were accused of having Ladies Social Hour, but they were learning about mesothelioma (according to Ivonne, a rare lung disease caused by asbestos). I knew this trip would be educational.

They rode along the Niagara River through the Gateway to the West (although, Ivonne pointed out, they were riding East). They rode and talked for 17.7 miles.

At the first rest stop there was lots of food, including chocolate chip cookies (is this the first time this weekend Ivonne has mentioned chocolate?).

They left the rest stop and traveled on to Locksport, where they saw the locks in action. Ivonne described it as a big bathtub that fills slowly and then, well, unfills.

From the locks, they went to have lunch at Tom's Diner which Rob (I could hear in the background of the phone message) gave a Zagat's rating of 23 (perhaps a New Yorker could clue us in as to whether that's good or bad).

From lunch, through an afternoon rest stop, they traveled to Medina, where they stopped for the night. Sherpa Rob and Sherpa Artie put up the tents (I can't wait to hear Artie's version) and then the group headed for the pool to cool off, followed by clean showers with hot running water! What kind of camping is this, anyway?

After dinner, Zoe went to a talk about wildflowers (more education) while Rob, Artie, and Ivonne went to find a little bar (less education) called O'Brian's. Our subteam became known as Scoop and the Lads.

Someplace in the evening they met two parties who recognized them! Small world, someone from the New York Roadrunners foundation recognized them, as did someone from the New York Cycling Club. They said they had seen Ivonne running in Central Park (this is where the Achilles Track Club in New York meets for workouts on Tuesdays and Saturdays).

All day, Rob was on a quest to find a pay phone to call a friend in Wisconsin. Finally, he found one.

Ivonne summarized the day's events by saying, "The ride was uneventful, unlike the Tour de France, no crashes." Let's hope it stays that way!

Update from Ivonne! Tandem Bicycle Riding

Ivonne (AKA Scoop because she edits the Achilles newsletter) called in Sunday night with an update! Here's my transcript plus edits.

The train ride from New York City to Buffalo started early; the group convened at Penn Station between 5:45 and 6:45 AM and boarded the train, coffee in hand. The two tandems had left the day before in the capable hands of Amtrak, but would the Achilles team be able to find them? Get them back together again? Do Rob and Artie have better tools now? I've ridden with Zoe, and my money is on her to have the good set of tools for the job.

Once on the train, they started sharing Ivonne's grub: pretzels, gum, and soy chips which became known as cardboard-flavored onion pieces (hey, what happened to the Luna bars and chocolate she said she was buying on Friday? I think she might have been holding out...).

Four hours into the train ride, Rob saw what looked like the canal, but it turned out to be the river... oh well. wishful thinking. They'll see plenty of the famous canal later, if this trip gets off the ground.

They got to Buffalo, and were relieved to find both tandems had arrived! They also had all their equipment, including a third tent, thanks to Andy, the Achilles team volunteer par excellence.
This third tent became known as the "Booty tent." Rob demonstrated his skill and experience in pitching tents and is now known as Sherpa Rob.

According to Ivonne, the first night the booty tent was occupied by Sherpa Rob and four old bags.

The team got a pretty good night's sleep for their first camp-out, despite the trains roaring through at one AM and four AM.

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Hi Ivonne, Artie, Xoe and Rob,
This is yet another fabulous adventure for Achilles.
We're tracking your days here in Madison and sending you all our positive thoughts! Be well, all!

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What a saga getting started!! Reason #25 why I don't ride bikes! But, I must say, I wish I loved to because the trip sounds like so much fun. Of course there will be stories and adventure since Ivonne & Artie are magnets for such things!!!

Stay safe and HAVE FUN guys!!!


Re:Tandem Bicycle Riding

hi artie and ivonne!

it sounds like you are off on quite an adventure! what a start in penn station... can't wait to hear the stories! so what's next? maybe the tour de france? i can see it now, flying through the mountains with lance armstrong struggling to keep up with you...

have a blast!

laurie (new jersey laurie)

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Oh dear!! I can just picture the chaos in Penn Station!! Forgive me, but I got such a laugh from the visual of the singular bicylist riding around Manhattan on a tandem bike! Only Achilles! Sounds similar to our preperations for Kilimanjaro!! We're so impressed that you're doing this and can't wait to follow the progress. Make sure to post your funny stories! We're plugging for you here! Good luck, God bless and be SAFE!!!


Adrienne, Brian and Jack Kenny



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OK, so I'm still at work! And it has been anything but relaxing! Once I finally leave my office though, I'll be running all over the city to make sure I pick up the oh so delicious food supplies that will surely get me through the trip-- it's all about the chocolate, Luna and Zone bars, and more chocolate. :) You all know that I'm always hungry! And well, I've got to feed that tape worm in my stomach right?
Anyhow, once I've done the shopping, it's off to my home so I can start packing. Looks like I won't be sleeping much tonight. But, there's always the long train ride up to Bufalo tomorrow.

Send us lots of positive energy! I'll see you all soon.


Update from Artie on the tandem trip

Artie has already called in with his first adventure, and the riding part doesn't start until tomorrow!

The team needed to get the two tandems to Penn Station in New York City so that they could be shipped to Buffalo, where the ride will start. They had made arrangements in advance... they thought.

Zoe rode her tandem alone (always an adventure, riding a tandem solo in NYC) to Penn Station. Artie schlepped two huge duffel bags by cab from his apartment to Penn Station and met Rob and Zoe there. They had to get huge boxes from Amtrak. The boxes for the tandems cost more than double those for the regular bikes, and the Amtrak people were skeptical that they would even fit. To get them to fit, Rob and Artie struggled and finally had to go buy tools to remove the pedals. I don't know where they went, but Kmart has a doorway right into Penn Station...They got the pedals off, got the tandem in the box, got all the labeling and packing done, and sent the first tandem off in the hands of Amtrak while Rob and Artie went back to Artie's for the second tandem.

They rode the tandem from someplace around 82nd street to Penn Station, and, I find out today, this is the first time Rob has captained a tandem (why didn't I sign up for this trip? I'm starting to remember...).

Rob told Artie it was a good thing he couldn't see, so he didn't know about all the near misses. I think I would have known. Well, better to get the hang of it today...

Now at Penn Station with the second tandem, they started working to get the pedals off (I'll mention that there are a lot of pedals involved, so this is a lot of work). The hastily-bought tools from the earlier job broke, so they had to go in search of better tools. I hope they have better ones for the trip!

They got the second tandem in the second box, just in time to make the 2:15 cargo train! This was a long day, since they started at 8:00 in the morning to get the first bike ready.

While Rob and Artie were struggling all day with the bikes, Ivonne and Zoe were relaxing and resting for the trip at their respective jobs (I have this version of the story from Artie, remember).

Artie says he thinks the trip will be easier than the preparations. I hope so, but I think this is just the beginning. I think we'll hear about hills, mountains, bridges, traffic, rain, heat, water, no water, no food, no sleep...but these guys are marathon runners, so it's just another fun vacation to them.

Artie mentioned something about Ivonne having recently taken a massage class... I'll let him make his own postings here, since he's home resting up for the next few hours.

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Hi Ivonne & Artie,
The scoop was heard all the way to Denver that you are gallivanting around NY State. I'm proud, excited and cheering from Pikes Peak, the binoculars are a little blurry though...but I know you're out there peddling like crazy. Hope it's all downhill for you and your Captains!
Much love to you both
Ride on Achilles!

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Hi Guys,

Just wanted to wish you lots of luck and to let you know that we will be keeping track of you so behave and have a great time and safe trip! See you when you come back.


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