Blind cyclists touring Namibia

10 Jul 2014 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 10 JUL (NAMPA) – A group of visually-impaired cyclists is on tour through Namibia.
The 34-member group consists of one visually-impaired Namibian rider, and the rest are South Africans.
There are 17 teams, each made up of one rider with good eyesight piloting, and one visually-impaired rider on two-person tandem bicycles.
The riders aim to promote cycling for the visually-impaired in Namibia.
The event was organised by the South African Tandem Association - Tandem Cycling for Blind Persons. Its chairperson, Roy Abbott, who is blind himself, told Nampa here on Wednesday the purpose of the tour is to provide equal opportunities for visually-impaired people to participate in the sport.
Tandem cycling is a sports code in the Paralympics.
“We have various agreements with different institutions which work with visually-impaired people, and we believe we should develop these athletes and help them to take part in the sport,” he said.
Abbott indicated that his dream is to ‘see’ more Namibian cyclists get involved in tandem cycling for the blind, and hopefully form a club.
They commenced the journey on Sunday, cycling from Keetmanshoop to Luderitz, where they spent the night, and back to Keetmanshoop the following day.
“We even saw wild horses in the desert,” said an excited Abbott.
Carina Mouers, Namibia's only participant, told this agency her aim is to make blind people aware of cycling as a sport, and that they do not have to sit back to any sports.
She said her impairment does not deter her from actively participating in several local and international cycling events.
Another blind cyclist, Dan Manders said he is enjoying the tour thus far.
“We experienced some bitter cold temperatures, but we survived and here we are looking forward to the rest of the tour,” said Manders, who is also known as “Uncle Dan” by his team mates.
Manders’ witty sense of humour and positive outlook on life drew this reporter to him as he was busy preparing his gear for the ride.
It is his first time in Namibia.
On his expectations for the rest of the tour, he said: “I will grab it with glee”.
Another cyclist, Nicky Wilson said she too enjoyed every moment of the tour thus far, especially because the ‘warm Namibian people’ make her feel at home.
“This is one of the best tours ever,” she said.
During the Windhoek-leg of their tour, the team pedaled from the Brakwater Weigh Bridge via the Western Bypass, before taking on the mountainous and scenic route towards the Daan Viljoen game reserve, west of Windhoek. They then returned via the same route.
The team then strapped their bikes onto their vehicles, and headed for Swakopmund, where the last leg of the tour will take place.
They will cycle from Swakopmund to Henties Bay, where a prize-giving ceremony has been scheduled for Thursday evening.