Don and I have been a tandem team for several years now, with palmares including a top five finish in the Australian National Paracycling Championships and a number of wins and podiums in A grade in our local Vets club in Canberra, where we race against “single” bikes.
Don, a longtime Audax rider still going strong at almost 60, has lost much of his vision to retinitis pigmentosa. He can see straight ahead in a narrow band, but has lost his peripheral sight. While he still rides his single bike on quiet country roads in Australia, it’s only possible for Don to race in the stoker’s seat of the tandem.
In November 2016 we realised our long-held dream of doing a road cycling tour of Vietnam on the tandem, from Sapa to Hanoi. Not that he was counting, but Don reckons we covered 725km with 10330m gained over 6 days of riding.
We thought the tandem would be a hit in Vietnam and we were right. It seemed like everywhere we went the excited cry “Xe dap doi!” [Tandem!] would ring out, and delighted H’mong and Thai children would ride and run alongside us for as long as their legs held out. A truly amazing experience.
With thanks to Nic, Rusty, Bleeksie and Kinchy for contributed photographs. Looking forward to riding with you again guys.