Steve grew up fully sighted, but in his 30s he experienced a gradual deterioration in his vision that eventually left him completely blind. In his 40s, Steve found himself spending a lot of time alone in his flat, feeling lonely, isolated and unhappy.
Then, one day, he heard about a scheme run by Life Cycle UK called “Two’s Company” that enlisted the help of sighted volunteers to allow the blind and visually-impaired to go out cycling on the back of tandems.
Feeling a bit nervous, Steve first plucked up the courage to come along to a tandem taster day in 2012 – and from that moment on he hasn’t looked back:
“Before I got involved, I had fallen into the trap that many blind people get into; I had let my disability become a barrier to me enjoying life. It’s easy to not make the effort to get out of the house, get some exercise, some fresh air and some company...
Since joining Two’s Company I’ve increased my confidence in being blind and still being part of the wider community. It has been empowering to meet other people, both visually impaired and sighted, in a social environment.
It has also helped me appreciate there are a lot of other people in a similar situation. It has been great to share experiences of the V.I. world and I have found out so many things just from speaking to other visually impaired people.
But best of all, it’s brilliant to get back on a bike. I never thought I would be able to do this after I lost my sight. To feel the wind rushing past you, to be out in the countryside, to get some exercise, to smell the flowers and trees as you go past. It’s a revelation to me.
This has been the gateway for me to enter a better life after sight loss. Two’s Company has been the spark to the fire: it has made me appreciate just what’s possible with a positive attitude and a willingness to take a chance and give something a try. I’m so glad I got involved.”
In 2015, Steve successfully cycled 1,000 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, on the back of a tandem piloted by his brother.
Two’s Company offers around 25 group tandem rides each year, free of charge, and welcomes anyone with a visual-impairment or physical disability. The group is always looking for riders to get involved – to find out more, visit: https://www.lifecycleuk.org.uk/tandem-rides