Each week we are going to be saying “Hello” to another organisation in the VI world to learn more about who they are and what they do.
This week, to celebrate Bike Week, we are chatting to Alex Reeves (Founder) of Charlotte’s Tandems.
So, Hi Alex, please can you tell us about Charlotte’s Tandems:
We lend, at no cost, tandems and tag-alongs to (and only to) people with disabilities or additional needs, who are unable to ride a bike safely on their own.
The idea came about as I’m a keen cyclist so wanted to be able to go out riding with my daughter Charlotte. However, because of her disability, once she had outgrown her tag-along, we decided to buy a tandem but were alarmed by the cost of them.
We did buy one but then when it came to getting another one, after she had outgrown the first one, I contacted the Tandem Club instead to ask if anyone had a second hand one we could buy. A number of people replied including someone who offered their tandem for free. In return, I therefore said that we would lend our old tandem out to someone else. And so it began!
Originally, I was just coordinating everything and we were only lending out tandems to people in and around Gloucestershire and Bristol but then someone in Essex get involved so we started lending out tandems over there.
Now we are a registered charity and have about 150 tandems, looked after by about 30 regional volunteers, located throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
In the summer of 2015, we actually loaned 4 tandems to Goalball UK for their Coast to Coast Challenge.
What do you need to do if you want to hire a tandem?
You need to start by filling in the Contact Form. We will then put you in touch with your nearest regional volunteer. They will match you with the most appropriate tandem for your needs and teach you how to ride the bike safely. You then collect the tandem – some volunteers also have roof or rear car carriers that you can borrow – and get out cycling.
Tandems are normally borrowed for at least 2 months, sometimes longer depending on demand, and in addition to returning the tandem promptly and in good condition, all we ask is that you send us some photos and comments during this time for us to share on our website and social media.
How can we find out more information?
You can visit our website or connect with us via social media.