On yer bike with Coastal Cruis­ers

Bay News - - FRONT PAGE - By Re­becca Mauger [email protected]

Distributed to Tau­ranga, Beth­le­hem, Pyes Pa, Wel­come Bay, Mount Maun­ganui, Pa­pamoa, Te Puke, Te Puna, Omoko­roa, Katikati, Waihi Beach, Waihi and Whanga­mata

Iain Bibby al­ways has his mate Yvonne with him when he goes for a bike ride.

He’s the “cap­tain” at the helm of Yvonne de Win­ter’s tan­dem bike and she’s the pas­sen­ger. The two go bik­ing ev­ery week in Pa¯pa¯moa to­gether.

Yvonne, who is blind, is not on any free ride though. She’s work­ing as hard as her cap­tain to nav­i­gate the streets of Pa¯pa¯moa.

She’s lov­ing hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to get out in the sun­shine.

The two have been rid­ing to­gether for two years. Sport Bay of Plenty has set up a Pa¯pa¯moa cy­cling group called Coastal Cruis­ers with Iain as ride leader to get more cy­clists ped­dling in the com­mu­nity.

Yvonne says peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties are a new breed now.

“Gone are the days when you just stayed at home and did noth­ing if you had a dis­abil­ity. At our Blind Foun­da­tion cof­fee group, you would be amazed. They want to get out there and re­ally live.”

Yvonne was in a car ac­ci­dent at 16 in the Bay of Is­lands. She went through the car­wind shield and is com­pletely blind aside from see­ing light.

“I can see light through the win­dow, but I can’t see the

win­dow,” she says. “I can do just about ev­ery­thing ex­cept drive a car.”

Be­ing able to ride a bi­cy­cle is “life chang­ing,” she says and she is grate­ful to those who make it pos­si­ble.

She loves bik­ing and be­ing out­doors “among the trees and the birds” and en­joys the en­dor­phins.

“It comes down to at­ti­tude. You can ei­ther be a couch potato or you can have a great life. It comes down to choices.”

Yvonne is also a keen knit­ter, gar­dener, fisher, gym-goer and is ad­dicted to travel hav­ing vis­ited more than 40 coun­tries. She once did a bungy jump.

“As we get old­erwe have to

‘ c‘

I an see light through the win­dow, but I can’t see the win­dow.’’

Yvonne de Win­ter

keep our bones and mus­cles mov­ing,” she says. Part­ner Dave Hig­son helps Yvonne out and about. But she’s an in­de­pen­dent woman and prefers to live alone as she has her gar­den to tend to.

She and Dave have cy­cled a cou­ple of New Zealand’s bike trails on the tan­dem bike.

Cy­cle part­ner Iain and Yvonne get to­gether for the Coastal Cruis­ers ride ev­ery Thurs­day which can be two to three hours long. Iain heard of Yvonne through other cy­cle groups and of­fered to take her cy­cling ev­ery week.

Iain was once a spe­cial needs teacher and gets a buzz out of help­ing oth­ers.

The keen biker is also a mem­ber of the Bay of Plenty Com­mu­nity Trust and would like to see more recre­ational cy­cling in the com­mu­nity.

The tan­dem bike isn’t as hard as he thought it would be to ma­noeu­vre, he says, and Yvonne is a sea­soned pas­sen­ger so they move well to­gether.

“We don’t com­mu­ni­cate a lot. We don’t have to,” Yvonne says. “If Iain is turn­ing right or left I can feel it. It’s easy.”

Iain Bibby cy­cles a tan­dem bike with blind woman Yvonne de Win­ter ev­ery week.

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