The Coastal Cruisers
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 set up a Pa¯pa¯moa cycling group called Coastal Cruisers with Bibby as ride leader to get more cyclists peddling in the community.
De Winter 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.”
De Winter was in a car accident at 16 in the Bay of Islands. She went through the car wind 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. ● The Coastal Cruisers are a cycling group in Pa¯ pa¯ moa launched in November by Sport Bay of Plenty. Cycling co-ordinator Andrew Thorpe says the aim is to help local riders have fun, build fitness and stay safe. The group meets 9am every Thursday at Q Cafe in the Q Building, 88 Coast Boulevard. For details contact Sport Bay of Plenty at cy[email protected]bop.nz or 021 050 1728.
She loves being outdoors “among the trees and the birds” and enjoys the physical benefits of exercise.
“It comes down to attitude. You can either be a couch potato or you can have a great life. It comes down to choices.”
She 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 older we have to keep our bones and muscles moving.”
Partner Dave Higson helps her out and about. But she’s an independent woman and prefers to live alone as she has her garden to tend to.
She and cycle partner Bibby get together for the Coastal Cruisers ride every Thursday.
“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.”