The Coastal Cruis­ers

Bay of Plenty Times - - Local News -

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.”

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