Blind and partially-sighted people can now get out and about on bikes thanks to a charity.

Tandem Trekkers has around 20 tandem bikes with volunteers taking people with sight problems out on rides every week.

The club, which recently moved from Huddersfield to Mirfield, now has around 80 members and there is always room for more.

The way it works is that the pilot – the front rider – takes the lead with the stoker – the rear rider with sight problems – helping by providing more pedal power.

Even blind or partially-sighted people with little experience of riding a bike are welcome as the lead rider does the main balancing.

The group grew out of the former Kirklees Visual Impairment Network – now called Outlookers – and was so successful it set itself up as a charity.

Trustee Paul Stark said: “Like most great ideas it grew out of two people chatting in a pub. Both had sight problems and were lamenting the fact they couldn’t get out on their bikes anymore and then they thought of tandems.

“It began in 2014 with three or four riders but quickly grew and grew as word spread and since October 2017 we’ve been an independent charity.”

Most of the riders come from Huddersfield and other parts of Kirklees along with several more from West Yorkshire. The minimum age to ride is 18 and the oldest is now 84.

Paul said: “Some have no sight at all while most have some perception of light and dark. They describe it as looking through a pinhole with very narrow and restricted vision.

“They really enjoy being out and about feeling the sun, wind and even rain on their faces. It’s a brilliant feeling of freedom and there is tremendous companionship between the pilots and stokers.”

Anyone volunteering to be a pilot undergoes an induction at the Leeds Road Sports Complex in Huddersfield to learn all the safety information they need to help a blind or visually-impaired person. All bikes and helmets are provided.

The trekkers usually ride in convoy and they have two trailers so can take their tandems anywhere.

They ride every Saturday from the beginning of March to the end of November, usually around Kirklees and West Yorkshire, but also go further afield to Hull, York, Boroughbridge and Fairburn in North Yorkshire and Clitheroe in Lancashire.

Tandem Trekkers is now affiliated to British Cycling’s Limitless Programme ( which aims to introduce more disabled people to cycling.

The Tandem Trekkers website is

To contact Tandem Trekkers email or phone 07951 799736 or 07774 213372.

To watch a video of Tandem Trekkers in action go to

  • Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.