Thanks to everyone who rode or supported Enchanted Hills Camp through Cycle for Sight 2014. Over 2000 people rode for Enchanted Hills Camp and the California Veterans “Pathway Home Project.” We had a tremendous turnout of Team LightHouse participants this year with over 70 riders including twenty tandem teams. The weather was perfect, mild and fresh from the previous day’s rain.
Camp Director Tony Fletcher said, “It was great to see Cycle for Sight first-timers train and complete the ride and then share their desire to return next year and even increase the distance of their ride. Blind and low vision people who do the ride learn that cycling is a viable medium not only for exercise but for social engagement.”
Marlene Dunaway’s First Cycle for Sight
70-something year-old Marlene Dunaway, who lives in Davis, California, signed up for the 25-mile ride and raised over $1000.00 in support of her ride. She is one of our first-timers and offers this unique perspective:
“Before I lost my vision, I never rode for speed, distance or competition. I would enjoy a leisurely ride to the park and around the neighborhood on a warm sunny day. After I lost vision I rode a few times on a tandem with my mobility instructor but this did not prepare me for how much I would enjoy the Cycle for Sight ride.
With the help of Tony Fletcher and North Coast North Coast Services Coordinator Ali Lee I connected with an experienced tandem captain Mark Walshand had my first experience as a blind stoker. Mark used to be a single bicycle racer and has ridden in hundreds of events. He is dedicated to cycling but had taken a break before getting back into it for Cycle for Sight. Now he is more enthusiastic than ever. Working with Mark catapulted me into the cycling world. I was exposed to a new vocabulary and wonderful tales of hazardous trips, near misses, mechanical failures and repair successes, and other related bike topics.
The first time I rode 25 miles my butt felt like it was a giant rock which I could barely move. Luckily my legs fared a whole lot better. As I developed my stamina, I began enjoying the wind on my face, the smell of the cows munching hay, the sound of roosters and dogs barking at the sheep or cars passing by. I loved the movement and speed, the wind and sun, and the feeling of freedom while I rode. I also loved participating actively [as a stoker] while chatting with my partner. Riding gave me a new feeling of independence and greater contact with the outside natural world. I began to feel the joy of cycling.
After the Cycle for Sight ride I felt parts of my body I had never felt before but the supportive comments and authentic joy felt for me by my friends made it all worthwhile. Since the ride I have increased my distance to around 35 miles and don’t know how far I will go from here but as I zoom around a corner, glide quickly on a downhill area or pump like crazy on an uphill climb, I know I don’t want to stop.
Hats off to the Rotary Club of Napa who did a fantastic job organizing the event and making it easy for all of us to have a great day. I’m open to another cycling adventure and I’ll probably hop on and see where it
takes me and I definitely plan on riding
in next year’s Cycle for Sight event.
Team LightHouse Riders Featured in Napa Valley Register
North Coast North Coast Services Coordinator Ali Lee Ali Lee and blind camper Kaitlyn Westbrook are featured in the main photo of this Napa Valley Register article and Sergio Lopez and Rachel Grider are quoted.