Volunteer Captains
(Front Seat Riders)
For Tandem Bike Riding

 Contact Peter Fletcher on 0407 848 181 or email at: tandembikevictoria@gmail.com  



Sunday 1 March 2015

The day did not start out too flash because of a heavy down poor of rain at around 7:00 am. However, the gods were smiling on us as the rain soon cleared and the sun popped its head through the clouds.

I travelled to Ferntree Gully by train via Flinders Street Station where I met up with Moiz Siddiqui and Ranjesh Prakash who are both totally blind. We made our way to Platform 3 & 4 together with volunteer Colin Nash and my Cannondale tandem. I could just make out the next Belgrave train was to depart form platform 3 but I could not see the time.

A Lilydale train was at platform 4 but we didn’t pay too much attention to the announcement that we needed to board this train and change at Ringwood to travel to meet up with the Belgrave train. I asked Colin to check the departure time of the Belgrave train and he said that it was 9:29 am. So the announcement come over the PA telling us that the Lilydale train was now departing. Well by then I had put two and two together and I realised that we should be on the Lilydale train.

We all made a dash for the Lilydale train and as I was getting my tandem on board the doors closed on the tandem so we had to force the doors open to get my bike into the train. However, the doors very quickly closed again and poor Colin was very sadly left standing on the platform as our train pulled out.  Colin caught the next train to Belgrave and met up with us at the festival.

We met up with Bob McPherson, Joe Cassar and Rocky Berlingeri on the train and when we arrived at Ferntree Gully station we boarded our three tandems and rode down to the Wally Tew Reserve which was the location of the Knox Festival and the start of The Oppy Bike Ride.

We made our way to the Vision Australia Marquee and met up with Emilyn Jacotine from Vision Australia as well as the other tandem bike teams and a large bunch of members of Melbourne Cycling who were all part of our Blinky Bill Team. We also met up with some friends of Rocky as well as his two daughters who were also members of our team.

The Tandem Bike Victoria tandem teams in this event were Belinda Rowe (Captain) with Kim Black (Stoker), Daniel Kesik (Captain) with Michael Fogarty (Stoker), Arron McGowan (Captain) with Moiz Siddiqui (Stoker), Bob McPherson (Captain) with Ranjesh Prakash (Stoker) and Billy Kotlaroff (Captain) with yours truly (Stoker).

Tandem Bike Victoria also had four other members in this event who gave up their valuable time to volunteer to ride the Vision Australia tandem bikes around the festival site with numbers of the public on board who were blind folded to give them the experience of what it would be like to be a blind cyclist on the back of a tandem bike.

These wonderful volunteers were Colin Nash, Tim Fidler, Simon White and Warwick Padey.

We had all been issued with a passport that we had to use to collect stamps in at various pit stops along route 3 of The Oppy Bike Ride.

Well the starting time soon came around and we set off on our 36 km Oppy Bike Ride around cycle paths and some streets situated in the City of Knox which included a rail trail and the Eastlink Trail and some other bicycle paths.

This was a fun ride and there were several pitstops along the route and the first of these we had to guess the height of an arch over the cycle path to get a stamp in our passports. At our next pitstop we had to handball a football though the bulls eye in a rather large target to get another stamp in our passports. There was a bbq at this pitstop serving sausages on a slice of bread. Most of us queued up for a sausage and a bottle of ice cold water.

At our next pitstop we had to kick a soccer ball and hit a moving target to qualify for another stamp in our passports. Well the old greyhound managed to hit the target with my second shot.

At our next pitstop we had to compete in the slowest tandem bike ride race. This was more difficult than you could imagine. Arron and Moiz won this race which was well done guys. Most of us had a bbq sausage in bread at this stop.

So it was time for the Blinky Bill Team to climb back on the saddle and head off for the finishing line back at the Wally Tew Reserve. When we arrived there we had another task to complete for our next stamp. We had to find a plant in the nursery which matched a photo that we were given. My captain Billy found our perfect match within a few seconds. Great stuff Billy.

We had two more tasks to do to complete the total amount of required stamps in our passports. The first was at the Vision Australia Marquee and the last was at the valet cycle parking area.

Having successfully completed all of our tasks and gathered the maximum amount of stamps, I lodged my passport into the organiser’s box at the valet parking area.

The majority of our Blinky Bill Team completed this ride as well as all of the tasks at the pit stops. Well done to everyone who took part in this event. We had fun and some good exercise along the way.

Thank you to Emily Jacotine and the crew from Vision Australia for providing the two tandem bikes for this event as well as all the fantastic co-operation and help that you extended to our tandem bike riders on the day.

Thank you also to Roland Fraval from the Knox City Council for inviting Tandem Bike Victoria to take part in this event.  

This was a great event and well supported and attended by members of Tandem Bike Victoria as well as Melbourne Cycling. Thank you to all of you for making this a great occasion. You guys really rock.

A special thanks to Jeanette Phillips for volunteering to navigate our way around the course and for my mate Bobby Mg for acting as whip taking care of the cyclists at the rear of our group.


Saturday 21 February 2015


It was a hot and balmy evening when Peter Trimble, Barry Bailey, Jeff Eichenbaum and Barry’s partner Tracey together with yours truly loaded our two tandem bikes into the baggage car and boarded the 6:02 pm V/Line Albury train.

We had a very pleasant and relaxing trip arriving in Albury at about 10:00 pm. Pete Trimble and I rode our Avanti tandem from the station to our accommodation at the Australia Park Motel. Barry, Jeff and Tracey decided to walk to the same motel which was a bit of a hike.

After a good night’s sleep, Pete and I had a 6:00 am breakfast and then made our way to the starting line for the 133 km Lake Hume Cycle Challenge which was in the park directly across the road from our motel.

I collected our rider number and we headed for the starting line for the 7:00 am start.

We were the only tandem riders doing the 133 km ride because our other two tandem teams, Barry & Jeff and David Parkinson & Barry Smerdon were both doing the 100 km ride which was to start at 8:00 am.

Well 7:00 am soon came around and we set off along with a few hundred other very keen cyclists. Although this was not meant to be a race, the pace up at the pointy end was very hot and Pete and I had passed quite a few other cyclists and we settled down behind the second bunch of riders who were ambling along at a reasonable pace.

We managed to overtake the bunch on the flat but they gradually reeled us in and passed us on the uphill sections. Then we would generate some serious speed going down the descents and we would overtake the bunch putting a gap between us and them. This procedure went on for some time until we came across a serious climb which knocked the wind out of our sails and the bunch subsequently left us in their wake.

We bypassed the official stop at Tallangatta just taking a short roadside stop to have a quick snack and a drink. Back on board the tandem and we were cruising along on route to Granya Grind which was the toughest climb on this ride. The Granya ascent is about a 7 km climb with between a 4% and 8% elevation.

We eventually reached the turnoff to the Granya and it wasn’t too long before we had gone down through gears into granny gear and slowing to a crawl while negotiating the long uphill grind. A few other cyclists passed us with ease while we were giving it our all spinning the cranks around the best we could. We were finding this climb really tough going and we were hoping the crest would be in sight every time we went around the next bend in the road.

It seemed like eternity but we eventually reached the summit and it was time for us to have a bit of fun on the long descent. We managed to crank up our speed to around 70+ km/hr without us applying any real power to the pedals. Pete Trimble has had years of experience riding around similar roads on a motor cycle so he had no trouble negotiating the tight bends in the road on our way down Granya.  

It was not too long before we came across our next official stop where we decided to take a break out of the saddle to top up our fuel tank with some delicious fruit cake, lollies, snack bar and water melon.

Back on board the Avanti and back on the road knowing that we had passed the halfway mark which was a real relief knowing that we had completed that hardest section of the ride.

We started to make up some valuable time on the flat cycling around a truly picturesque road with Lake Hume on our right. However, we did encounter a few more hilly sections which zapped any remaining power from our legs. We got to cross the lake on a fabulous looking bridge and managed to pass another bunch of cyclists who had stopped for a rest.

We did the last half of this ride without stopping but by the time we reached the finishing line we had spent all of our petrol tickets.

I am not too sure where we finished in the mix but we were far from being last to cross the finishing line. We completed the 133 km ride in a time of 5hrs and 9 seconds at an average speed of 26.5 km/hr.   

Although this was a very tough ride with the heat and humidly together with some challenging climbs, it was one of the most rewarding rides that I have done.

The Rotary Club did a fantastic job of organising this event and everything seem to come together like clockwork.

Our accommodation at the Australia Park Motel was fabulous and the hosts were very obliging and friendly.

A very special thank you to my Captain, Peter Trimble who piloted my Avanti tandem bike for me in this event.  Even though he was suffering from a few different ailments which were causing him discomfort and pain, he never weakened and he gave it his all to the end. It was Pete’s first real hit out as a tandem pilot in such a long distance ride but he did an awesome job. 

Jeff and Barry Bailey together with David and Barry Smerdon both completed the 100 km course in a very respectful time. Well done guys.  

Next Tandem Bike Ride

Tandem Bike Ride
City to Frankston and Back

You are invited to join us on a tandem bike ride from Federation Square to Frankston and Back on Sunday 29 March 2015, starting at 8:15 am.

This will be a medium paced ride and we would like as many tandem bike riders as possible to join us on this 100 km ride.

We will also include a short but sharp ride up Oliver's hill as an option. It might be a tough climb but it is well worth it when you get the chance to cycle back down toFrankston. 

This is also a tune-up ride in preparation for The Lions Ride For Sight in April.

If you would like to take part in this ride, either the stoker or the captain will need to have a tandem bike in good working order. You will also need to communicate with your captain or stoker as to which type of shoes and pedals you would prefer to use.

Please contact me (Peter Fletcher) by reply email or on 0407 848 181 as soon as possible if you would like to join us.

Coming Events

Tandem Bike Victoria in association with

Melbourne Cycling who host many cycling events each week. These events vary in distance and speed as well as cater for people of all abilities.
Melbourne Cycling are a very inclusive cycling group and therefore tandem bikes are very welcome and encouraged to take part in any event that are suitable for tandem bikes.

To participate in a Melbourne Cycling event  simply click here to access the Melbourne Cycling website for details of coming cycling events.

Tandem Bike Victoria Partnerships 
Tandem Bike Victoria is pleased to announce that Melbourne Cycling and YHA Cycling are both tandem bike friendly and are also inclusive to people with blindness and low vision. These organisations welcome people with blindness and low vision to join them on various rides compatible with tandem bikes.
You can access the Melbourne Cycling website by clicking here to view current and future rides and events.
You can access the YHA Cycling website by clicking here to view current and future rides and events.

Please Like us on Facebook 

Coming Events
Click here to view coming cycling events

Tandem Bike Victoria Group Site
Click here to access the Tandem Bike Victoria (TBV) Group Site.

You can post your own comments and read comments posted by other members and get involved in discussions with other TBV members. You can also keep up to date with whats happening in tandem bike land and the cycling world as well as the groups activities.

If you would like to join this group please send an email to: tandembikevictoria@gmail.com

 Life Be In It

Peter Fletcher,
Jan 12, 2013, 10:08 PM