After the full track ride in 2018 - see page via link above - we decided to take a slightly different approach, and go somewhat offroad this time, as well as wanting to take the awareness side of things a bit further. ;)
Anyway, after I had gotten hold of yet another Suzuki motorcycle in 2019, which was a DR650, dual-purpose, trail riding bike, with the help of our business partner at the bikes@jacobsvision shop, Tarstone Racing, we prepared our own, small offroad track on a small-holding in Benoni A/H, and, started preparing for the next Jacob's Vision blind bike riding event, and, it took place on the 27th of July 2019.
Will firstly state that I still took safety first in terms of using the right gear, and, during the ride, while was wearing just normal camo pants, along with my doc martens boots, I had on a full chest and back protector, elbow guards, and a decent helmet.
This was also by no means the last event we will be working on, since I will never stop wanting to ride a motorbike - "Once a biker, always a biker!" So, if you'd like to keep up to date with future happenings, it will probably be best for you to keep track of our activities via the Jacob's Vision facebook page.
In terms of my own bit of riding, we did still make use of the same motorcycle guide dog, or sighted riding companion approach as during the last ride, with a friend following me around the approximately 800m long track on another bike, talking to me using a wireless rider-to-rider intercom system.
However, the two main differences with regards to what we tried to achieve this time round relate firstly to another friend of ours who had lost part of his leg due to a motorcycle accident earlier on during the year, and, we used some of the fund raising from this event to provide him with some brand new protective gear, so he could get "back in the saddle". Besides that, we also set up some awareness game stalls at the event where we tried to help sighted people understand a bit more of what it takes to perform daily activities while not being able to see, but, will go into more detail lower down.
I also challenged sighted riders to give blind riding a bit of a go, and, we took another normal helmet, covered it's visor with duct tape, attached a wireless intercom to it, and, let more than 30 of them try riding a form of pit bike around the track after I had done my initial bit of riding. This was just meant to give them their own bit of feel for how I experienced the activity, but, to be fair, I had a lot more time before-hand to get used to this form of a track, and, yes, I am used to living my day-to-day life without being able to see anything as such, so, I wasn't too surprised by the reactions that some of them felt, and came and spoke to me about after their riding times. ;)
Along the lines of that one, we also set up challenge stalls at the event, asking people to try things like throwing darts at balloons pinned to a tree, throw ping pong balls into glasses, etc., while wearing blindfolds, and, this was also meant to give them an understanding of the fact that it takes a bit of effort and, maybe preparation to carry out activities that may seem normal, or easy to sighted people - or, maybe, it was more like I wanted them to understand that just because someone like me is 100% blind, I am definitely differently-enabled, and not disabled as such.
I had also invited representatives from both Blind SA and "Action for blind and disabled children to have a presence at the event, with the idea also being to promote awareness, and, for them to promote understanding of their efforts within the mainstream public.
However, besides the fund raising related to re-enabling fellow motorcycle riders to be able to ride again, we did also raise some funds for SA Guide Dogs organisation.
In terms of general entertainment, we had our friends from EntertainU running the show as MC's, along with our friend Penguin playing DJ, and, the band, Monkey Finger, playing later on in the evening, and, it was exciting for some - especially the sighted riders who tried riding blind - and, we had good fun, lots of food stalls, lots of time to chat to people, etc., and, we have already started planning the next blind motorcycle riding event, but, give us a bit of time, what with the current state of affairs in the world.
Below is a small video clip showing some of the activities on the day.