In a very interesting initiative that began last January, a group of three non governmental organizations from Mexico City are organizing bike rides for the blind and visually impaired. The rides are guided by volunteers on tandem bikes, and are offered on Sunday mornings, when a few streets in the historical center of the city are closed for pedestrians and human powered vehicles. What does this do for these people? More than you would think.
The idea began in 2008 and materialized in January, when the rides began at Paseo de la Reforma on Sunday mornings.
You would think that a bike ride would be something small for people with visibility problems, but the words chosen by the users to describe the experience in video stories by Bicitekas prove that it can mean so much.
"It's very gratifying to hear the people's comments, the feeling of the wind, the concept of enjoying the city in a different way. We've had people that had been blind only two or three years, and going back into a bike is such a beautiful experience for them: to be able to do something that they did and couldn't do anymore," says Nancy Salcedo, a guide, in one of the videos.
"Feeling free", having a sense of "the environment and the movement of the body," being left "relaxed," feeling like "going back in time to previous periods when there weren't so many cars," and being able to "not be seen as different for a while," are some of the testimonies of the users.
A really lovely idea we'd love to see replicate in different cities. Do you know of any other programs of this type?