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Teens find friendship on tandem bike rides

4:19 PM, Jan 8, 2013   |    comments
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A tandem bike has two wheels and two seats and two people working together to make it go.

Two teenagers developed a friendship based on the trust of riding together.

A bicycle built for two took off with Fausto Crapiz in front (the pilot) and Tate Garcia in back (the stoker).

"Whoa! Now you're smoking!" Tate exclaimed as they zipped down Cherokee Boulevard in West Knoxville.

Fausto said, "He's a very good stoker."

Fausto first rode a single racing bike about a year ago and has already had success at competitions. He said tandem isn't much different.

"From riding a single to riding a tandem you're pulling a lot of weight," Fausto said. "You have turning radius because you're twice as long but actually that's about it."

The 15 year olds met when Fausto asked to volunteer with Club Vibes.

"It's Visually Impaired Blind Enhanced Services and we tandem bike ride but we also teach independent living skills to blind and visually impaired kids that usually are mainstreamed in the Knoxville area," Sue Buckley said.

She explained that Club Vibes pairs people who can see with those who can't for once-a-month bicycle rides.

She usually won't consider anyone under 18 to pilot a tandem.

"Normally I would never have considered someone that young as a volunteer to take the responsibility of being on the front of a tandem. But his experience of cycling is just pretty much amazing," she said. "Of course, I rode with him first. I was the quote guinea pig tandem rider. And I realized that he was ready right then to take the responsibilities to help us out."

Fausto already has a lot of responsibilities. Besides cycling with Club Vibes, Fausto cantors at church, volunteers at the RAM clinic and Dandridge Ministerial Food Pantry, and plays violin.

Tate said, "He's got an interest in music like me. He plays violin. He plays a little bit of piano too."

Tate plays a lot of instruments including baritone, tuba, and trombone. Music is a common interest but what really draws them together is speed.

Fausto said, "Tate like to go fast like I do where otherwise I terrify other people."

"Fausto is like the best! I mean, we're like speeding there and it's like so cool," Tate said. "Lightning speed. So fast. So fast! So fast that the world may never know whose going by."

Tate remembers his first ride with Fausto.

"We were speeding down the road. I was like vrooom. We're like boom! We're going down there," he said.

Fausto may go fast but he knows his limits. No wrecks so far. And he's enjoyed volunteering.

"From the first time I was here I felt welcome," he said.

Tate said, "Club Vibes is the best club. They have the fastest bike riders."

It is the fastest and the friendliest.

"All of the people I've met here are my friends," Fausto said. "Friendship doesn't matter about if you can see or if you can't see, it's the person."

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