Thursday, September 13, 2012


Welcome to the TrailRider Tales blog.

Here you will find news and discussion about the progress of the TrailRider in Australia. So far there are five in Victoria.

Not sure what a TrailRider is? Check out the "Introducing the TrailRider" page here for some background.

Happy TrailRiding!


  1. I have riden the TrailRider many times over the last 3 years here in Canada. It's pretty good but what makes it better, more accessible, and more fun to ride is the sherpas. The one thing though I refuse to be called is "frail" the reason is because although my legs and back may not work as well as most people's I am not broken. I think sometimes the word "frail" prevents caregivers, families, friends, and doctors from letting people with disabilities try new things like riding the trailrider. They are afraid that their client or love one may get hurt. While there is always that risk in any activity. The person with a disability is a person first. They have the right to live, to try new things, and overcome new challenges while having fun with their support workers, family, and friends. The person in the trailrider may not be physically able to operate it, but they are definetly an important part of the team. But they can encourage the sherpas to work together, take a break when needed, and give direction (for example sometimes I would say something like their is a stump up ahead- maybe we should go around it instead of over it. The person in the trailrider can also remind the sherpas to keep their lines of communication with each other open. Often times people with disabilities have gone through hardships that most people can't even fathom how they would deal with it (for example by the time I was 15 years old I had 2 open heart surgeries to fix a congential heart defect. Yet just about a month ago I completed my first solo overseas trip to Australia. All I had was my cane. I don't qualify for any support workers. Yet I was still able to explore many natural areas in Australia- some were accessible like Great Barrier Reef and a few accessible trails in Blue Mountains National Park. It was a challenging and fun educational trip for me. It because of my experience with my fellow sherpa friends in Canada camping in the Canadian Rockies that I did this trip. The experience camping with my volunteer sherpas challenged me to think beyond my comfort zone. I am not frail I am tough. I can handle what life throws at me even in a foreign country. That is the biggest lesson I learned when I was in Australia. No disability or congential defect is going to keep me from experiencing new and challenging things- life is too short to let that happen.

  2. Thanks for this. It is so good to hear from someone that has actually been a rider and can say what really matters when you're out on the trail.

    In particular your reference to communication - amongst the Sherpas and with the rider. Silence is not a good thing on a difficult track.

    I hope you get to see this reply. It won't happen automatically because of your anonymity but it is good that you found the Anonymous option which is too hard to find in my opinion. I am curious how you found your way here.

    Two more thougts
    - Sad your Australia trip didn't bring you to Victoria where the TrailRiders are but if it had the next question would have been 'where do the sherpas come from?' This is where the volunteer Sherpa program may come in though it is hard to see how the reaction time could be fast enough for a traveller.
    - "Frail" is a word I use when I am trying to remind readers that you don't have to be disabled to be a rider. We need a word that conveys 'would this person be able to walk this trail' I'm open to suggestions.


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