Thursday, October 25, 2012

What about other all-terrain chairs?

There are many all-terrain wheelchairs around and they fall into two broad categories - those that are self propelled and those that are not.

A self propelled chair will have at least three wheels and some type of mechanism to enable the rider to work the wheels with more force than a normal  chair. Some are electric and one even has tracks like a tank.

What lies behind all of these solutions is that there are multiple points of contact with the ground and therefore the probability of getting into a jam where one wheel prevents the movement of another. This is the reason that wheelbarrows have one wheel. 

The rider is "independent" - but in name only. They absolutely rely on helpers to get them unjammed.

The TrailRider is unique (as far as I know) in having a single wheeled approach to the jamming problem. The one wheel is almost impossible to jam. The very clear downside is that the rider is quite absolutely dependent on the helpers. No helpers means no riding. But that was really the case with multiple wheels.

There is also a psychological aspect to all this. The TrailRider is terrible if the rider cannot reach the mental place of trusting the sherpas. Even sitting still in one place needs the sherpas to heave the chair onto its kickstand. With multiple wheels the rider is fundamentally stable - the sherpas can wander off at almost any time.

As with most of life it's roundabouts and swings...

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