Friday, December 20, 2013

Introducing Sam Sullivan

Sam Sullivan in a TrailRider in the snow!
There is a sled device attached to the wheel
Another "introducing" post.

Ros is teaching me that the key to all this online stuff is the connections that get built - hang on, I thought I was the computer nerd?

Sam Sullivan (see Wikipedia) invented the TrailRider and what prompts this post is that he said hello through a comment. Google, mysteriously, led him to a post here - I suspect that he might have been Googling himself ;-) because  it was part of a conversation where I accidentally typed his name instead of someone else at Disability Foundation in Vancouver.

In 1978 Sam had a skiing accident which left him quadriplegic. He worked tirelessly towards better lives for the disabled founding several organisations with a variety of disability focuses, served as Mayor of Vancouver and invented the TrailRider. 

Wikipedia suggests that there are 100 of these in the world - so 10% are in Australia!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Introducing Bushwalking Blog and some thoughts about commenting

Neil Fahey
The Bushwalking Blog - Walking Melbourne and beyond is where Neil Fahey introduces many special hiking spots, primarily in Victoria, but even as far away as Peru. Most posts on the blog are descriptions, delightfully and quirkily written by him, of his time on the trail in question, Understandably though he did not personally write reviews of all 120 walks covered so there are a fair number of Guest Posts.

The latest of these is mine. TrailRiding : hiking for the wheelie introduces the TrailRider to the readership of that blog. Of course they are all uprights but, as the Volunteer Sherpa Program (AKA in my warped mind 1-800-SHERPA) comes to fruition there my well be a lot of conversations between TrailRiding folk and TrailPushing people.

It has been interesting for me to get this involved with a blog other than my own. More or less the first thing I did was look for comments. These are the lifeblood of the blogosphere as they embody the two way conversation between blogger and blogee. Lo and behold! There were, just as here, very few comments. Each comment though was answered by Neil.

So that is my contract to you dear readers. If you comment I will reply. Take the plunge from reading to writing (which, at a certain level, the billion Facebook users have) and tell me, us, what you think. You can choose the Anonymous option for your comment if you are concerned about privacy or else identify yourself according to one of the other options. Go on - I dare you...

As a by the way the latest comment here was from Sam Sullivan who invented the TrailRider. My next post will introduce him to you all.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Great Ocean Walk - more media coverage

Ros and me on top of the
The try-out on the Great Ocean Walk continues to get attention in the media - soon the TrailRider at Apollo Bay will be a reality.

Out in "the bush" where we live there is no ABC digital radio. We have to listen to the cricket! Imagine our surprise when cousin George phoned from Melbourne to say that John Kenwright (Parks Victoria) was being interviewed on nationwide digital radio.

The Warrnambool Standard published a brief article after seeing a Parks Victoria press release and interviewing me on the phone.

I want to thank my intrepid sherpas one more time for taking me, flies aside, to one of the most beautiful places I've been to. Also to Flynn Hart for his 2044 photos.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

International Day for People with Disability 2013

Parks Victorian stand at DSRF
A TrailRider was on the loose in Melbourne city centre!

On December 3rd, in Federation Square the Disability Sport and Recreation Festival (DSRF) was held and Parks Victoria, once again championing Healthy Parks, Healthy People, had a TrailRider on display and being tried out.

Mary Wooldridge and John Kenwright
and the TrailRider

Just as last year in Albert Park the Minister was there this time  MaryWooldridge, Victorian Minister for Community Services.

Little by little more and more people are seeing the TrailRider.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Great Ocean Walk (Roll?)

Wide expanses of ocean - about half
way along the section to Aire River
The 100km long Great Ocean Walk hugs the Victorian south coast between Apollo Bay and the Twelve Apostles. This stunningly beautiful track is a jewel in the crown of Parks Victoria and they are considering basing a TrailRider (9th in Australia) at the Visitor Centre in Apollo Bay so that some of this beauty becomes accessible.

Much of the track is a bit over the top for a TrailRider but the sections from Cape Otway Lighthouse to Castle Cove appeared to Parks to be manageable - but first an evaluation was required.

Is that where they're taking me?
That was where we kicked in. With my birthday in sight, and Parks Victoria helping with accommodation for rider, carer-wife Ros and family and friends sherpas we had a magnificent day evaluating followed by a birthday party. Flynn took 2044 pictures, some of which PV will purchase for their publicity material.

10km and 4 hours later we arrived at Aire River and called the shuttle bus to pick us up. The second longest ride of my life. Thank you to John Kenwright, Joshua Hart and Rodney Brooke.

Bliss! Go Pro video camera atop my helmet
The conclusion? We were accompanied on the track by the contractor whose company "makes" tracks in a number of Parks and we had a critical eye on the condition of the surface (too sandy not good - it was mostly fine), the gradients (too steep not good, again mostly fine) and particularly on "step-elimination" about which I'll say more.

Steps are difficult. For the TrailRider and sherpas they are hard work but for track maintenance they are a nightmare. Materials need to be carried in by hand where there are steps. Adrian is beginning to replace steps with walkways of alternating high and low planks at an equivalent gradient.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Nationwide radio interview

On top of Mount Bishop at Wilsons Prom. One of my favourite
ever TrailRider photos. Beside my darling, Ros and the family
sherpa gang recovering in the background.
Radio National Bush Telegraph did a ten minute feature on the TrailRider on Thursday. Cameron Wilson had a chat with John Kenwright from Parks Victoria and myself in the lead up to the try out session at Apollo Bay this weekend.

John, more than anyone beside me, has made the TrailRider what it is today in Australia and being on the radio with him, and across  the entire country, was a delight. The connection with the ABC was also his doing!

You can listen using this link

The Bush Telegraph story is at this link

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Radio National Bush Telegraph - 11:30 am Thursday 5 December

Castle Cove Lookout - near Aire River, GOW
Tune in to 621 AM in Victoria or on the Internet to hear me interviewed in a feature about TrailRiders in Victoria.

This particular focuses on the up-coming deployment by Parks Victoria of a TrailRider in Apollo Bay for use along the Great Ocean Walk. The GOW tracks 100 km of the coastline that is, more famously, travelled on the Great Ocean Road.

Where the photo was taken
This weekend we will be evaluating the Cape Otway Lighthouse to Johanna Beach sections to see if they are indeed "TrailRidable". 11am at the lighthouse if you're in the area.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Floppy torso

Powell River, BC, Canada. Extra support arrangements
What do you do if you are a rider that does not have enough upper body strength to safely be a passenger? This issue arose recently with some of the Blackwood Special School kids.

The picture shows the solution adopted in Powell River, British Columbia, Canada. Does this fit the bill?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

ABC TV - a permanent link

Just in case this fades from the ABC site here is a permanent link to the Wheel Walk story on ABC Canberra. News24 picked this as one of three Stateline stories from around the nation.

TrailRider in Tidbinbilla.