Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guest Post from Dreamfit

An unlikely-looking wheelchair
A big Hello from the Dreamfit Foundation Team!

We are a unique not-for-profit organisation that is making dreams possible for people with disabilities through innovative equipment solutions. Here at the Dreamfit Foundation, we believe that having a life is more than just living. We don’t just do the usual ramps and rails. We come up with out of the box equipment solutions so that people can live exciting, fulfilling and meaningful lives.

This is how we make dreams possible: People with disabilities approach us with a particular dream in mind. Our Team will then find an off the shelf solution, modify an existing solution, or come up with our own solution. 

We also have a continuously expanding Equipment Library to support people with disabilities to participate in new activities and recreational pursuits. Our fleet of equipment includes equipment such as the Trailrider, beach wheelchairs, paddle boats, bicycles and much, much more.

We currently have a wait list for our dream projects as so many people with disabilities have approached us. As such, we are on the search for new sponsors so that we can keep up with the demand in Western Australia! If you think you can help us out, please shoot Sarah an email at

At the center of this amazing organization is our team. We are a mix of Engineers, Occupational Therapists and skilled Technicians. We're all a bit different and we have our own individual quirks that makes us who we are.   

We would like to say HI from the Dream Team!

Check out our Youtube video channel to see what we get up to.

Like our Facebook page 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sponsored roll - Introducing Powell River Mobile Opportunity Society (PRMOS)

Looking very Canadian
Dorothy raising money
to fight ALS
PRMOS are my best followers. They comment on almost every post and they send me stuff which has led to this post but first a brief aside on their name. Powell River is a beautiful settlement in the interior of British Columbia, Canada and MOS  are the same last three letters - Mobile Opportunity Society as BCMOS the inventors and manufacturers of the TrailRider.

They told me about their part in the Canada-wide sponsored walk to raise money to tackle ALS (AKA Motor Neurone Disease) Their participant was in a TrailRider, hence the "sponsored roll" which you can see a little of in this video

The thought for me is of how great it is to see the TrailRider being used this way. Here, in Australia we've seen Oxfam Trailwalker, the Upstream race and Run for Ross. Sponsored rolls raise public awareness of the TrailRider and allow a vital participation of non-walkers in this world of fund-raising.

They'd love it if you Liked their page

Friday, April 18, 2014

Happy Easter

Good Friday feels like a good day for some reflection. Shown below are contact details for the eleven TrailRiders in Australia lifted from the Directory page. I've recently been checking all these details to see if it easy to arrange to borrow a TrailRider when you contact them and it is something of a moving feast as staff move on and training happens. I urge anyone having trouble to email me.

This list warms me - it says that the TrailRider is well-established in Australia and in not so many years. The things that really warm me are things that happen with little or no effort from me - the Oxfam Trailwalker and the Perth chair are the ones that come to mind.

I have been fiddling around a little with the blog. You may notice it looks different. You may even have been unlucky enough to catch it part way through when stuff did not work. I have also learnt how to make Facebook Like buttons. You can  now Like the TrailRider Tales Facebook page right from here and if I ever mention someone with a Facebook page I can drop in a Like button. Facies take note.


Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve Visitor Centre, nr Canberra

  • Phone: 02 6205 1233
  • Email:


Cape Conran Coastal Park Cabins and Camping

  • Phone: 03  5154 8438
  • Email:

Bacchus Marsh - Lerderberg Library

  • Phone: 03 5366 7100
  • Email:

Ballarat Visitor Centre

  • Phone: 1 800 44 66 33 
  • Email:

Daylesford Visitor Centre

  • Phone: 03 5321 6100  
  • Email:

Grampians National Park 

  • Phone: 03 5361 4008 (Sherpa network available - two weeks notice needed)

Lysterfield Lake, Trailmix Bike Cafe

  • Phone: 03 8790 4402 
  • Email:

Mount Beauty Visitor Centre

  • Phone: 1800 111 885
  • Email:

Torquay Sport & Recreation Centre

  • Phone: 03 5261 4606 Fax: 03 5261 4756     
  • Email:

Wilsons Promontory National Park Information Centre

  • Phone: 03 5680 9555

Western Australia

Dreamfit Foundation

  • Email:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Introducing Dreamfit

Part of the Dreamfit Library of specialised disabled recreation
equipment - note the TrailRider in the top row
In my last post I wrote about Nicki who ended up being able to hike with her son thanks to Dreamfit. I can't really do justice to Dreamfit who have a story that is best told by them - in the imminent guest post

Dreamfit is unique to Perth - an organisation whose mandate is to purchase, and then make available to users, an extensive and exotic range of specialised disability equipment. The main focus is on mobility in recreation but the remit is as wide as disability is wide - take a look at Nathan's Camera System for example. 
Nathan using his Dreamfit-designed
iPad-controlled camera
The picture shows the camera in action.

What would we give for something like this to be available in every capital city?

If you're a Facie I encourage you to like their page

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gone West - 11th Australian TrailRider now in Perth

Nicki and family on the Meelup Trail
Nicki Netherway and her husband have three children and love bushwalking. Their son Jeremy though is quite profoundly disabled. Their family bushwalking days appeared to be over.

However she found out about the TrailRider, talked to John Kenwright and then persuaded the Dreamfit Foundation to buy one and add it to their amazing collection of equipment. Much more about Dreamfit in some upcoming posts.

Their first TR expedition was the 7km, Dunsborough to Eagle Bay, Meelup walking trail. Jeremy has almost no head control so you will see the foam supports that they constructed.

TrailRider doubles as a beach wheelchair
They found the TrailRider easy to use, a little large for a small passenger but the child insert was accommodating. Surprisingly it went well on the beach.

My hat goes off to Nicki for making this happen and to Dreamfit (more to follow) for their part in it. This is the first "private" (not Parks or Shire) TrailRider in Australia.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

SVP (Sherpa Volunteer Program) - the first training session

On Fyans Loop - seven of the green-shirted trainee sherpas
and Ros in a TrailRider for the first time ever
Yesterday, at Brambuk in the Grampians, saw the first try out of the sherpa training framework that John Kenwright has put together. 

There were 17 people in the room when John handed out the folders and the special green T shirts and hats and spoke about the responsibilities of a Parks Victoria volunteer. I am not quite clear how many became registered volunteers - six were from the community, one even from Melbourne, but quite a number of Parks Rangers were also learning to sherpa.

The vital centre of the session was the practical try out.There were two TrailRiders - the Grampians chair and the one we brought from Ballarat - and two very experienced sherpas - John Kenwright and Rodney Brooke.This meant that all the trainees got some close and expert practical education as we did the short version of the Fyans Trail loop.

For me the highlight was Ros' first ever time as a rider! We can't believe that neither of us has thought of this before but I imagine that having two chairs and such a fantastic sherpa team has something to do with it! Check her out in this short video

I want to introduce you to the Graduates but that will be a second post. In the meantime the important thing to say is that there will be a second session in the September time frame and that Katherine Dyson is co-ordinating the register of sherpas.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Wilderness walks" - MS In Touch magazine

Four times a year the print edition of the MS In Touch magazine arrives. Imagine our pleasure to find Page 37 of the Autumn 2014 edition included the article I wrote some months ago. How long ago? Well when I wrote there were 8 TrailRiders in Australia - now there are 10. Read on below the picture....

Page 37 of the latest In Touch issue
Single-click to view full size and read

I have MS - that is why I am a wheelie. That is why Ros and I came upon the TrailRider in Vancouver in 2009 and that is why In Touch is an important point of contact for me. People with MS (PWMS) are high up the list of potential riders. The onset is in adulthood (age 45 for me) so there are years before sickness to get the bush bug. Being out and about, perhaps even chemically, combats depression which can be a major symptom.

Last but not least the magazine covers Victoria, ACT and NSW. NSW has yet to get the message.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ballarat - around the Lake

The motley crew - David Ages, Virginia Monk, me and
Rodney Brooke - Australia's sherpa king
I taught in Ballarat for 13 years yet yesterday was my first circumlocution of Lake Wendouree, the iconic centre piece of Ballarat. We were the first to take the two-week-old TrailRider at the Visitor Centre out for a spin. The chair is now sitting in the back of the Caddy waiting to accompany us to Halls Gap at the weekend for the launch of the Sherpa Volunteer Program and even for a quick spin around Newstead.

Rodney Brooke, the most experienced sherpa in Australia, guided Virginia and David, Vancouver friends, through the gentle art of being a sherpa and between the three of them they guided me for 6km around the Lake. There is some kind of full circle in Vancouver folk being introduced to the TraillRider down under.

Lake Wedouree was the site of the 1956 Olympic's rowing events
Some thoughts:

  • The new TrailRider was packed away in a storeroom at the Visitor Centre but as soon as space is cleared it is going to become the good-looking centre piece that only a TrailRider can be.
  • Although the track around the Lake is smooth and level, it would have been a big ask for two, inexperienced, sherpas. This is a point to note for future, volunteer sherpas.
  • Assuming that the Sherpa Volunteer Program (SVP) launch at the Grampians (5 already enrolled) is a success Ballarat is looking to me like a good location for the second session. There is an exciting and strong focus on special schools and disabled kids in the Ballarat venture.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A little whisper...

A magnificent photo taken in Nepal that has absolutely nothing
to do with this post - see text
My latest email from Cradle Mountain was asking for the name of the supplier in Melbourne. They are going ahead and ordering one with the primary aim of rescuing the "lightly wounded" from the tracks in the vicinity.

More severely injured hikers - ones that have to be prone as they are brought out - will still require the traditional approach, unless or until a new design comes to include the necessary adjustments. See the comment stream in the previous post for more about this.

Rangers at Cradle Mountain are assessing tracks to see which are suited, in between rescues, for disabled visitors and their sherpas.

I wanted a picture for this post, showing a rescue being undertaken with a TrailRider. I had heard at some point that this use was now common around Vancouver. Try as I might I could not find one - maybe a reader can help? I've borrowed a picture from the British Columbia Mobile Opportunity Society's Facebook page that is simply the most amazing TrailRider photo I've ever seen. If you're a Facie I encourage you to like their page.

Watch this space for the announcement of the Tasmanian launch.