Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Would you feel safe?

Although this blog is about TrailRiders I keep an eye on the general wheelchair and disability area for things that might be of interest.

Four Segways head down the track

So the topic of this post could best be described as wheelchairs that lead on from the Segway. The Segway is an astonishing pogo-stick like device that an upright can stand on and ride down the road steering, braking and accelerating by leaning in the appropriate direction.

The genius is in the control mechanisms that keep the device upright by constant small exertions of the motors and also detect leaning and adjust the motors to comply.

In the wheelchair domain I have now seen this extended in two different directions. Neither of these two are available to buy right now but that's another story.

The first one, historically, is the iBOT. When it was possible to buy these the $40,000 price tag indicated that this was a serious and significant contribution to the power wheelchair market. By using Segway-style technology this chair can climb stairs, raise to normal upright eye height as well as proceed normally.

When standing up the iBOT maintains its posture in the same way that the Segway does and actually cannot be pushed over.

At the Congress in Sydney we had the good fortune to meet Max Burt who owns two iBOTS and as the video shows Ros was invited to try very hard to push him over
Kevin Halsall shows off the Ogo
Just recently I was made aware of the Ogo. This was invented in New Zealand and adapts Segway technology to make a hands free wheelchair that responds to leanings in just the way a Segway does.

We see here the prototype with work underway to bring this novel device to market.

I must confess (hence the title of this post) that this scares me. I often shift my posture while riding in my power chair and the thought that this might steer me into the road....

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Beat this!

Volunteers from Iadaho Trinity Lutheran Church youth camp out beside
the sea with five TrailRiders
I see many photographs of people out on TrailRiders and the more chairs in the picture the higher my regard. Imagine my delight at this picture from BCMOS (British Columbia Mobile Opportunity Society) with five TrailRiders in it.

BCMOS are, in a very real sense, the home of the TrailRider. It was from them that my first ever TrailRider was hired and all summer long their volunteer sherpas take people from the region out into the beautiful mountains of the Lower Mainland. At the same time there is next to no involvement of BC Parks.

In Australia we struggle still with the volunteer programs but Parks Victoria are right there. Which is better?

Like the BCMOS Facebook Page
Like the Parks Victoria Facebook Page

Friday, July 3, 2015


Princes Rock
One of the best parts, for me, of this all is the people around the country that I am getting to know online and sometimes to meet in person. 

I had exchanged a lot of emails with Christina Bullivant from New South Wales Parks as she made it all happen up there and at the Congress was lucky enough to actually meet her briefly. So this week I sent her one of "What's Cooking?" emails.

As you might remember there are three TrailRiders in New South Wales and recently she combined staff training in Kamay-Botany Bay National Park with meeting a user of the TrailRider there who had been a keen bush walker until chronic fatigue halted her. She was in tears at being out there again after such a long time.,.

Next stop was the Blue Mountains to assess some tracks there and the photos are from there.

Looks like a great spot to be TrailRiding!