Posts Tagged ‘wheelchair’

The iBex Saddlechariot: Wheelchair Access with a Pony!

DSCF8784

A Day out with Pony Access

We love  the idea of “Access all Areas” and are thrilled with this new idea for going off road.

There are a few products out there which really change the meaning of accessibility.  We have previously looked at the Mountain Trike and Wheelchair Skiing.  Here we’re looking at the fantastic work of Simon Mulholland, the developer of the iBex Saddlechariot and the Pony Access scheme, which provides, as his Twitter bio attests, ‘Access to ponies, Access with ponies. Disability, ability, who cares, ponies don’t.’

The iBex Saddlechariot is an innovative creation which allows wheelchair users to be pulled along safely by ponies, allowing them access to a wide range of sights and scenes which would previously have been impossible without significant help or at all for some types of wheelchair. The iBex Saddlechariot has been used to take people on trips all over the place, covering rocky terrain, beaches and water.

A Closer Look at the iBex Saddlechariot

A pony pulling a chariot adapted for a wheelchair

Cross Country with a Pony!

The iBex has been designed with safety as its main concern. It is a wheelchair enabled pony-drawn all-terrain vehicle which allows wheelchair users to access the countryside on any path they choose, in a similar way to how a rider of a quad bike could and even in some places where you can’t even reach with a squad.

The design seems so simple but once you look closer there are a range of features which show just how effective the iBex is. The most important is the instant release system which releases the pony and renders the iBex stationary, brakes applied, ensuring the complete safety of the user of the iBex. The instant release system is activated by the simple pull of a rope and it can even be operated remotely, ensuring that carers, guardians or pony handlers can activate the system is the user isn’t able to.

The best thing about the iBex is that is designed for use with wheelchairs. It hasn’t been modified or changed to accommodate wheelchair users, it was always designed with them in mind.

Any Wheelchair, Anywhere!

iBex on the Beach

iBex on the Beach

The iBex is designed to work with absolutely any wheelchair, with both manual chairs and power chairs easily accommodated. Modifications can be made for each chair and a quick look at all the different images that @ponyaccess shares will show you people of all shapes and sizes enjoying the iBex and having a fantastic time.

Much like the universal design of the product, where you can go is also (almost) limitless. Some terrain is obviously dangerous (deep mud, swampland) but beyond that you can enjoy almost anywhere from the comfort of the iBex. Sand, slopes and rocky terrain are no problem and it is possible to enjoy English Heritage sites which have been kept from people using wheelchairs for many years.

As this video shows, plenty of fun and plenty of environments can be enjoyed from the comfort of the iBex.

Pony Access is based in Exeter but they often take treks out to Sussex and Brecon, with other areas a definite possibility – you’d just need to have a chat with them! It’s great to find businesses and individuals who are passionate about inclusivity and accessibility, especially when their attempts to solve the issue are so fun.

#AccessDay Exmouth Beach wheelchair accessible. Over rocks, over shingle and soft sand. Real beach access for anyone. pic.twitter.com/MR4mtLSO4I


Get in contact with Simon at Pony Access, click here.

Mountain Trike Creator Tim Morgan on BBC Dragon’s Den

Tim takes on the Dragons!

Tim Morgan and his invention - The Mountain Trike

Tim Morgan and his invention – The Mountain Trike

Late last week we popped-on our TV with anticipatory excitement to watch the fantastic Tim Morgan brave the Dragon’s Den on BBC Two, in a bid to gain investment towards his innovative Mountain Trike invention.

Although understandably somewhat nervous, Tim did an amazing job of pitching to the Dragons, presenting a solid and informative speech, whilst also coming across as incredibly likeable (which he genuinely is ;-)).

Skip to the end to get Tim’s take on the Dragon’s Den experience and why he’s happy with the result.

Mountain Trike on Dragons Den Video

 

The All Terrain Wheelchair Invention – Mountain Trike

Tim’s Mountain Trike creation is an innovative, UK-patented and designed manual wheelchair that is not only lightweight, and extremely easy to manoeuvre, but also engineered so that it is durable and steady enough to take on the roughest of terrains, making it ideal for travelling over all types of ground.

Image of The Mountain Trike - all terrain manual wheelchair - in black and green.

The Mountain Trike has a sporty and fun design, and allows you to travel across all types of terrain

The Mountain Trike includes a plethora of technical features to ensure the user is comfortable and steady whilst out and about. The wheelchair uses drive levers to propel it forwards, which help to amplify the effort the user puts in, whilst also keeping hands clean – brilliant for muddy woodland and sandy beaches.

The gearing system and large front wheels provide the correct speed and traction for both flat ground and uphill climbs, and allow the user to ride up and over curbs and obstacles with ease.

Comfort was also a important issue when Tim created the Mountain Trike, and he has included a changeable base cushion and moulded back rest into the design, to help ensure a relaxed and secure comfortable position whether you are moving around the home or taking a trip up a steep hillside.

What did the Dragons think?

All of the  much-revered entrepreneurs were highly impressed by Tim’s creation and the delivery of his pitch, however in spite of this Tim didn’t quite manage to win investment as the greedy Dragons wanted much more of the fast growing business than Tim and his partners had agreed to part with. However, we know that Tim has big plans for his outstanding and inclusive Mountain Trike, and wish him every success in taking the wheelchair out a wider audience. The publicity from the show will help wheelchair users across the country know about the off road possibilities that they can enjoy using the trike.

Image of the Kandu Group logo in black and turquoise

Follow Me on Pinterest The Kandu Group is a collective of 8 disability entrepreneurs have come together to help launch and promote disability products and services.

Tim Morgan and the Mountain Trike company are members of the Kandu Group – a selection of disability entrepreneurs who have formed a collective to help launch and promote disability products and services. The Trabasack and Equipped For life team have proudly exhibited the Mountain Trike with Tim and the team on a number of occasions, most recently at the Mobility Roadshow in June, and know that he and his multiple-award-winning invention are due to accomplish further success, whilst also helping to change the lives of those with disabilities on a daily basis.

Why I said No to the Dragons – Tim Talks Back

Since saying no to Deborah Meaden’s offer in the Den Tim has explained exactly why he made that decision. His confidence in his decision probably shocked many viewers but we’re more interested in his decision and why it ended up the way it did.

Tim describes his experience in the den as ‘pretty intense’ to local press but also explained that he felt confident and felt his pitch went well, thanks to positive comments from the Dragons. As is often the way on the popular show the company valuation was the problem.

Tim demonstrating the Mountain Trike

Tim demonstrating the Mountain Trike

Tim’s experience, understanding and supportive team were enough for him to realise the product has serious potential beyond what the Dragons were able to offer – at least in terms of % value for their cash.

Users of the trikes are also play a key role in Tim’s product development. Feedback from a user living with MS has told the Mountain Trike team that the trike has allowed him to return to outdoor life with his sons and the military rehabilitation unit in Headley Court in Surrey also has five trikes to help with rehabilitation. Injured soldiers from many conflicts included Afghanistan have become Mountain Trike customers.

As before we really do wish Mountain Trike and Tim all the possible success and are convinced they’ll continue to go from strength to strength.

Click here to visit the Mountain Trike website.

The Trabasack – your new wheelchair backpack

Wheelchair Backpacks – A Trendy Trabasack

If you’re a wheelchair user, you know how difficult it can be to find a bag which easily stowed and accessible. Wheelchair backpacks have been specifically designed to use with your chair but most of them are boring, bulky and look like they were made in the 1970s. It’s a sad truth but the area of the market which deals with wheelchair accessories is very small and the range of wheelchair backpacks is not very stylish.

Need a Wheelchair Backpacks – try a Trabasack.

Set up the straps as rucksack straps to hang on the back of a chair Follow Me on Pinterest

Trabasack have created a fantastic alternative to standard wheelchair backpacks which are functional and smart enough to win a Style Award. As well as acting as a practical wheelchair backpack in which you can fit in all your essentials, it can also be used an innovative lap tray, for eating, drinking or laptops. There are many occasions where you find you need a surface to write on, hold your drink, or occasions where you cannot find an accessible table or one at the right height to get under.  These are problems that wheelchair users encounter on a daily basis. The Trabasack has a fantastic tray surface which lets you do any of the things you need. Your multifunctional bag can be easily placed on your lap, the soft bean bag cushion makes it comfortable so there is no danger of pressure marks or sores.  You then have a surface right there in front of you, to use for anything you want.

Trabasack lap tray bag – additional features

In addition, the trabasack was designed by a wheelchair user so it has many features that make it easier to use. Such as large ring pull zips, grab handles and a range of straps and D rings to give each person the most flexibility to attach it in the best way for them. The original Trabasack has a tough PVC and easily cleaned surface. With the Trabasack Connect version there is even more functionality. Trabasack have developed a fantastic

wheelchair backpack Follow Me on Pinterest

“Connect” surface which is super soft and uses Velcro technology so you can attach anything you want to your tray! You don’t have to worry about dropping your mp3 player or phone, as by adding a small piece of velcro, they will stay firmly attached to the tray top surface. For an extra splash of colour and style you can also opt for a coloured trim to your Trabasack Curve Connect and finally own a smart and practical wheelchair backpack. There is absolutely no reason why there shouldn’t be a fashionable and functional alternative to the standard bulky wheelchair backpacks and we believe Trabasack is it. The Trabasack is user designed award winning wheelchair accessory.  

Look no further for your Lightwriter Bag

Look no further for your Lightwriter Bag

Looking for the perfect Lightwriter bag? Get one with an extra function: a tray too!

If you’re someone who uses a Lightwriter for communication, I can imagine you find it difficult to use your device when you’re out and about without access to surfaces and tables. It must be extremely frustrating when you have nowhere to place your Lightwriter so you can communicate.

Lightwriters are a fantastic piece of technology which have really revolutionised the way many people with speech loss or lack of speech can communicate. They’ve added an extra degree of independence to many people’s lives but this can be more difficult when out on the move.

Lightwriter tray and bag Follow Me on Pinterest

Take the example of Kati (pictured) who has explained on her own blog that it’s difficult to balance a Lightwriter on your lap when outdoors and use it efficiently but like many others, Kati has taken advantage of the Trabasack lap tray bag and used it as a level surface for her Lightwriter when out and about.

A Trabasack lap tray for your Lightwriter

Trabasacks are ideal for anybody who uses a Lightwriter or any communication device whilst out and about as you can safely secure your Lightwriter to the Trabasack’s handy tray surface and if you don’t want to use either device, you can pack the Lightwriter within the Trabasack.

Your Trabasack is a handy and versatile lap tray bag which can be attached to any wheelchair and comes in a Curve model which is curved to fit the contours of your body rather than being straight and against you and rather uncomfortable!

A Secure and Safe Wheelchair Lap Tray

Lightwriter tray and bag as used by Clare Edwards Follow Me on Pinterest

Obviously a valuable piece of equipment like your Lightwriter needs to be kept safe and you don’t want to risk it falling off or getting broken and there are a number of features of the your Trabasack which can protect it:

  • D Rings: you can safely and securely attach your Lightwriter to the Trabasack D Rings so it completely secured and unable to wobble or fall
  • “Connect” Surface: you could opt to have your Trabasack with the optional “connect” surface which is basically a supersoft tray surface which is designed for the use of Velcro hooks. Although you may not be able to keep your Lightwriter 100% secure, you can certain secure other items such as the remote control or your iPod.

Trabasack means you can take your Lightwriter wherever you go and no need to worry about asking for extra support such as interpreters. You can also keep it safely hidden away when you’re travelling to and from locations inside the Trabasack. Used as a Lightwriter bag so that you have one less thing to carry around with you.

For additional independence and to further your Lightwriter’s functionality, get yourself a Trabasack and talk whenever and wherever you like.

 

Lightwriter is registered trademark owned by Toby Lightwriter Ltd. Trabasack is an authorised supplier of bags to Toby Lightwriter.

Powerchair Pavement Problems

New video Pavement Problems

 

Activist blogger LatentExistence (Steven Sumpter) has made an excellent new film about the problems of travelling in his powerchair. Showing the dangers and difficulties of bad pavements and other road hazards especially on rural routes. The lack of alternatives and accessible transport available.

This page continues from a previous blog post about pavement problems and finding suitable powerchairs.

LatentExistence in a powerchair Follow Me on Pinterest

Badsey to Eversham Follow Me on Pinterest

His journey is from Badsey to Evesham, in rural Worcestershire. As he explains using clever titling in the video, although there are some shops and a post office in the village of Badsey, to access bigger shops, banks, GPs and train services, he needs to travel to Evesham. The bus service is unreliable and not wheelchair accessible. It is not considered a ‘priority route’ by the bus company, First Group.

The journey is about one hour for someone to walk. The other alternative is to use a wheelchair accessible taxi.

The cost for a round trip would be £17! However there is only one in the area and it is difficult to book at convenient times because of school runs. This is a common problem for wheelchair users, certainly it is also the case in our area that all suitable vehicles are blocked booked by Local Authorities using them for pupils travelling to special schools.

Steven uses a powerchair as he has ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis ) also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which among other things causes pain and exhaustion and means that he cannot stay on his feet for long periods.

Problems encountered:

1. The first obstacle is the lack of dropped kerbs on the street where he lives. This means that he has to cross at two driveways where the kerb has been lowered for cars. Here the pavement is broken and although there is some tarmac used to change the level, it is still a high kerb. The video clearly shows how bumpy it is for Steven to get up the kerb even with the special front wheel adaption on his powerchair called ‘Curb Skipper Wheels’.

Trabasack on a powerchair Follow Me on Pinterest

2. The next problem is a long detour because of a lack of dropped kerbs.  Adding to what is already a long journey.

3. A further lack of a ramp or sloped curve a cross a busy junction causes another detour. One of these detours can be seen on the map below.

4. Narrow paths with adverse cambers.

5. Uneven and broken pavement with cars passing very closely past at 60pmh.

6. Sloped that are suddenly steep, leading to tipping back problems.

7. Narrow paths with overgrowing vegetation.

8. Lack of paths with potential for slipping or being trapped in the mud.

9. Crossing the extremely busy and fast moving Eversham bypass.

 

 

The full video can be seen below.

Trabasack as a mounting aid.

Thorough out the film he uses his original Trabasack Curve to hold the camera. The Curve comes with two sets of straps. One pair is shorter ‘side straps’ that can be used to attach the trabasack and hold it on the lap at the armrests of a wheelchair or powerchair. Another way is to use one of the longer straps supplied to attach it around the waist and hold it in position almost like you would wear a bumbag (called a fannypack, belt pack or belt pack in US!). This ensures that it will not fall off your lap over rough terrain.

The beanbag cushioning in the trabasack gives some softening of the bumps and jolts of the journey but you can see from the film how jarring taking this journey would be. I am sure that it leads to aches and pain in the joints and muscles for powerchair users.

Awareness of pavement problems

This video is an important aid to raising awareness for the problems faced by powerchair users caused by lack of suitable pavenment adaptions and poor road surfacing. It also shows how difficult it is for people using wheelchairs who find themselves cut off by poor road and transport links.

Well done to Steven Sumpter for making the time and effort to get this difficult video made. I hope it opens people’s eyes to some of the realities of using a powerchair, wheelchair or scooter.

Wheelchair Dining at Picnic Tables

Summer is here and we are glad to be getting out more. We like to visit National Trust properties and historic houses with attractive gardens. This gives us a chance to relax but also allows our son Victor to have a run around expend some energy.

A common problem that we experience at places like these is getting into a busy restaurant with enough space to move. Often although they are big enough with no one inside them, once it gets busy you have got no chance with a wheelchair and a buggy! Unless you grin and bear it and ask virtually everyone to move, with lots of huffing, puffing, chair scraping with everyone else looking around, apologies and often exaggerated ‘getting out of the way’ manouvres by other well meaning members of the public. To avoid all this and because we try and make the most of the good weather anyway, we will decide to sit outside.

Eating ‘al fresco’ usually means there is lots more space to move around but doesn’t always solve the problem of having an accessible table to eat from. The usual solution in public places is big picnic tables that do not do anything for wheelchair access.

Picnic table Follow Me on Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wheelchair users cannot sit on the bench and people with reduced mobility also struggle to get onto and off of these style of tables. So despite their common use they are far from ideal. The only alternative is to sit at either end of the table. But being there you cannot reach the top of the bench to eat or drink from. This is where the trabasack is again a vital and useful travel accessory. It comes into its own in situation like this. With a trabasack you always have a level surface to eat or drink from wherever you are. In the picture below you can see Clare eating from a picnic bench using her trabasack Mini. She always carries one and so in situations where there are only park benches or picnic tables like the one shown she can still eat from an accessible surface.

Clare with Trabasack Mini at Picnic benc Follow Me on Pinterest

The Mini is lightweight and can easily be brought round to the lap from the back of a chair. It has a small beanbag in pocket on the underside so that it sits comfortably and levels on your lap. The upper tray top is an easy wipe clean PVC so it is hygenic for food use. As can be seen, you can rest plates and bowls onto it to eat from. Being small, black and because it looks like an ordinary bag, it is inconspicuous so you can feel relaxed using it.

 

The Trabasack Mini or Curve can be taken anywhere and give you the opportunity to sit around an inaccessible table and eat with everyone else.

Also the bag space can be used to keep cups, mugs, or anything that makes eating and drinking easier. Clare uses it to hold a china mug with a good handle, a knork and sometimes a straw or two, as well as her phone, purse keys and other items. Trabasack is a unique product being a smart, attractive laptray or wheelchair tray and a bag in one, that makes wheelchair dining at picnic tables easy!

 

Clare with a Trabasack as an accessible picnic tray Follow Me on Pinterest

 

This page first appeared on the trabasack website Wheelchair Dining at Picnic Tables

Another Happy Customer

I was very pleased when my fb friend and twitter follower Mark decided to order a trabasack.

We had a short tweet exchange about which one would suit him best. He did not know from our site whether a Curve would be too big and a Mini too small. Mark uses an HP tablet and wanted to carry it inside his trabasack.

I advised him that the Mini was probably best for him. It is just slightly bigger than an A4 note pad, which is an easy thing to measure against. “I carry my tablet all most everywhere. I am hoping to get a new Android Tab soon so the Trabasack will be handy for that. ” he said.

“plus with the amount of leaflets and stuff you get at places like Naidex and gadget show live it be handy to keep those in as well as somewhere while sitting down to put a drink or dinner on when in my wheelchair.”

@trabasack main places I want to use it is in bed and when i attend conferences for my wheelchair. I need it to keep my phone and laptop in.
@Markinsutton
Markinsutton
@trabasack main places I want to use it is in bed and when i attend conferences for my wheelchair. I need it to keep my phone and laptop in.
@Markinsutton
Markinsutton
Mark also tweeted

@trabasack my spasms are tenst not involuntary but think velcro would be useful as sometimes I hit bumps in road and laptop falls off lap
@Markinsutton
Markinsutton

So we decided on the Mini Connect which has a velcro receptive surface (that is you stick things to it with the ‘hook’, rough velcro tape). Mark has cerebral palsy and thought the velcro would be helpful.

I was delighted that Mark got his Trabasack today. We always try to post 1st class on the day of the order or the following day. Mark tweeted

This week is a week of exciting and wonderful things to be delivered by post. What's going to be laying on door mat today when I get home
@Markinsutton
Markinsutton

Awesome told you all going to have exciting stuff arrive in post this week. My @Trabasack bag arrived today.
@Markinsutton
Markinsutton

@veggyboy yeah m8 there is very few products I get straight out the bag that do just what you want them to do & more thanks @trabasack
@Markinsutton
Markinsutton

and

@savvymum4autism totally agree. I going to dump my wheelchair bag now in favour for my new trabasack it does everything I want
@Markinsutton
Markinsutton

I was thrilled to see how much he liked it and it was nice of Savvymum4autism to join in too

@trabasack @markinsutton @veggyboy sorry for gatecrashing I agree @trabasack are really good and so versatile as well
@savvymum4autism
Wendy Hirst

@Markinsutton thats true and they look so stylish as well . I use mine for a play table for my baby as its nice and light weight
@savvymum4autism
Wendy Hirst
XX

So all in all a big twitterlovefest for trabasack today!

Buy Trabasack on Amazon:
Tweeting about trabasack:

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KanduGroup
A boutique store stocking useful, clever and accessible products and gadgets for everyday use.