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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Monthly Archives: June 2017

  • Check out the Freewheel

    Over the years we have seen many variations of the standard wheelchair where people have decided that they want or need something a little different for their mobility needs. These modified wheelchair have taken many forms and have generally been designed to cater for some specific requirement the wheelchair user might have. Others have been modified for the sake of it and simply to make a wheelchair that is a little different and that maybe expresses something about the user, a bit like the concept behind Izzy Wheels - wheelchair accessories.

    So it was with curiosity that we read last week about the Irish company who have recently been granted the exclusive distributorship for the 'FREEWHEEL' which is an attachment that converts a regular model in to an all terrain wheelchair allowing users to travel over rough terrain in relative safety.

    The Freewheel is an American invention that is being sold already in many other countries around the world. It is essentially a clamp-on third wheel that fits on to the foot plate of a rigid framed wheelchair and extends the wheelbase allowing it to cope with surfaces that would normally cause a problem to the user.

    Intended for self propelled wheelchairs, the Freewheel takes only a few seconds to fit and can be carried on board with ease when it is not required, allowing the wheelchair user to fit it as and when it is needed. It is claimed that rough tracks, lawns and plenty of other surfaces can be tackled with ease with the addition of this easy to fit wheelchair accessory. In addition to the rough surfaces it allows, the FreeWheel also makes curb climbing easier as its wheel has a far larger diameter than is found on self propelled models.

    When you buy the FreeWheel a kit is provided to allow you to customise the fitting clamp to marry up to your wheelchair. This ensures that is fits virtually all manual, rigid frame wheelchair footrests. It works so well by extending out of the front of the wheelchair by about 2 feet. This effectively lengthens the wheelbase which also spreads the load over an additional 5th wheel.

    Weighing in at only 5 lbs, the FreeWheel is lightweight and compact and yet transforms an ordinary wheelchair in to an all terrain model in seconds. Its oversized 'front' wheel pivots on its own swivel fork which allows you to steer your manual wheelchair as normal using the rear wheel hand rims. We will be looking in to this smart wheelchair accessory with interest to see if it takes off in Ireland.

  • Check out my wheels !

    Hats of to Izzy who is bravely going where no wheelchair user has ever been before ! Isabel Keane is the Brand Ambassador of an Irish company that sell custom wheelchair spoke guards that started only 9 months ago in September 2016. The company 'Izzy Wheels' has already sold hundreds of sets of wheelchair spoke guards in both the UK but also Worldwide.

    The easy to fit spoke guards are designed to be fitted to self propelled wheelchairs and span the entire wheel within the rim. The designs are many and varied and this is the attraction as wheelchairs are seen as medical devices and rarely are they made to look like anything else. Created by independent designers and illustrators these spoke guards turn a regular manual wheelchair into a fashion statement and offer a form of self-expression to the user.

    Wheelchairs do become part on the users identity - like it or not and this includes visually, practically on a day to day basis and psychologically. So being able to radically change the look of the wheelchair with ease and create a look and feel that you are content with is an amazing thing to do and totally transforms the meaning of that wheelchair to the user, plus the impression it has on everyone who sees it.

    All too often, because the wheelchair is marketed as a medical device they seem to bring negative connotations both to the user but also anyone who sees it and yet at core it is a source of liberation and freedom although to many the wheelchair is rarely seen as a symbol of independence. So for anyone to challenge this is a fantastic idea and provides an outlet for wheelchair users to express themselves and move away from the 'unfortunate wheelchair user' image that is so often felt. Even the notion that a wheelchair can be made to look fashionable is a nice change to the norm.

    “Izzy Wheels are so important to me because they draw such positive attention to myself and my wheelchair,” says Isabel Keane, Izzy Wheels’ Brand Ambassador. “I am no longer seen as ‘the poor unfortunate girl in a wheelchair’ by passers-by. I am now seen as a stylish person with cool wheels. They really reflect the relationship I have with my wheelchair… Wheelchairs help, they do not hinder a person and now they do not hinder a person’s fashion choices”.

    Although decorating wheelchair wheels is not entirely a new concept, Izzy Wheels are insistent on making this wheelchair transformation an affordable personal customisation. Other companies have sold plastic discs that clip on to the rear wheels but the designs have primarily targeted young children and the choice has been very limited. However this has changed and now the spoke guards from izzy Wheels start at just 99 Euros and are easier to fit to your wheelchair by the use of velcro straps making them easily interchangeable. This means that your wheelchair can have a quite different look from day to day and it can be 'dressed' to suit your attire and the occasion.

    Creative Director Ailbhe Keane states the obvious when she says that wheelchairs have looked the same forever “People have negative connotations with wheelchairs and associate them with sick or elderly people. A wheelchair can cost up to €10,000 and none of this goes towards the appearance of your chair. We want to give one of the world’s most underserved community of people the freedom to express themselves… Self expression is a right”.

    “Since launching, we realised the demand for personalization,” says the startup’s Creative Director. “We are currently working on a digital platform for Izzy Wheels called ‘Be-spoked’. This platform will give users the ability to build their own designs from a wide range of prints, colours, text and elements. We hope to launch this platform in the next few months”.

    We wish the team at Izzy Wheels all the best with this venture and more so we hope that wheelchair users of all ages recognise this affordable opportunity to pimp their ride and jazz up their wheelchair to reflect their style. Dont forget to find some inspiration for your wheelchair here.

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