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  • Barcelona wheelchair road racer

    Mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs have been getting a bit quicker over the years thanks to new technology in both electric motors and the batteries that power them. It seems in this day and age of rushing around everyone wants to get to their next destination quicker, whether it's to work on a commute, the shops or even to the gym. It doesn't seem to matter how you travel whether its by car, bike, or even mobility scooter or electric wheelchair, folk just want to go fast !

    Some models are getting quicker, large scooters are classified as Class 3 products by the Department for Transport and are meant to be limited to 8mph, some powerchairs will do 6mph but the person in this video is clearly doing speeds well in excess of this and is on a busy main road at the time !

    Police in Bareclona are a bit baffled by this display of reckless driving but as they say no offense is being committed by the user of the wheelchair as he swerves in and out of traffic dodging cars on the way. All filmed by a motorbike that follows the speeding wheelchair!

  • Buggys make way for wheelchairs

    The ongoing case about wheelchair users rights on public transport buses has progressed further today. The case is being brought by a man from Wetherby, near Leeds in West Yorkshire. Mr Doug Paulley was denied use of the wheelchair space on a First Group bus because it was already occupied by a young mother with a sleeping baby in a buggy.

    The bus company in the spotlight is FirstGroup, who have a policy of requesting but not requiring able-bodied travelers to vacate the space for wheelchair users.

    The supreme court will soon rule whether wheelchair users get priority over mothers with baby buggies on buses after judges overruled the decision originally stating that it was not discriminatory and so will now go before the most senior judges in the land for a final hearing. The appeal judges rejected Mr Paulley's claim of unlawful discrimination.

    Last year Mr Paulley attempted to board a bus that displayed a sign saying: 'Please give up this space if needed for a wheelchair user.' However, under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people, a judge at Leeds County Court ruled the policy was discriminatory and in breach of a duty .

    If you want a source of reliable information, please visit the Citizens Advice Web site here

  • Tonys campaign for wheelchair friendly toilets earns him an MBE!

    Tony Clough has at last been recognised for his hard work campaigning for the provsion of wheelchair-accessible toilets. Tony who is 38 and lives in Lichfield has campaigned long and hard requesting for Changing Places toilets with space for the user, their carer, a changing bench and a hoist, basically all that is needed to make life compfratble.

    And his reward ? Tony has been appointed an MBE ! Tony is not a wheelchair user, It all started when he reaslised how difficult it was for his mother to meet the needs of his disabled sister who is a wheelchair user and needs to use public conveniences when out and about. Tony's reaction to the MBE was very modest and he said that he felt humbled by the nomination.

    The campaigning went on for many years and he kept his efforts up even while he was being treated for a brain tumour so is clearly one of lifes battlers. He said: "I am just a carer for my sister. I see myself as a normal bloke who just sends a few emails and makes a few calls. "Hopefully, I can use the honour to help raise awareness, open more doors."

    Wheelchair user friendly toilet layout Changing Places wheelchair user friendly toilet

    A fellow campaigner for the same cause Mr Martin Emery said Tony has "been instrumental in the success of campaigns, including my own campaign to get Changing Places at Old Trafford. Tony was the first person to ask Manchester United for these facilities... and a Changing Places facility is now in place at Old Trafford."

    Better toilet facilities for wheelchair users

    In addition to Old Trafford, Tonys work has lead to more than 830 'Changing Places' being opend accross the UK, including the addition of Changing Places facilities at Manchester Airport.

    It's not a lot to ask for to have suitable toileting facilities for a wheelchair user and to see progress like this being made is good news for all of us, let's hope that more of these facilities are rolled out throughout the UK soon.

    Tony is not alone in campaiging for better facilites as many others around the country want to see a batter level of care for those with disablities and or mobility issues. In Hampshire, Sarah Brisdion, who has a five year old son with cerebral palsy, cannot use baby changing facilities as he is too heavy.

    For more info from the Government web site on building regs please see here.

    Frustratingly for all campaigners the Government regulations do not make providing such facilities a legal requirement and, according to charity Changing Places, there are only 750 appropriate toilets in the UK.

    Mike Le-Surf, of Changing Places, has said the problem is so bad that it is stopping some folk  from leaving their own home.  The building regs that were reviewed in 2013 didnt include adult changing tables but did include wide wheelchair freindly doorways.

  • Roma wheelchairs survive Invictus Games

    Prince Harry's Invictus Games prove to be a big success for all involved including wheelchair manufacturer Roma who are based in Bridgend in Wales.

    A total of 44 Roma wheelchairs were used during basketball and rugby matches at Prince Harry's Invictus Games and were surely tested to their limit surviving the most brutal of crashes and colisions.

    Innovative Roma Wheelchairs made in Wales

    Roma have been making wheelchairs for many many years and are one of the few manufacturers left in the UK. Their innovative design team have built a number of specialist sports wheelchairs at the request of the games' officials. Basketball and rugby demand models that will withstand the harshest of use so the team put their heads fown and came up with these models in the 6 week timeframe as requested.

    Once built the games commenced and the technicians who designed and built the chairs travvelled across the atlantic to be pitchside during the games in case of any technical emergencies.

    Orlando hosted the first Invictus Games which is an international sporting event, dreamed up by Prince Harry, for wounded, injured or sick servicemen and women. For manufacturer Roma it was an exciting opportunity to create brand new sports wheelchairs knowing that they will ehlp the games and its competitors.

    Simon Dalton, managing director of Roma Sport, said: “We were at the side of the pitch all the time.Due to the nature of the game we had to be ready to run onto the pitch if any tyres got punctured, for example.We also had to make sure the athletes were in the right chair for them".

    “Some had a spinal injury and so we had to put in extra strapping. “We made sure they were all comfortable with their chairs and given the right ones for them.”

    Like the BMW designed wheelchair, Roma too have the technology for making body wrapping seats however the wheelchairs for the Invicta games were to be used by a number of different athletes preventing the use of bespoke seats. They have worked with many different materials, all loightweight and strong, including titanium, aluminium, and testing the possible use of magnesium - the ultimate lightweight metal.

    Roma sports wheelchairs for basket ball and Rugby

    Simon added: “The rugby wheelchairs had to be very robust because they take such a hammering. They are involved in crashes and collisions which is all part of the game.

    “As basketball is more of a non-contact sport the chair needs more agility and has to have a lighter frame.We didn’t have to do any repairs to our chairs during the matches.“When you see some of the hits and crashes you wonder what will happen but we were very pleased with the chairs and they stood up to the job".

    “The games are so inspiring to see and it’s great that they have this opportunity.“We feel honoured to have been asked to be part of this and being there was a fantastic experience.”

    We're proud to supply Roma chairs and even better that they are made within the UK! See our Roma wheelchair range here

     

  • So you want a fast wheelchair right ?

    You may remember that in 2014 BMW released some images and information on its newly designed racing wheelchair, well now in preparation for this year's Paralympic games that takes place from 7 August to 18 September in Rio de Janeiro.

    So the giant car brand has invested much time and money to improve on the original design and has worked closely with the US Paralympic team to create a racing wheelchair that they reckon is both faster and more comfortable than the previous model. The speed increase seems to be as a result of a reduction in drag of about 15% but its hard to see how they did this as it looks very very similar to the last wheelchair they built. However fine detail reveals the use of carbon fibre in the frame and a slight change in the wheelchair frame angles.

    The BMW design team started frok the basic by scanning an athlete whilst sitting in the chair and then made a replica model that could be used for testing andf ultimately for the redesign of the wheelchair. From there, they developed a computerised model that could simulate changes in actual aerodynamics, from this they learned that approximately 50% of the aerodynamics actually comes from the athlete's body, which could ultimately be modified by addressing the clothing and headgear.

    Take a look at the BMW Racing Wheelchair for Rio 2016 Paralympics

    The carbon fibre used in the wheelchair frame has lead to a stiffer platform that is more responsive and helps to keep the wheels straight, which avoids the dreaded encounters that occur when you get a wobble on! Further improvements were made to the wheelchair seat design and each athlete has a bespoke form fitting seat to fit their posterior.

    Finally gloves are being custom made for each athlete and there is talk scans of each users hands being used to create 3d printed inserts that will fith the wheelchair users hands and rims perfectly.

    These changes were summed up by BMW associate director as:

    "There's an interesting psychology to all of this," he said. "The comfort of your equipment, the repeatability – when you have that mould, you know how it’s going to feel every time. That's one less thing for them to think about."

    If you are interested in raching wheelchair see more here on the Mistral racing wheelchairs

  • Holiday season is coming how about a wheelchair friendly cruise

    We soon to be entering holiday season where all of us fancy the idea of getting away from it all and having a holiday elsewhere. Cruises are more popular than ever and we've been finding out what considerations there are when thinking of a cruise with your wheelchair.

    Cruising is probably the best way to travel if you are in no rush, you get to see a bunch of different places in a short time. You can check places out and decide where you might want to go back to for a follow-up holiday.

    So many cruise liners state that they are wheelchair accessible but its always worth checking by speaking with the ship operators and check the obvious things like doorway widths and if you use a heavy duty wheelchair or a bariatric model you need to ensure you are catered for. Next up is the shower and is it a rool in shower. Its worth asking for pictures of the room if there is any doubt, so you can understand what the space is going to be like. Bed height is another important consideration to see how the transfer from the wheelchair is going to work out. Once you are happy that your living quarters are suitable you can begin to assess the ship and check that all decks are accessible.

    Once this is covered its worth a look at the destinations and how accessible they are and whether there are wheelchair friendly facilities to make sure you can relax and have a good time. Then, does the ship dock at the ports or does it anchor offshore and then provide tenders to get ashore. If so , you will want to check that these boats also cater for you and your wheelchair. See what the sand is like on the beaches to check whether your wheelchair is going to cope. Some sand is far firmer than other making it easier to move along.

    Anywhere in the Caribbean is generally pretty good, although it can vary, with western Caribbean, most ports can allow the ship to dock making life easier. The eastern Caribbean is less accessible with many ports reached by tender. The Bahamas are really great, the Mediterranean can be a bit challenging, as far as ports so make sure you make specific enquiries. Some ports cater for disability well providing wheelchair rental and electric wheelchairs and scooters can be hired for a single day or up to a week.

    On board the ship its worth seeing what is on offer for entertainment and that there are secluded areas where you can rest and have some peace and quiet, again check that these are fully wheelchair friendly. Think hard about what you really out of the holiday. Do you simply want to drink, eat and lounge the whole time and then go to the shows ? if you really couldn’t care less about getting off the boat then a cruise could be a very nice holiday and exactly what you need to really wind down and fully relax.

  • Young, Inspired and Unstoppable

    Yasmin Somers was inspired to take up wheelchair racing having watched much of the 2012 London paralympics. Yasmin has now represented England at the Cerebral Palsy World Championships.

    "I don't really know where I'd be without it," she says.

    See the video below to see what its all about !

    If you are interested in getting in to disability sport please view this Disability Sport

  • Paralympian becomes the first man to break three-minute mile

    David Weir has recently beaten his personal best record for traveling a mile in his wheelchair. David, a winner of 6 Paralympic gold medals, recorded a time of two minutes and 57 seconds in London, beating his previous best by six seconds !

    "I've always said I could do it," said Weir, who has also won six World Championship gold medals in his career. I wanted to prove a point I was still up there with the best in the world."

    He won immediate respect from the man himself, Sir Roger Bannister, who ran the first sub-four-minute mile in 1954, congratulated Weir.

    "I know that Dave's been on the edge of the three-minute mile for a while, so I send him all my congratulations for his huge achievement," the 87-year-old said.

    Unless you actually see this amazing feat it is difficult to appreciate just how fast this is. With a wheelchair designed for speed David flew across the finish line with a very pleased look indeed.

  • Wheelchair user banned from his school

    Louis, a lad from Somerset has been told to miss school as he cannot use his electric wheelchair on the premises.

    Louis who lives in Street has Hyper mobility Syndrome ( HMS) which causes him to feel fatigued much of every day, it also leaves him prone to broken bones and occasional dislocations.

    He has been using his electric wheelchair to get about the school since PAril this year but is now being told that he cannot continue unless he provides a report from the occupational therapist stating that the wheelchair is absolutely needed. In the meanwhile he is being taught at home by his mother Grace.

    His mum Grace said: "HMS is a genetic disorder that runs in my family, I have it as does my other nine year old child, it's a disability that isn't visible but is extremely painful and makes us prone to extreme fatigue"

    "For the past three years he's been home schooled but he desperately wanted to go to secondary school. We spoke and had numerous meetings with the Blue School and they were positive they could support him

    "I even asked if we should wait until September as by then we should hopefully have an occupational therapist (OT) report but they saidApril would be fine. I've now had to de-register Louis from school as we've been told by staff that without the OT report he can't have the wheel chair at school, but without the chair he can't cope

    "We feel extremely let down as we had virtually every agency involved in the process of getting him back to school and it could have been brilliant for him, instead I'm going to have to have him tutored at home

    "That seems to be the only way his disability won't affect his education."

    Lets hope that Louis is able to get further assessmnet and receives the right advise about his use of the electric wheelchair at school. We wish him well.

    See our range of electric wheelchairs here

     

  • Off to the circus ?

    Coming to Ipswich on June 25th is the Nitro Circus, a circus with a difference hence the name. Our interest is with Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham who continues to do some fairly amazing stunts in his wheelchair !

    Having spent his life in a wheelchair since the age of just 7 hasn't stopped Aaron from doing much. This all started when his big brother encouraged him to drop into a quarter pipe ramp at his local skate park when he was just 8 years old. Since then his stunts have become more complex , more dangerous and more bizarre.

    Using a tailor made wheelchair, Aaron is able to complete maneuvers including jumps, somersaults, loop the loops and more. He comments “For me, the wheelchair was never something that held me back. It was always a positive. I never really thought I can’t do something, I just had to do it a little different and find a way to make things work for me,”

    Taking influence for his stunts from bmx tricks and skateboard tricks he has achieved some fantastic results in his wheelchair. “Being in a wheelchair, people always have this stereotype (in their minds) and try to set limits but it’s important to not let any of that hold you up or slow you down; keep moving towards your goals.” he says.

    So how did he progress to the circus ? aged 18 he received an email from the circus manager asking him if he wanted to try their big ramp in his wheelchair ! “Before even thinking about how big that ramp was going to be I said ‘yeah’,” laughs Wheelz, the only person in the world to hit Nitro’s famous Giganta Ramp in a wheelchair. “I just went out and survived, so they were like ‘okay, you’re on the tour after just one jump’. That was awesome.” He has never looked back since.

    In 2006 he achieved the world’s first back flip in a wheelchair. 4 years later he amazed the crowds in Woodward by doing the first double back flip. Invited to join Nitro Circus, he soon became a crowd favorite. In 2011, during their first tour of New Zealand, Wheelz landed the world’s first wheelchair frontflip in front of 17,500 screaming fans in Wellington.

    “It’s pretty cool. It’s a good feeling to have some records I can look back at and think ‘oh wow. I’ve been able to accomplish all this’. It’s awesome,” he says, adding he couldn’t do what he does without Mike Box of Box Wheelchairs, who’s been building chairs for him since he was nine; describing him as pretty much like a second dad.

    We don't recommend that you try any stunts in your wheelchair however if you are looking for a model that is sporty and more maneuverable than most why not consider the Quickie Argon2 Self Propelled Wheelchair from Sunrise Medical.

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