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Welcome to UK Wheelchairs - the home of value and quality

Wheelchair News

  • 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.

  • All aboard in your wheelchair

    If you are planning a trip to Scotland this summer and want to get out on the water, there are fun trips to be had on the wheelchair-friendly boats sailing on River Dee !

    The Quay Watermen’s Association’s ambitious plans to transform Connah’s Quay Docks into a popular attraction saw the launch of two wheelchair-accessible boats at the weekend which went very well.

    The river has a rich history and the plan is to make all of this available in the form of a boat tour. The boats, designed by the Wheeleyboat Trust are providing mobility impaired people with access to waterborne activities.

    Locals who attended the launch at the week end had this to say

    "We were very pleased to have people in wheelchairs who normally don’t have a chance to get in the river and they were so excited.

    “I also think the knock on effect for the local economy and for the image of Connah’s Quay is going to be positive.”

    Honouring the area’s maritime heritage, the boats have been named ‘Kathleen’ and ‘May’ after the three-masted topsail schooner built in Connah’s Quay.

  • Whelchair parks are to be installed at major hospitals

    Starting with the Royal Stoke University hospital in Staffordshire, there is a plan to build wheelchair parks designed to help disabled patients come and go.

    With a concept similar to using a shopping trolley at a supermarket, wheelchairs will be made available to visitors where they will deposit a sum when they collect the chair and then have it refunded when they return.

    There are plans to roll this idea out to other NHS hospitals should the pilot scheme prove successful.

    It seems like a good idea and will suit those who have a very temporary need for a chair during their visit.

    If you have the need for a wheelchair for just a few weeks then you could consider buying one of our budget models such as the budget Esteem model

    or if you prefer a transit why not consider this model.

    Alternatively we offer a national hire service which can be ordered here

  • Strictly Wheelchair Dancing comes to Manchester

    The Manchester Grand Prix, which was first held in 2011, is now in its 6th year and is the largest International Wheelchair Dancesport Competition held in the UK. It has welcomed competitors from over 11 European countries and from all over the United Kingdom over the last five years and is open to the world.

    Don't forget this in on Sunday 3rd July 2016 and more details can be found here Strictly Wheelchair Dancing

  • We lose the wheelchair curling

    Having read about the local wheelchair curling teams in Northern Ireland i have been following the Paralympian team with great interest and was sorry to see they lost 6-3 to Canad at Sochi last week.

    The team started very strongly against the current Paralympic champions and were 2 - 0 up at one point but in a match full of faults the Canadians pulled a clear win in the second half.

    Britain's curling team next games in the round-robin stage of the tournament come against Sweden and South Korea on Sunday so i'll be cheering all the way. The thought of wheelchairs on ice presents a concern to me but the team seems to be coping nicely and the team dynamics are building all the way. Good luck !

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