Today was a first time that I have ever experienced using an all-terrain manual wheelchair. The Mountain Trike is a self-propelled wheelchair, which uses a lever system to turn the gears and push the chair forward. I was nervous that I would not have enough upper body strength to sustain the push/pull action but I was surprised how easy it was to operate. Travel over ground was slow with me being new to using the Mountain Trike, but I was amazed at the terrain the chair did cover and how sturdy it was.
We were out exploring the area around Bulkeley Woods, which forms part of the Sandstone Trail in Cheshire. I was surprised how steep the path became in the woods. Naturally I thought the only place with contour lines and steep inclines was the Yorkshire Dales. Or maybe even the Lake District. But no, Cheshire has them as well! Not knowing the capabilities of either the Mountain Trike or myself, I was pleased to be able to access areas in the wood without having to strain too much at all. There were times Andy had to pick up the slack and give a helping hand, but hey, that’s what accessible days in the countryside are all about. Even with a powered ATW there have been times when a little shove has been needed.
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But the Mountain Trike offers a totally different experience to a powered ATW. I really felt today that as well as being able to access the countryside I have also been able to get some valuable exercise…something that is lacking in my imposed sedimentary life style. I did get tired, I’m not too proud to admit that, but when my arms needed a rest, the handles on the back of the chair allowed Andy to give me a push. He too was impressed how light the Mountain Trike was to push… far easier, he said, than pushing me around town in my manual wheelchair.
For those people who find the Mountain Trike is not a practical option, there is the MT push model. This is totally reliant on someone else giving you a push at all times. Andy again had a go a pushing me along a pretty rugged woodland path and was impressed how easily it glided over the uneven ground.