The Accessible Life

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THE FREEWHEEL

I discovered The FreeWheel wheelchair attachment while attending a local accessibility expo. I couldn’t believe how simple yet how brilliant this accessory would prove to be. Anyone familiar with wheelchair mobility knows the vulnerability of the front caster wheels. These small caster wheels are prone sinking into soft surfaces such as turf, gravel, sand, etc. Furthermore, the most common threat is running into a heave in the pavement. Just like a skate board or roller skates, when those small wheels hit that heave in the pavement they stop abruptly and send the owner sailing.

FreeWheelThe FreeWheel is an ingenious device that snaps onto the front of your wheelchair as a third wheel. It effectively lifts the two front caster wheels off the ground so you’re now rolling on your two back wheels and a single 9” inflated tire in the front. This large front wheel has less resistance than the small caster wheels which makes it easier to roll on any surface. You no longer have to worry about doing a wheelie over the heave in the pavement. The large front wheel bounces over the abutment just like the rear wheels do. And rolling off the pavement and into the lawn is no problem because the large front wheel doesn’t bog down in the soft turf.

I have a Vizsla bird dog who requires plenty of off leash exercise. With The FreeWheel I can now take her to our large open space urban parks and let her run in the meadows. If I want I can join her on the turf, but more often I stay on the asphalt cart paths where I can motor along at a pretty healthy clip without fear of toppling over. It’s made walking my dog fun again, not some chore where I’m fighting physics to do the simplest of tasks. It also allows me move freely about in my yard when I need to move a sprinkler or pick up a newspaper.

One other great use is when I go to a large sporting event or outdoor concert. Anytime I need to roll several hundred yards either across asphalt or turf I snap on my FreeWheel and off I go. It’s faster, smoother, safer, and requires less effort than using the small caster wheels. Also I might add, anyone familiar with wheelchair navigation on urban sidewalks knows there’s a 2% cross slope so water drains away from the building. The cross slope is imperceptible to pedestrians walking on foot. But if you’re in a wheelchair this cross slope causes gravity to pull you towards the curb. Consequently you’re constantly fighting to keep rolling in a straight line and not drift towards the curb. The FreeWheel eliminates this condition of fighting the cross slope.

I recommend you visit their website http://www.gofreewheel.com/. The site is well put together with video clips showing the FreeWheel in action. I can certainly recommend it. It has opened up entirely new opportunities for me. I found it to be a tremendous value for the money. Were I to loose mine, I would replace it immediately.

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2 Comments

  1. Brian McMillanOctober 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    So what do you think about the accessible life.

  2. Carolyn BJanuary 27, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Just discovered you through New Mobility Magazine. You were referred to in Deborah Pierce’s article re: The Accessible Home. I think I’m going to enjoy following this blog.

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