Thursday, February 26, 2015

Many good reasons to come to Daylesford

On Wednesday March 18th at 1pm the Cornish Hill TrailRider track will officially be opened. This 5 km track is, as far as I know, the first TrailRider signposted one in Australia,if not the world.

What's more the work of surveying, assessing and signposting the trail has been done by the year 12 VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) as a part of their curriculum. On Wednesday they will have the opportunity to move on to the next step in that curriculum when we get rolling with Sherpa 101.

Rodney Brooke will be there - the King of Australian Sherpas and he will be the Lead Sherpa and teacher of newbies. I will be the passenger and there will be quite a number of new sherpas who are not in year 12.

Thank you Brendan Murray for making this happen.

Come and join the throng. Let Fiona Robson know via ruralaccess@hhs.vic.gov.au or 53216567

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Guest post from Julie Jones

The way things used to be - there comes a time though when
the child is just too heavy
I was thrilled to be asked by David to write a post for TrailRider Tales.  

I love David’s passion, drive and determination to bring TrailRider to Australia so others can enjoy the thrill of accessing areas that would otherwise be inaccessible.

One of the nicest things about having our website, Have Wheelchair Will Travel and the Facebook page is the people we “meet.”  I am constantly inspired by people like David who persevere and bring about change.

Our website and Facebook page started as a very small idea of sharing information about a particular trip we undertook with our son who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.  My background as a travel consultant gave me the advantage of being able to research our holiday thoroughly and when it was a success I wanted to share that information to give others the confidence to travel.  

That simple idea has now grown and we share equipment tips and finds, our travels and other information we feel may help others.  We have only one rule on our page and that is that the stories must be positive and can-do.  We want people to visit our page and always be able to find something positive and uplifting; a story of what can be achieved despite a disability.
An easier way to  do it!

The unexpected gift which has come from having the website and using my background in travel is being able to inform tourism providers of little things which would help someone travelling with a wheelchair.  Whether it is a change to a layout of a hotel room, displaying adequate signage or providing wider disabled parking spaces, all these small things make a difference to guests visiting after us - if adopted.  We find most operators are very open to change and often it is a lack of understanding or knowledge which has prevented it happening before.

Last year we were asked by Dina Bullivant from National Parks Service NSW if we would like to trial the TrailRider and give our feedback. 

We are always up for an adventure and love trying something new, so we jumped at the opportunity.  Doing bushwalks was something we had done before we had children and an activity we always imagined we would share with our children when they came along.  You could say we took it for granted. 

When our son was born with cerebral palsy we imagined this would not be the case once he outgrew a hiking back carrier.  Once he was using a wheelchair we didn’t dwell on the fact; we just did our best to find accessible tracks to give the children a taste of bushwalking.  It wasn’t the same but that was just another modification to our lifestyle.
  
We were so delighted to take the kids out on a “proper” bush walk with the TrailRider.  We felt exhilarated and it was definitely a liberating feeling at the end of the walk.

We say that we try and find our way around “tricky” situations so our son can experience a wide range of things in life. The TrailRider definitely provides a great way for us to navigate the access difficulties of the bush.

I regularly share on our Facebook page the theory that one person’s idea can bring about change.    It may take many to put the idea into place but it takes that initial person to have the idea, the drive and determination to see it through.
We certainly thank David and all the people that then helped bring the TrailRider to Australia.
We share our travels at www.havewheelchairwilltravel.net and post daily at www.facebook.com/havewheelchairwilltravel.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Introducing Julie Jones - and Have Wheelchair Will Travel (6490 Likes)

The HWWT Facebook Page - click to visit the Page. I have set this up
to open a new window so that you can flip back to this roadmap
We met Julie briefly in an earlier post and finally we have got round to her guest post. I like guest posts - a little bit because they may say nice things about me and a lot because of the feeling of weaving a web which is, ultimately, what this Internet thingy is about.

Julie will tell her story, in her own words, in the next post but I will cut right to the end and speak of the Have Wheelchair Will Travel (HWWT) Facebook Page of which I am totally in awe. 

That page has 6490 Likes! To place that in context my page has 171. We are in the presence of Internet royalty.

For readers that are not on Facebook consider the following:

  • Facebook Pages are always completely open to read. Take a look at the HWWT Page  and scroll down to see Julie's posts. You can read anything there including the comments
  • The people on Facebook have a conversation through their comments and replies. Here is one post that garnered 25 comments. There was a lot to say
That is the real power of Facebook - the conversations that happen. New people are drawn in when people pass the post on, using the Share button, to their circle of friends.

Of course joining Facebook has it's downsides. The risks to your personal info and the confusing mass of things that appear out of the blue from your friends. I urge people to join anonymously and with no friends simply to be part of these conversations. I call this Zero Friends Facebook and I am using ZFF for local community engagement.

Like the HWWT Facebook Page.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Have motor, will travel

Last year I posted news of the first motorised TrailRider in the world. The video below shows what a dramatic difference this can make - the same slope, the same passenger, the same speed. Two sherpas with a motor, five without.

That occasion was the first live trial of this invention and we came up with two quite significant issues. John Kenwright, in his true style, has resolved both of them as the photos show.

This motorised TrailRider is available now at Buchan Caves. The contact details are in the Directory - in the Cape Conran entry.

The last, and perhaps best, bit is that John has passed the design information on to the Disability Foundation in Vancouver who manufacture the TrailRider.

Henceforward they will be adding a motorised version to their catalogue! Yay John!!

The trigger now automatically, instead of manually, goes
back to zero. Much safer
The battery is now underneath seat. Before, behind the
chair, it obscured the rear sherpa's view of the kickstand


Monday, February 16, 2015

Guest post from Jordan Kerton

It’s a real honor to be invited to share my story as a guest writer on the TrailRider Tales Blog! 


I am a Canadian Recreation Therapist and specialize in outdoor adventure.  I fell in love with the TrailRider in 2005 when I was hired to coordinate the BCMOS adaptive hiking program.  In the years that followed, I have been incredibly blessed with opportunities to be a part of some amazing adventures with this incredible piece of equipment. 

In 2005 I joined the Standing Spirit Project. Our team hiked the rugged West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island and Brad Jacobsen became the first person living with a spinal cord injury to complete the expedition. The TrailRider made this monumental feat possible and impacted all of us in a very profound way. To learn more SSP ARTICLE and watch the SSP VIDEO



In 2006 I lead the NSDRC team to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, for the Climb for Community Living.  We were the only team using a TrailRider because our climber, Brock Metcalf, lives with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair to get around.  It was a life altering and HUGE learning experience for me, and the TrailRider delivered as per usual, having no trouble navigating through some of the most challenging terrain in the world.  A moment that I will never forget is when we hit a giant wall of rock and cliffs that towered above us, and I truly wondered if we would make it.  I felt quite relieved when a sea of Tanzanian porters arrived with piles of rope.  I stood with tears in my eyes watching with amazement, as they worked tirelessly to help Brock and the TrailRider up the cliffs. There is no way we would have been so successful without the amazing support of the Tanzanian locals.  Brock’s resilience and our teams strength in the face of extreme conditions and elements will forever inspire me. Check out the KILIMANJARO VIDEO

In 2014 we launched Access Revolution, a Social Impact Organization that empowers individuals and communities with the tools, equipment and resources necessary, to make their outdoor spaces accessible to all.  AR seeks Access Champions from across the globe to join the movement.  Those who are passionate about creating opportunities for people of all abilities to get outside and live their best life. We all deserve the opportunity to enjoy peace and relaxation in the outdoors, to challenge ourselves, to feel an adrenalin rush and to experience the pure bliss of playing outside with our loved ones.  For more information about Access Revolution check out the AR VIDEO and visit www.accessrevolution.com

Written by Jordan Kerton
Like the Access Revolution Facebook Page.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Access Revolution - Introducing Jordan Kerton

The Access Revolution website - click to visit
One of the great pleasures of a publicly visible blog is the people that come across TrailRider Tales and then get in touch. One such person is Jordan Kerton. We met her two posts ago with her video of the 2006 Kilimanjaro expedition but her guest post, the next post, is an opportunity for us to get to know her better.

Her Access Revolution (http://accessrevolution.com/) website hits the spot precisely from the same angle that the TrailRider does - namely that disability need be no barrier to true enjoyment of the natural world. In fact, from that website, you can even pop a TrailRider in your online cart and check out with it. My first encounter with online TrailRider shopping!

Being OnIt
Being a bloke I am into gadgets and there are quite a few there. The one that caught my eye was the OnIt Ability Board which offers something I'd never even dreamt about. Having lived in Vancouver I was transported immediately to Deep Cove. I have no idea if this is where the pictures were taken but it is where I imagined climbing onto one. How does that work I wonder?

It being 2015 there is, of course, an Access Revolution Facebook Page.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Comment spam

The Wheelchair India site. Nice stuff if you can get it
One of the downsides of having a blog is spam comments. I use a Google Blogger setting that allows comments on recent posts to instantly appear but those made on old posts be moderated by me. It so happens that this captures most spam comments.

A typical spam comment is along the lines of "I found this really interesting" followed by link. Basically they want to trick my readers into visiting their site. Typically I delete the comment and mark it as spam.

My interest was tickled though by this one: "Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.TRAVEL WHEELCHAIR"

Normally I would be very wary of clicking on strange links but this one had an OK feeling about it so I did - on my phone which counted as a very slight safety precaution. It was interesting. The Indian site is shown in the picture and, from a wheelie's point of view, there was some pretty neat stuff. The prices, shown in rupees on the site, translate to AUD134, AUD185 and AUD300 which are great. What puzzles me though is that I phoned them and they don't ship outside India. Why even bother with the comment?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Top of the African continent

This video is nearly ten years old but it thrilled me.

It shows the 2006 TrailRider ascent of Kilimanjaro by a team of enthusiastic Canadians, many Tanzanian porters and Brock, the rider. It is 20 minutes of fascination.

I came by this video when I was contacted, out of the blue, by Jordan Kerton. You will meet her in the video and you will hear more when she writes a guest post.

Enjoy!