I’m a wheelchair-user. A wheeler. A rider. And, like performance car or motorcycle enthusiasts, I often search the web for new and interesting wheelchairs. I’ve come across quite a number of innovative chairs, like the Luggie (actually a scooter), high-style chairs, like the Icon and the Marvel M1 and the Genny, specialized machines, like the Tank Chair, and the everyday chair, which can be found almost anywhere, such as Spinlife, Invacare and Quckie. Powerchairs, manual chairs, pediatric and bariatric chairs – they are everywhere and not hard to come by. They can range in price from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars.
But in all my wanderings through the internet, I’ve never come across anything quite like the Rough Rider. I was hooked when I first saw it – stylish, simple, durable. The deeper I looked into the web site, the deeper sank the hook. The Rough Rider is carefully and thoughtfully designed to solve quite a few of the common challenges that every rider faces. With it’s innovative “WideFlex” front casters to it’s long wheelbase and mountain bike style tires, the Rough Rider can easily maneuver over curbs, through pot holes and across uneven sidewalks and roads, even through grass and other off-road situations. It is fully adjustable – the seat back tension can be adjusted to meet the needs of riders of almost any size, and the 5 rear axle positions allow the user to find the perfect center of gravity. It folds to fit into the trunk or back seat of a private car, a taxi or for airplane travel. As if all of that were not enough, the Rough Rider is inexpensive, retailing for well under $1000. And it looks snazzy:
And as if THAT were not enough, Whirlwind Wheelchair International, who designed and market the Rough Rider, is, according to their website, “a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities in the developing world while also promoting sustainable local economic development in the process.” To that end, Whirlwind offers a unique “BOGO” program – for every rough Rider sold, Whirlwind will donate a chair. They work closely with local, independent factories around the world to build and maintain their product.
I have pored over their website, and spoken with a representative on the phone, and even though I have not actually seen a Rough Rider, I cannot say enough good things about these people and their mission. When it comes time to replace my belived Karma chair, I know exactly where I will be shopping. I encourage you to visit their website, and spend some time reading up on this innovative product and company.