Tuesday, March 21
Id be lying horribly if I said I thought Id ever have a passing interest in wheelchair design, its not the sort of thing most people would ever even think about. But amazingly I now find I peer at everyone I see, assessing it for function, style, colour, oh and tyres!!! Sad isnt it? make mental note to get a life!
The NHS in its wisdom has a 3 tier system for getting a chair,
1. They give you what they have and you make do.
2. You get a better choice, but then you have to maintain it for them.
3. You get a voucher and go off and get what you want.
Hard choice there.... Lets try number 3.
The internet makes all this information gathering so much easier... what would I have done 10 years ago? Soon you realise there are big players in this field its not like just popping out to pick one, its the equivalent of buying a new car. Now who to chose? IMHO the main ones seem to be Quickie, Kuschall, and RGK. I canvassed a lot of opinions, Quickie seems to be the Renault of the wheelchair world. Ubiquitous, people get stuck with them, bits fall off, and nobody likes them. Kutschall I would compare to Ferarri, top notch, foreign, and bloody expensive, then there is RGK. These are I reckon to be in the BMW class, stylish, sporty and well engineered. So I went for RGK and I think a really excellent choice.
If you saw the tv programme Beyond Boundaries where a group of disabled people schlepped across South America, then RGK made all the chairs for them. Like a sports car, less is more, the less you have the lighter the frame, the more manouvreble and so on... the choice was pretty endless, style, colour accessories, fixed frame, folding frame, camber etc. Eventually I went for a low back which holds the bottom half of me together, and a fixed frame which is lighter and more robust. You can see there is a bit of a bucket seat which helps you balance. There are no moving parts, its the lightest poly alloy frame. Green frame, flashing wheels , purple spoke guards, and slight camber. Chunky tyres. It screams look at me!!! This wasnt my intention as such, but I wanted something fun for my 2 year old. Camber allows for more stability, but less manourvrebility I think, so I only have a slight camber, and am trying not to fall over too much. The only thing I want to change in a few months is the push rims which are not the best ergonomically, so Ill probably change them for rubber coated ones.Easier to push and not so cold.
So you see it wasnt an easy choice, but I think I really made the right one for me certainly, I have no regrets.