When Viv and I first became involved with Trekinetic, it didn’t take us long to realise the amazing benefits the chair offered to wheelchair users.
What we hadn’t fully appreciated is, when a person is in a wheelchair, they are not the only ones who are restricted, it affects the whole family. Families with young children often have to separate when going on the beach or through the woods; older carers are unable to push; adventures are curtailed and outings frequently have to be preceded by some lengthy research into accessibility…..which sadly, is not always available or correct!
We recently posted Nicolette’s blog, which we hope you enjoyed reading as much as we did, and we’re now delighted to be able to post her husband Peter’s point of view as a carer. Again it’s a real eye opener ‘
Michelle & Viv
The Carer’s Tale
“I’d had plenty of time to observe the steady decline over the years. Nicolette’s mobility had got to the point where something needed to be done. Despite a huge amount of self-help it had recently come to dominate our plans for outings of all sorts – can a wheelchair be borrowed, how close can we park, is there disabled access? These became the dominant questions sometimes threatening to suck all of the joy away from going places and doing things.
So, mobility was a definite problem. But I am an engineer and all problems, for engineers, have to have a solution – it just needs to be found. I decided to see if there is such a thing as a powered wheelchair that was both light and compact enough to be put in and out of the car easily whilst also being rugged enough to go out into the countryside. Searching the internet immediately revealed a plethora of battery-driven ‘buggies’ with small wheels which would be ok for made up paths, pavements etc., but were definitely not going to meet our wish to tackle some rougher surfaces. They were also too heavy to lift and a ramp would be required for car access, even if they would otherwise fit. So I moved on to search for ‘all-terrain’ wheelchairs, of which there are a few. Obviously rather more expensive, those possessing a true ‘go anywhere’ capability were impressive, but also immensely heavy, and too long for our car – we would have to get a specially modified vehicle to be able to use one.
So far my searches had not taken very long, but no solution was in sight. I began to think I might be on ‘mission impossible’. My depression didn’t last long – as soon as I happened upon the Trekinetic site and saw the picture of a GTE by the side of a lake I knew this was what I’d been looking for.
It was love at first sight. My engineer’s eye took in the functional elegance of the design: the carbon fibre seat cocoon forming the base for the structure shrieked out that this was the product of a back-to-basics approach which married simplicity with sophistication and practicality. As I read on, learning about the lightweight propulsion system featuring hub-mounted motors in removable wheels, the variable wheel camber adjustment for different terrains, and the care taken over portability I was completely won over (despite the hefty price tag! But what price freedom?)
So, as of less than a month ago, we are now proud owners of GTE #810. In the time between, our field demo with Michelle convinced us finally that this was the machine for us, and going to the factory to pick it up was a further confidence booster, if one were needed. Mike’s attention to detail and his evident commitment and persistence over a long period stand out and are an excellent example of how a professional engineer can take an idea from concept to full and successful production, providing enormous benefit to its users. I was impressed too by the fact that when we arrived he immediately set to work with Nicolette to make sure he understood her needs completely, so as to make sure everything was right for her.
It has been one of those all-too-rare experiences- finding a completely satisfactory solution to a difficult problem, without wasting time. We don’t just feel like ‘customers’ – much more as though we just joined a friendly club for enthusiasts of thoroughbreds!”