Let’s Just Roll Easy
I was watching that marvel of the pool, the aquatics centre sensation, swimmer elite Ellie Simmonds hammer home to her third medal when I remembered it wasn’t so long ago I felt forced to give up swimming, the only real exercise I was capable of doing. There were two primary reasons for my decision:
1. The local swimming pools only had access to the pool via a rather old hoist, which was impossible for me to use due to the lower back pain it caused me due to my condition. So no slope to enter the pool – grrr.
2. The wheelchairs and cushion I had would not do very well if submerged in water, the chair would rust and the paint peel thanks to the chlorine. So definitely in a pickle shall we say (sighs deeply on the negative reflection).
Anyway, I certainly managed to kill two birds with one stone, as the limitations of my metal wheelchair was also the reason I stopped flying too. Then the good ship Easy Roller sailed into my life and righted the wrongs of its poor old distant cousin, the traditional metal wheelchair, which hasn’t actually changed that much since the Victorian era, derived from ‘bath-chairs’ made of wicker and iron. I can almost hear the rolling of eyes from my 16 year old as I lay forth another trip into history.
So to bring this back and also bang up to date, the name Easy Roller understates so very much just how innovative this wheelchair really is. It is the first in a new generation of wheelchairs that will revolutionise mobility for users and takes a giant step away from the traditional heavy, clunky, chunky metal chairs of the past.
Originally designed by a Norwegian racing car and speed boat designer, you can see its heritage in its sleek lines, was further developed in partnership with in partnership with a local university and Innovative Minds At Work. After what seemed like a lifetime of being put off travelling due to the problems & often humiliation of getting through airport security with a tubular metal wheelchair. You have no idea of the embarrassment as faces glare realising another delay, on one occasion, actually the last occasion I travelled with a metal chair via an airport, the security insisted I would be hauled out of my chair and searched most intimately because they saw my jeans were padded. Was this because I wear a pad perhaps (!!!), as they soon discovered, total degradation, but the real blame was the metal chair, as the security staff were too nervous about it, something to do with the long lasting aftermath of 9/11. They took the chair and cushion and reduced it into its constituent parts, you would be amazed how many bits make up a wheelchair and equal number of uses for the pen torch and camera on a hose that was far more flexible than ET’s finger ever was, it was me that wanted to go home after this debacle.
But it must be said that the Easy Roller changed all that completely, no more hassle, no more alarm sounding, no more embarrassment, now I turn heads because of the chair I am in being remarkable, not because the metal detectors blasts out an affirmation to everyone that a wheelchair user is in the way. That because this chair is 100% plastic, yes you heard right, no metal parts what so ever, none, nil, zilch, zero metal content. Enabling travel is just one of the many advantages this chair has, yes it is 100% moulded plastic, yes it good for the planet as it uses recycled plastics, yes it looks modern and shows its heritage in motor racing, but there is so much more. As soon as I started using one I found it to be incredibly light and manoeuvrable, being only 17kg in weight it really is so much easier on the arms, neck and shoulders, supported by a high back when just wanting to sit and discuss things with people.
The difference of not having 45kg of metal strapped to ones derrière is simply wonderful, and being made of such tough material means it will last a guaranteed 5 years despite the doorframes it will hit over its lifetime, and the jarring from curbs that are part of its everyday life, and it is maintenance free. There isn’t any welding joints and metal stresses to be maintained yearly, and most metal chairs are only guaranteed for a year anyway, if you get it wet in a pool situation the warranty can be voided as it is said you are using the metal chairs inappropriately.
However, the Easy Roller can be self-propelled into a pool that has a slope access, or even used with a hoist sling to enable access directly into the shallow end, where one can then just float above the chair gently, it really is quite remarkable. NO MORE RUST!
As most wheelchair users know, cleaning a wheelchair is a nightmare usually, especially if you have certain problems associated with spinal injuries (use your imaginations, or perhaps I should say don’t use yoru imaginations). With this first in a generation that will make metal chairs obsolete, there is no rusting and paint stripping despite what you chose to clean it with; spray it and wipe it off, stick it in the shower and let it drip dry, hose it down outside and wipe it, cover it in bleach if you want to, it won’t make a difference, it is perfect to maintain high levels of hygiene.
The chair is highly stable having a perfect sitting position for me, reminiscent of a racing car funnily enough, and as hard as I try I can’t fault it, it can even cope with larger users, like myself, having a weight limit of 150kg. Even transferring is easy due to the shape of the seat and the stability, you can use a slide-board with ease. Even the tyres are puncture proof, thank god, nothing worse than having a puncture in the middle of a supermarket that I didn’t want to be in in the first place.
Working with University, Innovative Minds At Work will be making version 2, which will be highly adjustable, version 3, which will be for children, heck there is even plans for version 4 which will be able to transform into an all plastic robot – hold on I think that is the new Transformers film I am getting mixed up with. There are plans to develop a range of cushions specifically for the chair, meeting a range of pressure area care needs. I also hate current cussions that are so plasted thick and I want a cushion that fits perfectly with the sleek design of the chair. To be honest because the chair position is designed to be comfortable with the cushion it comes with, so pressure care is not a problem in this case for me.
I would love to see this chair in hospitals, airports, spas, leisure centres, all the places traditional chairs fail to deliver, gosh the hospital chairs that staff struggle to pull backwards weighs in at over 80kgs in some cases, imagine the damage this does to the backs of nurses, porters, technicians, etc. This is 10 out of 10, a five star product, a first in a new generation that doesn’t disappoint and is going to be remembered for freeing wheelchair users from our metal chairs, which resemble scaffolding more than mobility aids. To top it all it is EN12183 & ISO 7176 rated.
This is a revolution in action, A REVOLUTION IN MOTION!