A Wheelchair Carriage for Rough Terrain
In the front of our new book, Nothing About Us Without Us, we include an invitation to readers to send us their own innovative ideas and designs, in the hopes of putting together another, better book. The design below for a “Joelette” or wheelchair carriage was recently sent to us by Severine Dumas of Handicap International—Brazil. In 1996 Severine attended a course in Community Based Rehabilitation which I (David Werner) gave in Recife, Brazil. At that time I shared with participants the draft of a story of “Four Women with Spinal Cord Injuries—Their Different Mobility Needs.” Depending on the circumstances in which they live (in Bangladesh, Mexico, the Philippines, and Egypt), each woman finds a different solution The story of Rita, from Mexico, copied from page 16 of Nothing About Us Without Us, is on the preceding page.
The one-wheel carrying device is designed for steep mountain trails such as those where Rita lives. It requires two persons to navigate it, and includes a piston-like mechanism (# 4) that allows the disabled rider to sit in the same comfortable upright position when being transported either up or down a steep slope. A coil spring mount (# 22) on the single wheel allows for shock absorption on rough ground.
In addition, the device has a hand-powered chain drive mechanism (#12, 13, 14, 20 and 21) that allow the rider to help her assistants climb a steep slope.
All in all, this is a very ingenious mobility device for mountain trails. I wish I’d had the design to include with the story of Rita. We will certainly include it in the next book.