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With a little help from my friends: TrailRider in the backcountry

One-wheeling to paradise: TrailRider features

The TrailRider is a revolutionary mobility device that provides unparalleled wilderness access possibilities for people with a disability.

It is a futuristic-looking, lightweight, one-wheeled vehicle that carries its occupant across rugged terrain with the help of two able-bodied individuals, one who pulls and one who pushes.

Brainchild of the Disability Foundation's Sam Sullivan and engineer and long-time Tetra Society volunteer Paul Cermak, the TrailRider has evolved through several design stages since the first prototype was built in 1998.

For inclement weather, the vehicle comes equipped with a specially designed "Mummy Bag" that helps ward off invasive forces such as wind, rain and cold.

The TrailRider's benefits are much greater than simply providing physical access to the wilderness: the TrailRider helps increase community by joining people with disabilities with their able-bodied counterparts in mutually rewarding recreational activity. For those who have suffered a disabling injury or illness, it means being able once again to hike with friends and family.

•  Single wheel centered below the seat provides mobility and support with low environmental impact and allows access to narrow mountain trails
•  Slow turning pneumatic tire absorbs the shock of moving over rocky terrain
•  Extendable legs for stationary support
•  Lightweight aluminum
•  Breaks down into lightweight components easily stored in trunk of car
•  Lounge position and long handlebars in front and in back distribute even weight
•  Brake system controlled from rear handles
•  Features two versions: one for adults and one for kids
•  Traverses trails, hills, rocks and streams
•  Stability and comfort
•  Fully cushioned arm and headrests
•  "Mummy bag" with special fabrication keeps its occupier warm and safe in inclement weather
•  Concept first drawn on back of restaurant napkin
•  Prototype concept based on deck lounge chair
•  One unsuccessful predecessor concept: a modified golf cart
•  Main vehicle comparisons: rickshaw, wheelbarrow.

 — Paul Gowan

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