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Our Guide To Enjoying The Outdoors With a Disability

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Images Source: Accessible Nature UK

Find Accessible Places To Safely Enjoy Nature

A good friend of mine, Peter Lau, has travelled all over the country trialling and reviewing nature reserves, reservoirs, trails and other points of interest and has created a website with detailed reviews called Accessible Nature UK. Peter is a wheelchair user after suffering a T6 spinal cord injury in 2014. He uses his wheelchair with a powered wheelchair attachment to help him get around these places without tiring out his arms or having someone push him although some of the places featured on his site can be accessible without powered attachments.

Accessible Nature UK features in depth reviews of places from a disabled persons point of view. From the distance to get around the site to what obstacles you may find along the route. It also features images and maps to help you decide if the route is suitable for you. There is also a facebook page which keeps you up to date with new routes and you can ask questions or post your own reviews: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2622629808017307.

Some of our customers have already used the website and are finding it very beneficial. It's even been featured on the BBC! We at The Ability Shop think its an amazing idea and wish Peter all the luck in keeping this site going and growing it further!

Get involved and send your own route guide. Follow the layout of the route guides on Accessible Nature UK and send it to Peter.lau@sky.com.

Visit: https://www.accessiblenatureuk.com

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Rehasense Space LX

The Space LX from Rehasense is a lightweight rollator which features a seat, large wheels to get over rougher terrain and a walking stick holder. These rollators give the user extra stability and confidence when walking outdoors. The brakes slow you down if you feel you need a bit of resistance either whilst going downhill or if you feel you are walking quicker than you are comfortable with. With choice of 3 modern colours (Electric Blue, Champagne and Sober Grey) you don't have to feel like a 'Fuddy Duddy' as we often hear from customers! 

The Space LX neatly folds up and stays secured with a clip system to stop any unwanted unfolding. Transportation is made even easier by its 5.8 kg overall weight!  Find more information by clicking here.

Rollz Motion

The Rollz Motion is a 2 in 1 rollator/wheelchair. As a result you don't need to worry about your energy when going out as you will have both options with you. This walking innovation keeps you moving. You can walk as long as you want, sit down in the comfortable seat and be pushed to regain some strength, and then walk again if you feel like it. From now on you can always be part of the fun and not miss holidays with your family or days out with your friends. Wanting to go on rougher terrain? The Rollz Motion Performance comes with air inflated tyres rather than the standard solid tyres. This makes pushing over rougher terrain smoother and more comfortable. If you suffer from Parkinson's Disease we also offer the Rollz Motion Rhythm which uses laser guide, audio and vibration cues to help reduce the effects of freezing whilst walking (Watch how it works by clicking here). 

The Rollz Motion has many accessories available for you customise it to suit your needs including drag brakes which you set to slow the speed the rollator can be pushed at without using the built in brakes! Find more information by clicking here.

 

Motion Healthcare Alumina

Our lightest boot scooter with the heaviest part being under 10 kg! Ideal for taking with you on your ventures out, with its comfortable seat and all round suspension, not to mention its 15 mile range or 30 mile range if you choose the Alumina Pro. This is our best selling scooter and is more than capable on most paths found in National Heritage sites or the like. Taking it apart takes just a few minutes and say goodbye to hefty batteries as the Alumina's Lithium batteries weigh just 4 kg or 5 kg for the Pro. 

Also travel around worry free with our free 1 month insurance when buying any brand new scooter from us which covers you for 24/7 breakdown recovery, public liability, theft & vandalism and much more! 

Find more information by clicking here.

Scooterpac Ignite

A new arrival for us at The Ability Shop but it has already won us over! It has the looks and the capabilities to match. This Mobility Scooter features a heated seat to keep you nice and warm on those colder spring mornings, something that makes it stand out from its competitors. Getting around on the rougher terrain shouldn't be a problem with the Ignite (within reason of course). It comes with ultra soft, all round suspension to help smooth over those bumpy trails and off road style tyres to help you keep grip in slippy terrain. The powerful 1400w motor and 2 x 100 Ah batteries should see you do approximately 40 miles (depending on user weight and terrain conditions). Another feature we love especially if you are into your gadgets is the bluetooth speaker system which allows you to connect your mobile phone and play music whilst out enjoying a ride out. Plus your phone won't run out of juice thanks to the USB charging ports! Like to take a drink with you on your outings? Don't worry it also has a cup holder!

The Ignite is an 8 mph road legal scooter and not something you can put in your boot but if you are looking for something to take from home to your favourite outdoor spot this is perfect. Find out more information by clicking here.

Ki Mobility Ethos

The Ethos is a custom built manual wheelchair like no other. Its unique Iso Tech system separates the main frame from the sub frame (which is connected to all 4 wheels) by the use of rubber polymers which dampen vibrations. This means those bumpy paths are no longer so uncomfortable and for anyone who suffers from muscle spasms aggravated by vibrations this is a game changer! 

These wheelchairs are made from high quality aluminium which means they are extremely lightweight, making it easier to push and be transported. With a choice of 21 frame colour which are all included in the base price you can make the Ethos reflect your personality! Find out more information by clicking here.

Rehasense PAWS

For anyone who relies on a wheelchair the majority of the time or full time getting out and really enjoying some longer trails, rougher terrain or hilly areas can be quite a struggle. This is where PAWS (Power Assisted Wheelchair System) comes into its own. Powered wheelchair attachments are becoming increasingly popular and more readily available and Rehasense have come up with a great user friendly product that can be used virtually straight from the box without the need for any modifications to your current wheelchair!

There are 3 models to choose from:- the City (12" or 14" wheel options), the Cruiser and the Tourer. For anyone wanting to explore rougher terrains, country parks and woodlands for example, then we recommend either the Cruiser or Tourer with the Tourer being our more favoured option as it is more capable on rougher, loser terrain thanks to its 20" fat wheel and powerful 500w motor. All models come complete with traction control and cruise control. With a possible top speed of 18 mph you are able to have plenty of fun when off road. All models attach to the wheelchair via an easy to use clamp system which comes in an automatic option for anyone who struggles to operate the manual clamp system. 

 

Our Director (James) who is a wheelchair user has tried the Tourer out and was extremely impressed with it.  "The PAWS range is a great setup which you can virtually take out of the box and use without having to attach any brackets to the wheelchair itself which can add additional weight and make the wheelchair more cumbersome. I love the traction control which works in all the speed modes as traction can be an issue with other similar attachments which offer high torque. The addition of cruise control is also a nice feature."

Find more information on the PAWS range by clicking here.

Choose The Right Equipment

Not all disabilities are the same. So making sure you have the correct equipment to help you safely enjoy the outdoors is really important. Whether you just need some extra stability when walking, a mobility scooter to get further on days out or you require something a bit more specialised we hope to help. Below we have highlighted a few products that we think tick the right boxes when it comes to getting out and enjoying the better weather!

Safety First!

Whilst getting outdoors and regaining independence you need to do it safely! We all love the idea of exploring new places with our new piece of kit but its extremely important to take some extra precautions before doing so. Here are a few things to consider before going out either independently or with others:

Get to know your equipment

Before venturing out to a new place make sure you know how to safely operate your mobility equipment and know its limitations. Trial it out in a familiar environment close to home and with family members or friends nearby if possible. The last thing you want to do is go to unfamiliar surroundings and get stuck or worse have an accident.

Be Seen!

Even on the brightest of days it is still important to make sure you can be seen when travelling near or on busy roads or areas that have cyclists. Try to wear something bright or hi-viz. If you have a mobility scooter a hi-viz scooter bag (like the one pictured) can be a worthwhile purchase. If you have a class 3, 8mph mobility scooter and are travelling on a road switch your lights on to help other road users see you better.

Know the law

This mainly applies to mobility scooters and other powered mobility vehicles, knowing the laws of where you can take your equipment and what speed you can do is very important for several reasons; your safety, other peoples safety and avoiding getting in trouble with the police! In short the main rules to know are:

  • If you are on a class 2 mobility vehicle such as a 4 mph boot scooter you MUST stick to the pavements unless there is no suitable pavement, in which case you may travel along the road until a pavement becomes available.

  • If you are on a class 3 mobility vehicle such as a road legal 8 mph scooter, it MUST be registered with the DVLA, not exceed 8 mph and must be able to limit its speed to 4 mph when travelling on pavements.

For more information on the laws around mobility equipment visit https://www.gov.uk/mobility-scooters-and-powered-wheelchairs-rules

 

Look ahead

One of major hazards disabled people face when enjoying the outdoors can be uneven ground. This such as tree routes, pot holes, animal burrows or just natural bumps and slopes can all cause hazards when either walking or using mobility equipment. Try to stay alert and watch the ground ahead of you. Plan which path you are going to take around the hazards and don't be afraid to ask for assistance from someone if you feel unsafe.

Also, although it might be obvious to most but not everyone unfortunately, be courteous to others using the area around you. Travel at a speed suitable to the conditions, if it is busy travel slower, children very rarely look where they are going so make sure you can stop quick enough if they were to come into your path of travel. Just because you are on a mobility vehicle it doesn't grant you right of way, again to most this may be obvious but unfortunately the minority have given disabled people using mobility scooters a bad name in the past by travelling at fast speeds on paths used by other pedestrians.

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Most Importantly...ENJOY!

Having a disability shouldn't stop you getting out and doing the things you enjoy most. There are so many ways to achieve some level of independence these days from equipment you can buy to the facilities places offer. Here at The Ability Shop our aim is to give you the independence you deserve so get in touch or come into the store and we will help you!

So what are you waiting for? Get the right equipment to suit your needs, find the ideal place to visit and GET OUT THERE!!