Monthly Archives: April 2012

Wheelchair travel secrets revealed

Thanks to a very helpful ex-boyfriend, I had the very lucky chance to travel like crazy in my 20’s. Road trips to New Orleans, Seattle, Toronto (with a pit stop at Niagra Falls), NYC/D.C. and Gettysburg, I saw the glory of the US from my van’s passenger window; all the open plains, wacky pit-stops in-between civilization, and it was awesome. And I learned a ton of valuable wheelchair travel tips along the way.

I learned to always make two packing lists (“regular” stuff and “medical” stuff) whenever I traveled, always saving the hard copy on my computer so I could use it for my next trip. And I learned to make sure my wheelchair and shower chair were in working order before hurrying up and taking off (because medical equipment will always break down when you’re on vacation don‘t ya know).

Also, being a creature of habit who likes her “things” no matter where she is (Crystal Light water flavoring, warm water, heated neck warmer at night, eye mask and ear plugs), I made sure to pack all of these in our luggage and van too, easily accessible even at 75 mph. I hate traveling in discomfort, and there’s no excuse to have to nowadays.

When I flew in a plane the first time as a wheelchair-user (5 years after my accident), I was deathly nervous. I didn’t want it to be a hassle, or rather “be” the hassle. I was hoping, praying it’d be quick and seamless. And once I showed up at the terminal, I saw just how easy the whole process would be. Was I Relieved? Very.

It’s really too bad this video wasn’t available, showing how to board a plane from a wheelchair back in my early days of being injured. This video shows the process of getting a wheelchair-user on and off a commercial jet, and it shows just how easy and streamlined the process has become. Weird note: The video was filmed in the U.K., so you watch the man in the video board the plane last (which would never happen in the U.S.; too crowded for transfers)

And you must watch this other travel video made by Mark, of a seasoned traveler and paraplegic from Minnesota, who made a 6 minute video showing the entire air travel process, from checking in, going through security, and finding your rental car once you’ve landed. He also shares an amazing car rental tip that every wheeler out there needs to know if they want to save money (and get a free car upgrade!) the next time they travel.

Watch the videos:

Mark’s airport wheelchair travel video

Watch a wheelchair user board a plane!

What wheelchair travel tips do you have?

Wheelchair Adapted Sports: Aussie tennis players explain the game

Spring in here and wheelchair athletes are busy dusting off their gear. Hand-cycling, adapted golf, rock climbing, wheelchair softball – there are a tons of adapted sports that are impossible to do when it‘s snowy out. And down in Australia where the sun always shines is where you’ll find some of the best wheelchair tennis athletes in the world.

In this video from AttitudeTV, a slick Aussie disability video production company, two top Aussie wheelchair tennis players (one who is a low quadriplegic) have a ball creating a 6 minute video explaining everything about wheelchair tennis. They explain the rules, which are extremely few. Tennis is an adapted sport that’s very similar to the able-bodied version with only ONE rule change: You get two bounces.

The low quad host also shows off the custom hand splint uses in order to hold the racket (duct tape is a must!) to make sure the ball goes further than the racket when he serves. And they interview some of the top female Aussie players right now, letting you catch a glimpse of adorable camaraderie between players as well as bask in the sound of their lilty accents. And if you haven’t heard of Ben Weekes before, you will once the Paralympics come around this August. Not only does he look like a GQ model, he’s real and boy does he have an inspiring story (and he can even play with one bounce).

And Tim Gilmer, the Editor of New Mobility magazine, is busy dusting off his golf cart up in Oregon too (where he also runs an organic farm with his wife). Tim, who’s been injured since 1965, loved golf before he got hurt and has been playing the game, only adapted, for the last 30 years. Watch this video to hear his story, and to watch how easy a golf cart set-up for a paraplegic can work (once you get the hang of it).

Watch the videos!

Aussie Tennis video
Tim Gilmer plays golf