Life can sometimes be challenging for those with disabilities. You have to find alternate ways to complete daily tasks. However, these individuals learn to tackle these obstacles with their heads held high.
Just ask Cambry Kaylor, who was left paralyzed following an equestrian vaulting accident in 2005. Once a champion athlete, she is now confined to a wheelchair. While wheelchairs have had many advancements over the years, Kaylor loved to travel. When she realized she couldn’t hike and travel the way she used to, she became discouraged. You can probably imagine how surprised she was when her husband surprised her with his own invention: an off-road wheelchair that doubles as a bicycle.
Now, the couple is using the invention to make traveling easier for other handicapped individuals.
A Tragic Accident
Kaylor grew up horseback riding. A champion equestrian vaulter, she spent her time completing gymnastics and dance routines on horseback. But everything came to a halt in 2005, when she had an accident during training. Her injuries left her paralyzed and she will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.
Following her accident, her then-boyfriend, Zack Nelson, spliced together two electric bicycles with a seat in the center. He wanted to build her something that could give her a sense of freedom – something she missed since her accident. Once she became accustomed to her new gift, she found that she could finally move around the way she wanted.
Creating the Product
A year later, in 2006, Kaylor and Nelson were married. They teamed up to start working on mass-producing Nelson’s original invention. They founded the company, Not-a-Wheelchair, and began building their first product – an adaptive off-road wheelchair constructed using bicycle parts. In addition to providing additional mobility, the product also features a rear rack mounting system to hold wheelchairs, coolers, and other hiking and camping equipment.
Currently, the unique wheelchair can travel up to 12 miles-per-hour and it has a range of 10 to 20 miles with only one battery. It can travel up to 25 to 35 miles with two batteries, but there are restrictions depending on the terrain, weight of the rider (up to 225 pounds), and the weight of the cargo. The off-road wheelchair is truly an altogether unique vehicle for handicapped individuals.
“Our whole goal is to provide something that is capable and affordable,” the couple commented. They knew that there were limited options for handicapped individuals; and from their experience, the bicycles that were already available were either too costly or too slow. They worked together to create the perfect bicycle but many challenges stood in the way.
The couple kept working together to perfect Not-a-Wheelchair, but they weren’t making much progress. “The toughest challenge when developing ‘Not-a-Wheelchair’ is the price. We wanted to create something that is affordable for everyone. Finding quality components and a simple enough design at the cheapest price possible took quite a bit of time,” Nelson commented. “But I think we have something now that everyone will be able to enjoy, at a fraction of the cost of other off-road wheelchairs that are currently on the market.”
In addition, another obstacle is that the product cannot be labeled as a medical device, and it requires the normal maintenance needs of a regular bicycle – two things that could seriously dissuade buyers from purchasing.
To test the product, Cambry and Nelson went on various trips together. They brought the special wheelchair to Hawaii to see how it performed in rocky terrain. They have also tested the bicycle on mountains and snowy trails.
After their thorough tests, they look forward to finally launching the product to consumers after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. It has been over ten years in the making, but they can’t wait to share the bicycle with the 2.7 million wheelchair users in the United States. They’re happy with the finished product and they hope other people will also be pleased with it. Ultimately, the goal is to make a positive change in the lives of handicapped individuals, one bike pedal at a time.
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