Since 2011 the Mountain Trike company has been manufacturing and making all-terrain wheelchairs from its UK premises. Over the years it has built up a loyal community of users. It strives to develop new products and what better way to help with the development than through its customers.
Stephen Hughes has been a Mountain Trike customer for many years and tries to get out daily with this Trike. He shares his experience of using the newly designed eTrike and explains how it has changed his life.
My name is Steve Hughes. About 10 years ago, through injury and illness, I became a wheelchair user with an incomplete spinal injury at T9/T10.
Having always enjoyed getting out into the countryside with my family I looked around for something that would allow me to continue this. That’s when I found the Mountain Trike company and the Mountain Trike wheelchair. It looked like the perfect piece of kit for accessing the outdoors.
I have had my Mountain Trike for about eight years now and it has changed my life. When I first got my Mountain Trike I had stopped going to the park, never mind the woods.
I’m lucky enough to live near Sherwood Forest, but access with my standard wheelchair was not good. Having to stay on the hard standing ground was very frustrating, but the Mountain Trike arrived and things changed.
At first, I had to build up my strength and stamina to use the Mountain Trike to its full potential. But this happens by actually getting out and using it. My strength, stamina and fitness improved rapidly and I was amazed at what can be achieved on a Mountain Trike.
I was finally able to go into the forest, off the paths, through mud and over roots – all the places my children wanted to go. I was able to go on dog walks and participate in all the family’s adventures.
I started off small by just getting around the block. But with practice and determination, it was not long before I was doing miles never worrying what I would come across. The Mountain Trike seemed to just glide over everything, thanks to its mountain bike suspension and hydraulic brakes.
The same abilities mean its great in town going over curbs, hills and rough pavements. It just takes them in its stride. Plus, everyone wants to ask you about it – you are certainly never ignored when out and about with a Mountain Trike!
About a year ago, Tim, the inventor of the Mountain Trike, knowing I went out on my Trike just about every day, asked me if I’d be interested in doing a test for him on a new option for the Mountain Trike.
I was happy to help, so I got my first look at the new eTrike. What a game changer, he’s kept all the cross country ability but added power.
As soon as I could I was out on this new eTrike and it didn’t disappoint. I found I could self-propel as I had on my standard Mountain Trike, making use of the unique drive system. Then, if I needed a little assistance, with a twist of the throttle and I was being powered forward.
This is the genius thing, you can use no power, a combination of power and the drive, or all power. I’ve used the prototype eTrike in rain, snow, mud and even through floods and it just keeps going! I’ve tried to find hills to challenge it, but when you combine the power of the drive with the electric motor, it is amazing just what it can cope with.
I then tried it out in the scooter mode, around the supermarket and in and out of shops. I found that I could do as much or as little pushing as I wanted. If there was a curb or a step into the shop, it wasn’t a problem, it just popped over them.
Over the last six months, my condition has worsened, which has meant me losing some strength and being in pain. It’s also meant I’ve needed that little bit more help when out with the dog or on a walk with my wife. The eTrike has taken up this challenge.
I make a point of trying to walk the dog every afternoon and now, if I’m having a bad day, the motor takes me around. On a good day its all me, but most of the time it’s a combination of the motor and me. This flexibility gives me the confidence to go further and push harder, knowing that I have the eTrike motor to fall back on.
On the practical side, the eTrike still fits in my car as the wheels and drive come off the same as the standard Trike. I really don’t think I could do without it now. Plus, I’m told it’s cool too – which it is!
As ever, Tim was thinking of his customers during this new development. It is genius that the electric assist motors can be purchased as a separate kit and back-fitted to all standard Mountain Trikes, which I imagine will be of interest to many!
Thank you, Tim, for helping me to be able to continue to enjoy the outdoors!
By Mountain Trike
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