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Thread: Freewheel-Two years later

  1. #21
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Tidewater, VA


    Quote Originally Posted by addiesue View Post
    I like mine, but I really wish it worked as well as every one else's. It is definitely a great product.
    IF you are good with tools and able to drill, file, sand, rig up, stuff.
    I have to tie mine all together when its on the perch otherwise it flips around and drags. The perch doesn't fit so we had to glue some other stuff to it to make it big enough which lasted half the 3 day trip in NYC so I wound up with it on my lap getting dirty when I wasn't using it.
    Took me 6 or more months to use it the first time because I have an unusual footplate, but didnt know this until someone already filed up my footrest trying to make it work. Pat finally sent a new piece (thanks) and another few months later I found someone to attach it for me. So the first year was a waste. I wish I didn't suck at tools and I really think I got a lemon! I have had missing screws, all kinds of stuff.

    Mine has been far from perfect, too!

    Good point, made, though.

    It has limitations and constraints, and I've bumped up against a couple of them, myself.

    I, too, have had issues with my perch, as well as some of the fasteners.

    My judgement is ultimately based on how far the Freewheel extends the mobility of the typical manual chair, from the typical manufacturer, with one of several typical footplate configurations.

    That is it's beauty, to me. But, yeah, it's a machine and can be a pain!

    I'd estimate at least 50% greater mobility with a Freewheel perched on the back of a chair, deployed as needed, throughout any given day of my rolling life.

    Perhaps even more, given the volume of sand in my general vicinity.

    He who hears not me but the Logos will say: All is one.

  2. #22
    I have tried a few times but it scares me, I am not that brave. So I am not using it because of it. When I lift the wheel it has to go up so high so I am afraid of loosing the balance.

    And I was really waiting for someone to stumble over it on the sidewalk I would love that to happen because people usually don't see me and just walk on me

    The reason you don't know how to take curbs is because you don't have to, it is easy, you only have to know the trick
    TH 12, 43 years post

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    You got me interested, need something that dosent rut up my lawn, and I'm sure it would be easier to get through it too.

    From what I'm guessing reading the website, the tubular portion of the footrest loop needs to be most forward so that a round wide clamping surface is available. I have the TiLite adjustable plate mounted backwards on my chair for chair compactness/battering ram usage. (The bulk of the flat plate is forward of the footrest loop).

    Is there hope for an attachment of this to my setup?
    Yes. A new TR3 with a titanium tubular footrest mounted in reverse.

  4. #24
    Wow! Opens up new parts of the world!!
    - Moody

  5. #25
    Suspended Andy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Chicago IL
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    Yes. A new TR3 with a titanium tubular footrest mounted in reverse.
    Sure, sure, make me get my sluggish self to finally order a replacement chair after yammering about it for years . Getting closer casters are almost running on the rims. But I just replaced a bunch of seized up maybe there will be some delay again. Maybe when the armrests break off again....

    Ok, I probably should order a new one this year (famous last words, lol)

  6. #26
    Senior Member ZEN12many's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Woodland, CA, USA Old male, T12 incomplete TM 2004
    I love my Freewheel. Re making the world more accessible for the paralyzed, I think it is the greatest invention since the wheelchair, itself.

    Re getting it to fit your particular wheelchair, if you have to grind down something (like on a Tilite adjustable footrest), use a Dremel. I couldn't locate mine when I got my Freewheel and used a file for three days trying to grind down enough metal so the Freewheel would fit. I had ground off only about half what I needed to when I located my Dremel. Thirty minutes with the Dremel and I was done.

    I'm not sure what problems people have had with the Freewheel; it is as rugged as it can be.

    I use my Freewheel for "wheelchair mushing" (having your dog pull you). The wheelchair has some major weaknesses as a "mushing vehicle". The Freewheel solves the biggest weakness; it lifts those dangerously small casters off the ground and replaces them with a large caster so you don't end up eating dirt with your face.

    The other major weakness of the wheelchair, as a mushing vehicle, is "wheelchair drift", where the wheelchair drifts to the low side of a sidewalk causing you to have to propel one side more than the other to keep from falling off the edge of the sidewalk. This weakness of the wheelchair is exaggerated when you are being pulled. To keep from falling off the edge of the sidewalk, you have to propel on the low side but, because dogs go considerably faster than you would be going without the dog, you have to propel faster and quicker to not fall off the edge of the sidewalk. The Freewheel helps a little but does not solve this wheelchair weakness (the Freewheel has a "center indent" to help keep it in a straight line if the sideways slant of the sidewalk is not too great).

    I consider the "wheelchair plus a tug line" to be first generation wheelchair mushing equipment. Add a Freewheel, and you move into second generation wheelchair mushing equipment (and you are so much safer).

    I am currently experimenting with third generation wheelchair mushing equipment. I am steering my Freewheel. It eliminates the wheelchair drift problem. I have some use of my legs/feet. First I tried "steering" by extending my most mobile foot (left) and pressing near the axle. I have very little strength in my ankles but it didn't take much. And I only had to move the Freewheel about 0.5 inch for it to be effective in keeping the wheelchair up on the sidewalk. I tried to figure out a way to cause the Freewheel to steer by "leaning" (it involved a clunky complicated way that worked, sort of, but I abandoned). I finally (about three days ago) settled on an aluminum plate bolted to my Freewheel that allows me to turn (a little) with my left foot. I can turn both left and right with the left foot. I only use it when the sidewalk is so slanted that I would have to work tremendously to keep up on the sidewalk. I also use it on turns when the dog is going slow. If the dog is going fast, it is better to slow down a wheel to turn since you need to slow down anyway. But when the dog is going slow around a turn, you don't want to put on the brakes to turn. So I "steer" around corners when we are going slow.

    So, Pat (and all you other engineers), it would really be nice to be able to lean and steer the Freewheel (but it would act as a caster otherwise). Right now, a wheelchair plus a Freewheel is not as efficient as other "mushing" vehicles (bikes, scooters, sulkies) since you have to brake to steer. There is this big annual dry-land mushing event that I eventually want to talk someone into entering (it is in Europe) in a wheelchair. Solving the wheelchair drift problem would make us competitive.
    TM 2004 T12 incomplete

  7. #27
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    From a small cabin in the big woods of The Allegheny National Forest, PA
    ZEN, you probably know already but there is some equipment used in skijoring and bikejoring that may work well with wheelchair mushing.
    Good luck
    C 5/6 Comp.
    No Tri's or hand function.

    Far better it is to try mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure. Than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory or defeat.

    Teddy Roosevelt

  8. #28
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Alberta, Canada
    Sitting in loose gravel one day at a campsite, not being able to push through the 3/4" rock. Might as well have been stuck in concrete. I asked my sister to grab the freewheel and slap it on for me. She clicked it on and the casters were free. Without even touching the wheels I started rolling backwards. Not fast, just at a crawl. I rolled for about 100ft or more. It was so smooth, I just let it happen. Didn't even care. Ended up in the middle of the road with other campers looking at me.

    That's the difference between your casters and a freewheel. Either fighting with terrain or rolling over it without a care in the world.

  9. #29
    Senior Member ZEN12many's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Woodland, CA, USA Old male, T12 incomplete TM 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by forestranger52 View Post
    ...there is some equipment used in skijoring and bikejoring that may work well with wheelchair mushing.
    Hi forestranger

    I have found that the main thing that the "bikejoring, etc" world has to offer is a good harness for the dog. Most of the other equipment they have is just too heavy. For example, I use a 3/4 inch wide dog leash for a tug line. It has a certain size clip on the end which I feed through a metal ring which is attached to a mini bungee which runs through a door spring. Sounds complicated but it keeps the tug line from tangling in the Freewheel and, at the same time, doesn't put any undue pressure on the Freewheel. The dog can pull left or right and the bungee allows the tug line to move left or right and then returns the tug line to the middle above the Freewheel when the dog isn't pulling left or right. Professional tug lines are 1 inch wide with a larger clip on the end meaning you have to have a bigger ring to slip it through. A bigger ring weighs more and causes the door spring which holds up the bungee to oscillate back and forth as the dog shifts her weight as she runs. Except for the harnesses I have bought, everything else comes from the hardware store or the pet shop.
    TM 2004 T12 incomplete

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