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Thread: Quadra & Lightweight Wheelchair Revolution

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by canuck View Post
    Speaking of making do back in the day. Wasn't there a way you could put camber in a old E&J folder? Pat you or one of the other guys must have shown my parents? I know I ran with that modification until got rid of that chair.
    Yep, I remember showing your dad what we did. It was a 1" bar with two holes in it. We put where the crossbars met, pushing the frame into a squeeze.

    It loosened up the upholstery bigtim and if a person folded it too quickly, the slide tubes in the front would come out and the plastic slides on the rear would pop off. Was hell if that happened in the dark as the whcir would be completley apart with the partss somewhere you couldn't find them. THanks for reminding me of that.

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ancientgimp View Post
    Our wheelchair b'ball team bought Quadras and my wife and I purchased 2 for ourselves. I had a gold folder, my wife a maroon rigid. One of the 1st places we visited with our new chairs was the Detroit Institute of Arts. The floors are marble and tile and we just flew around, after years of E&J lead sleds it was like a dream. Later we got into wheelchair road racing, my 1st chair was a Stainless race chair, when you came to a corner you turned the steering handles and the chair continued straight. My wife decided to try racing as well and bought a used Quadra race chair from a crip that a lot of you have bought chairs from. I wish we had saved our Quadras, so interesting to read the great story of their development.
    The chairs George and I bought were so early a person could only get black back then. Did that Stainless racing chair come apart for traveling? I remember they tried a chair that would come apart in about a dozen pieces and went into a small case. Was really impractical and swayed like a mongoose in the wind. YEah those handles welded to the front caster axels were usueless lol.

    We were at the Nationals in Toronto and Stan Stronge introduced me to the President of E&J. He wanted him to see the new ridgid framed chair. The Pres. looked at it and kind of gave a harrumph stating it would never sell and was completly impractical.

    Boy, those 27" racing wheels were mammoth Curt. I had a set also. We used to have fundraisers by wheeling the 6mile loop at Stanley Park. I used the set one year and ended up with these huge blisters on the joints of my hands. The Vancouver Sun would do writeups about these wheelchair athletes who could actually push six miles without stopping. Before Rick Hansen did his first marathon, he had to prove that a wheeler could actually do a26miler. The TV stations were there and was a major feature in the news. This was around '76, way before his Man in Motion tour.

    Racing was so primative. THe big thing was the small rings tied directly to the spokes of the wheel. Other than that, we used those big 8" air casters in the front.

    Chris Stoddard came out with the first ridgid racechair, even before Quadras, made of angle iron bolted together. There was such a ruckus from the other provinces that the chair was illegal because his legs were out too far and it didn't fold.

    I brought out my first handcycle to the BC games in Kamloops BC. I used rain gutters for leg troughs and an actual plastic kitchen chair with the legs taken off. We brazed on these little posts so the rear leg hole would fit into it. I was literally booed by some of the crankers there. They felt anything mechanical was an abomination.
    Last edited by Patrick Madsen; 11-03-2012 at 01:38 AM.

  3. #13
    I don't recall my Stainless race chair coming apart. You sat fairly upright w your legs extended straight, pushrims connected to wheels with "spider clips" attached to wheels. Brakes courtesy of long sleeved shirt and pressing biceps against wheels and praying. One of the 1st races we traveled long distance to was the Orange Bowl Marathon in Miami, maybe 1984. There was one switchback portion of the race where I could clearly see the leaders trading leads - Rick Hanson and George Murray and Marty Ball right up there with them. Later I bought a Dean Barret chair and my wife traded her Quadra racechair for a Bair chair. As the years went by we bought Jerry Smith Handcrafted Metals chairs (with Hillclimbers), his company somehow morphed into Top End after Chris Peterson split from the company. Over the years I also had one Hall's Wheels race chair and a number of Barry Ewing's Eagle race chairs. Made the transition from 8" pneumatic front caster race chairs to 12" front casters, to 16" to 18" to 3 wheelers.

  4. #14
    I had a stainless racer. Didn't come apart that I remembered. I turned the frame upside down to get lower. Now we call it dump. Put a tie rod between the front 8 inch wheels and built hand rims out of flexible PVC. A guy named Ziggy and I built Jean Driscoll's first racer out of 2" PVC. She hated it and racing that first race.

  5. #15
    Senior Member DaleB's Avatar
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    Dang, you guys are OLD!!



    Seriously, I wish I had half the energy you guys had/have, to put into redefining what it means to be "disabled"!

    And what's up with those "side wheelies"?!?!?!?

    I'd like to be able to pull that off!
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  6. #16
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    As a younga who likes learning about wheelie history

    Thanks for posting

  7. #17
    The only good thing about E&J chairs was the Narrowmatic. As an option they sold a device to partially fold the chair while you were in it, great for getting through those pre ADA bathroom doors. You attached a bracket to seat of chair using existing seat screws, then a separate small crank hooked to the bracket and over the standard padded E&J armrest. You then cranked the crank slowly narrowing the chair until it was as narrow as your hips would tolerate. Once through the door you cranked in opposite direction to restore chair to ordinary width. Without this device I would not have been able to access bathroom in the apt. that my girlfriend (now wife) and I rented in NYC or the bathroom in the house we later rented in North Carolina. Other than the Narrowmatic the E&J chair was just a horrifying lead sled. Thank you Jeff Minnebraker for the Quadra which started it all.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ancientgimp View Post
    My wife decided to try racing as well and bought a used Quadra race chair from a crip that a lot of you have bought chairs from.
    Might his initials be J.B.?

    Definitely a very informative and interesting article.


  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI_OTR View Post
    Might his initials be J.B.?

    Definitely a very informative and interesting article.
    Yup, a role model for all crips.

  10. #20
    At age 41 I bought a used Quadra race chair from JB. When I first sat in it and tried it I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I had been sitting in E & J chairs since age 7. The racer flew practically by itself. My first race was for newbies and about 2 miles. Over the years I bought numerous race chairs, with my all time favorite the Freedom Ryder, and did about 100 races, 13 of them marathons. Back when I got a Quadra everyday chair pushing got so much easier! I'm so glad I got in on the revolution in wheelchairs - the article in New Mobility says it all - E & J had a stranglehold on wheelchairs. So much so that actual rules for competition in a wheelchair were based on measurements of the E & J chair!! At one time your backrest had to be a certain height from the ground. No modifications if you wanted to compete in a sanctioned event. If you applied this thinking to other spheres of technology, what would happen?
    Looking back, it made it very clear to me that one might want to consider 'breaking the mold' in terms of products and one's thoughts and beliefs. And, as is often the case, a battle may ensue.

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