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Thread: How to brake down a steep hill.

  1. #1

    Question How to brake down a steep hill.

    Hi, this is my first post although I have followed this equipment forum for a quite a while but haven't posted until now.

    There are two bus stops near me, one at the top of a long steep hill and one at the bottom of a shorter but very steep hill (not a road but a public footpath).

    If I push uphill I'm worn out before I even get on the bus to go shopping. I wish could go down the steep hill to the bottom bus stop but I'm scared I won't be able to hold onto the chair even with gloves on?

    I've racked my brain but can't think of a solution? Maybe there isn't one?

  2. #2
    The only methods I've used are leaning on knees and going down backwards very slowly, and also I have used on my driveway - zig-zaging, which I think skiiers call 'tacking'? That works best for me - frequently turning sharp right or left so you are not going straight at all, just sideways.
    That said, these suggestions may not be safe for someone in a wheelchair. It sounds like you have a very dangerous hill.

    If these tricks don't work for you, how about contacting your local government and meet someone at the hill and suggest a sturdy railing along both sides of the length of the incline. If a railing is present, I have held onto it going up or down.

  3. #3
    go down on your back wheels, thats the way i would do it, i would feel safer doing it that way, no castors to get caught and flip you forward

  4. #4
    Your profile is pretty vague about your injury, but if you have the dexterity, doing a wheelie down the hill is definitely the best way to do it, as rAdGie suggests.

  5. #5
    ADI brakes perhaps. Pricey though.
    TiLite TR3
    Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
    I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

    "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."

  6. #6
    Senior Member NW-Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Vancouver WA USA - - Male T4 ASIA B incomplete

    Last edited by NW-Will; 10-15-2017 at 02:32 PM.

  7. #7
    Thank you for all the replies. My hand strength is good but I'm so sure about my balance! Although I can do rolling wheelies of a fashion. I found a dog lead and thought I might be able to tie it to the backrest rigidiser bar and ask someone to walk down with me the first time.
    Initally I was thinking of going down on all four wheels and leaning back in the chair. But now you say it, going down on the rear wheels does make sense. Is going downhill on all four wheels not such a good idea because all your bodyweight is being thrown forward and with more load through the castors and as Radgie says they can snag on debris on the ground? At this time of year the tarmac footpath is covered in fallen twigs and chestnut casings. I will definitely give it a go but only if someone is with me to hold onto the strap.

  8. #8
    Yup wheelie... Habe to do this at a hunting spot of mine. Figured it out after dumping out forward 3 times this year !!!

  9. #9
    I can't wheelie and I have a similar situation almost every day. Unfortunately, I couldn't fit ADI disk brakes onto my chair.
    I instead, fitted a Magura HS33 R Hydraulic Bicycle Rim Brake.
    I placed the lever on my right side. I separated the brake harness pads with a longer hydraulic hose so that one hydraulic pad presses against the inside rim of my right wheel and the other hydraulic pad presses against the inside of my left wheel.
    My bike shop put it together for me in 2 hours. I have used this since 2015.
    The benefits are that it is not effected by rain and it also works well without using the brake lever on gentle slopes because as a single brake pad is on the inside of each of my wheels, it only takes minor pressure against my pushrims to cause enough counter friction as needed. No more thumbs to mangle. I don't press my gloves on my tyres for braking any more so I save on leather gloves.
    The downside is finding a simple way to keep the lever down and steer at the same time. I use a standard roll of insulation tape to lock the brake lever down on very steep hills/ramps and also when I transfer.
    You will either love them or hate them!
    Last edited by gps; 10-20-2017 at 10:11 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Four Corners, USA
    A Freewheel ( would allow you to go down frontwards, but you'd still have the braking problem, plus the Freewheel is spendy and you have to get the mount to haul it around once you get down the hill. No simple solution to this, darn it.

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