Hitting the trails

The TrailRider weighs 23 kg, is designed so that it can be folded and transported in a hatchback, SUV or minivan and can accommodate people of all sizes. It has a single, pneumatic wheel that works well on narrow trails and rough terrain, an aluminum frame, adjustable seating, and a disc braking system. It can be operated by two to four people (in British Columbia, they call them Sherpas) - one pulling in the front, the other pushing from the back.

Here at Memorial, the arrival of the TrailRider means that students with disabilities or low-mobility, like Kayla who has cerebral palsy, can now take part in outdoor recreation activities that they couldn't before. "I think the purchase of a TrailRider is a great advancement towards helping students with disabilities enrolled in HKR to be able to safety partake in the school's outdoor recreation courses. Recreation is a growing and demanding field and now students with disabilities are able to take advantage of these courses and take the experience into future career opportunities."

"We have some students in the recreation program with disabilities or limited mobility and we have a few required courses in outdoor recreation," noted Dr. TA Loeffler, a professor in HKR. "The TrailRider means that those students will now have access to those class activities such as hiking and wilderness camping."

The idea behind the TrailRider started in the mid-1980s by former Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, who wanted to the things he loved doing before, like hiking, after a skiing accident left him a quadriplegic. HKR ordered from the British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society (BCMOS), which was founded by Mr. Sullivan.

"I see its potential in teaching and making my outdoor classroom more accessible, in research with potential projects related to getting folks out into nature who might not ordinarily get there and with community engagement and partnerships," added Dr. Loeffler. "It's a piece of equipment that we are willing to share with others such as Easter Seals, recreation departments, schools, etc. We don't want it sitting idle and I'm eager to start training students to use it."