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Wheelchairs and Snow How Do You Do It?

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    Wheelchairs and Snow How Do You Do It?

    I was watching the weather report on TV today and New England was going to get 2 feet of snow! I was thinking to myself, "How do wheeler's deal with the snow?" I have lived in San Diego my whole life. I travel and get around and see other places. But the last place I would go to is New England or the Mid-West in the winter. I wonder how people who live in the snow parts of the country do it? Do you put snow tires on your chair? How do you keep the mud and snow from soaking your clothes? Are you trapped in the house all winter? Does the salt corrode your chair? Do your tires constantly get stuck in the snow? Do your fingers stick to the rim of your chair when its freezing? Why would you live in such a place? Just wondering.

    #2
    As a power chair user, it tends to be fairly easy and sometimes fun. Sidewalks and parking lots with a dusting of snow/ice are great for "wheelchair sledding" as I call it, spins, donuts, purposefully slipping around on it. Deeper snow, up to 1-3 inches is tolerable and can be motored through fairly easy with a solid surface underneath.

    Beyond that, I need to wait until a path has been cleared before I can get through. Chunks of ice and snow on sidewalks can be a hazard if not seen. I broke the frame of my chair last year hitting such a chunk. The salt can and does quickly aid to rusting components on my wheelchair and lift into my vehicle. That is just something to be watched, cleaned and given maintenance as needed.

    As to why live in such a place, for me, it's home. Watching the snow fall can be very beautiful and relaxing. It may be much cooler than your area of the country, but it can be lived with and tolerated just as any area of the country.
    C2/3 quad since February 20, 1985.

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      #3
      I change my tires once a year before winter hints, to have the best tread. I keep gloves with me and wear shoes more often. I pull my pants tight so they don't rub the wheel and get wet. No problems at all from salt. It takes quite a lot of snow to get stuck. Why do I live here? LOL why do you live there?
      Andrew

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        #4
        I am stucked in the house if it is more than 3 cm snow. And with the salt it is even more difficult. I can maybe go 100 meters but then my hands are wet and cold and I don't have more power in my arms. And I am strong for a woman. I am talking hard snow here.
        TH 12, 43 years post

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          #5
          Well, we just finished up two weeks of snow here. I had no problems with the first 2-3" when they froze solid. but when it unloaded another 2, then 3, then 2 it just wasn't happen'in. my 2' wide front wheels just plowed, and rear tires just slipped. I've been at home and the entire family has been driving my all wheel drive Toyota big van around, running all errands.
          So I'm not sure how you pep's in the mid and north east do it

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            #6
            I live in Northwest Washington and I have learned that wrapping bunge cords around your tires really grip and help tread through the snow!!!

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              #7
              I live in western Mass, and yeah, snow is a pain in the ass. I just wear snow tires all winter. I use side guards to keep the clothes clean and dry.

              I do get grumpy with all the slush and stuff though...

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                #8
                We're a hardy bunch in New England, for the most part you just deal with it as best you can, but pushing through snow does suck in a manual chair. There is a flipside that the landscape can be abolutely gorgeous when everything is covered in snow.
                "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
                Winston Churchill

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                  #9
                  I discovered recently after our town got hit with two major snowstorms that my power chair doesn't do well in snow. After attempting to drive on the sidewalk, it led me to sliding off the sidewalk on the ice and landing sideways in the street. A car passing by slowed down, and the driver was able to get out and help me get my chair back up onto the sidewalk. He and the person he was with, lifted it up onto the sidewalk, and helped me get back into it after I had gotten out.

                  I was surprised that it took two of them to do it since my power chair is extremely heavy. When my father-in-law was helping Dan and I move into our new house. It took him, me, my sister-in-law, and Dan to lift my power chair into the back of his truck. I have a wheelchair-accessible lowered floor minivan. But, we don't keep it at our house since neither Dan or I can drive. It stays at my mom's house since she, or my dad tends to drive us around in it a lot.

                  After the sliding incident, I wound up being housebound until the snow finally melted. It's all gone now, and the weatherman said that our town was done with getting snow. It makes me feel happy because I'm anxious to get back out with my power chair again.

                  Samantha

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                    #10
                    the sidewalks in cali are great. most places there are wheelable. here in Pennsylvania I noticed even before my accident there are not side walks except right through the main, and those are not negotiable by chair at all. the curbs are not for the novice wheeler. in Lansdale, Hatfield, North whales. the mall is about it. im lucky I have enough muscle to hoist my trike over most bad curbs, since I use the side walks. I could not get around on the same streets in my chair. I get stuck at the bad curbs. I have met wheelers along my way. often, they go as far as the walks will let them unless they know how to do wheelies, with a hop jiggle.

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                      #11
                      I have a "backup chair" with mountain bike tires it increases ability to push through snow at least 50%. I have a snow plow guy who is supposed to keep my driveway open but because he does his commercial customers 1st I usually shovel my own drive using just a manual snow shovel. I have been able to shovel successfully as much as 11" of snowfall. My technique is to flip the blade of the shovel to clear a path. With this technique you have to move the same snow numerous times but it works. With light snow (not wet) I just shovel normally. My drive has a steep angle so I am shoveling uphill - this works OK as long as you can reach your brakes quickly to lock up before you roll back down after repositioning yourself (scissor brakes suck). When using mountain bike tires in the snow be sure to have water proof gloves selected for a "grippy surface" on the palms. Push just on the tire treads because the wet and icy pushrims provide no grip.

                      This past week I was at the top of my drive finishing the last bit of snow when the county snowplow came down the road leaving big snow piles at the top of each drive. I intentionally kept my position thinking he would veer out into the road to avoid me thus sparing the big pile at the top of the drive. No way, he kept his line and a 3 foot avalanche of snow buried my right wheel ond shoved me sideways about a foot. The driver apparently seeing this stopped the truck, jumped out, grabbed my shovel and removed the snow blockade he had just created. Seeing my advantage I played the "wheelchair card" and asked him to try to reveal the sewer grates on the opposite side of the street when he did his pass in that direction. He willingly complied and yesterday and today during the big thaw we have running drains.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Marcielynne View Post
                        I live in Northwest Washington and I have learned that wrapping bunge cords around your tires really grip and help tread through the snow!!!
                        Hey bunge cord girl!! It's me your favorite partner in crime. We gotta get together. Maybe I can get over your way if I try the bunge cords cause my apt complex is still a mess, and we're a pretty sad looking bunch over here with people dragging me backwards through the snow.
                        "We're one but we're not the same. We get to carry each other" U2

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                          #13
                          You can see here how far I am coming. And I want to reach the grey house in the end because that is the street with shops. Most of the time it is a lot of snow up with the bar because they have shuffled the snow from the street there. The sidewalkes is imposseble, full of snow. I have tried with mountain bike tires but since the snow is full of salt it is sitting in the tires.
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                          TH 12, 43 years post

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                            #14
                            I too have the same problem with the snow but like others, I use side guards and wear gloves in the winter. I used to hate winter but now that I got a snowmobile. look out town, here I come! BTW, I live in a small community so everyone know everyone. I can drive right up to the coffee shop on my sled and they serve me there. LOL - also have a golf cart with mudders on the back that can go through 8" of snow no problem! I also have 2 boys that push me if the snow is too deep. I purchsed a snow blower that is 30" wide, self propelled so I strap the chair to the blower and drive all over the driveway getting rid of the snow. Don't let it slow you down people, go out and have fun! Nothing like a snowball fight with your kids! Payback! lol!

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                              #15
                              Snow is horrible to wheel through, but ice is worse. We went to my Mothers for Christmas and her driveway was a sheet of ice. I was going nowhere fast.
                              T-5 incomplete

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