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Snow and Manual Wheelchairs

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  • Snow and Manual Wheelchairs

    Need some help from those of you adept in dealing with snow in manual chairs. It's about to snow here once again and up to six inches are predicted. Streets take long enough to clear, but parking lots and sidewalks remain untouched for hours after snow falls, to the point that I do not feel confident about venturing out solo. Even if I am with my wife, I worry that she may slip or fall helping to push me. What do those of you in snowy areas use or do to get from your car, truck or van into store, restaurant or other destination?

  • #2
    We use determination, mostly. Other than gloves and maybe knobby tires there's not a lot we can do.

    If it's any consolation I don't think it's so dangerous for your wife to be pushing you. Pushing a wheelcair gives the pusher something to hold on to. It's kind of like using a walker.

    Spring is coming. Just in time. [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~
    ~See you at the CareCure-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~


    • #3
      Knobby tires help. However, the ability to do a wheelie through the snow helps a lot. The little tires in the front tend to bog down in the snow, being able to eliminate that aspect of the equation helps a lot.

      When I cruise outside my front tires never touch the ground....which helps in the summer time as well simply because they don't hit the cracks and ruts on the sidewalk


      • #4
        Knobby tires, good gloves, and strength/power. [img]/forum/images/smilies/mad.gif[/img]

        Agree with PD. Wheelies, even mini ones, also help.


        • #5
          Yeah - I can't maintain a wheelie through the snow so when those are required progress is made one wheelie at a time. Basically gaining a foot with every lunge forward. Crude but it helps.

          Even my wife can wheel me on my two back wheels but this is more dangerous. A fall doing that could be disasterous. So, usually when she's helping push through the snow I'll inject a wheelie every few feet. I bet we make quite a sight. [img]/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]

          ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~
          ~See you at the CareCure-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~


          • #6
            I didn't even get as far as getting stuck in my chair today. I got stuck in my car for 2hours this afternoon reversing in my own driveway.

            Blowing snow created some unbelievable drifts... nice fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. -)

            This is the coldest and nastiest winter I can ever remember here. It's bad enough as an AB but 10x worse in a chair.
            "Oh yeah life goes on
            Long after the thrill of livin is gone"

            John Cougar Mellencamp


            • #7
              I live just down the road in Columbia.I moved from Florida...One extreem to the other...
              My Apt. complex blades the parking lot and shovels the walkways and ramps.There I am lucky but at other spots I'm out unless I complain. We have not had more than 8 in. so can't say more. Other than knobbies and maybe larger front tires mite be the way to go.Trying to go down the ramp with a 5 in.snow was fun...I had to work to go down.Didn't have to worry about stopping, just going up! That was work.Now ice was fun! The area was large enough to do slides..Had a ball after I got some good gloves..I never go anywhere with out my cell.Just in case..
              Good luck,
              Phil I.


              • #8
                I agree with those who posted that knobby tires and wheelies are pretty much all you can do. For winter use I put on 5" casters as well. Also, I found gloves in Cabela's that are good leather work gloves, gore tex lined and thinsulate insulated. They have been working great for pushing in winter/snow.


                • #9

                  ive only been in my manual wheelchair for about 5 months and its comin to the winter months here in england and i have no idea what im going to do when it snows!
                  im a part time student and i have no acsess to a regular car and travell to and from my college via train and wheeling.
                  if anyone can advize me on what i should do that would be a great help as i have no carer that can come with me to college and my education is very important to me.
                  hope evry1 is well many thanks bendy


                  • #10
                    Knobby tires don't help if they are salting the snow. I have been stuck inside the last winters because they don't have money to clean the small streets. Last year I sent a letter to the ombud for discrimination for cleaning my street every time it came snow, and they DID it the rest of the winter.
                    TH 12, 43 years post


                    • #11
                      I'm a C7 and have learned the following lessons/tips:

                      - wear gloves that won't get wet (keep your hands warm and dry because once they get cold and wet you lose them as effective tools pretty fast; frost bite is bad enough as an AB person but horrible where your sensory levels are heightened, i.e forearms and hands)
                      - if you can effectively handle a snow shovel then shovel the snow in 2-3 inch increments (as it falls) away from the entry points to your home, the sidewalks to your car and any ramps
                      - wheelies generally allow you to get around in up to 6 inches of snow (unless it is packed then it might not matter how high it is)
                      - wash your hands if you get a lot of ice melt on your hands (if the skin on my hands break open then it just makes it that much harder to get around in the elements)
                      - dress for exposure if you think you might get stuck in the snow or be out for a long period of time; there's a big difference between 15 minutes in the elements and 2 hours
                      - ice and low/zero tread tires just don't work especially on inclines; plan on putting you knobbies on in October or November
                      - effective hands, wheelies and a heightened sense of awareness are the most important things to me
                      - if you live in an area where the snow/ice usually melt within 12-24 hours then let it melt before going out (About 15 years ago, I awoke to fire trucks in front of my house; it was 7AM, about 25 degrees out and there was an inch of ice on the road in front of my house; a local kid had taken his dad's Explorer out and wrapped it around the fire hydrant in front of my house; four hours later the temperature was in the mid-50s, the sky was blue and the sun had already melted the ice)
                      Last edited by Patton57; 11-25-2010, 07:05 PM.


                      • #12
                        side gaurds. i don't like to keep them on my chair in the summer but with the way my school salts the sidewalks and walkways, i put them on the chair in the winter so i don't get my clothes all messed up.
                        mitochondrial disease complex 1 deficiency, suspected HSP
                        type 3 ehlers danlos syndrome w/ type 1 overlap, g and j tubes
                        aspergers & friends
                        survivor of 2 TIA strokes


                        • #13
                          Yep, all of the above, and especially the side guards (it's a bitch trying to get warm again when your hips are wet and cold from melted snow), good gloves, and a cell phone. I also have a police type whistle as a backup. If/when my ship comes in, I will try to spend winters the South.

                          Don - Grad Student Emeritus
                          T3 ASIA A 26 years post injury


                          • #14
                            Use of a Freewheel would help a lot, 4 or 5" casters and snow, not a good match. Switch to knobbies or more radically treaded, wider, softer tires for winter. If you get the Freewheel I believe he now sells an attachment to store it on the bar behind backrest when not in use. Snow sucks.