Finally after so long , it’s HERE !!! The world’s “1st Carbon Fibre Rigid Wheelchair” >>>>
OMG , this Machine is like an F-1 … or a Fighter Jet :-):-)
The long-term partnership with “PROGEO” & “Ability in Motion” has Lift OFF , it’s GR8 to have them on board. M8’s, we’re in it for a marathon not a 100 metre dash, that’s been one of the TRUE blessings since I started this crazy madcap adventure – forging relationships with such wonderful partners. Thank you so much for EVERYTHING :-):-):-)
It’s been on my radar for 2 years ever since I saw the first generation at the ANZCOS Conference (this side of the world’s largest spinal injury conference), where I sighted the concept of using carbon fibre as a material to build a wheelchair from. Funny, but you don’t ever really wonder what a material that is used for a chair frame means >>> in the PUSH .
Then last year I saw this Progeo NOIR again >>> only with some improvements and upgrades. The trade show was out as education sessions were in play, so I got to really have a good look with no one around , was pretty impressed to say the least , but it was when I put my arm underneath and tried to lift the chair. I knew instantly ? Right then ? This would be the chair I’ll dream to own one day !!! I could lift it even with my shoulders , without so much as a strain !!! WOW !!!
I’ve had an alloy chair , titanium chairs and a magnesium chair – they all feel & ride very , VERY different , even though all the measurements (scripts) have been identical , they each have varying different characteristics. They all feel unique , but it’s WHEN you initiate the PUSH and ROLL that you feel just how different they are !!!
When people see me in a chair, many eventually ask “so what does a wheelchair cost ?” And when I tell them, almost always comes back something like : “Jesus where’s the engine” for that kind of money you could buy a car, but when I explain that EVERY single curve, length, angle, incline, decline, width, stance etc etc relates to every part of my body and my injury – and that they are hand-made for each user – I’d say @20-40 different specifics are needed to make it perfect for that specific user ?
Then ? They say : “Oh … Didn’t think of that, guess that does make sense” 😉
Well after 2 years of lusting , and a year of working back and forward with the Progeo team, Darren at the helm and my “Ability in Motion” best mates Ciaran & Burnzy , all the work, talks, plans, changes, emails, phone calls, meetings, modifications, cosmetics (lord knows I need all the help in the world in this department), my NOIR finally arrived this last week :-):-)
THE WORLD’S BEST WHEELCHAIR IMHO AND THE BEST WHEELCHAIR I’VE EVER ROLLED :-):-):-)
Carbon Fibre makes an incredible material to use as a frame for a wheelchair , NO Flex , it’s an “instant” response , the amount of initial energy you create to make her alive and move is so “small”, she responds and rolls like an F-1 … Every tiny bit of push and she instantly takes off like a jet plane and , with incredible speed , every correction you make is instant. I guess the best way to describe is that when you are sitting and parked (laugh out loud I’m only in it for the parking) and you want to start to move, you prepare your shoulders and place them in the right position (thanks my main man JOSH for teaching me that , technique is EVERYTHING , Go Tigers) , you place your hands onto the push rims exactly where you get the most efficiency and where your shoulders are engaged but not to far forward or to far aft , then you create the amount of energy you need to start the chair to roll …. I’m used to knowing how much and how hard I need to make this happen , when I got into the NOIR , I went to do what I have done for the last 8 years in my other chairs, and instead of creeping forward and waiting for the next push to make the roll continue it took off like a dog with an open gate (you need a bit more energy and effort to get her to go from parking to that first move forward) ..
Well blow me down ?
I did it and almost would have beaten Mr Bolt off the line :-):-):-)
The smallest push and she lurched forward with Gusto & Speed :-):-):-)
Truly AMAZING !!!!!!!!
The feel of the ride is indescribable but Breathtaking :-):-)
Then the real metric of success ?
Well, when you are in the position I am, where I drive myself where I need to go and independent of anyone else or help, I have to brake the chair into pieces to get it into the car – first me, then the cushion which is the heaviest item to bring in and place on the floor of the left rear seat, then the chair is placed tilted forward on the car door, where the wheels come off and go behind my body into the right rear seat (yes the Massa and 2 back seats) then the chair is folded (backrest is folded down onto the seat base) and that’s when…
You must extend your right arm and lift the chair frame and backrest vertically whilst your arm is extended and slowly it’s brought in between the steering wheel and YOU , rotated & turned upside down and finally placed on the left rear seat !
After 3 shoulder surgeries, it’s that vertical lift upward with your arm almost fully extended that is where the strain is felt in my shoulder, so the lighter the chair the less the strain. This where the MOST important part of any chair for me comes to the fore.
Then when you have arrived at your destination , the reverse of all the aforesaid comes into play again, and so it goes each and every time you go anywhere in the car and need to get out , ultimately meaning you have to get back in at some stage. I can do as many as 10-15 stops on a busy day , I worked it out once for a presentation! With the amount of transfers I do on a daily basis and the weight of the chair, after one week – my right shoulder has lifted the equivalent weight of a small car , after a month – a large 8-10 seater maxi taxi and >>> after a year ? A 747 plane !!
With my shoulders as bad as they are, every kilo I don’t lift each time is a blessing TFS , it all adds up, believe me :-):-):-)
First time I went to do it with the NOIR, I started to lift the frame and just as well I was holding the chair tight as I went to lift with the amount of force I have always needed and almost launched the chair over the car & into space !!
I only just stopped it from hitting the ROOF !!!!
And even better? More and more clinical studies have shown that if you’re in a chair for life , and you assess the long term issues, seating dynamics and postural support are CRITICAL. If not , over a decade your once straight torso can end up looking like a banana. Bent as much as a weight bar when “Greeny” is benching (sorry Steve had to do it) . Most of the compelling data is suggesting that having a solid seat back supports you much better than slung upholstery , but therein lies the quandary. If you ADD a solid seat back (even if the lightest types in carbon) it adds weight to the chair and that extra weight on top of the chair itself ?
Makes that lift into and out of the car much harder on the shoulders :-(:-(:-(
BUT with the NOIR ?
You get the advantages of the solid seat back AND it’s still WAY WAY lighter than any other chair with slung upholstery , that’s a HOME RUN for me :-):-):-)
Without DOUBT, for me, the “BEST” Ride I’ve ever had , HUGE Big Ups to Ciaran , Burnzy , Darren and EVERYONE at a “PROGEO”. Thanks mates – for me and my injuries, you’ve given me the BEST Chair in … As Clarkson would say … The WORLD :-):-):-)
I’ll be doing a road test soon as I’ve just come back from 3 days in the outback , freezing cold , pouring cats and dogs (rain) muddy ground , wet grass , stoned pathways , you name it was put through it , report to follow :-):-)
But I can also say ????
!!!!!! She came up TRUMPS !!!!!
As an aside ? Damn she’s one B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L- piece of “Artisan Bespoke Work !!!
FORZA … A Presto … A game changer :-):-)
Well that was till my little daughter thought she needed some “Color” >>>