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Wheelblades mini wheelchair skis for snow and ice

By

September 28, 2012

Wheelblades help prevent the front wheels from sinking

Wheelblades help prevent the front wheels from sinking

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When the going gets snowy and slick, people turn to snowshoes and ice cleats to get them over wintery ground. Those in wheelchairs don't have quite as many simple options. Essentially mini skis that lock onto the front wheels of a wheelchair, Wheelblades are designed as an easy-to-use solution that aid traction and give a little extra oomph through snow, ice and slush.

Like a snowshoe does for the person wearing it, the Wheelblades spread the weight over a greater surface area. Instead of slipping and sinking, the front wheels float and glide. A pair of channels on the base of the ski compress the snow, which increases stability.

Swiss inventor Patrick Mayer, himself a quadriplegic, designed Wheelblades out of his own desire to make getting around in winter less of a chore. Mayer's condition was caused by a snowboarding accident, and as a snow lover, he was disheartened by the difficulty of getting around during the winter months. Unable to find an affordable, easy-to-use winter mobility aid, he designed his own. Upon constructing a solution that met his needs, Mayer decided he should get the Wheelblades to market for other wheelchair users.

To install you pull the front wheels up

Wheelblades use a clamp lock to secure to the wheels. They are designed to be installed within minutes by raising the wheelchair up on its primary drive wheels, lowering the front wheels on top and closing the clamp on the binding. The binding fits a variety of wheel sizes.

In addition to wheelchairs, Wheelblades will also work with strollers, providing extra mobility for mothers and fathers taking their child out on a winter walk.

Of course, like any mobility device, Wheelblades have their limitations. You obviously won't be able to plow through snow of all all depths and distances, and Mayer suggests pairing the blades with winter tires on the main wheels for the best results. The website also warns against going at speeds over 10 km/h (6.2 mph).

Wheelblades are available for pre-order with deliveries scheduled to begin in October, just in time for winter in Europe. The retail price is €87 each /€174.00 per pair (about US$112/ 224 as of publishing).

Source: Wheelblades

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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4 Comments

It would work better if the wheel stuck through the ski just a little bit to be compatible with any surface.

Slowburn
28th September, 2012 @ 06:14 pm PDT

Slowburn, yes it would, but, bad idea, then it would have to mount to the axle shafts of the wheel, have to come in different sizes for different wheel sizes and be a pain in the rear to install, going for a walk, yep got wrenches with me, or add rollers on the frame so the wheel could be exposed and cost three times as much

Bill Bennett
28th September, 2012 @ 08:45 pm PDT

Agreed with Slowburn. These might be good on the ski slopes, but useless on city streets where surfaces may alternate between packed snow, loose snow, ice, slush, shoveled concrete sidewalks and plowed asphalt.

Gadgeteer
29th September, 2012 @ 11:10 am PDT

re; Bill Bennett

You would only need to install the slotted skis once a season at most.

Pikeman
30th September, 2012 @ 02:47 am PDT
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