The Victoria TrailRider Hiking with the Disabled Program was founded by longstanding local ACC member Gerry Graham in 2006. We take disabled people hiking on local mountain trails, using the TrailRider, a non-motorised, one-wheeled device that is sort of a cross between a wheelbarrow and a baby jogger, and which folds up to fit in the back of a mid-sized SUV. To date our team of dedicated sherpas has successfully completed approximately thirty outings.
How the Program Operates
TrailRider Hiking with the Disabled events appear on the Alpine Club of Canada/Vancouver Island schedule, which means that the Club's insurance policy applies, and all participants are required to sign the Club's waiver. In addition, half of the thirty nine sherpas currently involved in the program are members of the ACC, as is at least one of our seven TrailRider clients. To date, a total of seven Alpine Club members have acted as Trip Leaders on various TrailRider outings.
Another key feature of the program is that all of our sherpas, plus all of the TrailRider passengers, are officially registered with Recreation Integration Victoria ( RIV ), a local organization that facilitates access to sporting activities by people with disabilities. This means that essentially everyone who participates in our outings is covered by RIV's insurance policy; unlike the ACC's policy, RIV's covers participants for injury-related expenses. RIV volunteers also submit personal medical information, sign a waiver, take an Oath of Confidentiality and agree to undergo a Criminal Record Check.
Where We Go and How We Get There
Our outings tend to be in parks within the Capital Regional District ( CRD ). The degree of difficulty ranges from low ( Elk Lake, Swan Lake/Christmas Hill, Cedar Hill Golf Course ) to moderate ( Mt. Douglas, Thetis Lake, East Sooke Park and Royal Roads ) to difficult ( Mt. Wells, the back route up Mt. Finlayson and Mt. Work ). Where we go depends in part on the wishes of our client, as well as how many porters we can muster on any given day.
Although the TrailRider can be operated with a minimum of two sherpas- one in the front and the other in the back, for our purposes we usually require at least four or five fit and energetic sherpas on any given outing. This number can double, however, if the terrain is challenging, or if our client is hefty. On a few occasions we have had two teams of TrailRiders out on the same outing.
Click here for some photos and a couple of video clips from our May 16, 2009 TrailRider outing at Royal Roads.
We have acquired our own TrailRider unit, thanks to generous grants from:
- Royal Roads Running Club
- Saanich Legacy Foundation
- Alpine Club of Canada, Vancouver Island Section.
In addition, a number of individuals have made generous donations, including:
- Yan Lyesin
- Colleen Kasting, in memory of her partner, Ted Davis, who died in August 2007
- Mike Hubbard
- Jim Legh
- Dunnery Best
- Mary Ellen Graham
- John Gibson
Click here for a photo and description of a Black Diamond TrailRider similar to the one that we have purchased. Our TrailRider has undergone alterations at CanAssist to make it safer, more comfortable for the passenger, and easier for the sherpas to manouevre over local terrain. One of our sherpas, Ryan Traunt, a CanAssist engineer, was in charge of our TrailRider upgrade project. We continue to seek donations which will allow us to purchase spare parts for our TrailRider as and when needed, to maintain it, and to subsidise a possible multi-day, two TrailRider trip next summer in Strathcona Park. If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to the Alpine Club of Canada/ Vancouver Island Section's TrailRider Fund, click on this Donation Form link.
If you'd like to see a video of us in action, there is a Shaw 3-minute TV segment which has been posted on Youtube. You can also read an article about the 2008 TrailRider year in review in the latest edition of Island Bushwhacker, on pps. 75-76.
Our official 2009 schedule kicked off March 14 with a training workshop at Mt. Douglas, where sherpas took turns being pushed around in the TrailRider. So far this year we have taken the TrailRider out a total of seven times. Our most recent outing was June 17 at Royal Roads.
Jeff Ward, Coordinator. Tel. 250-598-2402.