On Sunday I tested the Freedom Trax, a caterpillar that you ride on with a manual chair.
I had this opportunity thanks to Veronique who has the project to develop the rental of leisure equipment for people with disabilities and their families as well as municipalities that could offer them to vacationers, you can follow their tests. material on the Miaggo Liberté Egalité Accessibilite page for more info!
The Freedom Trax is therefore a caterpillar designed to allow access to complex floors for manual wheelchair users: sand, snow, undergrowth, paths.
For this test we gave ourselves appointment at the beach of Sainte Marine near Benodet in our beautiful Brittany !
Franck pulled the caterpillar out of the trunk of his car, which also contained his son Enoal’s folding wheelchair (so it’s pretty compact).
The caterpillar weighs 32 kilos, so it can be handled by a third party or possibly alone thanks to a ramp which is sold by the supplier for this purpose.
I had to back up to get on the Freedom Trax so that Franck made the adjustments to adapt it to the measurements of my chair.
They are done on the length and the width.
Exclusively for manual armchairs and armchairs with little bending angle (it is too wide otherwise).
I did not manage to go up alone but Enoal does it without problems, I do not have “all my arms” as a quadriplegic, but obviously otherwise it is done without too much difficulty (at the same time the guy is not just anyone, he is a champion at Electro Soccer in Brest ! (Brittany town)).
The bindings are simple, 2 rods which pass through the small front wheels and the foot plates which are reassembled with an elastic band, which can be manipulated alone with correct hands, I think I could have done it even… but I was too lazy .
The joystick is attached to the fork of the chair.
And there you go! If we rush fast, which is relative because the maximum speed is 5 km / H, it skates a little, there is a small inertia at start-up, the time it hangs on the ground. The freedom trax rolls very well in the sand, takes directions easily, a little less when you turn on yourself when stopped but ditto, little inertia then it is gone!
We tested the slope from the front, it does not tip thanks to the 2 wheels located at the back of the track, it stops because it skates.
Forward I “surfed” on the sand going at the top speed on a good descent but it did not tip either. In contrast, on the slope, it flipped very quickly, so mistrust on the small paths, the fall can be tough!
The Freedom trax should not be submerged, however it can withstand rolling in pools of less than 10cm of water.
It rolls almost better on dry sand than on wet sand. On this beach, the soil was not compact as can be found on the beaches of Northern France for example.
The range is 8 km.
For my feelings, well I loved it! really !
Yet I am not at all a fan of electric chairs (since I tore down my curtains and the bar that goes with it and I gave mine!) But here..!
I can see myself very well going to the beach with friends, my children, just need to take out the caterpillar and once on it I can carry my stuff alone, nobody should push me, I am completely autonomous on the ballad! I imagine a lot of places now inaccessible or I could go with this machine. I want one!!!
The price is just over 7000 euros (I have the price excluding tax only)