Have you already tried all of the typical adaptive sports available in your area, but haven’t yet found one that holds your interest and quenches your thirst for adventure? Then it’s time for you to move off the beaten path, and luckily, a handful of thrill-seeking wheelchair users have already begun to forge the way. If you love the great outdoors, breathtaking speeds, and stomach-dropping heights, add these five extreme diversions to your bucket list!
Mountain biking or hand cycling is one of the most popular adaptive sports around and manufacturers like ReActive Adaptations are constantly stepping up to the plate with new innovations and technology to accommodate nearly all abilities. If you have an adaptive sports program in your area, chances are they offer some form of hand cycling, and even if there aren’t any mountains nearby, you may still be able to do some off-roading. Going through an organization such as Vermont Adaptive can give you the chance to try it out before investing a hefty sum in your own equipment.
If you haven’t seen RISE & FALL, the story of Italian adaptive surfer Massimiliano Mattei, stop reading and go watch it now! This beautifully filmed short documentary of an even more beautiful story will make you want to drop what you’re doing and start riding waves immediately. Check out Adaptive Surfing Magazine for tips and inspiration, and when you qualify for the World Adaptive Surfing Championships, be sure to let us know!
You’ve probably noticed skateboarders and BMXers at a local skatepark, but have you ever seen someone in a wheelchair tricking and flipping with the best of them? Since it’s a relatively new trend, you likely won’t find any organized programs offering wheelchair motocross lessons in your area. Hence, now is your chance to join the likes of Aaron Fotheringham in pioneering the sport and taking it to the next level. Just be sure to get yourself the necessary protective gear before attempting anything crazy…crashing and burning is guaranteed!
Whether you’re plunging from a bridge, a manmade platform, or out of a helicopter into an active volcano (yes, it has been done!), bungee jumping is sure to push your limits and satisfy your adrenaline rush cravings. You can even do it from the comfort of your own chair like Canadian Paralympian Rick Hansen or paraplegic artist Christine Rougoor.
Most people are perfectly happy to go through life without jumping out of an airplane, but if you’re reading this, you’re probably not that type. If the mere thought of free falling toward the earth from over two miles high gets your heart racing with excitement, call up your nearest outfitter and ask if they’re equipped to accommodate adaptive tandem jumpers. But first, check out Jarrett Martin’s Facebook page for some incredible photos and videos to help you work up the much-needed courage. You may not be able to walk, but you most definitely can fly!
Finding the balance between the thrill of living on the edge and the monotony of a daily routine is never an easy quest.
While Wheel:Life encourages you to seek out adventure, we also want you to be safe. No matter which activity you choose, make sure you have the necessary equipment and protection to prevent accidents and injuries. Go through a reputable organization or get a trained professional to show you the ropes when possible and avoid heading out alone. And, of course, talk to your doctor before taking the plunge!
Happy adventures to you!
Betsy Bailey has a diverse background including experience in marketing research at American Express, business operations and client relations with 601am, travel and culinary writing with VegDining, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.
Betsy is excited to get back into writing, something she’s adored since childhood, and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. On top of her work with Wheel:Life, she also teaches students learning English as a second language, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!