This year for Father's Day we took Geoff out to Camp Sherman and walked and rolled along the Metolius River. We were supposed to be testing out the new pull bars, but ended up working mostly on our small-wooden-bridge-crossing skills. Our route started at the fish hatchery and followed the river upstream toward Black Butte to the South before turning around and heading back the same way we came.
The trail was predominantly wide single-track with some minor to moderate rocks, roots, and other obstacles in the path. However, as we quickly discovered, there are three stream crossings at the beginning of the trail, making six total crossings for the day! I have been using Snapchat to share my adventures with the world and so I grabbed a stranger to film our secondcrossing of the day (above). [Snapchat allows the user to send pics or short videos up to ten seconds long, which is why the video cuts off before our dismount. I promise it was perfect though!]
Using only the two person team (one pusher, one puller), we managed to cross all six bridges without incident. Previously, we had crossed a small log bridge at Shevlin Park (LINK), but only once, in one direction, and with a third person assisting. Using the Freewheel and one of the two large mountain bike wheels, we were able to successfully cross bridges that were otherwise too narrow for a wheelchair and thus frequently limit mobility and access to the wilderness for wheelchair users.
We discovered that the pusher needs to have the upper-body strength to hold the rider's weight over the wheels on the bridge and that because of the sketchy footing of the stream bed for the puller, they are mostly a support and mount/dismount role. I do not believe we could have crossed without the second person supporting from below unless the rider were considerably smaller: a child, a smaller man, etc. Additionally, the person supporting may have to walk through a running stream and get their feet wet. The weather was perfect for Father's Day this year, but this may be a factor in colder weather or when the streams are running higher.
In the end, it was one of our best adventures yet and a wonderful day with the family! We spent quality time and put the chair and the team through their paces. The pull bars worked as expected and the chair performed excellently as well. Happy Father's Day, Dad! Next time i'll push a little harder and we'll dump you out of the chair again ;) you know, for science!