The Art of Wheelchair Maintenance

My Trekinetic wheelchair is wonderful. It’s made a big difference at work and it enables me to do loads of the ‘outdoorsy’ activities I really missed before I got it. But there are some things about it that worry me a bit, and I don’t mean just the risk of tipping it over again and fracturing another body part. There’s also the question of how to look after it and keep it working properly.

All my previous chairs have been maintained by the NHS so if I had a problem I could call Wheelchair Services and the wheelchair equivalent of the AA would come and fix it in no time. With the Trekinetic chair it’s not as straightforward because both the company that made it and the company that supplied it are based outside London. They’re happy to give advice over the phone or would look at it if I take it to their workshop, but how to do routine maintenance has been worrying me. Every squeak or wobble has made me anxious that something might be going wrong.

But slowly I’m learning about the chair and how to look after it. And much to my surprise this is not only proving a very satisfying and enjoyable activity, it also makes me feel much calmer about any problems with it. Yesterday evening I sorted out the squeaky brakes and greased and oiled the other bits of the chair that need regular attention. But it’s still reassuring to know that if I need advice it’s only a phone call away

There’s still loads for me to learn, but my geekery seems to be entering a new phase: I’m no longer obsessed with just looking at wheelchairs – now, it’s how they work as well.

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