A Question of Wheels

The other day Sophie and I were on a bus heading to a #BIBL rehearsal. I was in the wheelchair area, chatting to Sophie who was sitting across from me. I was ticcing quite a lot but nobody seemed to be paying much attention.

Suddenly, the man sitting next to Sophie leant forward and said, ‘I hope you don’t mind me asking a question, and you can tell me to be quiet if it’s rude.’ I said I was happy to answer questions and prepared myself for a Tourettes-related query.

To my surprise his question didn’t relate to tics at all but to wheelchairs – one of my favourite subjects. He said, ‘My nephew keeps asking me about wheelchairs. He’s seen some videos of people doing tricks in them and was wondering if they had special chairs or attachments to help them do them.”

I told him there were some amazing videos of people doing incredible things in wheelchairs and that as far as I was aware most of these were done without any additional attachments. I said that some of the chairs were probably very light, and configured with stunts in mind, but that like skateboarding or BMX-ing, wheelchair tricks demanded carefully honed skills.

It was a lovely unexpected conversation and besides making the bus journey go more quickly it also inspired me to check out some of the videos when I got home. They’re truly amazing but I won’t be trying my hand at high-speed backflips any time soon – not intentionally at least.

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