wheelchairiconSince 1979 Whirlwind has worked with wheelchair riders around the world to design durable and highly functional wheelchairs that perform well on rough terrain and are built in factories that contribute to local economic development. Whirlwind Wheelchair International is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities in the developing world while promoting sustainable local economic development in the process.
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Whirlwind co-founder Ralf Hotchkiss’s work in developing countries began in 1979 with a visit to Nicaragua. Whirlwind grew out of the next decade of Hotchkiss’s work, for which he was given a MacArthur Award. Whirlwind was founded in 1989 by Hotchkiss and San Francisco State.
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Wheelchair riders spend the greater part of each day trusting their wheelchairs for postural support and mobility. Wheelchairs, like cars, are about mobility and safety. Driving a city car off-road will most likely leave a person stuck and frustrated. For wheelchair riders in rough developing world conditions, the difference is that they cannot afford repairs and they cannot walk away from these situations. That’s why Whirlwind chairs are super-durable and capable on almost any terrain and use parts and materials that are readily available throughout the developing world.
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The award-winning Roughrider is designed to handle rugged terrain with ease. It has been proven in over 25 countries by thousands of riders who live in the worst of conditions and need the best of chairs. Riders use it as a super-durable daily-use chair or in the US and Canada as a backup when life calls for off-pavement adventures.

Long Wheelbase: Provides outstanding stability and safety from tipping – the number one cause of injury to wheelchair riders

WideFlex Casters: Whirlwind’s signature Zimbabwe wheels float over soft surfaces like grass and mud and absorb shocks for a smooth ride

Tight Turning: Radius Useable in spaces as tight as less stable chairs

High Traction Rear Bike Tires: Perfect for off road adventures and affordable to replace

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Ralf Hotchkiss on ABC7.
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