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Michael finds freedom on the fells

How do you ride off-road when you’re paralysed from the neck down? Michael Bonney was determined to find out after a spinal-cord injury left him lying in a hospital bed pondering his future.

Having worked in the bike industry for 20 years, in both marketing and product design, Michael knew what was possible. He started looking for an off-road electric-powered wheelchair and after some research he found the Boma 7, based around two mountain bikes put together, and incorporating an electric motor, batteries and suspension.

Before long, Michael was out on the fells overlooking Ullswater driving his new chair, using a chin-controlled steering system. He was after more however; the steering system wasn’t precise, the suspension didn’t give much travel or control and the batteries weren’t up to the job, so he looked for someone to help tweak the chair. Jack Rae of Remap Carlisle was that man for the job and the next couple of years were spent modifying, improving and developing the chair.

Changes have been made to the chin control and its programming and new batteries improve the chair’s range and power. Jack designed a new front suspension system and incorporated many additional suggestions from Michael.

Michael now has a much improved chair. But more than this, a lot of the modifications will be incorporated in a new Boma 7.5. A new company, Equal Adventure, took over its production after the previous company (Molten Rock) went into administration, and they’re keen to develop it. Michael will be involved in that development, using his mountain biking knowledge to push forward wheelchair design. Read more from Michael here.

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