When Chet Dyreson crashed his motorcycle in a motocross race and injured his T1 through T5 vertebrae in his spinal cord, he became paralyzed. Once he realized he would have to spend the rest of his life in wheelchair, he was devastated. However, Dyreson was not a man made for self pity. Little did he know then that his accident would enable him to free many outdoor enthusiasts from their wheelchairs and give them the ability to take themselves into the outdoors and participate in outdoor sports.
After his injury, Dyreson began to build gasoline-powered all-terrain vehicle (ATV) wheelchairs that would cross creeks, climb mountains, travel through mud and snow and take a wheelchair outdoor enthusiast into the back country to hunt and fish. Dyreson explains, “Because I’d been riding motocross bikes most of my life, I understood how much power and speed small gasoline engines could deliver. When I built my first ATV wheelchair, I used a 250cc Kawasaki engine designed and built for a John Deere ATV to power it.”But, what Dyreson didn’t know was how-much gas mileage he could get out of the engine, how reliable these small engines could be, and how fast they could push a wheelchair. “Reliability is the first priority a person in a wheelchair needs to consider if they’re planning to go off-road,” Dyreson says. “We can’t just hop out of our wheelchairs and walk back to camp.
To test the dependability of the ATV wheelchair with all-terrain tires, Dyreson decided to take a road trip from Perris, California, to Washington D.C. and learned:
- his ATV wheelchair would get 100 miles per gallon with a range of 350 miles;
- his ATV wheelchair could run-up to 55-miles per hour on the highway. “That’s the speed a highway patrolman clocked me at, before he pulled me over,” Dyreson says.
- a gasoline-powered wheelchair running on major interstates and highways was not illegal; and
- he could make a 4,000-mile trip in his ATV wheelchair without a single breakdown.
To learn more about this amazing man and the ATV wheelchairs he creates for adventures in the outdoors, go to Chet Dyreson’s website at www.wheelingtocuresci.org.
To read more stories about amazing people who have overcome their injuries, get the new Kindle eBooks, “Moving Forward: The Stories of Hometown Heroes” and “Courage: The Stories of Hometown Heroes,” both by John E. Phillips. Go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the names of these books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, Smartphone or computer.