1. Why does GRIT say, “Move Beyond the Pavement” and why is it important to support humans living with disabilities to conquer things beyond the pavement?
When our GRIT co-founders first started engineering the Freedom Chair, they consulted and tested with wheelchair users in rural and unpaved areas. For them, moving beyond the pavement is getting into their natural surroundings and to school, work, and around their neighborhood. Our Freedom Chair is designed with the obstacles of unpaved paths in mind, from uneven elevation to bumps or pebbles.
In the years since, we have learned from our riders that moving beyond the pavement means different things to each of them. Some are eager to get outdoors and take the Freedom Chair on hikes, camping, fishing, and out in nature. Some riders crush courses, races, or their personal fitness goals. Others are excited to spend time by the beach, in the snow, or playing with their family and friends on grass. Many riders move beyond the pavement and into their everyday lives: gardening in their yard, around their neighborhoods, and navigating common path changes like irregular curbs, snow, or gravel shortcuts. Our riders aren’t limited by the pavement and are making their own paths and adventures.
2. Why did GRIT enter into this space?
GRIT entered this space with curiosity of what can be done better, a background to create and test tools that have an impact, and care for our riders.
Our co-founders studied biomechanics and looked at different ways to maximize the power you can get out of your upper body. We learned that push-rim wheelchairs are inefficient and on average, 90% of the energy a wheelchair rider uses is wasted. We explored options, decided on a lever-drive system, and were able to develop and make the Freedom Chair.
3. What are some of the most impactful/greatest stories you have captured from people who use the GRIT chair?
There are so many! We are honored to hear from our riders that we have played a small part in some of their accomplishments. From independence to being in nature to taking on their health, we celebrate what our riders celebrate.
Some stories especially close to our heart include:
- 3 year old Teddy, who gets to be a kid and play outdoors. The GRIT Junior gives him liberty at a young age and allows his whole family to enjoy activities together in a new way.
- Melissa, choosing to live a life without barriers. She chose not just to conquer a summit, but to be proactive in taking on her own personal Everest.
- Aisha, who wants to remain connected in the world. She is liberated with her Freedom Chair to do what she wants to do and go where she wants to go. As she says, “I refuse to live in a world that was not designed to me.”