Reluctant to go outside in the winter in his wheelchair due to fears of getting stuck, Allen Mankewich collaborated with the Plain Bicycle Project in Winnipeg to bring in skis for wheelchairs.
"Winter can be a really tough time for people with mobility issues because of the snow and things like that," said Mankewich. "So we wanted to bring some of these skies in to let people try them and see if they work for them."
Mankewich said Plain Bicycle was a good fit because they already offered ski, bike and snowshoe rentals, and were trying try to their expand market to wheelchair users.
The skis are called wheel blades and attach to the front wheels of a wheelchair in a matter of seconds.
They can also be removed easily on location if conditions change.
The wide ski surface distributes the weight evenly onto the ground, allowing the chair to glide over the snow rather than sinking, which occurs with the small front wheels.
"Mobility equipment is expensive, so if people want to not take the risk of buying them and then realizing these don't work for me, they can rent a pair from the shop first," said Allen.
Two pairs of skies arrived at the shop late last week. One pair is for rent while the other is for sale. Mankewich says he's tried them out at the Forks and the river trail.
He said he found them to be quite helpful.
"This could be one solution for people who want to make it a little bit easier for them to get around."