Monday, April 20, 2009

BP MS 150 rolls into Austin

This past Sunday, BR and I set up an unofficial community pit stop at the edge of the Mueller Southwest Greenway. Several neighbors, as well as Cathy and Todd from Dallas, joined us in cheering in the 11,000 riders, who raised over $12 million for the Lone Star Chapter of the National MS Society.


Cranky said...

Steve - I'm sure the riders were glad for the support. And, looks like it was a great day to outside.

I see BR has an ibot. I've never actually seen one in real life, though read up about them here and there. Does it live up to the press ... going up stairs and such? Does it have the same size footprint as a regular power chair?

Anonymous said...

Great video, and great job, guys!


steve said...

Hi Cranky -

It was a beautiful day. This was in contrast to Day 1 of the ride, which was canceled due to severe thunderstorms, hail, and flooding.

The iBOT was and is a life saver. BR went from diagnosis to wheelchair over the course of six months. At the time, we were in an apartment in San Francisco that had six steps up to the front stoop, plus a 7" high threshold. Once inside, though, the space was very manageable for someone in a wheelchair.

I really wanted BR to be able to leave the house on his own to go run errands when he felt up to it. I researched lifts and ramps, but being in the city, I had concerns about vandalism. Then I came across the iBOT. We justified the cost by thinking of the iBOT as BR's car -- neither of us owned one at the time.

It took about 2.5 months for delivery, and by that time, BR's upper body had weakened to the point where he wasn't able to manage stair mode on his own. Still, with assistance, he was able to get out and about and stay active.

With balance mode, he's able to reach things in the upper cabinets. With four-wheel mode, he doesn't have to U-turn when he encounters a sidewalk without a curb cut -- something that is surprisingly common here in Austin. Unfortunately, the car justification turns out to also apply to maintenance costs. The batteries only last 12-14 months, and are very pricey to replace. Also, with all the weight loss, we've had to call out a technician every 3 months or so to recalibrate the center of gravity. We know it's time when the chair no longer goes into balance mode in place.

Footprint is roughly the same as a standard power chair, and it has a better turning radius in balance mode, which is great for tight examination rooms.

Probably more than you wanted to know, but we really love this chair. I still can't believe Independence Technology wasn't able to find a way to make a profit. Probably the fatal flaw in the business plan was to only have one product.

Kim said...

Very cool! What an awesome way to spend a lovely day. Steve, you had to have been having flashbacks to all the fund raising rides you've done! Just last week I ran across a picture of you and I (very tired, but smiling) at the end of the AIDS ride in 1999 and then one of you and BR in the bar where we all celebrated together after you crossed the finish line. :-)

steve said...

Kim - you know, some of my favorite moments from the AIDS rides were spent shouting encouragement from the top of a challenging hill.

Cranky said...

Steve - that wasn't more than I wanted to know, it was great to get all that info. Thanks.

I bet the financial problems for the manufacturer are rooted in the fact that the features that made it so unique (stair and balance modes) and valuable wouldn't be reimbursable by the providers as not medically necessary.

Herrad said...

Hi Steve, Hi BR,

Loved the video and have looked at it heaps.

Really could not get enough of seeing the cyclists coming by and hearing you laughing BR.

Great day and didn't they do well so many participants and so much money raised, hope they do good things with the money.




Merelyme said...

Wonderful great to see all the awesome riders and you guys cheering them on. Thank you for sharing this with us!

Herrad said...

Hi Steve, Hi BR,

Please take a look at my blog

For your Kreativ Blogger Award.