Electric King of the Mountain

All-terrain mountain biking has never been more enticing — thanks to electricity. Dubbed the Horizon, this battery and/hand-powered adapted on-road/off-road mountain trike is made by Outrider USA, a company started by college students in North Carolina.

At $13,985, it’s one of the most expensive modified units out there, but it’s also the ultimate dream toy for anyone wanting to explore mountain trails. The base model comes with a battery range of 15 to 35 miles and has a top speed of 20 mph. And it’s modular, allowing you to create a customized configuration — with your choice of two wheels in the front or the back.

There are plenty of electric all-terrain wheelchairs, but this vehicle, a trike with a drive train and wheels fit for rugged terrain, is based on a mountain-bike design that opens up some serious territory. It was field-tested by C7 quad Justin Falls as well as wheelchair racer Michael Mills.

For more information, and to see the Horizon in action, visit its official site: outriderusa.com/products/horizon.

Inventions Inspired by Challenges

If Bruce Roberts, 63, passed you by on the street, chances are you probably wouldn’t notice him. A C5 quad from an injury eight years ago, he walks. But this doesn’t mean his incomplete injury was any less profound. As a lifelong inventor and engineer living in Silicon Valley, this was not what he expected for his life at age 55. “I knew right away something was wrong. I prayed like I’ve never prayed before.”

Within two months of his injury, he began to get return in his legs, which spurred him to push himself in rehab. After four years, he was finally back on his feet, using forearm crutches. “It’s been eight years since my accident. Am I back to normal? No. One of my friends asked me, ‘Are you ever going to be 100 percent?’ I said, ‘Yes I will. But a different 100 percent.’”

During rehab, Roberts needed to keep his mind busy, so he invented the Horizontal Computing System — a laptop stand for bed use. “It’s fully clamped and secured to the hospital bedside table so the laptop doesn’t touch the body.”

Since his injury he has invented more products, including the CrutchPal, which snaps crutches together; Trash-At-A-Glance, which allows curbside trash bins to visually alert owners when their trash has been picked up; and the Heads-Up Lock, which allows you to see if the accessible restroom is in use before making the trip.

His advice to SCI folks looking to invent? “Write down everything that is hard for you to do. Make sketches. Look at challenges you have as opportunities to help others, then contact a company’s chief product developer, the VP of engineering, marketing manager, etc. Most manufacturers always welcome new ways to improve their products.”

See Roberts’ products here: www.crutchpal.com; www.trashataglance.com; www.headsuplock.com

Swedish Take on SCI Parenting

The Spinalis Foundation, one of the most well-known SCI foundations in northern Europe, has launched a new website called SCI Parenting. It features advice on fertility, childbirth, pregnancy and has tips and tricks for parents. It also has a blog by Swedish parents with SCI (the entries are translated). Check it out at sciparenting.com.