Elder Makes Ancestral Trip to the Amazon in a RoughRider Wheelchair!

Whirlwind was contacted  last summer by Joshua Van Winkle about a wheelchair that could handle the rugged terrain of the Amazon jungle. He was planning an ancestral trip for three generations of families, including an elder gentleman that needed a wheelchair that was sturdy and reliable.  We recently received this thank you letter that touched our hearts. We were glad to have been able to help him out to make his extraordinary journey a success!


Dear Whirlwind,

Last August my friend Ankur Wate (who had trained and worked extensively with a man named Don Cesareo for many years in the jungle) and I planned a group trip down to Secoya territory (and their ancestral homelands near the Ecuador/Peruvian border called Lagarto Cocha) with him.

Unfortunately Don’s older wheelchair was in poor condition and unable to traverse rough Amazonian terrain for such a trip.

So Abkur suggested we look around for a wheelchair that would could do such a task. And we found your website online.

As all of us that were planning to go on this trip work normal jobs and were by no means financially wealthy, so we wrote to Marc personally asking if he was able to discount the price of a normal Roughrider model so we could afford to get it for Don.

Marc was super generous and discounted it for a fair price. So myself and another friend split the cost and brought it down to Ecuador for him as a gift. I personally am a custodian with the local school district at the moment, but I, and a group of close friends have a very strong connection with the Secoya people.

On this particular trip last August, we spent about 2.5 weeks down there to bring together 3 generations of Secoya families together for a special trip to Lagarto Cocha, their ancestral homelands, for time together and traditional ceremonies that the elders have been upholding and practicing since a young age.

It was a very special trip made possible by Marc and everyone at Whirlwind for making such an awesome wheelchair. He had an amazing time as did we all.

Thank you so much for all of your help and generosity.

Best regards,

Joshua Van Winkle

We are always happy to hear when the RoughRider has made someone’s ability to travel off the beaten path possible. We look forward to continuing to help more people reach their dreams!

Customizing and Ordering My Roughrider

Seat Width

To find the distance between your hips, first position yourself seated with pelvis upright on a firm surface. Then, measure the distance between the widest points of the hips and thighs without compressing any tissue. Finally, record your measurements. It is important not to have a chair that is wider than necessary as it will be harder to push and may prevent you from passing through narrow doorways.

Seat Depth

Position yourself seated upright on a firm surface. Measure the length of your upper leg, the distance from behind the knee to the back of the pelvis (back of your lower leg). Subtract 1/2” to find the maximum seat depth, to allow for space between the back of the knee/upper leg and seat fabric. Record the final measurement.

Backrest Height

Your preferred backrest height is determined by your personal comfort level and physical ability. Whirlwind recommends, generally, that the top of the back support should fall just beneath the bottom of the shoulder blade. For less active riders who require more torso support, the back support should be higher, falling just beneath the armpit. Position yourself seated upright on a firm surface. Hold your hands flat against the surface you are sitting on. Measure the distance from the seated surface to the desired, most comfortable point for support on your back. To this number add the height of your cushion when you are sitting on it. Record the measurement.

Preferred Backrest Angle

Backrest angles are determined by the torso control of the rider. Whirlwind recommends that those with less torso control, such as quadriplegics, sit with a backrest angled further backwards to avoid falling forward in a wheelchair. Those with more torso control, such as amputees, can sit with the backrest more upright. Proper backrest angle is best determined by an occupational therapist or healthcare professional. Although there is only one option – 8 degrees – in the drop-down list below, you can adjust the backrest angle by adjusting the backrest straps (i.e. looser at the bottom and tighter at the top for a more erect position).

Now please enter your measurements into the fields on the product page before ordering. For more information about measuring, please refer to the RoughRider Fitting Sheet. You are responsible for choosing the right chair for yourself. If you are uncomfortable with determining your wheelchair size, please consult a professional.