Mission Statement

RoughRider America LLC advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities worldwide through the design and provision of high quality, low cost and highly usable wheelchairs that free people to live life to the fullest. 

RoughRider America History

RoughRider America is a business led by Marc Krizack, who was executive director of Whirlwind Wheelchair International from 2002-2019. Marc transformed Whirlwind from a typical non-profit that received its income from grants and donations to a social enterprise earning more than half of its income from the sale of the wheelchairs it designed. Whirlwind was founded by paraplegic wheelchair designer Ralf Hotchkiss to provide durable, usable, low cost, wheelchairs made from locally available materials in developing countries.

Marc was a contributor and editor of the World Health Organization’s seminal Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in Less Resourced Settings (2008).

From 1990 – 2003, Marc conceived of and directed a number of US government- funded projects in Novosibirsk, Russia (Siberia). He provided technical assistance to two wheelchair companies, transformed a disabled sports club into an independent living center, established a disabled community health clinic, founded a program for signifcantly disabled students at Novosibirsk State University, and set up a mobility and orientation teacher preparation program so that blind people could learn to navigate daily life independently. 

Marc Krizack in Eritrea 2005
Marc Krizack in Eritrea, 2005

The RoughRider was designed to withstand the rugged conditions prevalent in both urban and rural environments in the developing world. It is for active users whether they are pushing themselves or being pushed by others over rough ground.

RoughRider America LLC adapted the RoughRider’s award winning design to extend its usefulness to those who may need to be pushed by others. We have further extended our product line to include the Aurora, a lightweight version of the RoughRider. The sale of our wheelchairs in the United States and Canada allow us to provide them at an affordable price to people in need in developing countries.

More information on providing wheelchairs to developing countries.

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.