Freedom Chair riders aren't just our customers - they're part of the GRIT family. Today's Rider Spotlight features Eric Baker. Read on to learn about his adventures!
“Get the Freedom Chair because it truly does give you your freedom back to explore the outdoors once again.”
Eric has loved the outdoors all throughout his 59 years. He enjoyed going to the mountains, being in the woods, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, backpacking, and exploring.
"I was very active in the outdoors. I backpacked and hiked year round almost every month of the year, that included even snow camping. Did a lot of camping year round, fishing and hunting and I even had an outdoor Christian ministry that I took groups on guided tours in the Sierra Mountains to look at wildlife and wild flowers."
However, when he was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 34, getting outdoors became more and more difficult to do.
Why did Eric decide on the GRIT Freedom Chair?
Eric found the GRIT Freedom Chair on a web search while looking for outdoors wheelchair options.
"I did some research and watched some videos on this wheelchair and I realized with this tool I could once again get out in the outdoors on those trails I use to love to explore plus use for everyday use."
The simplicity and versatility of the Freedom Chair design is what appealed most to Eric.
"I saw a couple other wheelchairs that were for outdoor all terrain use but they were very costly and had too many parts to maintain or that could break down. I went with the Freedom Chair because it was very basic in design but very functional for what it was made for to get off the pavement; it was lighter in weight and you could take it apart very easily to transport. It had less parts that could break, and the drive train was all mountain bike parts that I could get parts or repairs at a local bike shop."
Unable to afford to purchase the GRIT Freedom Chair outright, Eric created an online fundraiser. Eric's GoFundMe campaign raised enough money to allow him to take advantage of our interest free payment plan.
"A big Thank You to GRIT and my new Freedom Chair. With the help of a Gofundme campaign... I now have my freedom to explore."
What activities does Eric enjoy doing in the Freedom Chair?
Eric has taken his Freedom Chair all over California with his family! From the Calaveras Big Trees State Park to cruising the California State Fair:
"No problem going from the pavement, to the grassy picnic areas, to the paths in the forest area, to the gravel paths in the farming area, to the dirt areas around the horse stables, and even the sawdust floors in the livestock barns with many obstacles to go over."
In June 2017, Eric made a trip to Yosemite National Park and had a stunning adventure! Check out some of his trip photos:
Eric recently completed a Fun Run in his Freedom Chair as well! You can read his account of that event HERE.
Ultimately, the Freedom Chair is helping Eric live the life he wants to live:
"The Freedom chair has allowed me to be somewhat independent again. Although I cannot do all the outdoors things I use to do, the Freedom Chair has been a great tool for getting me back into the outdoors, just in a different way. I have been able to go on some of the hiking trials I used to enjoy . . . I use my Freedom Chair to get around in town and doing shopping. I am even going to be able to do more hunting using my Freedom Chair this Fall."
Eric and his wife have also been creative when it comes to transporting the Freedom Chair to all of the adventures they go on. They mounted a carrier with a fold down ramp to the back of their truck. They find this easier than disassembling and reassembling frequently:
What is Eric's favorite thing about the Freedom Chair?
Eric has a hard time deciding on just one favorite thing about the Freedom Chair:
"With the joint diseases that I have my hands and arms are weaker do to bone damage and pain. It is difficult for me to use a manual wheelchair with hand rims. The Freedom Chair with its Levers make it very easy for me to work the chair and with the mountain bike wheels and the three wheel setup I can take on most any terrain. The new upgraded front tire is great gives a smoother ride and the new upgraded back support has just the right amount of padding for my lower back."
The GRIT Freedom Chair is the most versatile chair on the market, designed from the ground up to handle any terrain. From trails to grass to snow, the Freedom Chair is built for you to push yourself. Born out of research at MIT, the Freedom Chair's patented easy-push levers reduce shoulder strain and put you in control of your mobility. Ready to hit the trails? Learn more about the GRIT Freedom Chair at www.gogrit.us