Silver rigid frame with two handlebars, brackets, brakes and leavers; one for acceleration and one for reverse. In addition to a bell, screen display, quick-charging battery, and a medium-sized wheel.
Source of Item:
Ehlers Danlos Syndrome
Due to the nature of my disability, I can’t use an attachment that involves repeatedly moving my arms (e.g. a Wheelchair Hand Bike), so I opted for a Firefly Electric Wheelchair Power Attachment, by Rio Mobility. This device allows me to go anywhere, regardless of whether the terrain is rough or there is a steep gradient.
Before purchasing the attachment, I contacted John Preston who provided me with a lot of information about the device over the phone, as well as checking whether my wheelchair was compatible with the attachment. They then came to do a home assessment, to ensure this was the right device for me. I appreciated the opportunity to test the device in my home environment, as it can be extremely difficult to find a device that perfectly fits your requirements. If I remember correctly, you have to have a manual wheelchair that doesn’t have removable/swing away footplates.
After raising enough money to order the Firefly, I was slightly disappointed with how difficult and time consuming it was to assemble the attachment. There was also one part that arrived damaged; but after getting back in touch to complain and providing photo evidence, a replacement part arrived within a few days.
The device hooks onto my wheelchair via a simple 2-point attachment system, which makes it very quick and easy to attach and detach the device. I initially found it difficult to guide the hooks onto such a small target, but it has become easier after some practice. I then put both hands in the centre of the handlebars and push backwards, which then lifts the two caster wheels at the front of my wheelchair so that the single tire on the Firefly can comfortably go over uneven surfaces. Finally, to secure the device you simply flick the leavers on each side of the attachment and you are ready to roll! To remove the device you simply pull back the leavers, lower your wheelchair and lift the device off. I am then usually able to lean forward and place it on the floor, but because it isn’t too heavy it is very easy to pass it sideways to someone else. As this process is simple and the device is compact, it makes it very easy to transport.
This device is very simple to operate and has a small display attached that control the speed. The top speed is 12mph, which is great fun when you are in a clear open space, but you certainly don’t need to go that fast most of the time! The handlebars and brakes are easy to grip and support your hands very well. You also have a little leaver under each handlebar (one to go forward and one to go backwards), which can be swapped over if you would prefer to have a specific control on one side. One of the main selling points for me was the fact this attachment is very compact in comparison to similar devices and only takes approximately 4 hours to fully charge.
Overall, I would highly recommend this attachment to anyone who wants the independence that a power chair brings, without having to give up your manual wheelchair. It feels great to be able to independently walk my assistance dog, and I love nothing more than zooming alongside her. Although I recommend using this device in conjunction with Quickie Mountain Bike Wheels, as together these items have made a HUGE difference to my overall comfort, independence, and enjoyment!