Notes on my trusty portable ramp and wandering about, and especially walking on the road.
I have modified my last three power chairs to carry a portable ramp. This is useful in Melbourne, Australia, where I live, but essential when I travel, especially in Europe.
At home I use it to get into shops and interesting spots when I really want to (is it better to boycott inaccessible shops or struggle in to make the discrimination obvious?) Overseas, especially in Europe, it is crucial. There are so many wonderful places I could not have seen without it. Many buildings are completely accessible inside but have a single step outside. I also use it to get on and off kerbs when sensible. I am quite patient however, and don’t mind retracing my steps to the last kerb ramp. Often in Europe I travel on the road (actually almost always.) If possible I always head into the oncoming traffic so I can see danger, I time runs down narrow stretches during lulls in traffic. I choose backroads often (they are usually more interesting anyway.) I suppose I am braver (or more foolhardy) than many, but it seems to work out. I love roaming about in Italy, for example. The Italians have a reputation for crazy driving but I love the freewheeling anarchic lifestyle, compared to the rule-infested environment back home in Melbourne. As long as you are emphatic, not hesitant in your actions, there is rarely any risk or confusion. Twice as I roamed up a street in Rome the “wrong way” a cop saw me and gave me a personal escort up the road, siren blaring. Street theatre!
I have tried various ramps, but settled on a DECPAC Personal Portable ramp.
I modified my chair to accommodate it. The Q6000 has some of the electrics in a plastic box hanging off the back. This is idiotic so I had it moved to a much smaller metal box mounted lower, out of the way. This left room for my ramp behing the seat-back, plus a nice leather bag for spare wheel, raincoat and such stuff. You will have improvise for your setup. Be brave, ingenious, and don’t take “thats impossible” for an answer.