THE JOËLETTE: ACCESIBLE WALKS


I have done a lot of routes but I only remember one that was "adapted": Aigüestortes National Park  in Lleida, which takes you to the spectacular Estany de Sant Maurici, in the Central Pyrenees. We did it a long time ago so I do not know how it is now, but some years ago there was a boardwalk that reached about half of the route through a dense forest to reach a much more desert area where the boardwalk became a fairly wide and accessible path.

In regard to the beaches the thing is quite different because a lot of then have wooden ramps and roads that help these people get to the sand (not water).
Perhaps because of Alberto’s job (he works with people with special needs) I am now more worried about this sort of things and I think, more than before, about the difficulties that many travellers find during their holidays.


So today, surfing the net for topics related to this case I have seen a gadget I did not know: The Joëlette.
It is a vehicle developed in France in the 80s and thought to those who, for whatever reason (old age, disability, etc), find it difficult to walk on steep areas or  more or less complicated paths. Joël Claudel, a mountain instructor, was who made the first attempts to carry on a trip to his nephew Stéphane, who suffered myopathy. Gradually the invention was developed and now it is manufactured in Ferriol-Matrat  company.


It could be defined as a traction "animal" all-terrain  (just kidding). Both the front and the rear have arms that must be held by two people. It is therefore an environmentally friendly vehicle. It basically consists of a comfortable chair, which stands for head and feet are adjustable depending on the height of the passenger, a 16" wheel, quite large and designed to run without problems for any type of road, three legs as a support, which provide quite stability to the rise and fall of the passenger and accompanying people can rest at any time. It also has buffer to absorb some of the terrain irregularities and disc brakes that, together with belt, provide security to both the passenger and "carriers."
Its transport is also quite comfortable. Joëlette only weighs about 26 kilos, because the chassis is composed of steel tubes and can be folded so that we can put it safely in the trunk of our car. Only a tool included in the Joëlette is necessary to its assembly. Worst of all: price. The chair costs about 2,200 euros. "Carriers" are encouraged to take a course before going hiking to operate freely and without suffering any accident.


I really like this great invention because sharing with friends a walk in the mountains is something that -I do not know why- joins a lot. It would be because of the quiet conversations on the way, the silences while enjoying the scenery and clean air ... The fact is that with this vehicle you can also share these moments with people who have a mobility problem and can not walk. In addition, it seems to be pretty funny.
On this page of the company Ferriol-Matrat you can see the Joëlette full sheet, although in French.

I have found this video on Youtube, so you see the Joëlette in action.


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