Geoff Babb—the father of invention.
Back in 2005, Geoff Babb was a BLM fire ecologist and an avid outdoorsman living in Bend, Oregon. He loved to ski, mountain bike and backpack with his wife Yvonne and twin 12-year-old boys. That is, until November 10, when a near-fatal brain stem stroke left him in a wheelchair and with only limited use of one hand.
While the stroke forever changed his ability to move, Geoff soon found ways to get outdoors again—sit-skiing with Oregon Adaptive Sports and adaptive horseback riding through Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center. However, he immediately discovered that the biggest obstacle to experiencing the great outdoors with his family again was not so much his rigid body, but his inflexible wheelchair.
”There was simply nothing out there that could easily and effectively get us off of a paved path, let alone a gravel one,” says Geoff.
AdvenChair 1.0— the early stages.
With the help of his friend, helicopter mechanic Dale Neubauer, Geoff modified his regular wheelchair to give it beefier tires, a detachable front wheel, handbrakes on the handlebar, and a harness that would allow a small team to guide him up and down steep terrain, he hit the trails and put it to the test.
Together, he and his family explored Smith Rock State Park, Mt. Bachelor, Crater Lake and Mt. Rainier national parks.
“We had some great adventures in my original ‘AdvenChair,’” said Geoff. “all of which prepared us for a trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon in 2016…more or less.”
After bumping and grinding over countless water barriers on the Bright Angel Trail, the chair succumbed to a broken axle less than two miles down. The team managed to get Geoff safely back to the rim, but the message was clear. A whole new chair was needed, one designed from the ground up to be less like a wheelchair and more like a mountain bike.
With the help of CAD Designer Jack Arnold, Geoff, Yvonne and Dale developed the new AdvenChair 2.0 with an adjustable sit-ski seat, adjustable handlebars, larger 27.5-inch mountain bike wheels and high-grade aluminum mountain bike components throughout.
Development of “AdvenChair 2.0” was progressing smoothly in 2017 when all of a sudden, Geoff had a second life-threatening stroke— ironically 12 years to the day after his first one.
”While the stroke forced me to learn how to swallow, eat solid foods, and use my right hand all over again, it heightened my determination to bring the “AdvenChair 2.0” to reality, said Geoff. “Not just for me, but for the millions of people around the world with limited mobility, and even more limited one-dimensional chairs.”
That brings us to today. In desperate need of funds to help produce several prototypes that can be thoroughly tested and ultimately brought to market in 2019.
”My goal is to have these chairs in widespread use throughout the world within the next five years. And through the Onward Project, LLC, I hope to have an extensive network of users sharing their AdvenChair stories and inspiring messages around the globe. Thank you for supporting me on this exciting journey.”
Geoff Babb, creator of the AdvenChair
From the first time Geoff Babb tried to go for a ride to the park in his wheelchair and promptly did a face plant as the front wheels got stuck in a crack in the sidewalk, he and his wife Yvonne have been looking for ways to create a chair that can handle all types of terrain, as well as for people who can help them make it. Here’s more about the team who have made the AdvenChair what it is today.
They say those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it. We like to think that learning from our history will enable us to make it in the outdoor recreation and adaptive sports industries.
What Others Are Saying
When something comes along as revolutionary as the AdvenChair, it’s bound to cause a stir. And that’s exactly what has happened in its relatively short lifespan. Here’s what people are saying about it before it has even hit the trails.