Geoff Babb’s first ride in his wheelchair to the park back in 2006 was not pretty. He promptly did a face plant as the front wheels got stuck in a crack in the sidewalk. But while a near-fatal brain stem stroke left him with only limited use of one hand, he soon found his inflexible wheelchair to be the biggest obstacle to having fun in his beloved outdoors again. He set out to do something about it.
The AdvenChair, created by Geoff Babb and Dale Neubaurer, is an all-terrain wheelchair designed to go off-road. In September 2016, almost eleven years after suffering a near-fatal brain-stem stroke, Geoff Babb sat in his modified wheelchair at the Bright Angel trailhead with his family and a group of friends. Given the path that he had traveled to reach that point, a wheelchair journey into the belly of the Grand Canyon didn’t seem far-fetched.
The AdvenChair, a new all-terrain wheelchair developed entirely in Bend, Oregon, left its first tire tracks on local trails this month. Now, the company founded by fire ecologist Geoff Babb faces the challenge of making the product gain traction with the millions of people throughout the country who use wheelchairs, and are typically left stranded at the trailhead when friends and family want to go for a hike.