Friday, October 31, 2014

New Wheelchair, New Bowling Setup, Similar Results?

I recently got a new wheelchair, FINALLY, after nearly 17 years of daily use (typically about 13-14 hours per day) from my first wheelchair. My new wheelchair is a Permobil C300, which has the two foot pedals coming off of a single center post, instead of the traditional two side leg rests supporting one foot pedal each.

This requires a different mounting method for my IKAN Bowler®. Our IKAN Universal Mount works with essentially any wheelchair with two side leg rests (non-power elevating), and that's what I used for bowling in my old chair. And our IKAN Center Post Mount accommodates essentially all center-post style leg rest chairs. But for people like me who need to switch from the Universal Mount to the Center Post Mount, we sell a Conversion Kit in our online store.

The Conversion Kit turns a Universal Mount into a Center Post Mount.

The Center Post Mount can be pretty easy to set up, depending on one's chair configuration. The potentially difficult part is mounting the IKAN Mounting Brackets onto the wheelchair's utility rails, which are on each side of the chair below the seat base. Each chair is different, but the mounting brackets are designed to be mounted "permanently" onto the utility rails, with any existing accessories being mounted on top (on the outside) of the IKAN brackets, like a sandwich. For some chairs, this works well, but may require longer hex bolts/screws.

For me, I have a good friend who is a master mechanic, and he felt like we should shorten my IKAN mounting brackets and attach them to the utility rails in front of the accessories that are already mounted. He actually cut the brackets, and welded a piece of metal (I think) at the end of each bracket (to close the slots and make them strong like the original brackets, but shorter) and then attached them to the front of my utility rails.

For anyone trying to set up a Center Post Mount, I would suggest getting the opinion/help of someone who is good with mechanics for what is best in your situation. If you don't know anyone, then a trip to a local machine shop might be the best and easiest way to get set up. We have had customers who have had good experiences getting some help from local machine shop folks at reasonable costs.

As for actually bowling with a Center Post Mount IKAN Bowler® setup, I liked it a lot. Maybe it's the chair, or my positioning, but it seemed like the ball was a little bit closer to me, and I could see over it a little better than in my old chair with the Universal Mount setup.

Now, technically I am credited with co-inventing the IKAN Bowler® and I have set a pretty high standard for myself with bowling over the last 10 years or so, averaging about 155-160 per game and having 24 games of 200 or better (including the overall world record of 255).

Knowing that, I was not terribly excited about switching from a rearwheel drive wheelchair where the front turns, to a front wheel drive chair where the rear turns. Not only that, but the turning inputs with my sip-and-puff controls are literally backwards from what I have done the previous 17 years. So it's going to take some time getting adjusted and reprogramming my brain to how this chair works.

My first bowling scores in this new chair with the new bowling setup were: 118, 126, 107, and… 166! I was quite pleased with the 166 in my fourth game. Driving this chair has a different feel to it, aside from the backwards turning inputs, so I'm still getting accustomed to it, and it took me a while (three games, apparently) to adjust some of my bowling approaches and have better success. Hopefully I will not revert back to my old approaches, which are ingrained in me, and I will continue to bowl well.

NOVEMBER 1 EDIT: we had another Quad Squad Bowling outing today, my second time bowling in my new chair with the Center Post Mount IKAN Bowler® setup. My scores were a bit better: 132, 172, and then I regressed back to 130. We were a little late getting started, so I only bowled three games. Here's a picture of me on the lanes yesterday with the new stuff:

click to enlarge photo

Bill Miller :-)
C1-2 Quadriplegic with a 255 High Bowling Game
Co-founder of Manufacturing Genuine Thrills Inc. d/b/a MGT
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