Friday, December 19, 2008

Working Out in a Wheelchair

This is the time of year we all start to think about our shape- whether it's getting in shape, staying in shape, feeling healthier, or working off those holiday eating frenzies, it's on everyone's mind. And although this topic is good any time of year, it's proven that workout regimes that begin before the holidays are more successful in the long run. Whether you're getting in shape for another sport or just doing it to feel good, hitting the gym is a great thing to do if you're in a wheelchair.

So today I followed Craig around the gym to get some tips for our valued readers on working out. Craig's been hitting the gym hard even on the days he skis to get ready for the 1st annual Legends of the Deep Powder Invitational we're hosting here in January, but he's seeing the results on the slopes already. Keeping a regular work-out schedule builds endurance and energy in addition to muscle, and it improves your overall attitude as well. Top it off with a soak or a steam and your muscles will thank you!

Always start your workout with a good stretch warm up. Loosen up those muscles you're about to use for their own safety. It's a little harder in a wheelchair, there aren't many cardio machines out there for wheelers, but you may want to put a request into your gym to buy one. Remind them that even able bodies can use them while rehabilitating after surgery. But windmills, stretches, and anything that loosens up your arms is a great start. Don't forget to stretch or soak at the end of your workout as well to let your body adjust to new muscle mass.

Craig's Typical Workout
Craig starts his workout with situps on this crunch machine. He rotates this part into his workout twice, as with anyone, a strong core is a strong body. But also, without his leg muscles, Craig's abs are his largest muscle group and make up the bulk of his strength for skiing. In addition to the crunch machine he adds an oblique twist because these side ab muscles are just as important as the front ones.

Next he moves on to the freeweights. Doing the shoulder press, bicept curls, and tricept lifts, Craig makes sure to hit every arm muscle group several times from different angles. Doing this builds the most strength and muscle diversity possible. Also make sure to do longer sets (12-15 reps) to build leaner, flexible muslces, and add weight when you feel ready.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Active Blogs Elsewhere

Blogging has exploded.
Blogger has been joined by WordPress and Ning and even social networks like one-liner Twitter; now there truly are 100 blogs on every subject. Which one to choose? How to keep track? How to sign up? How to keep them organized?

These are the questions that we get asked often and there's no way around it, you have to put some time into organizing them. We've found Flock to be the best portal to organize our RSS subscriptions in the neat one-column action bar that appears on the left side of this browser. Knowing a little about RSS helps first, download Flock once you do, and start leap-frogging yourself thru the internet to find blogs that you want to subscribe to. Like magazines you trust, some blogs and topics are really like free magazines; tourism pictures, trusted writers, educational topics, and links upon links to other avenues for continuing your "education."

Here's what we're reading and writing...
In the Deep - a monoskiers ski blog
Marketing to Travelers with Disabilities - learn tips on marketing to this growing niche
CO History of Inclusion Tourism - for Scott Rains' TourWatch

Rolling Rains Report - Universal Design and more
Barrier Free Travels - Candy Harringtons' Travel Blog (unfortunately and discouragingly without an RSS feed)
Photopreneur - Making money with photography
Almost Fearless - When a CEO quits corporate and travels for a living
Nathan Lovas Photography - Wildlife and Conservation Photography


Your Blog:
If you start your own blog, make sure to get traffic to it by pinging to Google and Yahoo often and adding it to groups like Technorati, Blog Network, Digg, as well as double-posting it to your various social network pages like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Winter Calendar of Events, Trips, and Sports Camps

Christmas Week, Myrtle Beach SC
- We hope to help make Myrtle Beach a top destination for adaptive golfers

January 12-15, 4th Annual All Mountain Ski Camp, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
- Advanced adults adaptive skiers, snowboarders, 3 trackers, and monoskiers
- Camp includes 3 days skiing at Steamboat and 1 day in the backcountry with PowderCats
- View photos and videos from previous camps here

January 16, 1st Annual Legends of the Deep Powder Invitational, Buffalo Pass, Colorado
- 6 world-class powder skiers unite for bragging rights in the powder
- Look for this event in the future to be featured on major channels with big name sponsors!

March 2-4, Houston, TX, 2nd meeting of the Continental Airlines Disability Advisory Board
- 12 Consultants for Travelers with Disabilities help make this airline best in the industry

March 8-17, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Xian China with Spring Tour of San Francisco
- 30 participants get to experience Spring Tour's first accessible tour to China
- Four cities, luxury hotels, dinner shows, and more!
- Contact Jimmy Deng for sign up and pricing: ytbchina@spring-tour.com, (800) 627-0886

March 21-23, 1st Annual Kids Ski Camp, Steamboat Springs, CO
- 12-15 kids from around the country join together to improve their adaptive skills

April 2009, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun Mexico
- Spreading accessibility to our southern neighbor, stay tuned for our update, improvements, and suggestions in these areas!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Government, New Ideas

We find this highly inspiring and had to share... now he just needs to put a #5 in there, Adventure Travel for Everyone!

Obama's Commitment to Accessibility:

"The Obama Administration has a comprehensive agenda to empower individuals with disabilities in order to equalize opportunities for all Americans.

In addition to reclaiming America's global leadership on this issue by becoming a signatory to -- and having the Senate ratify -- the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the plan has four parts, designed to provide lifelong supports and resources to Americans with disabilities. They are as follows:

First, provide Americans with disabilities with the educational opportunities they need to succeed.

Second, end discrimination and promote equal opportunity.

Third, increase the employment rate of workers with disabilities.

And fourth, support independent, community-based living for Americans with disabilities.

This commitment to accessibility for all begins with this site and our efforts to ensure all functionality and all content is accessible to all Americans."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Flippin' Wheelchair Record

Stolen from the AP, we had to post this... Aaron Fotheringham has done it, he's rolled into the Guinness Book with his famous wheelchair flip that he's been doing for nearly 2 years. Now 16 years old, he's a master at it, and they had Guinness there this past Saturday at Doc Romeo Skate Park in Las Vegas to prove it.

Sponsored by Colours Wheelchairs and several other companies, Aaron's famous flip has been getting news for some time. But not until Guinness's notation of the trick did he and his family truly believe he was the first to accomplish such a feat.

Born with Spina Bifida, Aaron has used a wheelchair full time since he was 13 and first accomplished his famous flip into a gymnastics-type pit of foam only a year later. Ironically Aaron wasn't shooting for the first wheelchair flip, which Guinness awarded him, his goal was to accomplish the most consecutive flips in 45 seconds, proving that his standards are much higher than he's given credit for. But the entire Fotheringham family is pleased with his Guinness recognition, and he'll keep trying for more.

We should all be so aspirational...

Aaron, you SURE you don't want a GADA Belt???

Friday, October 03, 2008

China FAM Trip















This trip has been updated to February and is open to all travelers with disabilities. Look for upcoming articles on this event in both Palaestra and Action! Magazines.


Spring Tour and Access Anything are hosting a 10-day trip to China
February, 2008

$1599 +$430pp tax includes:
Air from Los Angeles
Huating Hotel (Shanghai), Sofitel Hotel (Hangzhou), Xian Shangri La, and Loong Palace (Beijing)
Transportation between cities
City Excursions (such as Great Wall) and Dinner Shows
Bi Lingual Tour Guide

Assess this tour for your clients so you can begin to book SpringTour's China trips on commission.

LIMIT 30 persons

Andy Kennedy: andy.kennedy@accessanything.net
Jimmy Deng: ytbchina@spring-tour.com


NOTE: Unfortunately at this time we are discouraging power wheelchairs until our first dry run has confirmed that we can acomodate them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

3rd annual Waterski Camp

Access Anything and Adaptive Adventures' 3rd Annual 'Behind the 'Boat' Adaptive Wakeboard and Waterski Camp was a huge success! With nearly twenty participants including three Steamboat locals and twice that many volunteers, as well as our generous donors and sponsors, this event continues to grow thanks to everyone's involvement.

We spent two days on Bald Eagle Lake and one day on the Colorado River, and the weather was perfect, although the mornings a little chilly. Thanks to Native Excavating's Ed and June McArthur for loan of the lake and their boat, this event is so special to us! Loud music on the boat encouraged participants to go big, and jumping the wake proved to be possible for many this year. We managed to lure in two new local participants new to the sport as well, and hope to see them back again next year! Our final day on the Colorado with Colorado River Center was a fantastic day in rafts and duckies with plenty of water-fights and laughter.


video


A special thanks to our food and lodging sponsors, this event is so successful because of you!

Mountain Resorts, Steamboat Resorts, Creekside, Egg&I, Cuginos, Blue Sage, Mazzolas, BeauJos, Rio, Boyd Bass and Wayne Weber.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pittsburgh's Impressive Persona

I must admit we had our doubts about Pittsburgh, the last time I was there was 1996, and Craig had never been. Visit Pittsburgh hired us to speak at the PRSA Conference and had of course been talking it up since they scheduled us in February. Apparently cleaned up, revitalized, and renovated for access, Pittsburgh is building a new name for the Steel City.

We had pleasant surprises all five days we were there, starting with the flight in last Wednesday. Rolling greens and endless trees came into view as we approached Pittsburgh Airport; and although we're both from the east coast, the greenery never fails to impress itself upon us when we arrive.
From there, we found our way to our hotel, the Westin Conference Center; nestled in the heart of downtown, just a minute's roll from the river, the art district, the new ball park, and to our joy that evening, a live free concert. Pointed in the right direction, we spent the evening strolling around the area, tasting the local pizza, shooting shots of the riverwalk, and ending up at the Lotus show, where the young Pittsburgh was out twirling to the music and recycling their trash. Thorough recycling centers surrounded the small outdoor stage, complete with assistants who made sure your trash went into the appropriate container. (Left)

Thursday was no less impressive; starting bright and early with an overslept breakfast because our Westin "Heavenly Bed" was so dreamy. After conference speakers and breakout sessions on Green Travel, we met up with the rest for a touring cruise down the three rivers.

The three-floor river boat was accessible on the ground level with bathrooms, a bar, and a nice dance floor, even viewable from the upper floors, but since the food tables were on the second level, we begged the crew for a manual lift up the steps, and with smiles and a few grunts, they obliged. After snacks and a personal and impressive history lesson from the captain, we begged the crew again, and spent the last portion of the tour on the top deck.

Groups departed the boat in 10s and made their way to various restaurants for a dine-around. We meandered back to the hotel area to check out the Fish Market and tasted our share of the ocean's pleasures.

Friday began with a keynote breakfast including Lynn Swann, signing autographs, sharing laughs, and inspiring us to explore Pittsburgh, and Richard Bangs, the "father of modern adventure travel," inspiring us to continue to do what we do and share the world to people with disabilities. Our talk on marketing to this niche followed, and the day panned out a success with many contacts in the industry that we're excited to pursue.

Following the conference this day we made our way across the river to the Andy Warhol Museum, and dowsed ourselves in artistic wonder. Warhol's from Pittsburgh? Who knew. The museum's access was impeccable.

After downing a few rounds at the nearby Irish Pub, we spent the evening enjoying America's favorite passtime. The park's access was excellent; escorting us personally through the maze to the right pathways, and ending up with some primo seats behind home plate. Even though the Pirates couldn't get-er-done in 9 innings, and the park stops serving alcohol in the 7th, they scored in the 12th, and Canada Day's celebrations against the Toronto Blue Jays included an amazing fireworks show. Hey, what a pleasant surprise!

Sad to leave on Saturday, we strolled around downtown one last time, winding up at the Steel City Diner for some greasy eats and happy service. This morning clinched something for us that we hadn't solidified in our minds until now. Pittsburgh is a friendly town. Everyone we'd met was happy and excited to share their town with us. Smiles from strangers on the street, great conversation at the bar, and friendly locals everywhere we turned, Craig dubbed it the Big City Steamboat.
We didn't get to see everything we would have liked to- explore the restaurants fully, visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water, or do the NY rivaling theaters, so Pittsburgh, we'll be back! Count on it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

GADA Belt Release!

We are thrilled to announce our latest product in wheelchair seating, The GADA Belt!

Named after our company’s motto Go Anywhere, Do Anything™, The GADA Belt is a soft, secure, waterproof side guard set/clothing protector for manual wheelchairs that is also used as a sports belt, and is great for maintaining proper seating posture. This multi-functional device was designed to replace the hard-plastic side guards that typically come with manual chairs (and can cost as much as $300) and gets rid of the need for separate, single-strap lap belts often used by wheelchair athletes in sports such as tennis, basketball, and rugby. The GADA Belt’s soft canvas design reduces skin damage and breakdown, and actually improves the handling and performance of your chair while playing sports and recreating outdoors. This product is currently designed to fit all most manual wheelchairs with hard slings (specifically Quickie and Ti) and design modifications for soft sling chairs and other models such as Invacare, Lasher Sport, Colours, Kushcall, and Flight Ultralight are underway and GADA belts will be available for these brands soon in addition to other sizes of the belt for larger and smaller users such as children.

For active wheelchair users and business men and women that need to look professional, the GADA Belt keeps clothing clean & dry, and is a great way to keep business jackets neatly tucked in. For people with hip and/or pelvic alignment issues, the GADA Belt has been recommended by physical therapists to help correct and ensure good posture and alignment as well!

Released at the 2008 Abilities Expo in Anaheim, CA, the GADA Belt received a warm welcome from individuals and wheelchair companies alike, and one in particular, a new chair designed by Steven Patmont at www.GoPed.com, is already starting to look at building the GADA Belt into their design.

We are excited to share this new product with you, and hope that you take a look at the websites below to learn more about it and see it in action!


Video Review: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNAjlaXaNbg
Online Store: www.accessanything.net/onlinestore
AA's latest newsletter: http://www.accessanything.net/text/AATraveler_0508.pdf

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Access Anything Schedule of Events, Spring 2008

Our travel season has begun, and we're excited to share some events and websites with you where we'll be speaking, sharing our wares, and both meeting new faces and seeing old ones in this wonderfully tight-knit community of disability-focused businesses and travel experts!

Sign up for our monthly newsletter to be updated regularly on our events, travel tips, destination highlights and more!

March: Abilities Expo NY, April: Airline Advisory Board, Spinal Cord Research Fundraiser, Scenic Byways Convention; May: Abilities Expo CA; June: Travel Conference PA; July: WCD PA

March 27-31 Abilities Expo, Edison, NJ
Dubbed the largest expo in the country for anything-disability related, the New Jersey installment of this Abilities series of expos sees nearly 12,000 visitors and has hundreds of booths spread out over a dozen aisles of fun. Last year at this event we were inundated with questions, and at each of Craig's talks the room was filled to capacity and overflowing into the hallway. Needless to say we're very excited to be attending this expo once again.

April 1-2 Northwest Airlines' annual Accessibility Advisory Board, Detroit, MI
We will be attending this meeting with Continental Airlines this year, and are excited to inform you that we have recently been signed on as members of Continental's Access Advisory Board to help improve access on planes and treatment of equipment and persons with disabilities. We'll update you as often as we can on the improvements to this airline that we choose over all others for a reason!

April 5th, Scott Remington's Fundraiser for Spinal Cord Research, Brant Lake, NY
This annual fundraiser for the Christopher Reeve Foundation is now in its 8th year, and raised over $40,000 last year alone. The Remington's dedication to this important cause is apparent at the size of this fundraiser, which we attended in 2006; the room is full of prizes for auction from homemade dolls and quilts to atvs and chainsaws. This is a truly memorable experience and we're thrilled to be a part of it once again! If you would like to donate to the Chris and Dana Reeve Foundation for spinal cord research, please visit Scott's site above, or contact us directly.

April 10-11, National Scenic Byways Convention, Denver, CO
In 2006 we spent several months during the summer working for Colorado Scenic Byways, assessing five byways in the state for their accessibility, and developing a rating system for them. The time has finally come to present this rating system on a national level and we're very excited to be given this opportunity to do so!

May 30-June 1, Abilities Expo, Anaheim, CA
The second installment of this expo series occurs annually in Anaheim in June, and is second in size to the NJ expo. There are two other Abilities expos, which float in location, throughout the year, and have been in Houston, Northern CA, Wisconsin, to name a few. The June CA show usually sees about 6,000 participants, and although a little slower than it's NJ partner, is still quite an amazing 3-day event for us.

June 20-21, Travel and Tourism Conference: Go For Green!, Pittsburgh, PA
This will be our first year in attendance at this "green" conference, and we'll be speaking on marketing to travelers with disabilities. Sponsored by the Public Relations Society of America and the Society of American Travel Writers Associates Council, this will be a wonderful opportunity for this group to learn more about the overlooked yet growing niche of travelers with disabilities. We are very excited to be presenting to the non-disability-focused part of the industry once again.

July 11-12, World Congress on Disabilities, Philadelphia PA
WCD as it's better known, has been an annual event for several years, and this year is splitting its expo into two segments, Philly in July, and Jacksonville, FL in November. We are working with WCD this year on bringing more adventurous activities to these events, such as a climbing wall, scuba tank, or cycling course. We will also be speaking on marketing to travelers with disabilities, as we did at the WCD Expo in DC this past November. We look forward to working with the staff at WCD to make this event bigger and better!




If you have any questions about events or our schedule, or would like Access Anything to appear at your event, please email us at ask@accessanything.net!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Steamboat Update

Honestly, there's nothing better than a day on the hill where the snow continues to get better with every lift you take. We had 6 inches reported at 5am and 14 new by noon when we finally got up there to ski and ride. Check out this video from one of our favorite tree runs for a better visual of what it means to be "up to our necks" in it!

Without travel plans until April, you may be seeing a few more pictures of Steamboat in place of our travel blog!


video

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

2008 Steamboat All Mountain Ski Camp

Powder Powder Everywhere!

Faceshots and jumping abound, our 3rd annual Steamboat All Mountain Ski Camp is sadly behind us! Put on in conjunction with Adaptive Adventures and sponsored by the Steamboat Ski Area, Steamboat Powdercats, and the Wounded Warrior Project, the Steamboat camp sets itself above the rest in the All Mountain series of ski camps by always promising fresh powder for the attendees to play in!

We had about 25 participants, 10 friends and family, 15 coaches, and 35 volunteers make this camp the best we've had so far! Of course, the daily snow dumping didn't hurt either! Despite cold temps and blowing snow advisories, our troops spent 3 days on the ski hill and the last day in the depths of Buffalo Pass' backcountry skiing. We've got one word for all that, SWEET!

12 monoskiers, 5 three trackers, 2 blind skiers, 2 snowboarders and one brain injury came from around the country, including 7 recently wounded vets from Iraq and one from the British Army.

Our favorite event of the year, we couldn't do this without all the huge support we get from Steamboat's lodging, restaurant, ski area, and private business donations.

THANK YOU STEAMBOAT! We'll see you all this time next year!

If you have trouble viewing this video below, check out this one and more on our You Tube page.

video

Saturday, January 12, 2008

SATH World Congress

January 5-9, Orlando FL

This past week we were fortunate to attend the 12th annual SATH World Congress put on by the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality, the ancestral roots of access on the road. SATH has been around since the 1970s and has played a major part in advocating for travelers with disabilities.

The World Congress is quite a different experience that all other disability-related expositions we attend; it is the only one that is completely travel focused for starters. Accessibility liassons attend from major companies all over the world; airlines and cruiselines, travel bureaus and chamber associations, hotels and resorts, tour companies and travel agents, all facets of the travel industry are represented.

Speakers panels and group sessions make up the bulk of this event, a 1/2-day trade show thrown in for networking and information-sharing is but a mere blink on a four-day event that is truly more of a congress than an expo. Although the 350-attendee number sounds low, this is a tight group that spends the week together; breakfast, lunch, dinner and evening activities surround the informative talks and industry panels, making the event more of a family reunion than a continual 10-minute commercial that all other disability expos equate to.

A focus on improving the travels of people with disabilies, the SATH World Congress is more about advocacy and change than anything else. Suggestions, improvements and ideas are brought to the table for improving access among airline, cruiseline, and individual travel aspects of the industry. We're always impressed when we attend this event; the work that goes into bringing experts from all corners of the earth together is inspiring.

Focused until recently on "the mature," our mission at this Congress was to bring Adventure Travel to the table. Our speakers panel and adventure activity side trips was just an introduction to this group, and we hope to continue to work with SATH to include adventure travel as a viable niche to explore, and not to be overlooked.

If you're a travel agent, a traveler, or an industry professional, SATH is a wonderful resource for all, as experts with four decades of experience under their belts.