Patrick Mayer, Creator of Wheelblades
“I decided to continue with my life and try to make the best of it”
hen Patrick was nine years old, he already knew he wanted to be a professional snowboarder. His passion was freestyle snowboarding. At 17, he went to Tübingen (Germany) to attend a boarding school for sports in the Swiss mountains. His aptitude for the sport quickly elevated him to the elite of German freestyle snowboarding. In 2000, during a competition, he crashed, injuring his back. Emergency surgery quickly followed. The resulting diagnosis: he would need a wheelchair and walking aids for the rest of his life.
His life changed on that day, but giving up was not an option. At 21, life was too valuable to surrender to fate without a fight so, he accepted the challenge life presented him and made a decision to live a full life.
Patrick is now the owner of “Nicon-Tec Ltd”, a company that develops and produces innovative products for people with walking disabilities, giving them the ability to navigate any surface, in any situation. Patrick believes the concept of inclusion should not be limited to urban life only but that it should also include the outdoors and being able to enjoy nature. He observed that there were few creative, inexpensive aids. From this his idea was born – use the advancements in the technical space to gradually improve the world of the handicapped.
PATRICK SHARED SOME INSIGHTS WITH MÉLANGE
Three months after my accident, I thought about the options that I had and I asked myself: “what do I now want from life?” I decided there were only three options for me:
#One: Suicide. Escape my inevitable situation
#Two: Continue my life in bitterness, . . . because I could not at that time accept what had happened.
#Three: Continue my life and try to make the best out of it. Accept what has happened.
I concluded that in order to live a happy life I had to choose option three. Option number one was no longer an option at all, and option number two was the same – no option! For me, a life in bitterness was like a very slow suicide. Every single happy moment will drown in bitterness. Where is the fun? The quality and joy of life? So, I chose option three which means drawing a line and starting from zero, if not for myself at that time, but I had to do it for my loved ones. In Germany we say “Du erntest was du säst” which means “you reap (harvest) what you sow.” If you give happiness, you will get it back. You won´t find friends or a partner if you live in bitterness. So basically, I made a very pragmatical decision. And I also concluded that nothing is forever! Maybe life will be “normal” one day when I am long enough in the situation. It´s always the unknown that frightens us.”
Maintaining a positive attitude is allowing Patrick to live a fulfilling life in spite of his disability
Wheelblades: small high end skis for manual wheelchairs, strollers or walkers.
Wheelblades offer safety and mobility on snow and ice in winter. Because of the easily adjustable binding, it can be attached to any conventional wheelchair model, stroller or walker. With the patented quick-release mechanism, you can switch from wheels to runners with ease in just seconds. The broad contact surface of the Wheelblades optimally distributes the weight on the ground, thus preventing the small front wheels from sinking into the snow. The runners move along the ground with very little friction, and even larger irregularities in the terrain can be easily navigated. To ensure that the tip of the ski always points forward, the binding was deliberately positioned in the front part of the ski. Stability while in motion is provided by two channels on the bottom of the Wheelblades that compress the snow and let you glide as if on rails.
The product was originally developed for manual wheelchairs but the bigger version WHEELBLADES XL can also used for any babystroller or walker.
Safety Foot: Innovative walking aid.
SafetyFoot is the first lightweight “trekking shoe” for walking aids like canes or crutches. Solid, anti-slip and stable for maximum mobility and flexibility on any surface. Quick and easy to install on any walking aid, the SafetyFoot helps users navigate both everyday life and recreational activities on a firm footing. Thanks to the innovative geometry of the foot and the careful selection of materials, the SafetyFoot feels at home on any surface and in any weather. The SafetyFoot also impresses with its attractive and sporty design. Thanks to extreme stress tests and continuous optimization of the material and production processes, SafetyFoot meets the highest quality standards.
The special choice of material and construction of the sole ensures maximum slip resistance on wet and slippery surfaces. The flexible rubber joint in the upper part of the SAFETY FOOT provides a secure grip even on uneven or sloping surfaces and supports the ergonomic rolling of the walking aids. The special geometry ensures an even weight distribution and prevents sinking into loose and soft surfaces.
This product is also the right choice for elderly people because it prevents the walking aid from slipping on wet surfaces. Because I use fiberglass reinforced materials you can use it for any activity. On the one side the material is super lightweight and on the other hand it has a maximum capacity of over 600 kg.
How Wheelblades helps Patrick to enjoy nature
Inclusive cities aren’t very helpful to me when my friends are going on the beach or for a winter walk. Those are the moments when I want to be with them. Thanks to the Wheelblades I am now able to go on winterwalks with my family and even ride downhill with my son side by side with his sled. Thanks to the SafetyFoot I can join my friends on the beach and go for a swim. It´s especially those moments, where I can completely forget all my worries and simply be free. After my accident, I studied psychology in order to help people with the same fate. Over the years I realized that I can reach and help way more people, if I develop products to increase the mobility. There is nothing more powerful than being outside, free, together with your loved ones. “Actions speak louder than words”
Wheelblades and Safety Foot are shipped internationally
I started in 2012 and I have now about 100 partners in more than 20 countries. If I find the best solution, I want to make it accessible for everybody else without any geographical boundaries.
Patrick, the Photographer
Being in a wheelchair means being different. People in society are curious when they see something different and you have to get used to their views. People watch me when I move around in a wheelchair or when I park in handicapped parking spaces. Nature, however, doesn´t care about me being different and I am just a part of it. When I am all by myself in nature taking pictures, I can be 100% myself without the feeling of being watched all the time. That is a very special and peaceful moment for me. Thanks to my Safety Foot I am also able to leave my wheelchair behind and move more freely in nature. I appreciate this privilege a lot.
Another thing was the death of my brother in 1999. The time we had come to an ultimate end and the memories about him are fading like the letters of a book that is laying in the sun. With landscape photography I am capable of freezing moments and time forever.
Patrick’s accessible city
I come from Tübingen, a small medieval town in the south of Germany. At the time of my accident in 2000, it was not fun going into town because of all the cobblestones. But since then, a lot of things have changed in our favour and the city is now way more wheelchair friendly. They have replaced the big cobblestones with smaller stones and we are now able to go to town without being ejected from our wheelchairs. I don’t complain a lot because I won’t change anything by complaining. There are other ways to get to one’s goal. If you are not able to go to one place, simply accept it. People always want to help. You just have to ask for help!
What’s next for Patrick and Nicon-Tec?
I am currently working on an amazing new product that could have a very big impact for people with walking disabilities. At this time, I cannot provide many details because I want to surprise the world with a huge “boom.” Thanks to my international partners, I will be able to spread this idea/product/ possibility all over the world. We already have come very far and I hope that it won’t take too long anymore.