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  • Writer's pictureLesley Davis

SCANDINAVIANS KNOW HOW TO ROLL!

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

With top-quality materials, unique safety and ergonomic features, and true-to-form+function Scandinavian design sense, #Trionic from Sweden and #byAcre from Denmark are two Scandinavian rollator companies making the Volvos of rollators. Today I'll focus on Trionic.


a woman dressed in a winter coat and hat standing behind a three-wheeled rollator in the middle of a snowy street.a
The author on a snowy day with her trusty Trionic Veloped

The Trionic Veloped, billed as "the modern alternative to a rollator," and the Trionic walker rollator both come in several sizes and configurations (e.g., the Veloped version for golfers and the 9", 12" or 14" tire options for the walker-rollator).


It doesn't take a lot for an average rollator to be functional for someone who needs a little extra help ambulating. Making a rollator that someone who otherwise cannot walk can safely use is a whole different kettle of herring.

For me, the essential feature of the Trionic rollators is the all-terrain, hub brakes. These are exactly like the brakes on a bicycle, and the brake levers are aluminum, just like the brake levers on a bicycle. As I lack proprioception and therefore balance, I need a walking aid that is far more substantial than the walker gathering dust in the basement with tennis balls for feet. I need brakes that actually stop the wheels, not just hint that they should slow down a touch. The confidence I have in the braking ability of my Veloped and my walker-rollator means I am able to leave my wheelchair behind for a while (my wheelchair is also a Swedish product: Permobil) and not worry about doing a face plant.


The other huge difference between the Trionic products and standard rollators is the wheels. They have slightly knobby, pneumatic tires (like on a mountain or hybrid bike), and the wheels range in size from big (9") to really big (14"). Just think about the difference in ride and speed between, say, a plastic Big Wheel kids toy and Danny MaAskill's mountain bike. The Veloped models, which look so much like a jogging stroller that people often look to see if I have a baby in the basket, also have a "hill-climbing wheel" on the front. The hill-climbing wheel does sort of an advance foray up onto the obstacle in your path and then brings the rest of the rollator and its user along safely. It is ideal for maneuvering the device over uneven terrain whilst hiking, but I mostly use it for curbs. I just gently ram the climbing wheel into the curb and up we climb!


After 12 years as a full-time wheelchair user, I made the leap and decided I could travel sans chair, first to Minneapolis to see my dear friend and the U2 Joshua Tree (again) concert, and then, buoyed by the sense of confidence that trip instilled in me, I took only my Veloped a business trip to Saudi Arabia. I knew the wheelchair accessibility in Saudi Arabia would not be great (it wasn't), and figured I would be able to do more things independently with the Veloped. I was right. However, as a foreign woman with a giant mobility aid, I was an oddity in a country where the charity model of disability is still very much alive and well. But one of the things I love about my job is that I have the privilege of challenging people's assumptions about disability everywhere I travel.




The sole drawback - for me - of the Trionic products is that they are heavy (ranging from 20.9 to 30.9 lbs.) and rather cumbersome to fit into taxis, much less airplanes. If I travel with my smaller Trionic 12"-er rollator (20.3 lbs.) as well as my amazing Fold & Go travel wheelchair (more on that in a later post), I know I will need help moving all my equipment along the way. It is very difficult to drive a wheelchair (or even be pushed in one) and also push or carry the Trionic. On the upside, you can load up the Trionic with all your luggage and never have to pay for an airport luggage cart again!


In my effort to find a smaller, lighter-weight but still safe (for me) rollator for travel, I am about to try the byAcre Carbon Overland Defender (14.8 lbs.), which comes with its own carrying case that it looks like I can sling into the back of my wheelchair. Review coming soon!




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