Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

10 Lessons (re)Learned From Wheeling To Work

I walked to work today. I learned, or rather learned again, several important lessons. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ll do it again – it just wasn’t safe.

Sidewalks and Curb Cuts Are Shite

Yes, strong words from me, but I can’t succintly express it any other way: sidewalks are shite, and curb cuts are no better. The cross-slope is generally too steep, and the state of repair in many places makes me despair.

I wrote about sidewalk and curb cut issues three years ago. I need not say more on this topic!

Dog Poo Everywhere

Whether it comes from roaming dogs , or is left behind by inconsiderate dog owners, dog poo on the sidewalk smears on your wheels, and then your hands, just the same. Unpleasant is just one descriptive I can think of.

Overgrown Bushes

Bushes left to grow without trimming often “eat up” the entire sidewalk. Leaving you the choice of walking through, getting scratched, wet, etc, or to go on the grass verge, if there is one.

No Sidewalk

For a 750 m section of the trip, the only pathway available was gravel – impassable for a wheelchair. This means I had to travel on the street, in morning rush hour. This was not safe.

Cars Pulling Out of Driveways

The number of drivers who back out of their driveways quite quickly, and without really looking is uncanny. Yes, I’m pointing my finger at you, driver of the red Audi on Albert Street near St James School. You nearly bowled me over. It could have been a child.

Bicycles on sidewalks

Bicycles do not belong on sidewalks. Especially driven by adult. I encountered 11 cyclists in the space of 2 blocks, again near schools.

Music

Les Colocs’ first album is bloody good music to exercise to. Québecois / French Canadian rock.

Good Earphones Make A Difference

My Zagg smartbud earphones are fantastic. The sound is good, and they stick in the ear even when you move a lot. And they are comfortable!

Exercise is Good

I went 5.23 Km. At an average 9 Km per hour. It’s good to be moving and pushing yourself somewhat hard. I might be sore tomorrow, but I’m already feeling good for the exercise, both in body and in mind.

Osprey Hydration Backpack Rocks

I was lucky enough to receive an Osprey Manta 20 backpack with a water bladder for Christmas. It’s quite comfortable, and having easy access to water just makes things so much easier!

However…

While the exercise and the music were good, and it didn’t take me very long to get to work, I don’t believe I’ll venture to work on wheels again.

The trip was just too risky.