Attends' Adaptive Adventures Part 3


Handcycling is more than a potential adventure: it can begin as an amazingly beneficial activity that is incorporated into your daily routine or exercise regimen. Once you get used to the process of pedaling with your hands around various hills and windy roads around where you live, you can take your skills into the mountains or wilderness and begin your biking adventure. Mountain biking can require a large amount of upper body strength, especially in rougher, steeper terrain, but it is a great way to leave your mobility worries behind and get out into nature to explore. 

If you read one of my previous Attends’ articles, you may remember my journey of taking on the lead role in a feature film here in Los Angeles! During the film, there is a pivotal moment after my character’s spine injury where she uses handcycling as a symbolic way to accept her situation and decide to make the best of it. This scene showed me that handcycling can be a great way mentally to ‘start again’ in life and release expectations of the old ways in order to make room for the new. 

Fun fact: to celebrate finishing the film, I ended up painting my new handcycle pink!

Possible Adaptations:

  • Handcycle
  • Tandem bike
  • Leg / calf supports

Inthe Air

“Those who don’t jump will never fly.” ~Leena Ahmad Almashat


When I first told my mom that I wanted to go skydiving, I was met with a reaction akin to suggesting that I was going to shave off all my hair and get a face tattoo. “You want to do, WHAT?!” she exclaimed. At the time, I had recently turned 20 and was desperately looking for something that would challenge the ever-present fear that seemed to control my life. It wasn’t until my high-level anxiety started making me avoid going to my college classes that I knew I needed to take more drastic measures. 

I had to do something to show myself I was brave. 

So as three of my friends and my frazzled mother all stood in a field watching my plane disappear into the sky, I shivered violently while strapped to a former Airforce parachuter wondering what madness had driven me into this situation. Before I could fully process the life-or-death quandary floating around in my head, we had jumped - and every emotion seemed to flood my brain simultaneously: fear, excitement, disbelieve, determination. 

What I didn’t expect to happen as I was hurdling toward the ground was sudden feeling of peace. As I looked down at the earth, I got a perspective that I had never had before. I realized that the many problems I faced, including the fear of going out in public as a wheelchair user, were in reality, so very small. Sometimes taking a step back (or in this case, 15,000 feet up in the sky) can drastically affect the way you look at a situation and make you realize it isn’t as bad as it appears to be.

I credit this experience as the catalyst that changed my perspective on life and made me the adventure-chaser that I am today! Below is a video of me capturing my 6th and most recent skydive in Hawaii along with an explanation of how the process works:

Possible Adaptations: 

  • Experienced disability tandem instructor
  • Leg harness for landing

*Check with the skydiving location before booking to ensure they have the adapted leg strap that will assist with pulling your legs up to your chest for the landing. They will usually try to partner you with a tandem jumper who has experience jumping with people who have disabilities. If they don’t feel comfortable jumping with you, don’t give up! Keep calling locations to find one that will be the perfect fit for you.


If you are looking for a way to get the stunning birds-eye view from above without the intensity of skydiving, paragliding is a great way to go. This activity is similar in the sense that you are still strapped to a tandem jumper who will launch off a high hill or slope and will soar thousands of feet above the ground. You may be relieved to know, however, that paragliding is rated one of the “safest forms of aviation” and can be a great way to get the thrill in a more contained setting. Some paragliding locations even have adapted wheelchair bike gliders that you can sit in while soaring through the air!

My personal paragliding experience was a bit unintentional. A man reached out to me during my cross-country tour as Ms. Wheelchair USA and asked if I would like to come to the paragliding convention they were having in Idaho. He said that they had even procured the adaptive equipment for any people with disabilities who wanted to participate – so I changed the itinerary of my tour and drove up to Boise to make the leap! The spectacular paragliding flight I had there showed me the importance of being open to new opportunities because you never know when an incredible experience will come knocking at your door.

Possible Adaptations:

  • Experienced disability tandem instructor
  • Adaptive leg harness
  • Wheelchair bike glider


Our final adapted adventure on this list is one that I ventured into specifically for this article! I had wanted to go ziplining for a very long time but hadn’t found the right place that would accommodate someone in a wheelchair. While there are locations in the US that have accessible zipline tours, they can sometimes be difficult to find. The one I decided to go to was an adapted zipline company in Las Vegas that has equipment specifically for people who are unable to walk. First, they let me transfer into a special wheelchair that would take me up the elevator to the jump point. This allowed them to have my personal wheelchair ready for me at the other end of the zipline. The second accommodation included a power lift bed that raised up and gave me the freedom to transfer out of the chair and lay on my stomach so that the team could adequately get my harness on. After I was securely harnessed up, the bed went back down to the ground, while I dangled in the air waiting for the zipline adventure to begin! 

The rush of whirring past buildings high above the ground is an absolutely phenomenal sensation, and it makes you feel like you are jetting through the air like a falcon. The experience feels so freeing, in fact, that your bladder may decide to go rogue; so this is a great example of wanting to make sure you are protected with Attends. In this particular zipline, you are flying high above a crowded area of people – a situation that could become very awkward in the event you have any leakage falling down as you are zipping by! 

Because the accommodation levels at zipline companies can vary greatly, I highly recommend calling around and doing your research on what kind of assistance different locations can offer. Whichever way you end up going, just make sure you have people around you who are truly excited to support you on your adventure!

Possible Adaptations:

  • Ascension harness
  • Elevator to jump point
  • Tandem zipline assistance

If you take the step to pursue big things, you will be amazed at how many doors open for you. Each of these adventures ended up becoming a catalyst for a new and exciting opportunities in my life. For example, I got the chance to paraglide because of a contact I made after mountain biking in Utah; and I received the invitation to participate in the ranger climbing course after attending the ski event in South Dakota. 

Remember that you are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for, and once you take on big challenges like these, you will go back to your life realizing the mental and physical power you actually hold. Attends is here to support you on your adventure journey and is cheering you on along the way!

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