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Framework of the ORWC practice

There are in France, 3 ways of enjoying the fun of off road wheelchair riding: 
within an association, with the assistance of a professional or by yourself.


The ORWC is used to descend under the riders control for persons with reduced mobility, permitting riding in an outdoor environment.  Riding at speed or in competition requires an organization taking specific safety precautions--it should not be improvised.
You must verify with your doctor that your state of health is compatible with this type of exercise (level of self-control, environment, prevention of pressure sores, positions etc) and prepare specific equipment for your situation.
Regular practice is normally organized on paths that can be irregular but sufficiently wide. These paths must be known beforehand to know the profile and any eventualities or difficulties they may present.  Respect private properties (crops and fences) and obtain the necessary authorization (from owners, town halls, lifts, etc.) 
Never go alone: a group with at least 2 companions is obligatory to help in case of long flat trails, ascents or unexpected developments in the terrain (ravines, fallen trees, snow…) Competent professionals are at your disposition (see heading with whom to practice ) 
Note that mountain conditions are prone to rapid change: find out before you leave (weather, state of paths) at the tourist offices or from professionals concerned. 
Safety requires that you always wear a mountain bike helmet and check the condition of your equipment (tires, brakes, steering, tightness of components, emergency kit…)   
Choose terrain according to your level of handicap, level of expertise and self-control.  Prepare a progressive programme and always be in control of your speed.  The speed should always be maintained below the riders capacity and be careful of competitiveness arising in the presence of other riders.  The riding technique of these chairs becomes comfortable rapidly and gives the impression of mastering the chair.  Don’t let yourself be fooled and become complacent.
Apply general advice and precautions of all outdoor pursuits (preparation, equipment, road sense, behavior in case of accident or incident). A means of radio contact is useful and well recommended.


Who can guide ORWC riders 

Only qualified instructors can guide ORWC riders. Qualifications currently approved in France are the mountain bike state diploma (BEES VTT) or the "accompagnateur moyenne montagne" state diploma (BEES AMM). In addition to the above diplomas, getting the certificate ("Certificat de Qualification Handisports"), given by the "Fédération Française Handisport" is very highly recommended.

Trainings and Qualifications

A complementary training is given by the Fédération Française Handisport to the professionals already qualified in another field (such as mountain guiding or mountain biking). It gives them the specific skills needed to guide persons with a physicall or visual impairement. A formal qualification (Certificat de Qualification Handisport) is given when the 2 modules of the training have been succesfully completed:

- module A, common to all sports, provides  the theoritical and practical knowledge on disability.
- module B, specific to one field of expertise (such as mountain guiding), provides the practical and teaching skills needed to guide physically challenged persons, as well as the in depth knowledge of the adapted equipment available. 


To practice this activity, you need to be fully insured for any damage or injury to people or material which you might be responsible for. The Licence from the Fédération Française Handisport (FFH) provides coverage for the ORWC practice.

Medical limits

- To be developped later -


Last update : 02/13/2002 08:57

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