Top 10 Adrenaline Experiences Across the World
Does the thought of dangling off a zip wire or flying with a glider fill you with excitement or dread? Do you have a need for speed or are you happy chilling on the sofa?
Just a few weeks ago, a Russian man, Alexe Mayuko, became the first person to do a bungee jump in a wheelchair. Disabled people are no longer expected to be passive, unadventurous beings; instead, we can seek to take part in as many thrill-seeking, white-knuckle activities as our non-disabled friends. And we can excel when we do.
If you’re a risk taker by nature, and you’ve been looking for a new adventure, I’ve put together ten of the top adrenaline experiences that disabled people can enjoy around the world.
1. Have a treetop adventure in the US
Fancy climbing rope ladders, flying on a zip wire, swinging through the trees and checking out the awesome view from the sky? Go Ape! With locations in the USA from Connecticut to Virginia, this treetop adventure experience has hosted many people with disabilities. The nature of the experience means that there are some limitations on who would be able to manage the course, so – as with all of these suggestions – contact the centre to find out more. For advice about the UK please visit Go Ape UK’s FAQ page.
2. Ski in Niederau, Austria
An ideal destination for beginner skiers, this ski resort in the Austrian Alps hosts trips by Disability Snow Sports UK. For more advanced skiers, or those who want to venture further afield, the organisation also arranges snow-sports trips to Italy, Andorra and the USA.
3. Paraglide at over 50 locations in the UK
Flyability is part of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHGP) and exists to help disabled people, over the age of 16, to take part in hang gliding and paragliding at BHGP centres across the country.
As long as you can lie on your front, lift your head and have good upper body strength, Flyability is confident that disabled people can be supported to take part in these high-flying activities!
4. Kayak on a river in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
Whistler Adaptive Sports Program supports disabled people to participate in a wide range of different activities. Kayaking is one of the programme’s offerings, where visitors can learn the necessary skills to kayak on the centre’s local lake and rivers, and double kayaks are available for people with mobility difficulties.
Check out their Live It! Love It! courses too, for an added adrenaline rush! They are designed for adults who have had recent spinal-cord injuries and offer bungee jumping, canoeing, rock climbing, handcycling and more.
5. Scuba dive in Australia
Ever dreamed of dipping under the sea and swimming amongst the reefs and sea life? Scuba diving is an activity that disabled people can participate in, and the Abyss Scuba Diving Centre in Australia is one of the dozens of centres around the world associated with Disabled Divers International.
6. Indoor sky dive in the Netherlands
Indoor sky diving sounds like an oxymoron, but there are places with extreme, vertical wind tunnels that gives participants the chance to experience the sensation of free falling, without the risk of jumping out of a plane!
Check out this video to get a sense of the experience. One centre that offers indoor sky diving is Indoor Skydive Roosendaal in the Netherlands. It caters for people with a wide range of health conditions and impairments, as long as they can climb stairs on their own or with assistance.
7. Wheel on a skate park for free in Venice Beach, California
Life Rolls On arranges skate park meets for wheelchair users and other disabled people to get the thrill of skating at speed and learning tricks and specialist moves. This annual event began in 2010, as “the first skate clinic for people living with paralysis”, and people travel from across the world to take part, win prizes and enjoy the atmosphere.
8. Learn parkour in Houston, Texas
We’ve all seen videos of people leaping off walls and sliding down handrails, but many disabled people consider this sport to be inaccessible to them. Urban Movement, a US organisation that teaches Adaptive Movement, would disagree.
Adaptive Movement specialises in adapting the skills of parkour to suit people with limb loss or spinal cord injuries, focusing on progression and increasing movement to develop the ability to take part.
9. Handbike in the Cairngorms and the Lakes
Wheel High has a handcycle and an off-road handbike that disabled visitors can use to explore Glenmore Forest in Scotland. The handcycle requires a degree of upper-body strength, but the off-road handbike can be used more easily by people with other physical impairments.
Handbiking offers a wonderful opportunity to explore the mountain tops and woodland in a way that might otherwise be impossible for somebody with mobility difficulties.
10. Caving, abseiling and wheelchair rafting in Wales
The Redridge Centre works with disabled people to encourage a wide range of sporting and other achievements. The centre organises a range of activities that would fulfil any adrenaline-junkie’s need for speed, such as wheelchair rafting, rock climbing, caving and high ropes.
Gerry Bucke from Chartwell, a specialist insurance provider and advocate for the disability community, believes that taking part in extreme sports can boost a disabled person’s confidence as well as their physical fitness. He explains, “Paragliding, handbiking and kayaking are high-adrenaline sports that require skills and focus. Taking part in these activities has a range of benefits for disabled people who would otherwise have fewer opportunities to stretch themselves. People can get a real boost when they join in and succeed.”
There are many more other recreation and sport centres across the world that actively welcome and can accommodate people with disabilities, so don’t be limited by what I’ve listed here. And always check with any centre that they can accommodate your specific needs before you book. That way you can be sure of choosing the right experience and get the most out of it.
Written by Philippa Willitts
Philippa Willitts is a Sheffield-based freelance writer and proofreader who specialises in writing about health and disability, SEO and social media and women’s issues. Her writing has been published in the Guardian, Independent, New Statesman, Channel 4 News, xoJane and The Daily Dot websites as well as numerous other websites and publications. She enjoys tech, trips to the seaside and changing the world. She can be found on Twitter @PhilippaWrites.
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