Science & Tech

Infographic: How the three-wheeled ‘Explore’ is helping more people enjoy the backcountry

Christian Bagg, founder of Icon Wheelchairs, is a true trailblazer
  • Feb 15, 2018
  • 217 words
  • 1 minutes
Christian Bagg, trail, invention, wheelchair, Great Trail Expand Image

All of a sudden one day in 1996, Christian Bagg could no longer snowboard, mountain bike or hike the backcountry he loved so much.

A snowboarding accident broke the young Albertan’s back, but he was soon using skills acquired as an apprentice machinist at the University of Calgary to build a wheelchair that actually fit his 6’5″ frame. He started designing better equipment for medical tech companies, and by 2010, had founded Icon Wheelchairs with 13-time Paralympic medallist Jeff Adams. 

Frustrated by attempts to navigate narrow backcountry routes in a sit-ski, Bagg started channelling his innovation into returning to the trails — and to do so at the same level as before. 

About six years and 16 major design evolutions later (many tested around The Great Trail’s West Bragg Creek routes), Bagg arrived at the Explore model illustrated here, an agile electric machine on which he can keep up with and even outpace experienced mountain bikers.

Provincial parks in Kananaskis Country and Pincher Creek are developing Icon-lending programs for their trails, and Bagg has built push-pull models for camps for kids with cancer and with disabilities. “My focus,” he says, “is all about getting the people who can’t get outside, outside.”

Expand Image

Related Content

A crowd of tourist swarm on a lakeside beach in Banff National Park

Places

Smother Nature: The struggle to protect Banff National Park

In Banff National Park, Alberta, as in protected areas across the country, managers find it difficult to balance the desire of people to experience wilderness with an imperative to conserve it

  • 3713 words
  • 15 minutes

People & Culture

Catherine McKenna on diversity in politics, internet trolls, and cold-water swimming

Episode 28

A century after the first woman was elected to the Canadian Parliament, one of the most prominent figures in present-day politics shares her thoughts on how to amplify diverse voices in the Commons

  • 22 minutes

People & Culture

Kahkiihtwaam ee-pee-kiiweehtataahk: Bringing it back home again

The story of how a critically endangered Indigenous language can be saved

  • 6343 words
  • 26 minutes

Mapping

How the Great Trail interactive map is linking communities and changing exploration

As Canada's most famous trail celebrates its near completion, Esri Canada president Alex Miller discusses the ambitious trail map that is helping Canadians get outdoors

  • 1298 words
  • 6 minutes