The artificial learning environment is created by using folded bath towels which build variable height wheel stops. The wheel stops are placed in front and behind your rear wheels. The wheel stops allow you to maintain the wheelie balance position through a combination of primarily muscular force and balance. You use the stabilized wheelchair wheels to physically hold the balanced position. This is no different than using a railing to keep from falling when descending stairs. The wheels don’t move (yet) which provides the stability you currently require in order to maintain the position.
As you unfold the towels step by step, you reduce their height, and therefore the level of wheel stability they provide. This results in more balancing actions of pushing and pulling (and more feedback for your nonconscious). In addition, the towels are soft which creates more instability than rigid blocks. It is the step by step increasing of instability that builds the progressive learning experience of your nonconscious. To advance towards a wheelie on a hard surface, you keep unfolding the towels and reduce wheel stability while simultaneously increasing balancing demands.
The more folds in the towel, the “slower” the response time required. Therefore, your conscious can handle the task. As the folds decrease, the responses need to be quicker, demanding more nonconscious processing. The finished result will be your ability to perform a wheelie that is primarily processed by and ingrained into your nonconscious even through you started off using mostly your conscious.
Using the Towels – Step by Step
Take two bath towels and fold them in half creating 2 towel
Then, in half again creating 4 towel thickness.
Then, in half again creating 8 towel thickness wheel blocks.
Place the towel wheel blocks about 5-6 inches apart on the floor. The exact distance depends on the size of your wheels and thickness of your towels.
Roll backwards over one towel into the trough created. Or get your spotter to place the towels in front and behind your rear wheels.
8 Towel Thickness
Place your hands on your wheels to force the front of your wheelchair up into the balanced wheelie position. You will need to push some weight backwards too. Remember, the wheelie position is created when your Center of Mass is directly over your rear wheel axle. Right now, your Center of Mass is in front of your axle requiring a forward push to tilt backwards.
Relax. Sit straight up and hold the balanced position with progressively less force on the wheels.
Rock back and forth to start teaching your cerebellum. It needs repetition to learn that a forward push is up and a backwards pull is down (for the front end of the wheelchair).
When you can maintain the balanced position with ease, stop and unfold the towel from 8 to 4 towel thickness.
4 Towel Thickness
Repeat the process and increase your rocking back and forth frequency as you sequentially unfold the towels from 4 to 2 to 1 to no towels. Don’t skip steps, and don’t start a new step until you feel comfortable with the step that you are at. It takes time and repetition to teach your cerebellum. You can accelerate the process, but you can’t skip it.
At the point that you have no towels, you should be able to pop and hold a wheelie with minimal effort.
2 Towel Thickness
The Results Depends on the Individual
How fast this process occurs depends entirely on the individual. As an analogy, think of a person walking on a balance beam while holding on to a support bar. In the beginning, the person will use the bar heavily to maintain his or her balance. But as his nonconscious gains direct experience, he will be able to hold the bar more and more lightly. Finally, he will not need the bar at all as he crosses the beam.
While it is also possible to learn to cross the beam without the use of the support bar, it is not a method of accelerated learning. If the balance beam is high in the air, the support bar is even more necessary to aid in the learning process.
Many wheelchair users, who are fearful of falling and/or unable to get back into their wheelchairs after a fall, may feel that doing a wheelchair wheelie is similar to crossing a narrow balance beam high in the air. It is for this reason, that a number of wheelchair users never learn how to do a wheelie. It’s not that they can’t do it. It’s because they think that the initial bar of learning is too high to accomplish.
The Step by Step Accelerated Learning Method makes learning to do a wheelchair wheelie simple and fun. The steps can be performed in one training session or over time. No matter where your skill currently lies, you start your training session at the towel thickness level which is comfortable for you. If at any time that means moving back a step or two, so be it.
The nonconscious learns by accumulated experience, not by cramming. In fact, there are studies that show that the nonconscious system learns more effectively by allowing sleep to build your brain connections. Unlike the conscious system which forgets and needs to be reminded of what it “learned” in previous training, the nonconscious seems to retain learning. With the nonconscious, you are able start training again where you left off. And sometimes, you will begin at a higher level of skill than where you stopped.
Once you have mastered the basic two-handed wheelie, you can progress to more advanced wheelie skills such as one-handed, moving forwards, moving backwards, spins, curb drops, curb jumps, multiple steps, and more.