Accessible summer activities in Romandie
Looking for outdoor activities in Western Switzerland? There are plenty of opportunities!
Summer has started one week ago. Also this year, many are drawn to rivers and lakes to cool down. The braver ones take a sailing or a motor boat and learn how to navigate the water.
Various organizations in Western Switzerland (but not only there!) make this possible by offering sailing courses for people with physical, cognitive or sensory disabilities.
You don’t have to worry about how to get from the dock into the boat thanks to lifts that are installed on the docks. Also, the boats are designed in a way that all steering elements are within easy reach.
Make no mistake, however, by thinking you only have to push a few crank handles to be able to navigate. Depending on the weather conditions, navigating can be complex and challenging. On the one hand, you have to learn how to deal with airflow in order to be able to set the sail properly; on the other hand, you have to know how to navigate the water currents to avoid being carried away.
This video gives an idea how it is to sail in tandem:
No boating license or guidance by an instructor or expert is necessary for small sail and motor boats. You can just go and rent one together with a friend. In order to avoid unwelcome surprises, however, we recommend you take someone along who is experienced and can show you how to sail.
However, if you’d like to steer more powerful motor boats or larger sail boats, a boating license is required.
The beauty of sailing: Depending on weather and company, it can be quite invigorating. You can take a boat and spend a calm and sunny day with friends or family. If you prefer adventures, however, you choose a windy day to go out on the water. It’s your choice!
Below is a list of companies who offer sailing courses in Romandie for people with disabilities:
- Le Bouveret/VS: https://www.gotandem.info/voile/
- Prangins/VD: https://handivoile.ch
- Neuenburg/NE, Estavayer-le-Lac/FR, Rolle/VD: https://www.justforsmiles.ch/en/sailing/
- Canton of Geneva: https://www.handisport-ge.ch/sections-sportives/detail/section/voile/
- Vevey/VD, Le Bouveret/VS: http://www.asavalais.ch/p66-voiles
Off-road biking with the Cimgo
If you don’t enjoy the water, we suggest you try the Cimgo. As shown in the picture, it is a special bike for all kinds of terrain.
The Cimgo is a kind of tandem bike that is steered by one person and the other one sits in the front. The driver has to complete a specific training. To experience the Cimgo in a secure way, we recommend joining an organized tour together with an experienced guide on a route specifically chosen for this purpose. Normally, a second person can join by mountain bike or scooter.
A huge plus this off-road bike has to offer is that it can be used by people with literally any kind of disability. It provides the opportunity to explore the mountains in a dynamic and entertaining way. This video takes you along on a tour with the Cimgo:
Here a few links to organized tours in French-speaking Switzerland:
- Villars-sur-Ollon/VS: https://www.gotandem.info/cimgo/
- Regional Nature Park Gruyère Pays-d'Enhaut/VD: http://capdenho.ch/loisirs-adaptes/cimgo/
- Jaun/FR: https://www.gsab-aventures.ch/en_US/page/sportadapte
- Champéry et Villars-sur-Ollon/VS: http://www.handiconcept.ch/index.php/home-ete
Still not adventurous enough? Then maybe paragliding is for you!
Paragliding is an activity that can be described as extreme due to its high dose of adrenaline and because it’s not really suitable for everyone.
By nature, us humans are earthbound – damn gravity! But imagine getting rid of your weight and floating like a leaf in the air without thinking about how to return to the ground. This is what paragliding feels like!
While you lift and your body detaches entirely from the ground, you may get that queasy feeling. But once you are up in the air, you’ll enjoy an incomparable view and unique paragliding experience.
Three kinds of paragliding are typically offered:
- Regular: The flight takes about 30 minutes and you try to take advantage of thermal currents to stay in the air and enjoy the view.
- Circus: Also in this case thermal currents are used to stay up high but breathtaking circles and complex figures are performed in addition.
- Icarus’ dream: This option includes a shorter flight than normal and the goal is rather speed than aeronautics. Guaranteed a thrilling experience.
Here are two organizers who offer paragliding for wheelchair users in Romandie:
And where do you feel most comfortable: in the water, mountains or air?