My new trike has arrived

duksjphw4aa-gqm

Last week my new Trike and is now safely stored in my spare bedroom, make available by the fact I no longer have a live in volunteer.

While I only had my previous trike for a very short time, it came me a good idea of what I needed to make the trike work for me. My first impressions of the new trike are excited amazement. The new colour of Bronze Orange makes the bike stand out of a crowd without screaming ‘special needs’.

My first observation is that with on the modern gadgets on the handlebars and without the basket at the back, it does not look a ‘special needs’ bike which does have a slight stigma to it. This is a trike to be proud of!

The weather and the lack of daylight are now the barriers to using the bike, and as spring approaches, watch this space!

Before I go where are the final figures of how the donations were spent;

Total donations were  £3341.27

This was spent on the following;

British Cycling Membership £33.30
Clothing £47.19
Custom Skinsuit £168.64
Bike £3045.00
Total: £3294.11
The balance is £47.17 and this will be used to purchase equipment and entry fees etc this year.
Advertisement

Statement on politics, activism and social media

There has been a number of events over the last few weeks, some very public and others quite private, that has led me to clarify my position in terms of politics, activism, and my use of social media going forward. This is therefore my statement to explain where I am and where I am going.

I confirm that this year I explored taking an active role in the Conservative Party including being involved in developing their disability policy, becoming a councilor and even the possibility of becoming a MP. My conclusion is while I support the values of the party and the potential they have in the future, they are not ready for someone like myself, who is ahead of their time in terms of living independently with a significant impairment, having full and comprehensive informed autonomy, and understands disability issues as a form of psycho-social discipline in a way few people do.

I will still remain a member of the Conservative Party and I will continue to raise my concerns of the hatred of the meaningful inclusion of all people with impairments by Labour and other parties. My interest in politics as not wained but I need to explore newavenues to get my voice heard as I am still going to make a big different to social policy in the country.

Fundamentally, I have realised that I am an activist before many things, and I take my role of an independent and honest contributor to society very seriously, free from the restraints of being associated with any group or ideology. The last few weeks, especially how I manage to initiate the return of my Trike, with a response I find overwhelming, has confirmed to me I am very happy to be an activist, to simply do whatever it is needed, and being able to take full responsibility for my actions free from the restraint of having to please others.

The key to real informed meaningful activism is having the strength to say what is needed to be said even if it appears to make you a minority of one. Being a minority of one is a comfortable place for me as time after time, I have been proven right and I have had people come over to my way of thinking.

Social media is a key method in how I try to provoke change as an activist, and it is no secret that I am not shy in saying what is on my mind to the people I want to hear my thoughts. Some people will call this trolling but my reasons are to provoke real debate and change, as oppose to beating someone down for not obeying the rules of their collective.

The important fact to understand here is I take responsibility for everything I say on social media and I can explain what I have said to the nth degree if required. If new information changes my viewpoint then I will acknowledge that and apoligise accordingly if I feel it is warranted. I have not and will not delete anything I have posted and I am happy to explain its historic context if a old post is unfairly used against me. We all grow and our viewpoint develops over time.

Activism as opposed to politics, while remaining political, is a core part of who I am that will continue to get me where I want to go and help the rest of the world to catch up with me.

If you like my blog article, have a look at some of my products;
Achieve Support – Coming soon
Having Pride (My Life Story) – http://www.balsy.me
Stevens’ Manifesto – Coming soon
Understand Assistance – http://www.understand.tips
Understand Dysabiity – Coming soon

or visit my website at http://www.simonstevens.com

You can also email me at simon@simonstevens.com

Thank you everyone for helping to return my Tomcat Bullet Trike

I would like to say a big thank you to everyone on social media who assisted me in getting my Trike returned. I absolutely believe it was only with the pressure from the social media response that whoever stole it decided they needed to return it.

The Trike, called the Bullet, is a new trike from Tomcat. They make specialist bikes for disabled children with various needs and wanted to enter the adult market. After attending a presentation at Naidex in March, we discussed the possibility for myself trialling the bike and the idea grew from there.

I was interested in the trike not just for my physical fitness but also my mental wellbeing. As someone with mild bipolar on top of cerebral palsy, I wanted a way to healthily release my excess emotional energy instead of raging on social media. And so just two weeks ago, I received my trike ready to do the HSBC City Ride in Coventry.

The city ride was an absolutely wonderful experience to remind myself that after being a full time wheelchair user outside my home for over a decade, something that does not bother me, I had the ability and fitness to peddle unassisted for a distance comparable to other people. I had purchased a British Cycling skinsuit and trousers off eBay some years ago for the day I may get to use them and here it was.

So after a perfect day as I was so pleased I found a physical activity I could enjoy and do without the fuss and hard work now associated with my lifetime passion of swimming, which now required getting changed into a lot of kit to keep me warm, safe and comfortable including swim hat, swim nappies and shorty wetsuit. With cycling, so long as I had a helmet, I could dress up or dress down as I felt that day. Living next door to Swanswell park and having which I assumed was a safe caged locked area to store it in, this was perfect, unfortunately too perfect!

Last Thursday at 6.30am, not sure why I was half awake in bed, I heard metal on metal and I instantly knew something was not right. By the time I had bolted out of bed and looked out of my bathroom window, it was gone and no sign of anyone! They had used bolt cutters to steal this so it was not exactly a crime of opportunity, I have done everything I thought at this time to keep the trike safe.

Now in crisis mode. I was now on autopilot as to what I was going to do. I had oddly discussed my action plan with my personal assistant a few days early in one of those what if conversations. I immediately run the police and then started hitting social media with the news.

I am not one for denying the obvious and I know if it had been a standard bike there was not a hope in hell that I would see it again but I would have just gone straight to my home insurance provider and made a claim. But it was a unique trike and a good story considering my situation and so it was appropriate for me to go to the local media.

I would have been very happy and impressed with a hundred shares on Facebook, and I have been absolutely overwhelmed that my original post has now been shared over 24000 times! That’s shared so we could be talking over a million views! I believe this is what they called going viral! For almost a week, my waking hours have been spent responded to social media requests. I was almost interviewed on BBC Midlands Today, which made sense. It was, however, the interest of Sky News that made my head swim and while the interview did not come off, I was mentioned very briefly on Sky News, although they called my trike a Mobility Scooter as they showed pictures of me on the trike!!!

The crowdfunding was amazing and shows the compassion of human beings despite the nastiness social media is portrayed as being. Now the bike is returned, I will use this funding for repairs, security improvements, new kit including a custom skinsuit with my name on, and other pieces of equipment, then donating remaining funding to a relevant disabled cycling charity. In the spirit of transparency. I will be publishing a full list of the income and expenditure in due course.

The trike was returned on Tuesday evening by a man who was not willing to wait around and answer questions so I am sure I will never know the full story. The trike has now been returned to the manufacturer for repairs and to store while I sort out the new security arrangements. The Trike will return to me in early December.

At some point, maybe in January, I plan to organise a casual ride along at War Memorial Park in Coventry which everyone is invited to as an opportunity for people to meet me and for me to say thank you. I will keep everyone updated on my new cycling page I am setting up on my website. I will also be producing regular blogs on my cycling adventures.

So once again, thank you, everyone, for your support with helping me get my trike returned.

If you like this article, have a look at some of my products;
Achieve Support – Coming soon
Having Pride  (My Life Story) – http://www.balsy.me
Stevens’ Manifesto – Coming soon
Understand Assistance – http://www.understand.tips
Understand Dysabiity – Coming soon

or visit my website at http://www.simonstevens.com

You can also email me at simon@simonstevens.com

Profile: Typing Assistant (for Windows)

Typing Assistant predicts and auto-completes words and phrases that you intended to type anywhere. It works by analyzing screen context and your typing history. This makes typing faster, more intelligent and reduces effort. 

 

Features 

 Universal Compatibility: Works with virtually all programs. 
Typing Assistant seamlessly integrates with all popular programs on MS Windows, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Notepad, UltraEdit, WordPad, ICQ Messenger, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, commonly used web browsers, etc. 
 Wide language support: Supports 50+ languages. 
Typing Assistant supports most languages of the world except several East Asian languages, such as Chinese, Japanese and Korean. 
 Word Prediction: Predicts the words you intend to type in order to speed up your typing and help your spelling. 
Typing Assistant integrates a word prediction feature. It predicts the word you are typing by spelling and frequency, and updates this prediction as the word is typed. Furthermore, the basic prediction dictionary can be altered to different languages. Even if you are already an excellent typist, you can type even faster and more accurately with this word prediction feature. 
 Auto-Complete: Completes text input automatically to save keystrokes. 
Like many web browsers or source code editors, Typing Assistant completes the predicted text automatically. This feature is available in any Windows program when Typing Assistant is running. 
 Auto-Learn: Learns unknown and recently typed words to speed up repetitive typing tasks. 
If you type a word that not in the dictionary (e.g. your name, your address, or a long string such as “m_strUserName”), Typing Assistant will learn the word. The next time you begin to type it, the word will be predicted. 

Typing Assistant learns all the words you type and is invaluable in any repetitive typing task. As its Auto-Learn vocabulary list grows, its functionality and accuracy increase correspondingly. 
 Auto-Correct: Corrects spelling mistakes automatically in any program. 
For example, if you type “abbout”, Typing Assistant will correct it to “about” automatically. Typing Assistant can extract Auto-Correct entries from Microsoft Word. 
 Auto-Screen: Acquires screen context by OCR to promote prediction accuracy. 
During typing, Typing Assistant acquires words and phrases of your screen context by Optical Character Recognition, then provides typing predictions accordingly. 
 Auto-Expand: Expands abbreviations to full text in any program. 
You can define shorthand shortcuts and abbreviations, for example, when you type “usa”, Typing Assistant can auto-expand it to the full text: United States of America. Thus with one key stroke (ENTER – the default hotkey), a full text replaces your abbreviation. You can quickly define multiple abbreviation entries yourself and have them automatically replace anything, such as phrases, tradenames, people’s names—anything you wish.

Typing Assistant can expand your abbreviation to whole paragraphs, and unicode characters are fully supported in the full text!
 Auto-Clipboard: Access clipboard history quickly. 
Typing Assistant automatically caches previous clipboard contents and provides quick access to them. 
 Auto-Launch: Launch frequently used applications/files/folders conveniently. 
Typing Assistant provides you a quick way to launch any application, file or folder in your computer. 
 Spell Checking: Beeps on misspelled words. 
When you type a word for the first time which is not in the Dictionaries, Typing Assistant can warn you with a beep. 
 Configurable Profile: User can switch between profiles for different language typing. 
When user change the profile, the Basic/Auto-Learn/Auto-Correct dictionaries are switched automatically. This is designed for different language typing. User can also download and set a general or professional dictionary file as the basic dictionary. The basic dictionary files can be downloaded freely on our web site. 
 Wide Adaptability: Quick settings for both fast typist and hunt-and-peck typing. 
Both fast typist and hunt-and-peck typing can benefit from this program if the settings are properly customized. 
 Security: Never collects or leaks your information. 
Typing Assistant never connects to the Internet in background, then don’t worry about the leak of your information. All data is stored in your computer, and the main dictionary files are encrypted. 
 Portable Version: Runs from DropBox or USB stick to keep data synchronization on different computers. 
We provide Typing Assistant in a portable version. You can run it from cloud synchronization folders(such as DropBox, etc) or USB stick to keep data synchronization on different computers. 
 Easy to use: Use your computer as usual, and the whole process will be mastered in five minutes. 

There is no training or learning curve with this software. You simply use your computer as usual and Typing Assistant helps with your typing automatically. The whole process is mastered in five minutes, and it will save you hours of work and needless effort. 

Our professional team develops Typing Assistant for more than 10 years(begin from 2006). If you enjoy this tool, please purchase a license to finance our further development. 

Registration fee(USD): 
1 license $129.
952-5 licenses $120 each
6-20 licenses $110 each
20+ licenses Contact Us

Email: support@sumitsoft.com
Website: http://www.sumitsoft.com 

Tubing at Nene Whitewater Centre

On Saturday, I was delighted to try Tubing at Nene Whitewater Centre. This is something I have done before but as regular readers will know, I can not resist anything that involves getting wet and this certainly was that!

Tubing is basically sitting in a big rubber ring while rolling down a whitewater course, like the artificial one here in Northamption. The activity requires a wetsuit, helmet and buoyancy aid, which is provided, as well as suitable footwear. As usual, I came with my own wetsuit and boota, as well as a swim nappy.

The activity was really enjoyable and the instructors were very helpful, able to meet my needs in a respectful manner. Overall, it was a great experience.

Website: http://www.nenewhitewatercentre.co.uk
Email: info@nenewhitewatercentre.co.uk
Phone: 01604 634040
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nene-Whitewater-Centre/15142094155405
Location: http://goo.gl/maps/2UWUC
Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nene_Whitewater_Centre

Review: Dryrobe

The Dryrobe can be best described as a cross between a winter coat and a dressing gown. This garment is aimed at people to change their clothes, in and out a variety of sporting and activity kit including wetsuits, while staying warm and keeping dignity when changing rooms are not an option.

This makes it ideal for winter surfers and open water swimmers amongst a long list of other activities that require changing into neoprene, lycra or other sporty garments. With a warm and furry inside, and a robust waterproof outer layer, this is a welcoming garment after a cold and wet activity. The front zip allows the rigours of changing into a wetsuit and other tight clothing without needing to be an octopus with a towel! The garment also has plenty of pockets to keep your essential items safe, including phones.

The Dryrobe is designed for people changing unassisted in a standing position and therefore while wheelchair users could wear it back to front, it is not the best possible solution. It could however be good to keep anyone warm after any outdoor activity before changing out of their kit is possible, especially if they are prone to the cold. While excessive machine washing is not recommended, the garment boasts low maintenance so it can be stored in the boot of a car, or club’s storeroom and forgotten about without starting to smell!

At between £50 and £100, this has to be a garment for individuals who are seriously invested in their outdoor activities, or clubs who have regular users who may find it useful.

Overall, this is the dressing gown for the outdoor techie.

Email: support@dryrobe.com
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102323619487539489209
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dryrobe
Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/user6918606
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dryrobe
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dryrobe

Website: http://dryrobe.com

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

As the first ‘news’ article for a while, I wanted to give a quick goodbye to 2o16, and hello to 2017 on a personal and work level.

200w_d1

2016 was quite a quiet year for me in terms of work, because I needed to focus on my health, where things are better than what they were 12 months ago. I also feel far more settled in many aspects of my life, despite the fact that the political environment has become very unsettled.

Two of my main achievements of the year for myself have been that I received 20000 followers, and in April Birmingham Mail named me as one of the most influential people on social media in the West Midlands. I have also written my autobiographies which you will hear more about in the next few months. The leisure activity of the year was when I tried Hydrospeeding at Lee Valley Water Park

IMG_7705.JPG

200w_d

 I plan to really get myself back in the middle of things in 2017 which an increased promotion of my personal assistant guide, Understand Tip and my autobiography, and many other products, as well as really pushing my work (particularly focusing on social care) and leisure activities to the next level, as well as my friendships on social media and in real life, so as always, watch this space because it is going an action pack year! (Yes, I am as positive as ever sorry to say 🙂 )

Best wishes and Happy New 2017 to all my friends, colleagues and followers.

Has 2016 been a good year for disabled people?

In considering if 2016 was a good year for people with impairments, my overall conclusion would be probably not in the context of my commitment to full and meaningful of anyone with an impairment as contributing citizens. I would like to propose three examples that demonstrate that while many activists and campaigning have celebrated them as a victory, they show to me concern at how inclusion values are being devalued and undermined.

I feel it necessary at the point after being criticised recently for not provided creditable evidence in my discussions, and therefore accused of not being able to enter into a ‘rational’ debate. This article, like any article I have ever written, and indeed, most articles people write, are merely my own opinion based on my values and observations, simply intended to be a contribution to the wider ongoing debate on various issues.

My first example is the positive reaction to the ending of Employment and Support Allowance reassessments for people are deemed to have an impairment label where it is ‘pointless’ to reassess them future. The people who are going to be on this list of exclusion have not yet been confirmed or clarified although I regard it with complete suspicion and concern. While I do understand how the government has been pressured into the significant compromise to those to argue for exclusion, I can not stop myself seeing parallels  with the value judgements made under the 1930s Nazi regime. And just because it is not politically correct to make the comparison does not make it true.

The second example is  the ‘I, Daniel Blake’ film which has become to the left wing movement a symbol of the modern day oppression  faced9 by people with impairments. My concern is not necessary with the film itself, as I only seen the trailer, and understanding the artistic licensing needed to tell a good story, I do have an appreciation for the film. My concern is that many people believe it shows a mainstream experience faced by all people with impairments, pushing the cultural centre of disability towards people with chronic impairments and away from people with significant issues. A comparison to this could be  if race issues in the UK we only framed in terms of relations between England and Scottish people, ignoring all other racial groups. It will still a valid issue although it would be ignoring so many other issues.

My final example is the United Nations report in the UK Government’s supposed ‘grave and systematic’ volitions of the rights of people with impairments. Even my strongest critics have conceded that it has been unhelpful to the validity on the report that the report offers no evidence to support its findings. It has been hailed by anti-cuts activists has a huge victory for their agenda and their vision for people with impairments that is simply based on passive social security. The report is an indication of how the individuality of people with impairments is being undermined by a collective utilitarianism where so long as the government is seen to look after us as incapable beings then our rights have been achieved. The perception of the collective rights of people with impairments is making the issue comparable to animal rights, and I find this very concerning.

I understand few other activists are going to agree with my assessment, which is almost opposite to what they are likely to argue themselves. I am however not looking to be popular, or interested in short term personal gain as I am more than happy and confident to let history itself decide if 2016 was a good year for people with impairments.