Chet Dyreson’s ATV Wheelchair Gives Him Freedom

Editor’s Note: 49 year old Chet Dyreson of Perris, California has always been involved in motocross–racing high performance motorcycles on off road terrain and going through obstacles that most people never attempt. This week you’ll read a story of a man who has refused to be limited by a tragic accident. Part 5 of a 5 part series.

I thought if I went cross country in my ATV wheelchair I could help bring national attention to the need to find a treatment for spinal cord injuries. That’s one of the first reasons that I decided to make this 4,000 mile trip to Washington, D.C. I’m well aware of how people feel when they see a person in a wheelchair and are afraid to approach him or her. Before my accident, I was one of those people who wouldn’t get to know a person in a wheelchair.  I wanted to break the stereotype. People shouldn’t be afraid to approach those in wheelchairs – they’re just normal people like anybody else.

People in wheelchairs are no different from anyone else.

People in wheelchairs are no different from anyone else.

When I told my children about the cross country trip I wanted to take, they thought it was really cool. My sons went with me on the trip and followed me in my box van. On the trip, we only traveled during daylight hours, so I didn’t have to worry about light. I did have a flashing strobe light on the rear of the wheelchair, and we only had one rainy day on the third day of the trip. I had raingear.

Several state troopers stopped us, and they were great. I passed by a trooper that had someone pulled over and just kept going. When we got about 15 miles up the road, by that time the weather had started to cool down. I pulled over and put on a jacket. The officer pulled up beside me, got out of his patrol car and said, “That wheelchair hauls ass. I’ve been trying to chase you down for a while. What are you boys doing?” I explained what we were doing, and the officer told us to have a great trip. He must have alerted the entire California Highway Patrol, because I must have passed by 50 more patrol officers, and no one ever gave me a problem in California.

Chet never had problems on his cross country trip on the interstate.

Chet never had problems on his cross country trip on the interstate.

Since I’d never done any type of public promotion, I really didn’t know what to do to get the attention of the media. I called all of the radio stations and TV stations on my route, and none of them responded. We did pick up some publicity when people found out what we were trying to do.  I wanted them to view me as a man on a great quest to help others. The single best promotional vehicle I had was my box van. I had my phone, email and website printed on the van, and people were emailing me or calling my cell phone constantly.

I steer the wheelchair with handlebars, so I can talk and drive at the same time. We did get some publicity out about what we were doing in spinal cord research, but we weren’t able to raise the amount of money that we wanted to raise. Getting the word out on the ATV wheelchair has been quite difficult. However, the word has gotten out and we’ve received our first order. You have to remember these wheelchairs are custom built for the individuals and the types of activity in which they want to participate. I believe once people understand all the benefits, the demand will be greater.  Whether we build wheelchairs for others or not, I’m still going to build them. My next big adventure will be a coast to coast road trip in the ATV wheelchair, hopefully in 2013.

To contact Chet Dyreson, visit his webpage at You can email him at

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at

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2 Responses to Chet Dyreson’s ATV Wheelchair Gives Him Freedom

  1. Bill Smart says:

    Hi Chet. Maybe I missed the info, but I’d like to know if your atv chair is home made or commercially made? If it is the latter, please let me know where you purchase it, as I want one! If it it home made, do you know of any company that makes an ATV chair or mobility scooter? Your trip is an inspiration. Thanks in advance for the curteousy of your reply. Bill

  2. Bill Smart says:

    Hi again. More searching reveals that you made this remarkable chair. Another site suggests that you make and sell this chair to other folks with mobility challenges. Do you? If you do please send me information. Thanks. Bill

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