PACERPOLE - SHAPING THE FUTURE
Heather Rhodes © 2005
The array of walking poles and trekking poles available today are similar in concept and form to the first wooden staffs used thousands of years ago. Their new-and-improved status has relied on either upgrading internal shaft components, or using high-tech materials to make them lighter staffs to carry. Generally their distinguishing external features rely on the colour of the shaft paint and their name. Pacerpoles are different. Their form and function are based on applying anatomical and biomechanical research analysis to the transmission of effective upper body power to improve overall walking performance - which is why the Left and Right contoured handle shape puts Pacerpoles into a category of their own; they are in fact designed for walking - for use as a trekking pole in the mountains and for general walking, as well as for Fitness walking where a slightly longer stride and quicker rate needs to be maintained to gain the many health benefits of sustained regular brisk walking. Whether walking across low level terrain or mountain ranges – or at speed on a track for a fitness programme, Pacerpoles have been designed to allow your body to perform at its best; this can be for a few miles, a few hundred, or a few thousand.
Conventional poles and sticks are not hand specific but offer the same shaped handle for both left and right hands to use – so your joints are awkwardly aligned, adapting to grip the same profile. Trying to compensate for this poor alignment can produce red marks (friction) on the palm and wrist, as your hand imperceptibly twists and rubs against the pole on the ground. This friction is proof of wasted power and effort. When the web sling is used instead then the hand is suspended behind the pole; relying on indirect control of the shaft by having to press down on the strap (tensile and tortional loading) to pull down on the top of the pole for the final thrust is far from efficient - wasting power with every stride. Any one of these actions as well as causing possible discomfort reduces your upper body’s potential to have a real impact on performance. It's not until you try a different system that you realise what you have been missing - and is why many experienced outdoor folk are converting to Pacerpoles.
Any walking or trekking pole only improves walking performance when its tip is on the ground; here your arm’s power and leverage is directed through the pole to provide that extra stability, support and thrust which you’ve lost when your arms swing free. How efficiently this extra power can be transmitted hour after hour over varying terrain depends on how effective the link is between your hand and the pole itself. This is where Pacerpoles excel. The handle’s unique contours align the many joints of your handand arm as they pivot like a metronome over their shaft tip on the ground. All the effort you exert isn’t wasted by poor control throughout the stride; instead access to upper body power and leverage can be maximised – and, without joint abuse.
Pacerpoles have been used to trek for constant 15 hour days to the Magnetic North Pole, in sub zero temperatures; to climb mountains such as Kilimanjaro, hike thousands of miles worldwide including the Pacific Crest Trail, the Arizona Trail, and the Kokoda Track - and a thousand mile epic in the Alps and French Gorges.......... as well as being used on a regular basis to keep people fit and improve their quality of life.
Disclaimer: Pacerpoles unique handed handles should not be confused with the recent series of conventional designs of walking poles offered by Leki such as the Leki Pacer Vario pole.