Some time back, a colleague chanced upon the Ramble Tag when he was browsing online. In other countries, the tag is widely used in hiking. A sighted person wears the tag on the upper arm while the fellow blind hiker holds on to the grip on the tag as they hike. He thought it would be an interesting item to try as a tether in other situations like jogging or walking so he ordered a piece. There are a few options to choose from, such as the colour of the tag, whether it is for the left or right hand, and if it is for adults or children.
In running, the tether we use is usually a long and thin piece of cloth where the sighted and blind runners hold on to each end. The distance can be adjusted through the length of the tether, tugging it closer or loosening it. Recently, one of my running guides had handmade tethers by weaving the rope handles of paper bags like a friendship band with a loop on each end.
When the Ramble Tag arrived in Tech Able, I borrowed it to try out with my friends. The tag is a velcro cuff that you wrap around the upper arm and fasten with the two Velcro straps at the end. There is a grip handle you hold on to as the wearer moves.
During my jogging session with my friends on a Saturday, I brought it for them to try. The tag is perhaps designed for someone with a wider arm circumference and my friend with her small arms had some difficulties wearing it. The tag, which is worn on the upper arm is more restrictive, unlike a cloth tether which you hold between your fingers so you could move it up or down or any way you want. If a person is much taller, I would have to stretch my shoulder higher. We were jogging around central Singapore by the Singapore River, going up and down slopes, testing different speeds, also walking pace, and keeping a consistent distance between us. Gripping on the handle means I am not "death-gripping" my friend's arm so I could squeeze and tug the handle as hard as I want. This also reduces close contact or the feeling of fingers gripping on hands or arms, which may be more comfortable for some people.
I have tried the Ramble Tag with a few other friends and so far, they have given positive feedback on the tag. Initially, there is some getting used to the feel of the cuff on the arm and how one's swinging of the arm will affect the person holding on to it. However, with more frequent use, it should get more natural.
Overall, I have had a good experience with the Ramble Tag, which has proven to be useful for jogging and walking — and not just for hikes. After I shared my experience on using the adult version of the Ramble Tag with my colleague, we went on to order the children’s version for comparison. The order has since arrived and I look forward to trying it out with my friends soon!
Siew Ling and her friend’s first time using the Ramble Tag as they jog at Marina Bay Sands. The Ramble Tag is a cuff which Siew Ling’s friend wore on her forearm, and there’s a grip which Siew Ling held on to as they jog together.
For more information on the Ramble Tag, check out this link to the Tech Able web app (https://techable.enablingvillage.sg/quick/devices/193/introduction
). To learn and explore more on other assistive technology devices, visit Tech Able at Enabling Village and the Tech Able web app.Tan Siew Ling is fully Deafblind, having lost both her sight and hearing to a neurological condition, Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2). She carries a screen reader with a Braille display, which she fondly names “Bear Bear”, everywhere she goes. Her humour, wordplay, and love of puns keep friends on their toes. She enjoys reading books in her free time and loves to pen down her thoughts, often on a whim, which can be entertaining at times, on her social media. When she is not writing or reading, she can be seen doing insane 72kg leg presses or swinging a 20kg kettlebell to and fro. You can find out more about Siew Ling and her journey here.