Monday, July 14, 2014

Carrying a Walker on the TravelScoot



Sorrell wrote recently asking if any of you had figured out a way to attach a walker to a TravelScoot.  His wife who has had a stroke has problems with balance, but is able and needs to use a walker for short distances.  She uses the scoot for longer distances, such as at a museum or at the zoo, etc.  But they like to take the walker along so she can access bathrooms more readily, or walk for shorter distances wherever they might be.

They are interested in any ideas anyone else may have tried, or anyone else's experiences with this problem.

Sorrell sent in the pictures below of what they've devised.  He says that although this system works, it's rough and somewhat clumsy and heavy and can probably be improved upon with a lighter metal, improved design, or a totally different solution.  They are looking for suggestions, perhaps from someone who has dealt with this before.



Photo #1 shows how they had a metal worker create these two gutter-like cup structures (cut from pipe) welded respectively to two short metal stems, welded in turn to short metal pipe segments that fit as sleeves over the yoke arms of the TravelScoot. These in turn are welded to a metal rod which stabilizes the position of the gutter cups.  The welding is critical as the position of the sleeves differs on the right and left arms of the yoke because of the holding clamp on the right arm.


Photo #2 show the placement of this contraption on the yoke.





Photos #3 and #4 show the walker positioned on the back of the TravelScoot seat.  The wheels of the walker rest in the gutter like cups, with the upper crossbars of the walker attached to the upright post of the back support with a bungee cord.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Funding a TravelScoot


Domi and "zhoom," on her first day at Pacific University
Recently I became acquainted with a vibrant, resourceful and intelligent woman who bought a TravelScoot in part so she could return to school to work on her MFA.  I have a special empathy for students with mobility problems, because that was my biggest hurdle in college.  It always seemed ironic to me that my greatest struggle wasn't with the coursework, but with getting from my car to class.

A search of GoFundMe.com for "TravelScoot" is how I found Domi, and now we're Facebook friends so I get to keep up with her antics and accomplishments.  She acquired her TravelScoot by reaching out to friends and family and asking them for help (http://www.gofundme.com/2hlofs).  Her campaign was fully funded and she ordered her scoot about 14 months ago.  I imagine that in her lifetime she will pay it forward many times over.

I wanted to make you all aware her campaign and others for two reasons:
  • You might be in a situation where you have a burning desire to live a fuller, more active life, but mobility problems and finances are blocking your path.  
  • You know how much having a TravelScoot has changed your life, and you might like an opportunity to pay it forward and help someone who isn't as fortunate as you to have that same freedom.  

These are the campaigns I see posted right now, with links if you'd like to learn more.



Scooting for StitchGnomercy


Candice says, "Getting this scooter will help me personally but will also help me keep up with my scholarly and activist work on joyful physical activity for bodies of all sizes and abilities. It's not been easy and I've caught a lot of flack in the bowels of the internet by people assuming that scooter use means less physical activity because of the size and shape of my body.

I hope that my position as an academic (and hopeful PhD by 2016!) will help change the popular perceptions regarding exercise, body size, chronic pain, and disability. By helping me be able to be active despite a broken body, you all are helping in that fight!"

Read more at http://www.gofundme.com/7omkjg



Spina Bifida-Mobility Needed for School


Marie says, "I have a birth defect (spina bifida) that didn't show up until I was 37, when balance and exhaustion from nerve damage began crumbling my world. I shifted my reality from successful pastry chef and baking teacher to full time student, and now, 6 years later, I am a sculptor and writer applying for grad school in London to become an art teacher. I walk with a cane and use to have an electric scooter to get around town but it died. Since then my choices are more limited and I really need to replace it to live my life fully."

Read more at http://www.gofundme.com/2qwbhs



Scooter for Cynthia/Unique Styles Art


Cynthia is an artist who loves to travel around showing her art.  She lost one arm in a fire as a child and wants to be able to easily use a taxi or ride in a friend's car.  She dreams of displaying her art throughout Detroit, and one day owning her own art business and helping other disabled artists.

Read more at http://www.gofundme.com/5inias







Monday, July 7, 2014

Carrying a Walker


The post below is from Sorrell.  He's his wife's "scooter wrangler" and he's trying to find a way to carry her walker on the TravelScoot.  If you have input on this, please post the answer in a comment on the blog, or send an email to elizabeth@ifisher.com. 

From Sorrell:

I have enjoyed reviewing many of the entries in your Travelscoot blog, but I was looking to see if any one had created a form of attachment to the Travelscoot for a walker.  My wife who has had a stroke has problems with balance, but is able and needs to use a walker for short distances.  We use the travel scoot for longer distances, such as at a museum or at the zoo, etc.  But we like to take the walker along with us so that she can access bathrooms more readily, or to walk for shorter distances wherever we might be.

We have created a metal attachment for the yoke under the seat, but it's not great.  If there are any ideas out there that someone may have tried, we would like to hear about it, or anyone else's experiences with this problem.

Thank you for any help that might be available.

TravelScoot at Disney


From Janice:

I'm heading back home from a wonderful Disney vacation.  We spent four days at the park and four days in the Bahamas. The TravelScoot worked great on the ship for me.  We had to learn how to get ours in the room. I should have asked for a disabled room, but we made it work.

Really enjoyed Florida, Disney World, the Cruise on the Disney Dream and the TravelScoot which gave me the freedom to enjoy it all.


Tiny scooter test run


This wonderful post is from Liz Henry, a new TravelScoot Junior user.


Last week I got a new tiny mobility scooter. It is 35 lbs and easily disassembles and folds. Here I am out on my birthday at Pier 39 after a ferry ride with friends!
Liz travelscoot pier39
It is a TravelScoot Junior Deluxe, ie, the version for short people or children, and with a lithium ion battery. About a third of the cost of the scooter is in this battery. The “Junior” size is pretty good for me. I’m 5 foot 3 which is at the top of the recommended height. I went with the smaller size figuring it would be easier to handle while I was folding it, and also because the Junior size has 2 inches less width than the regular model. So, in theory I can fit through doors 24″ wide, same as with my manual wheelchair.
Assembly of the scooter was easy. It took under 10 minutes. The assembly instructions were slightly different from the manual shipped with the TravelScoot Junior. There was a little supplement that showed how to position the battery upright in the back for the “Junior” version.
The battery fastens on with velcro and is easy to plug in and unplug if you have good dexterity. I am mostly doing this while sitting on the ground — or I can do it leaning over from the scooter seat. My only quibble with battery setup is that I can’t charge the battery without taking it out of its tray, because the charging port is blocked by the side of the tray.
I put a Crampbuster on the throttle so that I can control the scooter’s speed without constant gripping, which would be hard on my arthritic hands.
Comments on driving the TravelScoot Junior:
It coasts down hills. The brakes work fine. Easy to drive. Reverse works well, and is nice and fast. Acceleration is slow whether you are reversing or going forwards, but not too slow. This takes getting used to. My phone’s speedometer hovered around 4-5mph as I zoomed around. It is a little bit tricky to match paces with a walking person. To go slower than the max speed, I have to squeeze the throttle exactly right. If I let up the pressure the scooter slows down.
There is no parking brake so if I pause to mess with my phone, I need to park carefully. This is quite annoying on the bus, but I can still handle it. It means that in order to ride the bus with any ease I will need to rig up some kind of parking brake!
There is a slight tendency to “drift” or stutter sideways a little bit when going fast on a bumpy street or sidewalk. The undercarriage clearance is fantastic. I could probably hop a low curb in this. (Slowly)
I would like to customize or get a new back support as it is a little too high up and far back to support my low back, which needs it! It may be possible to just swap out the entire seat. It is a standard pole with clamp assembly, like for a bike seat.
So far I’ve put this in the back of cabs a few times. I like that I don’t have to ask a random taxi driver to help me lift a 95 lb machine into his trunk. Instead it is something I can easily lift myself.
It would be good if I made a special padded battery carrying case, like a battery messenger bag, for when I need to put this into a car. TravelScoot owner manual suggests a padded lunch bag, but the battery I have is too long/wide for a lunch cooler bag. Here is a good craft project for my hackerspace. If I make a battery carrying case I’ll post its design on my blog!
I have also successfully grocery shopped with two backpacks and a large bag. One backpack hung off the seat back, another from the handlebars (which is awkward and I don’t really recommend it) and the large heavy bag in the red canvas shopping tray below the seat. That thing is just fabric, and attached with velcro, but I can tell you it carried about 30 lbs of cat litter and cat food with no trouble at all.
This scooter makes people stare, and ask questions, much more than my usual mobility scooters or manual wheelchair. I need to carry small flyers with an FAQ.
For the FAQ:
* “Does Medicare pay for that” (People on the street want these for their older relatives.) My answer: Probably not. And I don’t really know. I have never yet been on Medicare.
* How much did that cost? (An awkward question. I answer by saying “You can get a mobility scooter from about $700-2500″ That way avoiding standing around at a bus stop admitting I just dropped 2K on this beast. I did not mind so much saying that I bought my old Zipr for $700. Class guilt . . . )
* Is that electric? What the hell do you think, I make it go with the power of my mind????? Oh, people.
* How far/fast/long does it go? Several miles, all day at least, 4.5 miles an hour, charge the battery by plugging it in overnight.
* Can you put that in a car? Yes you can and it easily folds up.
* How heavy is it? 35 pounds.
* Where do you get them? (Let Me Fucking Google That For You) Oh ok. *sigh* Travelscoot.com. Someday I hope these things are just in every big drugstore, Target, Walmart, etc. Or just in bike shops and you can test drive them there!!
* Yes, it has reverse. No, it does not beep. No, I really don’t want it to beep. Do you beep when you take a step backwards? Well then.
* What if it breaks? Yes. What if. That’s the million dollar question. You better learn some things about electronics or cultivate a relationship with your local electric bike/scooter repair shop. The thing has a warranty, which I will probably be exploring at some point . . .
* Not asked but should be on the FAQ: You need to have good balance, ability to squeeze the hand brakes, and be able to transfer independently to use this. 3 wheels is not usually a good option for an elderly person as you can easily tip over.
There is room for competition for scooters like this that have a few more features but are still stripped-down, lightweight, and easy to understand for maintenance and repair!
In short: this is a GREAT scooter if you have 2K lying around and you are a very nimble person who for one reason or another can’t walk very well. To drive it, you need good balance and good hand control (brake squeezing especially). It could be possible to modify a travelscoot with a custom seat to meet your particular seating needs!


Assembled TravelScoot Junior
TravelScoot Junior in the shipping box
TravelScoot Junior Bag
TravelScoot Junior Charger and Owner's Manual
Folded TravelScoot Junior
TravelScoot Junior Lithium-ion Battery and Instillation Instructions
Liz Henry's blog is at http://bookmaniac.org/

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Welcome ConnieB!


From ConnieB:

I am so thankful to read the information from users of the 'Travelscoot'.  Also so happy to finally have been able to get one.  Have been keeping in touch since 2010 praying somehow I would be able to afford this 'wonderful  and versatile vehicle'! Because of the DURABLILTY they are so worth every penny!  With each story I read the Travelscoot just keeps getting better and better!!

Thank you, Bonnie and Tony!

(Bonnie and Tony are the folks at TravelScoot who take care of those of us in the United States. Contact them at 1-800-342-2214 or by visiting http://TravelScoot.com.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Using the TravelScoot as an Amputee

From Bev in Seattle:

Great job to run this important blog.  I particularly liked the travel info on a river cruise and no problem with cobblestone areas.  I had traveled in Europe fairly extensively before losing my RT leg above the knee in a SF General Hospital error after going by ambulance after crashing in my son's bathroom later discovered as a burst brain aneurysm prior to getting ready to leave for Airport back to Seattle.

I didn't know about the scooter until several years later - it's absolutely been wonderful - I went to the local mall and I hadn't been there for 8 years.  I recently went around Greenlake in Seattle and I hadn't been there in many, many years.  I've been on 3 cruises and with using the TravelScoot, I was able to go and see everything and made every excursion off the boat.  I can walk a bit with my prosthesis but the phantom pain would set in and it was a 12 on the pain scale to walk enough to get back to the car.  Now, it's like being at Disneyland - so fun, and I still have my energy at the end of the day and no pain!!!

I've wanted for years to go on a European river cruise but when I called travel agents and the river cruise lines -they discouraged me and said the off boat excursions would not accommodate me.   I'm going to check on the information after reading about the man that used his Travelscoot on a river cruise and excursions!  Thank you Elizabeth for facilitating this informative forum for TravelScoot people.