Friday, June 12, 2009

TravelScoot for those with disabilities

I received the following email from Patsy, who gave her permission for me to post it here. She has balance issues and wanted to know if I'd encountered problems with my scoot tipping.

Dear Elizabeth,

I read & follow a lot of fat-positive blogs & read all your posts with interests.
You & your friends do look as you are enjoying a lot more freedom & doing
many more things than you otherwise might & that is wonderful.

I do have a question or two. I am a smaller fat woman (around 200) with
some lifelong disability issues. I was born with cerebral palsy & now aging
(as well as the broken patella of 29 years ago, which started the fun) has
brought increasing arthritis & a good deal of chronic pain much of the time.
However, I have always been very mobile & very active & in fact have
survived three or four bouts of compulsive exercise (exercising hard for 3 to 4
hours every day for a period of three to four years at a time) & have walked,
I estimate, more than 50,000 miles in my life. I will be 60 in September &,
as you can see, I will go down fighting & try to stay as mobile as possible for
as long as possible. However, I realize that I am almost certain to become
more disabled & lose more mobility as I age & I have some days when the
pain in my right knee, calf & hamstring area (my hemiplegic CP is on the left
side of my body, so all my life my right side has done 80% of the work & it
is wearing out) can make going for a short walk or doing my errands with my son
at the laudramat & Walmart agony.

I will get to the point, I swear. Part of my cerebral palsy is that I have very
poor balance & fall over quite easily. I have never been able to ride a bike, for

My son believes that I will likely need to depend on some kind of motorized chair,
electric wheelchair, etc., as he thinks that any three-wheeled conveyance can tip
over. Do you have any problems with your scooter tipping?

Thanks for the interesting blog & the wonderful images of people living life more
fully. Also thanks for any information you can give me.

I wish you years of greater adventures with your scooter.




Good Morning! Your email just made my day because you really GET what I'm trying to do with my blog -- empower fat women to live their lives more fully. Thank you for recognizing that.

Much of what you said reminds me of how my mother lives her life. When faced with something that might have taken a lesser person down, she keeps going. My sister Rae likes to tell the story of when she took my mom for an oncologist visit and he asked her what was sticking up out of her walker basket. It was a hacksaw. She was close to 80 at the time and could barely walk, but if she needed to trim something in her yard, she was prepared. I wouldn't be surprised if you had you own special methods of coping.

Okay, to answer your question, I don't have any problems with my scooter tipping, but I have good balance. I talk about Rhonda on my blog a good bit. Well, the day her husband tried out my scooter (he's average height and weight) he was going really fast and when he turned a corner it started to tip on him. The great thing about the TravelScoot though is because it doesn't have a platform that your feet rest on, it's very easy to just put your foot down on the ground to stop the tipping.

I don't know of anyone else having a problem with the TravelScoot tipping, but we're all larger women with a good center of gravity. I do have one friend who is a large woman and is also tall (6'), and when she tried the TravelScoot she said she felt slightly unstable on it. She prefers a traditional mobility scooter that's a better fit for her, but that requires a large vehicle and a lift to carry it around.

If you prefer a scooter over an electric wheelchair, there are many 4-wheel scooters available that should solve the problem with tipping. What would be great is if you could try a TravelScoot, just to see if it would work for you. Are you anywhere near Baton Rouge, LA? If you are, you're welcome to try mine. Or if you're near Washington, D.C., Hardy Huber (TravelScoot inventor) is going to be at a workshop I'm giving at the NAAFA Convention on July 31st.

I'm happy to answer any questions you have, so please don't be shy about asking if there's something else you'd like to know.



  1. sarge has tipped his over backwards twice now, once backing out of an elevator and he hit a ledge on the floor that he didn't know was there and the second time going up a very short steep ramp on a ship. i would tell her no, it's not for her but that is just my opinion. there are four wheel ones that are not as light but more stable.

    smiles, bee

  2. That's interesting! I hope he didn't hurt himself. I always feel so firmly seated when I'm on mine.

    Did he knock himself off, or just tip and then he was able to rebalance?