Thursday, December 3, 2009

Getting a work-out on the Scoot


From Lynn Ellen:

I decided to go home on the cheap this time, as the San Francisco airport is 25 miles from home and it was the middle of the day and everyone I could think of was either at work or out of town so there were no rides. I could have spent $37 for a shuttle to my home, but instead I spent $8.65 for a ride on our main rapid transit system: BART.

First, I had to take a BART-like train to the BART terminal at the airport. No seats on these things, but I pulled up to a pole and held on. I should say that I had on a large day pack on my back, my carry-on suitcase across the frame of the Scoot, making it a bit of a challenge to put my feet down and walk backwards, but it is doable, and I was towing my larger, check-on suitcase with my left hand. I had the seat backrest packed in the luggage so I could get on and off the Scoot like a motorcycle, leg over the seat.

The BART-like train was a short ride, and then we waited in line to buy BART tickets. I then got on the BART train, got off the Scoot and sat down on a seat designated for disabled people and positioned my Scoot and larger suitcase in front of me. But I had to transfer to another train, and I did this early in the game so that I could get a seat on the 2nd BART train, similarly situated. I choose to get off the Scoot when I can as I think it is safer. Even with the locking brakes, I am in the middle of aisle, I am sitting higher, and if there is a mishap on the train, the regular seat seems safer (and more comfortable to me).

I got off the BART at the stop closest to my best friend's house, where my dog was also stationed during my vacation. Let me say something about elevators, since I rode one down from the platform to the street level. Most of the time for short elevator rides, I drive in, stop, and when it is time to get out, I walk backwards til I am out. But I had the suitcase in tow, and going forwards isn't so bad, but it is hard to control the backwards angles here. I did get some help from people at various places, which made it far less frustrating, and indeed allowed me to move more smoothly than if I would have had to get off the Scoot and reposition the suitcase and Scoot in the correct direction. So it is challenging, but doable. The other thing was the gate where one inserts the BART card. The flippers that allow one through just don't stay open long enough, even though they have a wide, wheelchair accessible lane. The first time I didn't know this and the flippers crashed into my leg, causing me to yelp, and the station agent manually controlled the flippers. The second time, on the way out, I asked the agent to keep an eye on things. So there is one more thing to have to keep track of.

I was now about 1-1/4 miles away from my friend's home, so off I went, down the street, suitcase in tow. I got to smell wonderful food being cooked in some houses, and since the trip was slightly uphill, I also got to run out of battery at one point, so I had to get off and switch the wires, since I always mount both smaller lithium ion batteries to the Scoot, and then I got to have a few opportunities to sit and wait for the motor to cool off. but adding up the weight of two suitcases and a large backpack to somewhere in the neighborhood of 80+ pounds, and going gently uphill, that wasn't a bad performance for the motor, so I just sat there for about five minutes, checking my email or playing a game on my iPhone. tra la.

Now the title of this post is "getting a work-out." and this is what I think. Especially when the backrest is not installed, there is a constant effort to maintain balance while riding, and then the fun times of going over a driveway that is tipped downhill from the house to the street, necessitating a lean to the left or right depending. Leaning forward when going up a particularly steep curb cut or driveway, and always looking out for pot holes and puddles. By the time I got to my destination, I was beat, and I fell into a sweet nap with a dog on my lap (all 70 lbs. of her!). I wasn't sore the next day, but I do really think that all that getting on and off, leaning to and fro, and paying attention, does make for more than a passive sit in the sunlight. And by the way, holding on to the larger suitcase was not that challenging for the most part. I was worried my hand or my arm would get sore, but it didn't happen, gratefully.

I was really pleased with myself in the end, and I enjoyed saving the money and feeling independent.

Comments from Elizabeth:

Lynn Ellen, what I always enjoy about your adventures is how you embrace independence. That's one of the reasons I love my TravelScoot so much and you really GET it. My scoot allows me independence. Coworkers, friends, family, and even strangers offer me help with my scoot all the time, but I take great pleasure in being able to handle it alone. (Okay, okay, I DO love it on the weekends when Alan handles it for me, but I still know I can do it alone.) I can lift it alone, I can fold it up alone, I can go places with it by myself. What a fantastic feeling to be able to do that AND to be able to move fast while I'm doing it. I've been a very large person my whole life and I've never moved as fast as I can now. It's intoxicating.

I can move through an airport by myself. While I'm there I can scoot to the bathroom by myself. I can handle my luggage by myself. I grocery shop, go to the mall, visit people at the hospital, go to museums, ride around the parking lot at work, zip in and out of Walmart in just a few minutes (instead of hours -- IF I could get a store cart). I have an incredible feeling of freedom in my life because just about anywhere I want to go, I have a way to get there. If I wanted to work on my master's degree I could do it. If I wanted to go to a trade show exhibit, I could do it. I don't have to worry about getting a close parking place and most importantly, I don't have to be in pain.

I don't know if someone who hasn't spent a lot of time on a TravelScoot could understand the "workout" aspect of it, but there is definitely a physical aspect of riding my scoot. I don't use the back either, but I twist and turn a lot and move around to stay in balance, and I push with my legs a lot. I also lift my legs often to either put them on the foot rests or take them off. Rhonda and I often scoot together, and when people stop us to ask about our scoots, one of us invariably ends up saying, "it's NOT a recliner on wheels" or "this isn't a scooter where you just push a button and go, but if you want to get from point A to point B, and do it fast, this is a great scoot to do it on."

Thanks for the great writeup of your trip from the airport home. I look forward to hearing what you do next!

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