Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just Call Me Speedy!

Recently I've been staying close to home because of health issues, and it's caused me to appreciate my TravelScoot in a whole new way. With my scoot, all I have to do to find an adventure is head out my front door.

I live in a beautiful older neighborhood, with lots of trees and green stuff. Here I am headed down the street. I have a plastic bag hanging over the handle, and you can also see the straps of the bag I use to hold my portable oxygen tank.

Not too far from my house is the type of shopping center you might remember from your childhood, before the advent of big box stores. I often pass through it on the way to Sammy's Grill, a popular local place, when Rhonda meets me at my house and we scoot over for a long lunch and lots of visiting.

A few days ago I needed to mail a few packages so I loaded them on my TravelScoot and headed over to Quantum Express. I had hardly made it through the front door when the man at the counter looked up and called me Speedy! He'd been watching me scoot past and was amazed at how fast I flew by on my little scooter.

He put a smile on my face, but also made me think about how some might see using a scooter as a negative, a display of disability. But with mine, I've been meeting neighbors, keeping up with what's blooming and getting the chance to enjoy the sunshine -- what a gift of ability.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Creaky Seat Fix (with pictures): Installing a washer under the seat

Thanks to Sheron for sharing more information about this fix.  Read this post too:

From Sheron:

Base of seat

Undo hex bolt to loosen the clamp that holds the seat pillar

Extract seat pillar from seat base

Shows the 26mm OD rubber washer ready to insert into tube on seat base

Push rubber washer down to bottom of seat base tube

Insert tube and tighten VERY tight (I used a pair of pliers to hold the allen key to get the bolt nice and tight)
It's a 5-minute job .... really.  Job done.

Note: The 25.5 & 25mm washers are a lot thinner than the 26mm ones.   If anyone is using either of them instead of the thick 26mm ones, they'll need to use several of them .... for best results just under 1/4inch thickness is good.

Hope that helps


Welcome, Margaret!

A shot from FantasyFest 2012
From Margaret:

My wonderful little scooter arrived last Monday. I was a bit intimidated when I saw all the pieces in the box, but it soon became clear that with only a little bit of help from my mechanically inclined husband the scooter would be upright and ready for its first ride.  My townhouse is small, so I kept riding about 15 feet back and forth trying to tell what it would be like when I really went "on the road."

That happened the very next day. We live in Miami and had planned a trip to the Florida Keys for a few days of R&R. Every year we go to Key West on this particular weekend to attend a rather unusual weekend called Fantasy Fest. It's part Halloween festival, part adult (very adult) costumes that range from elaborate to barely any clothing at all. On Friday there is a street fair with food vendors plus arts and crafts booths. Although we've been attending this event for 18 years, for the past five years or so I haven't been able to wander the seven blocks of the street fair. I've always parked myself somewhere while my husband and other family members walked around. I did enjoy watching the costumes stroll by, but it's just not the same as being able to walk it. THIS year I was off and scooting! I was a bit uncertain because I hadn't really tried the scooter on a sidewalk before. I jerked it a bit, forgot how to brake a little, but it was awesome!! What a feeling to be able to be mobile like most others. It was downright exhilarating! I could go as far as I wanted without needing to sit down, and I could enjoy what I was seeing without trying to plan for the next place I could find a seat.

The scooter and I wandered around for about three hours and we had a great time together. After three hours I began to see bait of yellow on the battery indicator when I accelerated, so I called it a day. I'm not sure how long I have after that light turns on.

The pros: FREEDOM! No pain (alright, less pain!). The scooter fit in my car without collapsing it. I just needed to lower the handlebars. I have a RAV4 and it fit with room to spare! Without the battery attached I could easily load it by myself. Now I can just scoot off to the mall anytime I want.

The cons: I didn't use the back rest but I did find the seat to be hard and uncomfortable. I'm planning on having it reupholstered as I have read that others have done. The only other con is that I wish there was a way for more people to learn about Travelscoot. It will change my life and I know I'm not the only person who could profit from the freedom it's bringing.

I'm smiling as I write this…Thanks to all who wrote about their experiences: They truly helped me make the decision to get my scooter.


Maintaining your dignity as a handicapped person

Dean participating in a mini tractor race

From Dean Hughson:

I suppose in the scheme of things all people can claim to have handicaps. Some are more 'inside' than others. At age 47 I began to have signs of my lymphedema. If I had looked closely at pictures of ancestors I probably could have seen the swollen legs which were signs of my primary lymphedema to come but I didn't see it.

I hadn't had many friends who had physical handicaps before that. Like many I saw people in wheelchairs and thought "Gee, that doesn't look easy" but didn't contemplate I could end up needing assistance to move around. When I was 56 or so I found myself starting to use the free mobility scooters at grocery stores and a year later it became apparent that I too needed to have one. My first one came from a pawnshop; it arrived and we assembled it and I thought "I will only use this when I am traveling overseas" but after a while I realized that it is only a tool and not to be ashamed of it. I progressed to the amazing 34 pound scooter I use now and I have been around the world several times, accompanied by my light metal scooter with the 2 hour continuous use lithium battery. I have endured strange things like in Tokyo where the manager of the airport insisted on having an engineer take it completely apart and after seeing it was harmless ruling I should have someone run along side me whenever I was in the airport; I cranked it up to 6 mph for a long run and my aide quickly decided he wasn't needed. I haven't had a problem there since. I once was asked by someone at an airport "Why do you use a scooter?" like it was a choice. Some people don't understand.

5 years into being an official handicap my job is to maintain my dignity and show respect to all. I always talk to fellow handicaps when I see them; I know the frustration when check in people will talk to my wife instead of me, like I am retarded or something. I am careful to always tell people about my machine if they look like they need one; for many it is a question of pride that keeps them for getting one. Honest, you aren't giving up when you choose to use aids to get around but are helping yourself and saving your family and friends problems of helping you get around. I always kid that there must be a shortage of eligible men in scooters because women flirt with me in it a lot; my wife just laughs when I say that. I am still a man; just a man in a 34 pound mobility scooter. My spirit is strong. Life is good.