Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Scooting Life

Scooters in the US are a subset of the motorcycling life. And motorcyclists for the most part ignore or dislike scooters which are viewed as underpowered emasculated and not ridden by real men. I grew up riding in Italy where Vespas and motorcycles each play a role and the riders of one may also be riders of the other.  Because I am a contrarian I have taken to riding scooters in my old age. Also because arthritis in my left wrist makes using a clutch painful and modern scooters like cars tend to be automatics and the left hand is mostly idle. At my age I have nothing to prove but I take pleasure riding a small engined scooter too far and too often thus shocking passers by. Like my August trip to Niagara Falls in 32 hours on my Suzuki 200.

Wytheville, Virginia, August 19th, dawn. 

It was fun though no one believes me! Next year I plan a repeat trip perhaps to Alexandria Bay. My friend Val knows why, because she grew up there plus it’s 1500 miles from Key West and I’ve never been. All this by way of explanation. I’ve now downgraded even lower to a - wait for it!- mobility scooter. Sounds  like old man stuff indeed! 

Notice the walker hanging off the back to give me complete mobility and independence! I am a happy camper. Thank you Therese for gifting me a month’s rent. My friends are extraordinary.  This isn’t a substitute for exercise but with a top speed of a leisurely jog and a range of twelve to sixteen miles I am set. It has lights turn signals and an indoor horn. It is comfortable and it sets me free. Thank you Island Mobility on Stock Island. Craig was a pleasure to deal with. 

This machine is slick. It fits in my apartment better than my manual wheelchair. It rides bumps and lumps just fine, it fits on sidewalks and takes me into the aisles of Publix with the greatest of ease and no fuss. 

It’s easy to use, just turn it on and press F for forward and ...R for reverse! It’s the black bar visible in the photo above. It doesn’t beep in reverse (thank heavens)  and comes with a mirror. It’s exactly what I need until I get my driving privileges back. 

Work is three miles from home along North Roosevelt on a waterfront sidewalk ideal for the purpose. I know this isn’t sexy but it has changed my life. For some a leather jacket a Harley and a handgun are signs of masculinity. For me it’s having fun with what I’ve got and my first instinct was to be an explorer with a whole new perspective of my town. I am blessed with curiosity and a desire to experiment and this is just another way to do that. 

This is going to be a blast. I’m half pedestrian half electric cyborg. 

I’ve also got permission from my scooter buddies on Adventure Rider (advrider.com) to participate in scooter tag which is not normally allowed for mobility scooters... remember I was talking about how segmented riders tend to be? Well I have permission to participate owing to my extraordinary circumstances. 

Pretty cool huh? I have great friends all over the place. I may have weak legs but I’m a happy lucky man. Oh and Rusty got his stitches out from the visiting vet, Dr Edie. 

No strenuous walks till mid January when his tendon should have healed. Excellent news. We’re doing well, both of us. And my wife is managing. I did some shopping for her. And got it home in one piece. 

Getting there, but by bit. I always said I’d get whole again. And I will. Doubters are banished! 

15 comments:

Doug Bennett said...

I am very happy for you and thank you for keeping us up-to-date with your progress.

CaliforniaHoosier said...

Go you! There’s a mastery mindset for every circumstance.

MyamuhNative said...

Yes! So good to see you back to scooting even if temporarily restricted to sidewalks.
I have a friend who had a hitch installed on that same brand scooter and used it to haul a train of carts to his booth at festivals.
I'm thinking Rusty might like to ride in a trailer while he heals🐕

citronyella said...

Your new ride is beautiful!!!! My mother wants a mobility scooter, she didnt like her power wheelchair but thinks a scooter would suit. May I ask what make it is? Is it easy to charge? Can you get it apart to get in another vehicle or does it have to ride on a platform attached behind another vehicle? sorry for the peppering of questions but you are the first person I know to have one and she keeps nagging me about it. It would be nice to have some firsthand answers. I dont want her to get one and have another disappointment. I am also very pleased that Rusty is on the mend. He is a wonderful companion to you and Layne.

citronyella said...

PS. A clarification: I am also known as gina in alabama in case you were wondering.

Unknown said...

Your enthusiasm for your new-found mode of transportation and mobility makes me smile as I read today's blog. You do, indeed, have a very good and generous friend in Therese. God bless her. We look forward to your new adventures while navigating around town on the Red Streak! So glad Rusty is doing well, too! Ride on, Conchscooter. KWBound

Conchscooter said...

The scooter disassembles and there are videos about it. It easily fits in doorways and elevators and is actually more maneuverable than my 22 inch manual chair which is a pain. Look up Pride Victory x 3 mobility scooter and lots of similar models will appear. The three wheeler I have turns on a dime and has training wheels at the sides to prevent tipping though they do make a startling scraping noise. They cost around two grand but I am certain there will be no disappointment. A hitch carrier will be useful for frequent trips.

Conchscooter said...

Oh and it comes with a transformer and twelve feet of heavy duty cord. It plugs into a regular outlet. The charger has a noisy fan but if you charge it overnight no one will notice. I don’t know about charging times yet but yesterday I took three hours to charge after a two mile jaunt with extras to physical therapy. I just got back from a six mile trip and it has plenty of charge.

RichardM said...

I’m really impressed with your enthusiasm. I’m not sure I would be up to it...

Anonymous said...

After reading your blog for quite a while now, I never had a doubt that if it was possible, you would accomplish it. So right about your friends and rusty, and layne. Lots of great helpers on your journey to healing. Nice going, Michigan.

Conchscooter said...

It has all been a huge learning experience. I know now I can face anything related to a hospital. I no longer fear a diagnosis that could see me hospitalized. A big liberation plus I know much more clearly what I want from life. I am more serene.

citronyella said...

Thanks so much for the info about the scooter! it definitely sounds like something my mother could safely use. Congratulations on getting back to work, too. You are on the way! Be safe out there though. You more that anyone else knows where the trouble spots are on your route from all those days and nights sending out help to others.

Ginney Camden said...

It's good to see you in good spirits and navigating around on your new scooter. Glad Rusty has rid himself of the stitches as well. Continuing to watch and applaud your progress.

David Masse said...

Michael, given your devilish sense of humour, if you start a new thread on ADV for your mobility scooting life, I will follow. I think that there should be a mobility scooter thread, in the Battle scooter section, I mean, if you get blasted off your ride on the heels of an epic Iron Butt ride, wouldn't it be the most natural next post? Please let me know if my crazy suggestion bears fruit.

Conchscooter said...

They are letting me do scooter tag bu only because I've been around there for a decade... Mobility scooters aren't tolerated actually.