Finding information about mobility and urban riding has not been easy for me. There has been a lot of learning by trial-and-error. I realize that it is a small segment of the population who share these interests and concerns, but I know there are people like me. That’s why I share what I am experiencing, so someone like me who is looking for information can find more information.
Recently someone in our community was using a wheelchair on our urban train and got their wheel caught in the tracks while crossing. Unfortunately a train was coming and he was struck and killed. Using mobility devices includes dangers, and for those of us who use them it is serious business.
Working on a new piece of safety equipment for myself right now. Once I get further along I will share. My friend and I came up with an idea and it’s been fun to try making it. We have ordered parts and will begin prototyping soon. I am excited.
Been continuing to ride and been thinking about how maintenance is a key element to factor with any device. This week I replaced a faulty throttle on my Trailz, so that is back on-line again. Found a broken rear spoke that needs replacing on my EZGO bicycle. And I need to make some decisions and move ahead with my battery configuration upgrade on my Lyric, or should I say eBikeboard, scooter. Got my first flat on the Lyric the other day, goathead sticker. They are brutal in the spots where the weeds have been left to grow. Also picked one up in the front tire of the EZGO, so two flat tires in one week. I run Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires with puncture protection, still got me.
With the weather changing, I am heading into the winter riding season, which can be some of the most challenging riding.
Crashed my Lyric this past weekend. Was starting a ride and I hadn’t gone very far when my phone slipped out of the holder on the handlebars. As the phone fell, still operating the throttle, I reached down for it with my left hand. The phone bounced off the deck and onto the road. Still bent down, I didn’t want to run it over and I instinctively grabbed the brake with my right hand, which controls the front brake. The Lyric has very good disc brakes that stop on a dime. The front brake stopped the front wheel immediately, but the rest of the scooter was still moving and headed ass-end over the top with me going face first in front of it.
40+ years of motorcycle and bicycle riding has taught me instinctively how to fall. Time kind of slows down and I could see the back end of my scooter with its four 12v SLA batteries coming straight at me as soon as I hit the ground. Luckily it missed me when it landed. (You think experience would have taught me not to grab the front brake rather than fall.)
In the end, nothing was broken other than my pride. Got a bruise or two, but astonishingly no damage to the scooter. The Lyric is a beast. Luckily I had also decided at the last minute to put my helmet on. I didn’t think I could crash this scooter, but I learned differently. I can not only crash it, I can almost flip it. I need to pay attention, be careful.
My Schwinn s600 project jumped ahead. I took the 24v motor from my Schwinn s750 and put it on the 36v s600. I like it a lot. It is a peppy scooter on a smaller frame. I haven’t ridden it too much to see if I will keep it this way, but so far I really like it.
Picked up a new project scooter this past week. I keep saying that I have reached my limit but then another one comes along and… This scooter is interesting. It has rear suspension and a disc brake, is 36v and it a couple of inches shorter than my Schwinn S750. My Quazar scooter is short by a couple of inches than the S600, it’s the shortest.
I popped a battery in and it runs great, but needs a few repairs. I believe it is a 2005. It is fun and comfortable to ride. I should fix it and sell it but part of me wants to keep it. I love the fire engine red, shorter frame and back shock. The handle bars are also 3/4″ shorter than the S750.
Time for supplies and with the perfect weather it was a great day to make a grocery run. When I need to pick up lots of things my Lyric is a mule, strong and capable. You can see my scooter parked by the shopping cart in this shot, maybe help give a sense of scale.
There are so many features that make the Lyric the scooter to beat. First, I have yet to get a flat. That alone is pretty epic. Suspension is great, brakes are fantastic, speed and acceleration are good. One great feature is you can choose from three speed settings, so when I want to go slow the throttle doesn’t jerk me. Another speed feature, and one I never thought I needed but now that I have it I use it all the time, cruise control. Almost sound ridiculous to have cruise control on a scooter but it is so useful.
The Lyric also has a headlight and tail light as well as a brake light. There is a parking brake.
It’s hard to tell in the picture, but there is a front basket that is full. There is a basket on the back on top of my battery box (the battery box is a mod I will detail later) that is full, and on this run I also carried two 24 packs of soda on the running boards.
I drove the scooter to the store, I drove the scooter in the store and I drove it home. I love this scooter.
I took a trip to another city to attend a 3 day music festival with family and friends. As a person with mobility issues, I have to take into account how I am going to navigate my environment. At home, I have time to figure things out. On the road, I have to be fluid and mobile. I was flying, so that meant cars, shuttles, planes and airports.
The festival featured over 80 bands spread over 3 days. There where 5 stages; one in an indoor arena, and the 4 main stages set far apart in dirt lots. The parking was distant, lots and lots of people, and 10-12 hour days with no re-entry — it was challenging for the able-bodied people, let alone me. I saw lots of my mobility-challenged friends making their way, I respect them for what they take on. The people at the festival were universally sweet and kind to me. And of course, my family and friends are always so beautiful in their care and awareness of me.
Here is what I used on my adventure —
GoPed builds such an awesome kick scooter. I have ridden mine for a couple of years, taken it everywhere and it even ran it over with my RV. Still riding like a champ. I modified mine to have a seat, and right before the trip I finished seat-post mod.V2, the folding seat-post. It was perfect.
Now I can fold both the handlebars and the seat, put it in a bag and hand it to special handling people who load the baby scooters and strollers on the plane. Get it back when I get to my destination. Unfold it, put the carry bag in my Schwinn folding basket, and off I go. This scooter is PERFECT for shopping, airports, public spaces. I can push it forward or back, turn very tightly, and pick it up and carry it over curbs.
My lightweight folding cane is great. I bought it on Amazon. I added a carabiner to the wrist strap and that allowed me to clip my cane to the crowd barriers that I was generally leaning against during the concerts. That way I could keep track of it and easily grab it and use it to lean on for a few minutes when I needed to. I used the rubberized wire tie to keep the cane together when it was folded.
Folding tripod seat
This small backpack has adjustable loops and I was able to carry the folding chair across the pack when I was walking. Held all my concert supplies as well. Worked perfectly.
I live within a couple miles of the local soccer stadium and sometimes we ride in for games. When I am riding fast and over obstacles I like the bigger fatter tires of my 26″ eZip Trailz. The Trailz is one of the cheaper electric bikes made, but they made a lot of them and there is a lot of information and parts available.
Personally I like riding mine. I can get about 20 miles out of one battery pack. I changed the battery connection on mine to Anderson connectors so I can use the batteries on other vehicles as well. I changed the plastic pedals for some metal ones I picked up at a yard sale.
Riding in an urban environment is challenging for a number of reasons. There are many hazards. The road has screws, glass, stickers, curbs, holes, rocks, etc. The biggest danger is cars, there is no arguing with mass. But people who are not paying attention, people not expecting you to be there and people who think the road is for cars and not bikes, they are the biggest threats.
Every time I hear someone talking about taking public transportation and riding bicycles I chuckle. Do you really intend to ride or do you intend other people to ride? If you ride you know it’s nuts.
So here’s the perfect example about bicycle riding lip service. We rode our bicycles to the soccer game the other night. Over 20,000 seats. Do you know how many bicycle parking spots? 4. We used two.
Here’s the stats on my electric bicycle:
26″ Ezip Trailz Electric Bike:
- Motor: 450W DC Brushed Earth Magnet
- Ezip Trailz Electric Bike requires EV-rated, SLA-type, rear-rack mounted, 24V rechargeable battery (included)
- E-bicycle requires 6-8 hours to charge battery completely
- Charge System: UL-listed Currie Smart Charger with LED status display
- Electric Bicycle Controller: exclusive Currie Electro-Drive TM 24V, fully-potted with power gauge function
- Derailleur: Shimano rear
- Grip Shift: SRAM
- Shimano 7-speed freewheel
- Ezip Electric Bike User Controls: power on/off switch, easy-access charger port in removable battery pack, twist throttle with PAS+TAG function and battery gauge
- Maximum E-Bike Speed: 15 mph (rider weight, rider input and terrain contingent)
- Range: 15-22 miles (rider weight, rider input and terrain contingent)
- Wheels: 26″ alloy rims
- Frame: exclusive Currie hi-ten steel frame with Bottle Bosses, fender and rack mounts
- Fork Type: suspension
- Handlebars: mid-rise bar and stem
- Saddle: comfort design with quick-release seat post
- Brakes: alloy linear pull with alloy brake-inhibit lever
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 240 lbs
- Dimensions: 54″L x 18″W x 48″H
I often ride the train to get places. To get to the train station I ride a folding bicycle. It takes me about 10 minutes. Then I fold the bike up and get on the train. With the bike folded I can keep it with me in the seat, it’s great. When I get to my stop, I can unfold the bike and ride farther still.
I took a ride the other day and snapped a few pictures out the window. This is mobility to me. The ability to go, to do, to get places.
My folding bike is great. It has 12″ wheels and is a bit wild to ride, which to me makes it more fun. It is a one speed but is a pretty good gearing, I can ride most everywhere without much trouble and it actually goes pretty good. I have never seen another one exactly like it. It is a great ride, folds quickly and fits in the trunk. Super easy to transport. I have taken it with me on several RV trips and it allows me to ride wherever I go.
People stop me regularly and ask me about whatever scooter I am riding. It has been surprising how many people need something like what I have, and the varied reasons they need it. I got into scooters to help me, but meeting people who use assistive devices has softened my heart. There are a lot of people who suffer but want to keep going and need a little help.
If you are one of the people who has stopped me, hopefully you will find answers to your questions here. You can also contact me if you have a specific question.
A BIG issue for assistive devices is transportabilty; can you take it with you when you are not riding it? The scooter pictured above has a folding handlebar and I put it in the trunk to take shopping. It is super lightweight and easy to pull out and use. It is a GoPed KnowPed that I stuck a seat on. It’s awesome, one of the most powerful tools I have.
The KnowPed has a wide deck and a solid adult-sized frame. The wheels are solid, no flats ever! And most importantly for a sit-down configuration like this, a front hand brake. I will do a detailed post about the seat in the future. I hope to build a folding post in the next week or two, so I will do a post on that.
You may notice that I put big, sprung Schwinn Quilted Wide Cruisers Saddle seats on my rides. They really work for me in giving me an extra bit of suspension that helps my joints. I also use Schwinn Collapsible Handlebar Baskets, very handy.
Endless-sphere.com is an excellent website for information about all things electric vehicles. I made a post there explaining my scooter named “Frankenscooter.” I put a Schwinn S750 together with a Schwinn S1000 Stealth. The result is awesome.Top speed 18 MPH.
When it came to mobility, I quickly realized I didn’t even know what questions to ask. After many mistakes and much wasted time and effort, I found the question: With a seat — how fast, how far? What I found is I need to ride 3 speeds; walking speed (3-4 mph), running speed (4-8 mph), and city transport speed (12-15 mph). So basically shopping, riding with my wife while she runs, and zipping to the store in town.
A Pride GoGo mobility scooter can give you lots of walking speed — only. An inexpensive electric scooter can give you running speed, and an electric bicycle can get you all the speed you are looking for. There is a tool for each job.
So how far? My kick scooter; .5 to 1 mile (slow); My eZip 750 (8 miles 12-15 mph); my iZip EZGO 16″ folding bicycle (15 miles at 6 mph); and my eZip Trailz (12-15 mph for 20 miles).
What about something that can do it all? If you can balance, a 2 wheeled electric scooter is tough to beat. They can go fast or slow and can be ridden in stores. Currie has stopped making their 750w and 1000w scooters which is the smallest I would recommend for an adult, but you can find them used. There are other manufacturers making 2 wheeled scooters with a seat. I recently picked up a 36v Quazar scooter that is belt driven.
I had a 3-wheeled Dillenger M5 that could do it all. 350w 36v12ah, it could go over 10 miles at speeds of up to 18 mph. No rear suspension, it was fun to ride and surprisingly stable. Limited hill climbing ability though.
My best ride is my Lyric Runn3r. Full suspension, all aluminum body, speed, torque, brakes, lights, speedometer, quality tires, fenders, alarm, remote — it has it all. 48v 500w motor. It even has a speed selector so I can set the speed. Example, riding in a store I set the speed selector to low so the starts are not full-jerks. I have much finer throttle control. At high speed it is great, the tilting suspension allows me to lean into turns and take them at higher speeds. Controller is sealed, so riding this in the winter; snow, rain, whatever — no problem.
I try to ride my electric bicycles when I can. I like at least getting some exercise when possible. But on bad pain days it is nice to have the full electric options.