Mobility is nobility in any form it takes, including riding a mobility scooter. Whether I’m cruising around the block for some fresh air or scootering the biking trails of a national park, I’m happy to be moving on my own accord.
To that end, my candy apple red Pride Pursuit mobility scooter is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. After researching various makes and models, I bought it in 2015 at a medical supply store. The Pride Pursuit scooter is a well-thought-out machine and lives up to the great reviews, plus some. Accurately marketed as “a life enhancement mobility device,” my four-wheel scooter can handle most hard-packed terrains, including vehicle suitable beaches.
But that’s me, someone who thrives riding around outdoors, and the scooter best suited to living with adult onset FSH muscular dystrophy. (I am able to walk minimal distances and turn push a steering bar. I need help transferring on and off the scooter.) You, however, may most benefit from a lighter collapsible model, a souped up “Batcycle” hybrid (that’s what my husband and I reference them,) or something in between, like mine.
To purchase the mobility scooter that’s right for you, consider the following:
1. Location, location, location Determine whether you plan to ride mostly indoors or outdoors, or both.
Indoors Double check the width of your door frames and turning radii of walkways.
Outdoors Know what kind of terrain you’ll most roll on: asphalt, grassy surfaces or dirt roads, etc. The more rugged it gets, the more durable suspension system needed.
2. Weigh in Your physical height and weight will help to determine a model that fits well.
3. Wheelies Three-wheel models are generally intended for indoor use with smooth surfaces, narrow spaces and sharp turn radii. Four-wheel models work well outdoors and offer greater overall stability. If you have a strength or balance issue, this stability will be important. Many four-wheelers can also roll indoors given enough turning radius.
4. Ramp it up Whether you’re rolling in and out of the house or loading your wheels in and out of a van, be prepared to purchase a ramp. A good mobility device dealer will be able to help you select the right size for your intended use, and likely be able to sell you one, too.
5. Travel advisory Consider how you’re going to transport your scooter. My husband loads my Pride Pursuit into the back of our Dodge Grand Caravan (2017) with a ramp. (The ramp fits in, too.)
Whether you’re a frequent flyer or a weekend road tripper planning to travel with your machine, link to my helpful article, 5 Top Tips for Mobility Scooter Travel. It includes pictures of our van and loading ramp, and offers other transport equipment options and ideas.
6. Storage Scooters like good weather. Protection from the elements is important when you are riding (more later) and especially when you are not. Know where you’re going to store the scooter.
7. Cost You get what you pay for when it comes to scooter quality. Inquire whether or not your medical insurance will cover the cost of a mobility scooter. A medical supply dealer generally knows the approved models and the paperwork involved.
Although I recommend buying from a medical supply dealer for warranty and repair, Facebook marketplace often sells used models at very good price points.
8. Add-ons There are a lot of useful accessories available to better ensure safe scootering. Do not hesitate to buy a basket and cell phone holder. For long distance, outdoorsy scootering, I highly, (and I mean HIGHLY,) recommend a rearview mirror, helmet, flag, phone charger and attachable flashing lights (I have four, to date). During hot weather months, my attachable shade canopy and platypus water pouch have been worth every penny.
9. Apps Investing in the Strava Safety Membership enables three contacts to track your whereabouts in real time, record your mileage, and connect you to other rolling enthusiasts. This app gives me, my husband, and my caregiver peace of mind when I am traveling solo and has already proved helpful in minor emergencies.
10. Attitude adjustment Not that long ago I was blissfully and blessedly engaged in a well rounded array of physical activities, foremost hiking some of the world’s greatest trails. As my fifth decade approached, muscular dystrophy started to change all that, rapidly (read more), but it hadn’t lessened my love of outdoor adventure. No way. The time had come to research buying a mobility scooter. Somewhat still in disbelief, I scanned the Internet not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
From the moment I took my first test drive around the block of the medical supply dealership, I experienced the joy of riding a mobility scooter. The forward motion. The renewed freedom to roam independently. The fantastic feeling of sunshine and wind kissing my face as I rolled along. Right then and there, I told the sales rep, “I’ll take it!”
Ever since, my shiny red scooter and I get heads turning, smiles and thumbs up from people I encounter.
Beep, beep, I sound in reply.
In 2019, I’m on track to scooter over 1000 miles for the year, including at the Grand Canyon and Bryce National Park.