Getting a new powerchair…

Having just had a windfall from the tax man, I’ve decided I’ll treat myself to a new powerchair. Well, not so much treat – if I’m to break my housebound cycle, pretty much essential.

I spent a large part of yesterday, online, looking at chairs that (a) fit my budget (under 2 grand) and (b) had a decent claimed range and batteries to match – too many manufacturers blithely claim absurd ranges from relatively small batteries – look for batteries of at least 70Ah for outdoor use. Early in the search I came across this chair, the Shoprider Lugano, with a 25 mile claimed range and 75Ah batteries, and a whisker over £1,800.

NB: The pic was clipped from their brochure. As this post amounts to a plug for the machine, only a churl would complain and, anyway, I’m sure it comes under the definition of “fair use”.

Shoprider, it has to be said, make some seriously horrible chairs, but this is a nice piece of kit in the same six-wheel, mid-wheel drive, manner as the Pride Jazzy and Quantum series – but at a fraction of the price. (I was pleased to see  that the illegal-in-the-UK Pride Quantum 6000 has now been discontinued, though some dealers are still selling old stock – see my I bought a lemon… series of blog posts on the subject.)

Mid-wheel drive chairs are superbly manoeuvrable, and will spin about their own vertical axis, making them a dream indoors where space is limited, while still being a capable outdoor chair.

It’s a year since I got out of hospital with what turned out to be a death sentence, albeit a slow one, as it’s turned out (not that I’m complaining). In the event, I made it to Christmas, which I seriously didn’t expect to do, and I’m still here, so fingers crossed there might be another year (50-50 chance – the 2-year survival rate is 50% and this is my second year – presumably, beyond this year, the odds shorten), now I’ve got a decent cardiologist – only took 50 weeks! Mainly because my GP is a cretin, though to be fair I missed a September appointment because I was too ill to go – perhaps that worked out for the best?

Which is why I’m making some investments (new 64-bit PC, and now a new powerchair), predicated on the fact that I might actually have some sort of future (though to be honest, things are still very iffy).

However, things will be less iffy, psychologically, at least, if I’m able to get out of here more – or, even, at all – being housebound is very destructive mentally.

On getting out of hospital (and I still don’t understand how, the day before I was hauled away, I was better than I’ve been in years, yet when I emerged 4 days later, I was a basket case – something happened during that period that no bugger is telling me about – I’m increasingly sure of that), I bought a very basic powerchair. Too basic as it turned out, but money, while not tight, wasn’t unlimited, so it had to do.

It’s OK for trundling round the building, and taking rubbish out to the bins, but anything more ambitious is beyond its puny motors and small batteries. The Lugano, on the other hand, should have power to spare.

It’s a Class 2 chair (4mph), but I had a  Class 3 (8mph), and it was remarkably uncomfortable, even painful, at that speed. It does mean that the Lugano is a pavement machine (yeah, right!), but on a nice summer morning, I can be at Sainsbury’s or Tesco in an hour, or to the woods in a bit less, or put it in a taxi, or even on the train, to go further afield – things I can’t do with a scooter.

It’ll also make hospital trips easier, too.

The only downside is the frustrating wait for my rebate check to clear!

If you’re shopping for a powerchair, bear in mind that range claims are absurd, the method of testing having no connection at all with reality, as you can see from this post.

Powerchairs use the battery not just for forward motion, but for steering, too, and on a road with even a moderate camber (same with many pavements), you’re constantly, and subconsciously, steering up the camber to avoid rolling down it, as well as any changes of direction, so look to get around 60% of the clamed figure and you won’t be disappointed, unless you’re very heavy, then all bets are off.

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2 thoughts on “Getting a new powerchair…

  1. Good one Ron, will it make it to S.Wales, a couple of pints and a few hours talk we could sort this country out, may even get you to see your mistake in using windows and the benefits of Linux, somehow I don’t think I have a chance, great to see a bit of “the old Ron” coming back, you had a lot of people concerned a little while ago

    • I think two things would set the worst of this country to rights – a deer rifle and a place to stand.

      To be honest, there’s still a lot to be concerned about. The new doc is in agreement with my assessment of the situation, but thinks there may be other stuff wrong that neither I nor anyone else suspected. The big difference is that I’ve stopped worrying about it for some reason, quite possibly because there’s a limit to how long worry can be sustained without either tipping me into a breakdown, or just fizzling, and it appears to have fizzled. Nothing has really changed, though, and I could die or stroke out tomorrow. I just don’t care any more, but I think the best way forward is to behave as if I might have a future. Who knows – I actually might. Nothing is carved in stone.

      As for Windows, no, not a prayer of prying me loose from that, I’ve been with it since v3.1. I will say, though, that while Windows 7 really is for people who don’t like computers, some of the features designed for the hand-holding of numpties are actually useful for entirely different reasons. For example, hovering the cursor over a Task Bar icon shows what the item is (if you can’t tell that from the icon, maybe your not the best person to have a computer). For me, though, hovering over the Mailwasher icon not only shows me what it is in case I’ve forgotten in the past half hour, it allows me to see if I have mail without opening Mailwasher – now that’s actually useful. True, it saves only a few seconds at a time, but over the course of a month, or a year, they mount up.

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