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.