Give a Scooter a Try: It Can Be Wheelie Fun

Dagmar Munn avatar

by Dagmar Munn |

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Like so many who live with ALS, I have weak muscles in my lower legs that limit my mobility. To help me roam through the house, I rely on a walker with wheels. I also use it for covering short distances when my husband and I are out running errands. But one day, after trekking to the back regions of our local Walmart and realizing I’d have to follow the same exhausting route out again, I moaned out loud, “There has to be an easier way!”

“There is,” my husband replied, while pointing to an area near the store’s entrance. “Why don’t you give one of those a try?”

He pointed to a row of motorized shopping carts, but all I saw were large cousins of riding lawn mowers, only with dangling cords and over-sized wire baskets attached up front. “Yuk!” I thought. They looked clunky and slow. My mind raced along – I’m not disabled enough to use one! Plus, I don’t even know how to operate those things! Will other shoppers have to dodge and weave around me? What if I crash?

But in the spirit of keeping a positive attitude, a willingness to try and, frankly, two very tired feet – I decided to sit down in one and give it a go. Bravely, I pressed the green “on” button, squeezed the hand lever and lurched forward at the mighty (pre-programmed) top speed of 2 miles per hour. Looking down, I imagined tiny ants passing me by.

Not only did other shoppers take zero notice of me, I was the one having to dodge and weave – just to avoid their carts!

I discovered that all around me the other shoppers were either totally focused on their cell phones, or stuck in a glassy-eyed stare. No one, it seemed, looked down; a fact noted by store managers who strategically place higher-priced items at the adult eye-level, while sale items and “fun stuff” are at kid-height. From my new lower vantage point, I had quite an entertaining and economical shopping trip!

In the end, I was hooked, and rolling through stores on four-wheels became my favorite way to shop. So much so, that we purchased a small electric four-wheel scooter of my very own. It has several handy features, which include a swivel seat and variable speeds. In a restaurant, I can drive right up table-side, swivel my seat inward and, magically, I’ve brought my own chair!

As for speed, I have the basic 2 miles per hour, plus, I can dial it all the way up to 4.25 – which is considered a zippy speed in the scooter-world. Apparently, someone in the scooter factory thought they’d jazz things up a bit and instead of numbers on the speed dial, the low end features an outline of a turtle and the top speed end outlines a rabbit. Not sure about the humor in that, but, oh, well.

So now all my shopping adventures begin in the parking lot, where I find myself sitting at about eye-level to front grills of large pickups. Not wanting to join the flat bugs already decorating all that chrome, I crank my scooter up to rabbit and make a mad dash to the store entrance. Yes, I know my scooter could have one of those tall wire poles with a little safety flag on top. But living in a community of retirees who are also avid golfers, I worry that one small flag on a skinny pole parading through rows of parked cars might look too much like a new mobile 18th hole. Once again, I hit rabbit and take off; imagining a hailstorm of golf balls in my wake!

If the uncertainty of trying new things and the fear of not knowing how is holding you back, remember that all it takes is the willingness to try. And, like me, you’ll not only open up your world to many new possibilities, but also you can have a little fun with it as well.


Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.


Michael Robinson avatar

Michael Robinson

Best thing I ever did was try a scooter. We had company coming into Chicago and they wanted to see some sights. Of course there was no way I could keep up. So I rented a scooter for the weekend. The following week, I bought one. Now I have progressed and use it about 90 percent of the time. A great way to conserve your energy for when one does need to still stand and walk to get around.

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Thank you for your comment. Yes, scooters can help conserve our energy and keep us engaged in life's activities.

Christine Sweeney avatar

Christine Sweeney

Hi I recently did exactly what you did .. wanted to go shopping with my daughters but knew I could never keep up .. they suggested I try a scooter which are free to hire .. wow .. what fun we had .. knocking down a display of kids sunglasses was the highlight !! .. we couldn't begin to right them for laughing.. and now I hire one every time I go .. it's given back my independence while shopping .. way to go !!!

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Thank you for sharing your own experience - - expanding our mobility certainly can be an adventure!

Charlie avatar


Zoom Zoom !

Sheila Lowrie avatar

Sheila Lowrie

I purchased my scooter about a year ago and absolutely love it! It wasn't nearly as difficult a decision as using the cane and rolator were. I fought the cane until falls became a daily fear, although I can no longer safely walk with a cane the rolator around the house is invaluable, and the scooter allows me the opportunity to shop, and go on "walks" and oh! did I mention shop?
My daughter can assemble the scooter in 60 seconds and my 5 year old grand-daughter loves to drive it to me on the passenger side of the car. My daughter frequently has an audience as she assembles it, people are usually surprised at how inexpensive they are and easy to have shipped from Amazon! The Scout Scooter people just may owe us a kick-back for the sales we have generated!

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Thank you for sharing your own positive experiences using a scooter. You and I seem to be at the same stage - - and sharing the same positive outlook. Let's hope scooters and the like will become more accessible to all ALS patients.

Andrew Debogorski avatar

Andrew Debogorski

I want reccomandations for a rugged outdoor scooter that has an easy way to actuate movement. My hands are weak I still drive a car. Im Andrew 31 als for under a year. Hello peeps


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