The Old Curmudgeon: Zapping around…

July 2016 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

The Old CurmudgeonBy Vern Holmquist

Trying to figure out what is going on in our political world is beyond me. Sometimes it seems we are to chose a candidate who is only slightly better than the other candidate. There is no knight in shining armor waiting for a chance to shatter a few windmills or at least show us the way to a more peaceful world.

Instead of trying to figure out politics, I think I’ll write about something important to me personally — my scooter.

I’ll start right off by saying my Zappy 3 Pro Flex scooter is not what you think of as a mobility vehicle for a handicapped person. Although it serves me well, my legs are still fairly stable.

Some of you wonderful Silverton residents can remember picking up my old body off the pavement and asking, “What the hell were you trying to do?”

Well, to put it simply, my scooter is too much fun to ride. It makes me take chances – like the time there was a slow-walking man ahead of me. I could see a chance to dart into a parking lot entrance, scoot to the other side, re-enter the sidewalk and be ahead of him. Whoops! Where did that five-inch curb come from?

Now, as with a kid’s trike, it has a large front wheel and two small rear wheels, the front wheel being the power drive. But instead of two pedals, the Zappy has a 36-watt motor build into the hub, enough power to burn rubber if accelerated too fast. If the pavement is too wet to allow traction, this can be a problem too. You suddenly find yourself rolling backwards and then down on the pavement. In Silverton, people come running from all directions to help. God bless ‘em.

On the good side, this vehicle has been my freedom, and when the time comes to give it up I will be reluctant to do so. I’ve cut the speed down from 15 MPH to that of a fast walk. There goes part of the fun. And I no longer ride on unfamiliar trails.

When you purchase a Zappy you find that the seat is optional. It is made to be ridden standing up. That helps cope with another of my often written about complaints – the cracks or other street and sidewalk bumps that can send excruciating jolts of pain up your spine from butt to a point just below your skull. But all in all, what other vehicle do you know of that you can ride to the store, load up with groceries, and when you get home ride it right into the kitchen to unload?

There are some inconveniences, such as remembering to recharge the batteries when you have finished your ride. With a full charge I get about 15 miles. I have ridden to Mount Angel, but I am aware of several places I can recharge before the trip home, just in case. Case in point, batteries get old and then can’t take a full charge. When this happens I can only make it as far as the Towne House, where they let me and my scooter get charged up for the ride home. Don’t worry. It has lights.

So, that sums it up. For less than $800, I get freedom and convenience that I could not get otherwise. It is well built and durable, so if you are 95 or younger, can stand on both legs, have the mind of a 10-year old, and need to get somewhere on your own, go for it. Good luck!

I love my Zappy.

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