Things to do before you’re 30….

At the beginning of this month, the 1st December to be precise (and yes I did get an advent calendar as a pressie before you ask!), it was my turn to hit the big 3-0. Scary stuff I hear you say! Well the good news is that it was no way near as traumatic as I expected it to be. To tell you the truth I’ve been pretty lucky in recent years, in that people have often mistaken me for being younger than my years. Thanks guys, it won’t be forgotten!

All this thinking about getting older, lead me down the path of wondering what I would have put on my list of things to do before I’m thirty. It’s funny, I’ve always been fascinated by these lists, but I had absolutely no idea what I would have put on mine. You probably would’ve got more of an answer if you’d asked me what I definitely didn’t want to do before I was thirty! So I was in two minds when back at the end of November I went to the enABLE08 show and was confronted with exactly the thing I didn’t want to do before hitting this very milestone.

So what was the thing that filled me with so much fear? Well, if you promise not to laugh, I’ll tell you. The thing that woke me in the middle of night in a cold sweat, was the thought of having to use a mobility scooter in public. I know this probably sounds a bit daft, but mobility scooters are definitely up there on my list of things to avoid at all cost. You may be surprised to hear me say this, and I completely understand why. I have MS, walk with two crutches and often experience extreme fatigue, so you would think I’d be biting your hand off to get hold of a nippy little mobility scooter to make my life just that bit easier.

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In theory, mobility scooters make so much sense, but the reality is that they always look so….well, cheerless. You may think this sounds a bit harsh, and I am most definitely not saying this to be derogatory in any way, but I find it hard to believe that anyone (whatever their age!) would describe their mobility scooter as stylish, let alone a babe (or bloke) magnetic. This may be a bit much to ask, but at the very least why can’t mobility scooters have the long awaited facelift that they so deserve. So many times I’ve seen spoof Tim Westwoods on sketch shows, “pimping” Granny’s mobility scooter much to her delight. Metal alloys, spoilers, the works (or whatever takes your fancy)! Wouldn’t it be ace if mobility scooters became a style statement, instead of the all too familiar bog standard ugly and characterless cousin of the Vespa. I suppose we can but dream!

The good news is that people are starting to take matters into their own hands by pimping their mobility aids without a Westwood in sight. I’ve even spotted the existence of a mobility scooter styled on the old school Chopper bike (surely the holy grail of mobility scooters). Now we’re getting somewhere!

Back to enABLE08, “a national consumer show for people with disabilities seeking a more active, independent life” held up at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry in November. This is a pretty extensive conference area and my legs wouldn’t have managed for very long, so a mobility scooter seemed to be the only option. After much deliberation, I finally decided that I should at least take one for a spin, I mean I have no right to pass comment on mobility scooters until I’ve given them a go. Well the good news is I managed to manoeuvre myself around the Ricoh Arena, without mowing down anyone or anything for that matter, much to my relief. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I got into zipping around on a scooter and it definitely meant that I could visit all the stands I was interested in.


So my final verdict was in fact that mobility scooters rock, it’s just a real shame about their lack of style. After my experience of driving one around for the day, I’d definitely not rule out using a mobility scooter in the future but I would have to give it a bit of an Enabled by Design twist – maybe even just some graffiti artwork to cheer it up a bit!

So while I’ve got my eye on helping to create the next generation of Chopper-esque scooters, it would be great if anyone has any photos or footage of customised/suped up mobility aids that they’d like to share with us.┬áIn the meantime, here’s a wee video of me demonstrating my much to be desired reversing skills. Enjoy!