Mike's blog: access all areas ... not!
Mike can't always keep pace with his energetic dogs, but a mobility scooter wasn't quite the answer he'd hoped for. Let us know your experiences in the comment box below.
I’m not a great lover of forced exercise, so it’s taken a while for me to come up with solutions.
One of these is walking the dogs – to ensure they stretch their legs and enjoy enough exercise that they don’t tear the house to pieces. It’s also a fabulous way of exploring and discovering the wonders around you.
It’s hard to keep up with the dogs. Well, they are whippets, so when they’re ‘off’, even Usain Bolt would struggle. This has led me to investigate the possibility of a mobility scooter. Naturally, I was welcomed with open arms at the Mobility Store.
I discovered that the ‘ideal scooter’ for my ‘specific needs’ would be a “four wheeled electric, capable of up to 8 mph on flat tarmac". This model could be fitted with larger treaded tyres to combat trickier terrain and would also last up to 20 hours when charged.
This would get me a long way, but then I started to realise where the problems lay.
The cost of the scooter would be about £5,000 – a big shock to anyone.
I would either need a car with a tow-bar and a new trailer to carry said scooter, or a far larger vehicle to house the thing so it could be taken further afield. This meant a very large ‘people carrier’ conversion or a Transit van with a ramp.
Now lovely and accommodating as my wife is, it seems a little unfair to ask my wife to swap our anonymous automatic car for something the size of a small truck!
No available scooter manufactured - let alone this “beauty” with chunky tyres, comfortable seat, armrests and lockable luggage compartment - can fit over a style, through a ‘kissing gate’ or between narrow gaps left in fencing. All of which are cleverly designed to allow access for walkers, hikers and ramblers, but not sheep, cows or indeed mobility scooters.
Most rural footpaths include one or all of these hazards. Usually there are large gates nearby to enable movement of the animals that graze within, but these are usually padlocked.
The landowner looks after these animals, and Joe Public is not averse to leaving gates open. Wandering livestock can be a problem! Using these public footpaths in the way I want (and so justify the investment in a mobility scooter) presents a logistical nightmare.
I would need to first contact and then seek permission for access from the relevant landowners.
If I managed this, long before venturing out on my scooter, I would need to have borrowed and collected keys to all barriers along the route.
Should I be confronted by a style somewhere en-route, I’d be flummoxed, just like a Dalek at the foot of the stairs, but bejewelled in different keys and looking more like a poor man’s Mr. T.
At the end of the trip (which after such effort in the planning, would be attempted rain or shine), I would have to finish by returning all keys to the landowner.
“Access All Areas? I think not...”
“Oh!” he replied.
I bought a new stick instead!