Professor & patients' paper on the solvable biological challenge of ME/CFS: reader-friendly version
Simon McGrath provides a patient-friendly version of a peer-reviewed paper which highlights some of the most promising biomedical research on ME/CFS ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Kick scooters and electric bicycles?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle Management' started by nettle_tea, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

    Messages:
    48
    Likes:
    98
    This is a question for folks who still have some mobility.

    Has anyone used a kick scooter (like the kind kids use, not the motorized kind) or an electric bicycle as a way to get around urban environments?

    I live in the Boston area, at the end of the subway line. I generally find cycling easier than walking, mile for mile. I usually bike to work, 3 miles each way, on flat ground. But I'm getting too sick to manage that every day. The subway station is half a mile from my house, but it has limited bike parking. Plus, if my destination is not right on the subway line, I need to walk on the other end as well. I thought maybe I could scoot to the station on the bike path, fold the scooter and bring it onto the train, and then scoot to where I need to go. I'm interested in hearing whether this has worked for anyone.

    I've never tried an electric bike either, but I'm definitely considering it as a long-term investment. Cycling is so important to me and I don't want to give it up entirely.
     
    lafarfelue, Skycloud and Jennifer J like this.
  2. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member

    Messages:
    475
    Likes:
    2,345
    UK
    I can't give you an opinion from personal experience I'm afraid, however I do know someone, a graduate student with currently mild/moderate ME ( a friend's daughter), who uses an electric bike to get around Cambridge UK. So also a flat urban area.

    I don't know the kind of distances she uses it for. She gets on with hers well, it's certainly a help. Aside from riding she also finds it useful to carry the weight of bags when pushing it.

    However, electric bikes tend to be heavier due to the battery and motor, and she has found this an issue, for example she has some steps to negotiate. I think she just asks for help from whoever is passing.

    Can you try a few kinds out? It may be possible to hire one for a day.

    As for kick scooters, I have found them worse than walking! (Have tried with my children's when they had them)
     
    Jennifer J, lafarfelue and nettle_tea like this.
  3. Barry53

    Barry53 Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,277
    Likes:
    13,705
    UK
    I have spoken to my wife about this, but she doesn't think she would be able to balance properly any more.
     
    Skycloud, Jennifer J and lafarfelue like this.
  4. Valentijn

    Valentijn Senior Member

    Messages:
    14,281
    Likes:
    45,823
    I know I wouldn't. Even before most symptoms started, following the triggering flu my balance got screwy after a bike ride of a few kilometers over flat paved ground. I got to the destination, put my feet down, and slowly toppled over. On the way back, I couldn't feel and/or control my balance well enough to stay on the path, and kept veering off.
     
    ScottTriGuy, Jennifer J and Wonko like this.
  5. boombachi

    boombachi Senior Member

    Messages:
    203
    Likes:
    715
    Hampshire, UK
    I used my uncles electric bike recently. I didn't go very far on it but am seriously considering getting one for myself. I am mildly affected. I do bike to work sometimes (about a mile) but I find it affects what energy I have later on in the day. Parking where I work is so bad that walking to and from the car can be almost as bad as cycling there.
    What I would warn you about is that electric bikes are heavy so taking them on the train might be difficult especially if you have to go up and down steps to get onto the platform. My kids used to have scooters and I have used them. Scooting uses more energy than walking in my opinion. I have a friend that had an electric scooter but I think you will have the same problem of it being heavy.
     
  6. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

    Messages:
    48
    Likes:
    98
    Thanks, this is really helpful! I am relatively mildly affected as well (assuming I even have ME/CFS and not something else - I'm still ruling out autoimmune conditions), but my bike is already on the heavier end of what I can handle. And electric bikes are so expensive that I don't think I would buy one anytime soon. But knowing that option exists is reassuring!

    I had heard (from healthy people) that scooting more energy efficient than walking, but that may not be the case when disability is involved. I wonder if the ones that are made for adults are better? Maybe I can try borrowing one and seeing how it goes.

    I also live somewhere with horrible parking. The parking at my work costs something like $2000+ a year, and it's half a mile off site.
     
  7. lafarfelue

    lafarfelue Senior Member

    Messages:
    142
    Likes:
    491
    Australia
    Great question, thanks for asking it! I've wondered, but have (perversely) been too anxious about being unable to use a bike at all anymore to want to know if it's even an option for me.

    This is how I feel too. I'm keeping 2 of my bikes (out of 6!) as my only 'in case I ever improve/get better' glimmer of hope.

    I'd really like an electric bike to just get to the shops; they're not far, and the bus is not always a great option (wait times are long, especially for a short trip).

    This is my concern too. I need to figure out if my imbalance is due to reduction in core strength, or more related to vertigo-type ME/CFS symptoms. Though perhaps it doesn't matter, because I can't really do anything about either of these.
     
    Barry53 and Skycloud like this.
  8. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member

    Messages:
    475
    Likes:
    2,345
    UK
    Another option for those whose level of health allows cycling, but are concerned about balance issues could be an electric tricycle.
    These must be heavier even than the bicycles, and they're bulkier of course. Parking could be an issue. Could be a good option for some though.

    I wanted an electric bike at one time as I enjoy cycling too ( a potterer, not a serious cyclist) and even considered a tricycle, as I know someone (not with ME, but retired) with one. Ho hum, maybe one day.
     
    Jennifer J, lafarfelue and Barry53 like this.
  9. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,478
    Likes:
    7,572
    This is something I was thinking about. I am also mild moderate and can normally do 20 min walking until my heart rate starts getting too high.

    My main concern is the weight of the bike and being stranded with a heavy thing to get back home ( I suppose it would fit in a taxi bus if I'm desperate)? My local country park does hire out bikes and I think they do electric ones. I might see if I can give one a go. I suspect that the randomness of the disease will make it a bit of a fair days luxury to buy one though
     
    Jennifer J, Skycloud and lafarfelue like this.
  10. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member

    Messages:
    475
    Likes:
    2,345
    UK
    Any opportunity to try by before you buy would be excellent.
     
    Jennifer J likes this.
  11. boombachi

    boombachi Senior Member

    Messages:
    203
    Likes:
    715
    Hampshire, UK
    This thread inspired me to look into the options. Most of the bikes weigh about 20-25 kilos. That is almost double the weight of an average bike.

    The lightest one i found is https://www.freygeist-bikes.com for anyone in germany or close by.
    Gtech ebike is 16kg which isn't bad for under £1000. Cheapest I found was just over £500 but I am guessing you get what you pay for. There are a lot of try before you buy schemes.

    Anyone who lives in the uk with a job or a close working relative willing to help out can get 42% off with the cycle to work scheme.

    My biggest problem is space. I would need to chuck out someone else's bike or a ton of fishing gear first. Not sure I'll get away with that.
     
    Jennifer J likes this.
  12. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

    Messages:
    48
    Likes:
    98
    Well, I just went ahead and bought a kick scooter - they were super on sale. (I'm turning 30 this weekend, so end-of-youth crisis I suppose!) At best, maybe it will help me manage longer public transit trips. Otherwise, I'll just use it around my neighborhood on good days, or let my partner use it. It's the $60 adult Razor model, with the extra-large wheels. I'll report back about whether it's *really* less tiring than walking.

    https://www.amazon.com/Razor-A5-LUX...&qid=1502885784&sr=1-5&keywords=razor scooter

    I had a really bad week last week - I developed severe (for me) muscle aches in my legs, then had difficulty walking for several days. I'm almost back to normal now, although I'm walking slowly and my feet are very sensitive to pressure.

    I took the basket off my bike to make it lighter, and figured out the best spot to park it at the train station: at the back door, right next to the escalator - no stairs and almost no walking required. I've also been storing it outside instead of in my basement, so I don't have to carry it around.

    I found some resources/news on disability activism in cycling culture, which made me very happy! I'm often frustrated by the ableism in cycling culture around here. If you're in the UK, you might the links relevant, although they are definitely not ME/CFS specific.

    http://wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk/campaigning/our-campaigns/
    https://www.theguardian.com/environ...eople-interested-in-cycling-proper-bike-lanes
     
  13. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member

    Messages:
    475
    Likes:
    2,345
    UK
    Oooh it's cute! Happy kicking!
     
  14. nettle_tea

    nettle_tea

    Messages:
    48
    Likes:
    98
    My takeaway from the kick scooter:

    Minute for minute, it is harder than walking (I need to pay attention to balance, it taxes muscles that I don't normally use), but mile for mile, it's less energy intensive. In terms of energy efficiency, it's sort of a middle point between walking and biking. On a well-paved surface, like the bike path outside my house, I can get a good bit of distance from just one kick. Then I can just stand and coast. I've used it a few times to go to the corner store, and it definitely shaved time and effort off, but it's not something I would be able to do if I didn't already feel well enough for a short walk. I haven't tried taking it on the subway yet. I think it will be really great for getting to the pharmacy from my house, or going to the lake, both of which are bike-path accessible.
     
    AndyPandy and Skycloud like this.
  15. Offset Entity

    Offset Entity

    Messages:
    46
    Likes:
    161
    I have an electric bicycle and love it. I used it for a couple of years and found it to be less tiring than taking the bus if the weather is good. I haven't used it much this last year because i let my lithium battery get too low and now it has half the range it used to. (it used to go for 30miles at 20mph with minimal effort now its more like 12 miles range which isnt enough to get to downtown and back reliably)

    - It can get really cold on rides home at night (wind chill)
    - Get a battery minder to keep lithium batteries "fresh" ( i forgot to charge for 4 months during a crash and lost 1/2 my range)
    - Ive read that you are aloud to use electric bicycles on NO Ebike paths if you are disabled (ive never been stopped so i dont really know how that would play out)
    - mid drive motors have more torque so you can take bigger hills with less effort (very important for health issues)
    - upgrading an existing bike with a kit is cheaper but offers no warranty
    - batteries from china are cheap and can be just as good as pre made one but they will need some sort of case to mount to bike(i used a back rack with a bag) they also take FOREVER to ship (took mine 4 months to get here)
    - E-bikes are about 2X as heavy as a normal bike
    - dont let yourself run out of power on the road! i once ran out just 1/4 mile from house and it was such a struggle to bike home i crashed that day. since the bike is 2x as heavy it is about 2x as hard to ride with no assistance.
    Torque is more important that top speed
    more than 20mph top speed is a different bicycle/ e-vehicle class and is limited to specific paths/bike lanes
    get at least 2x as much range as you think you need
     
    Lolo likes this.
  16. Offset Entity

    Offset Entity

    Messages:
    46
    Likes:
    161
    just realized your in Boston. im in California so you should look up your local e-bike regulations for where you can and cannot ride it and if there are different e-bike classifications or not.
     
  17. Ellie K

    Ellie K

    Messages:
    19
    Likes:
    52
    I have an Urb-e which is a completely motorized scooter, folds small, is light and has a low center of gravity so not too tippy. It has been good (mostly) for the past over a year. I ride on sidewalk because I don't have the attention span to feel comfortable in the street and have had no trouble, but if you did, in the US at least it should be treated as an "other assistive mobility device" under the ada.
     
    boombachi likes this.

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page