Five years ago I was riding my trusty Felt-135 road bicycle 24 miles per day to the Gulf and back. Today I sit and ride all day in my Quickie 710 Electric Wheelchair. Quite a change! But not to be daunted, so far I’ve racked up over 500 miles in my neighborhood jaunts on my trusty new steed.
The Quickie has a lot of features. With two front and rear balancing wheels and two drive wheels, the Quickie has the ability to crawl up and down steep obstacles, even curbs and elevated door ways. It can handle anything you throw at it–or so they say.
Of course, I’ve managed to put it to the test! Four times I’ve gotten stuck in sand and once got hung up on a tree stump. Each time neighbors came to the rescue. It’s now a joke among neighbors. This week I also got entangled with a garden hose. When I attempted to call Ruth, my iPhone was dead! Now what?! She’s in the house, I thought, and, being hearing deficient, couldn’t hear me if I could bellow like an enraged water buffalo! Fortunately, just then she came in view, pushing a wheelbarrow filled with debris to burn.
Last week I was headed from one side of the house to the other when suddenly something didn’t feel right. The Quickie was having a hard time turning. Because I wear a head brace to keep my head and neck straight, I could not look behind to see what was happening. So I called for Ruth and discovered that when I rode over a rug, a route I take numerous times per day, this time one of the wheels caught the edge of the rug and I was dragging it behind! Ruth had it secured to the floor with carpet tape, so we chalked it up to a need to replace the carpet tape. She asked me to take a different route until she purchased new tape, a route which took me over another rug. It did the same thing!! What in the world is going on?! Why had the Quickie suddenly developed an affinity for rugs?
We found out that evening when our daughter Karen came for dinner. She said, “Dad, one of your rear wheels is not turning.” That solved the mystery! The frozen wheel had an appetite for rugs! When she looked at the wheel she said, “You have what looks like pieces of a garbage bag wrapped around the axle so tightly the wheel can’t turn.”
The previous day I had returned from a ride around a neighboring mobile park and fish camp. The routine is to call Ruth with my iPhone when I return home. She then opens the door, and up the ramp into the house I go. This time—yep, you guessed it—my phone was dead again! So I went up the ramp and banged on the door with a broom handle. No response. So I backed down the ramp into a large garbage bag filled with cans and bottles. I just brushed by the bag with my superior steering skills I thought. (We have no garbage pick up here in the boonies. Ruth takes non burnable garbage into town to a city dumpster.)
I rode around the house to the river side where Ruth could see me. So I waved my arms until I finally got her attention. What she saw was me in the Quickie dragging a garbage bag with cans and bottles tumbling out in my wake across the lawn. She cut me loose, but neither of us suspected that the bag had entwined itself around the axle.
That’s how I managed to freeze up a wheel on an electric wheelchair with a garbage bag! No mean feat!
“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.” (Dr. Seuss)