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A Senior’s Adventure in Mobility

Rudolph Pekau

Biking is wonderful, you get exercise and you see new environments and landscapes. It is even better if you get some help on the hills, especially as a senior. My first order was in 2016 for a 500W front wheel kit with a bare battery from EBikeBC which I successfully installed into my 35-year-old bike in half a day. Picture 1

I was very pleased with the pedal assist and could increase my range significantly, also on the uphill sections it came in very handy.

When I had a question about the installation, I got a fast response from the EBikeBC’s tech support, I did not feel left in the dark.

Picture 1 first ride in 2016, bare battery in the back

In the meantime, I have installed a compartment in the triangular section of the bike to accommodate 2 batteries, one as a spare to increase the range, now I have over 20 Ah which lasts for about 3 hours and 60 km. But I do feel my butt after a long ride!

There must be some more comfortable way of travelling with some exercise! How about 3 wheels with a nice lawn chair as a saddle? Indeed, I got some old bike parts and cannibalized them to build a comfortable e-trike, 2 wheels in the front and one electric assist 500W in the back called a tadpole trike. Picture 2. I used 2 front forks of older bikes and fabricated a frame with aluminum profiles from Home Depot and put them together with bolts and nuts. This was a pleasure to ride in, but it was harder to steer than I expected and sensitive with the front wheel braking.

Picture 2, tadpole trike with 26-inch wheels, rear with electric

After several trials, I decided to use smaller front wheels from a canoe dolly, looked sleeker but less braking. Picture 3.

Picture 3, tadpole trike with smaller front wheels, rear with an electric 26-inch wheel

Looking for alternatives and activating the old rusty engineering skills, I switched the wheels. Two wheels in the rear and one in the front, initially equipped with one 350W 20-inch front wheel electric assist. But I was still struggling to climb the steeper hills pushing hard on the pedals. The pedal drive is only on the right wheel and required an intermediate shaft which was easily done.

So, what is a better solution?

Go to a gym in times of COVID or treadmill at home and work out to boost my muscle strength? No way!

How about converting it to an electric mobility scooter and installing several motors as there is no 500W power restriction for mobility scooters. So, I ordered two more 350W front wheel kits from EBikeBC and installed them in the rear. Now we need to disengage the pedal drive with a simple clutch and voila’ we have a mobility scooter with pedal exercise. This provides at least some exercise if the pedal drive is equipped with an adjustable brake or a small generator charging the batteries. Picture 4

Picture 4 comfort mobility scooter with pedal exercise 3852 km

There is one magnetic disk with 3 sensors on it, 3 LCD displays that allow for individual power settings for each wheel. Most of the time I use only one powered wheel (front), if there is a headwind or gentle hills, I ride with two powered wheels and on the steep hills I use 3-wheel power. It is very stable and fun to ride even on snowy or icy pathways too, no tipping.

Conventional mobility scooters on the market today do not allow for any exercise, pity.

Tinkering with some left-over bike parts, I experimented to stretch the design for a more recumbent design. This resulted in a more stretched version with a lower center of gravity. After various modifications, it became the recumbent pedal exercise mobility scooter with one 500W 20inch front wheel and two 350W rear wheels. Picture 5. It looks somewhat odd but works extremely well on all road conditions and in any weather for years. I use it a lot in the winter down to -5 deg C with ski clothing on.

Picture 5 Recumbent mobility scooter with pedal exercise 2635km

Lately, I have seen some people on electric kick scooters on the pathways, I thought that would be fun! Who says a senior cannot be on a scooter? Reminds me on my youth. Need a bit more balancing skills, I guess? Indeed, I fabricated one with dual wheel drive from EBikeBC’s 20-inch 350W motor, two throttles, two LED displays and two batteries in the lower sections.

The frame is made of two good quality 19 mm plywood sections with aluminum profiles bolted together. Rear pannier for drinks, spare tubes and some tools. When I ride it, it reminds me of a bit of skiing with leaning the body or the scooter to initiate turns.

Fun to ride!

Electric kick scooter with two 20-inch 350W wheels

So, what’s next? Who knows? Got to keep the old brain cells active!

Greetings from an active senior.

 

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1 thought on “A Senior’s Adventure in Mobility

  • Avatar Rudolf Pekau says:

    Update : Converted the electric kick scooter to the hybrid low step thru tricycle scooter shown in post of July 2021, it is more relaxing to ride for a senior. I am still riding the bike from 2016 , picture 1, no problems with it, no maintenance, still same batteries, needed new tires after 5500 km on it.

    The two tadpole trikes , pictures 2 and 3 , have been disassembled in favour of comfort mobility scooter, picture 4 , which has now 4325 km on it
    and is still one of my favourite to ride.

    The recumbent mobility scooter, picture 5 , has been disassembled in favour of the hybrid low step thru tricycle scooter of July 2021 which has a lower entry, is lighter and has a larger storage capacity for shopping. No need for a car, no insurance, no registration, I park it right at the entrance of the grocery store, no maintenance, no gas required, it cost me 5 cents for electricity, no air conditioning required when it is hot, cool !

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