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Thread: Walking Para and Quads and Segways?

  1. #1

    Walking Para and Quads and Segways?

    Hi, I wasn't sure where to put this; but anyway, I have a question for walking paras and quads who have tried to ride a segway. How easy/hard/possible/impossible is it?

    I'm a walking para who enjoys taking "hikes" at a local nature preserve. The preserve has some nice trails, but many of them are just too long for me to tackle on foot. Yesterday, I discovered that the park offers segway tours of some of the longer trails. I'd like to try it, but I don't know if my balance problems would allow me to safely use a segway.

    Has anyone here used one? If so, please share your experience and opinion of how well it might work for someone who has a T-8 injury with not-so-great trunk control.

    Thanks!
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

  2. #2
    Hi Danine. I am a crutch walking incomplete L1 para and I have a Segway for 7 years. My older model has a rigid shaft in the center to hold on to. It had 2 controls one for speed and on for turning.

    The newer models have a shaft that you put your hands which can move to the left and right and that is how you change directions. The problem is that if you have a balance problem like me, it is difficult to ride the new models since there is nothing stable to hold on to. The old models like I have are okay because of the rigid shaft with handgrips.

    I am sure ABs love the new model since it is so intuitive to rock the shaft for turning. But I got bucked off a new one onto the pavement - not a pretty sight.

    I did use it a lot for longer journeys like shopping in a mall and actually in an airport. But now my crutch walking endurance is very good so I can keep up with my family without needing the Segway. But I am sure I will inevitably worsen or injure my leg and then saddle up on the Segway some day. I hope this helps....

  3. #3
    Senior Member JustinB's Avatar
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    It was really difficult for me at first. I have a second generation Segway that I bought used, and needed help getting on and off.

    There are a few tricks to getting on, like finding a wall to put the front against, but with practice I didn't need it.

    I can't stand at all without something to hold on to. I turn the segway on, hold on to it with my left hand, using a cane with the right. I step up with my left foot, then my right, then hang the cane on the handlebars, and take off.

    I fell twice, and it hurt quite a bit. I think it would have hurt more if I could feel my legs. I always wear a helmet, and feel a bit like Weird Al.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9qYF9DZPdw

    -- JB

  4. #4
    Thanks Arn and Justin. I might just give it a try...still thinking. If so, I'll post an update to let folks know how it went.
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

  5. #5
    Danine, I second what both Arndog and Justin are saying, The second generation models are not as disability friendly but they do work for some. I have a gen one machine and it can really add to my freedom in certain situations.

    Most Segway dealers have experience working with people who have mobility impairments. I suggest you go to a dealer who can take the time to evaluate your needs and help you with a demo ride. Looks like there are dealers in Charlotte and Raleigh.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by My395 View Post
    Danine, I second what both Arndog and Justin are saying, The second generation models are not as disability friendly but they do work for some. I have a gen one machine and it can really add to my freedom in certain situations.

    Most Segway dealers have experience working with people who have mobility impairments. I suggest you go to a dealer who can take the time to evaluate your needs and help you with a demo ride. Looks like there are dealers in Charlotte and Raleigh.
    The Segways for the trail rides are provided by the nature preserve...I'm not sure if they are old or new, but that's definitely a question I would ask before planning a ride...the guided trial rides (including segway rental) are $35.00 for three hours. I'm not sure how much it would cost to purchase my own, but I'm betting I couldn't afford one. Anyway, if I get some extra money, I hope to buy a lightweight manual chair. I'm three years into my injury and still don't have one. VR purchased a power chair so that I could get around campus...I'm in grad school... but unfortunately, having the power chair has created an insurance nightmare in trying to get a manual so that I can get some exercise at times when my legs aren't cooperating well enough to walk....yes, I'm whining...sorry.
    "The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." -Gloria Steinem

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tarkus's Avatar
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    I have used a Segway for the last five years. I'm a Inc. Para. It is a solid shaft gen 1. the Gen 2 works fine if balance is not a big issue. We see many amputees with gen 2.

    I have seen walking quads, amps, CP, ALS, SCI, MS use Segways and the list goes on.

    Best way to find out is to try one.



    Please visit www.draft.org for more on the Segway and it's use by persons with disabilities. Also feel free to contact me at any time.

    Be Big,

    Alan Maccini
    Vice-President
    Disability Rights Advicates For Technology
    Last edited by Tarkus; 06-09-2010 at 01:14 PM.
    L4/L5 CES

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tarkus View Post
    I have used a Segway for the last five years. I'm a Inc. Para. It is a solid shaft gen 1. the Gen 2 works fine if balance is not a big issue. We see many amputees with gen 2.

    I have seen walking quads, amps, CP, ALS, SCI, MS use Segways and the list goes on.

    Best way to find out is to try one.



    Please visit www.draft.org for more on the Segway and it's use by persons with disabilities. Also feel free to contact me at any time.

    Be Big,

    Alan Maccini
    Vice-President
    Disability Rights Advicates For Technology
    Paolo Badano - gennymobility

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