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May 12, 2016

Thinking of Adding Power to your Ultralight Wheelchair? Let’s ask Mark

 

Dear SpinLife,

I’m a manual wheelchair user of 30 years (I bought my last rigid ultralight through you). I’ve been diagnosed with shoulder issues and need to reduce my pushing. I don’t need a power chair, but I am looking to get a new ultralight chair and I’m thinking a powered kit for it might be best. What do I need to know about adding power to an ultralight wheelchair before moving forward? Thanks, Lewis

Lewis,

Unfortunately, you’re not alone in your need to take strain off of your shoulders. While ultralight wheelchairs and related components such as wheels are very ergonomic now, they weren’t in the past, and so many long-time wheelers are in your situation. Fortunately, between increased ergonomics and “power assist” systems, you can remain very active in an ultralight manual wheelchair despite your shoulder strain.

When we speak of “power assist,” we’re referring to any motor-based system that’s added to a manual wheelchair to assist with propulsion. There are three technologies in the power-assist category: a power base controlled via joystick, power-assist push wheels, or a power-assist 5th wheel. Let’s look at these technologies available when adding power to an ultralight wheelchair :

 

Power-Assist Push Wheels 

adding power to your ultralight wheelchair

Xtender Power Assist Wheels

Power Assist push wheels

Power-assist push wheels are typically self-contained with a hub motor and battery. They replace your standard wheels. Via sensors, when you give them a push, each wheel’s motor kicks in, giving your every push a boost. The advantage of power-assist push wheels is that they keep your manual wheelchair very stock and familiar in its operation – you’re just getting a boost with each push.

 

 

 

Power-Assist 5th Wheel

Adding power to your ultralight wheelchair

Smart Drive MX2 Power Assist 5th Wheel

A power-assist 5th wheel is a small, all-in-one pack that quick-release mounts under your wheelchair. It contains a motor, battery and drive wheel. When you push your standard wheels, it triggers the 5th wheel to drive – your wheelchair then seems to glide on its own. Because the 5th wheel is so compact, it’s arguably the easiest power-assist system to transport.

 

 

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May 10, 2016

Small Space Gardening

small space gardening

Plants can add an amazing aesthetic anywhere, so consider small space gardening. Live plants have excellent benefits such as purifying the air we breathe, adding fragrance, and perhaps best of all providing us with food! Maybe you’ve downsized, or don’t get around quite as freely as you used to, but gardening can still be a fun and rewarding pastime.

It would be easy to assume you need large spaces to garden well. Not so! Here are some easy ways to fit the garden you love into the space you have.  garden 1

The Space:

The first thing you will need to consider is the space you have. Be creative! Use the space around your mailbox; line your walkway with beautiful, edible greens such as kale or Swiss chard; hang planting boxes from fences, windowsills, and porch railings.  No yard? No problem! You can plant on a balcony, patio, and even use the indoors for small space gardening.
small space gardening

The Plants:

You will need to decide what you are hoping to accomplish with your garden. Are you looking for a beautiful, fragrant, pop of color? Flowers such as African Violets, Marigolds, Peace Lillies, and Begonias all have what it takes to grow well indoors or out, and they work in small spaces provided they have enough access to sun.

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May 5, 2016

How to Maximize Power Wheelchair Performance? Lets ask Mark!

Dear SpinLife,

My new Spinlife Power Wheelchair was just delivered. In getting used to it, do you have any recommendations and tips on how I can maximize power wheelchair performance? I live in Detroit and plan on using it a lot around town. Thanks. -Motoring in the Motor City


 

Maximize power wheelchair performance

Hello Motoring in the Motor City,

Congratulations on your first power chair. There’s no doubt it’s going to get you out and about, giving you the mobility you need and deserve.

I know it may sound a bit basic, but the first tip toward maximizing your power wheelchair performance is to read the owner’s manual. It illustrates all of the features, including vital ones, such as how to operate the hand control (joystick), use the free-wheel levers (for manual pushing in an emergency), adjust aspects like the seat height, footplate, and so on. Some users simply sit in a new power chair and go, but it’s vital to read the owner’s manual, learning all of the functions and features of your power chair.

Now that you’ve read the owner’s manual, and are an expert on your power chair, let’s turn you into a pro….

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April 25, 2016

Product Spotlight: The New LiteRider Mini Scooter

Compact travel scooter

Meet the new LiteRider Mini super-easy transportable travel scooter by Golden Technologies.

Spring is in full swing, leaving us ready to burst out of winter’s doldrums and celebrate the great outdoors again. That being said, if you are one of us who may need a little help when it comes to walking, Golden has come up with a great new option: the LiteRider Mini.

Like its big brother the LiteRider, the Mini sports tubular aluminum construction for lightweight strength that’s easy to handle and grip. Rubber grid floor mats replace the carpeting seen on many models, and makes cleaning a breeze. We love the fact that they have two storage baskets- one on the tiller, and a second basket under the seat, which is nice and secure. Speaking of the seat, they’ve upgraded the seat with an extra cushy seat overlay for your riding comfort.

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April 19, 2016

Reflecting on Earth Day

This weekend my granddaughter reminded me that it’s Earth Week, with Friday being Earth Day.  She said it so nonchalantly as if the holiday has always existed but it caused me to pause and reflect for a moment on the time before Earth Day and how far we’ve come.

SpinLife blog Earth from Space Earth Day 2016

Earth from Space

Almost 40 years ago the crew of Apollo 8 took a picture of earth as they orbited the moon in preparation for the first lunar landing mission. And for the first time, Earth was revealed as a blue jewel against the vastness of space and in contrast with the barren lunar surface.   Our planet suddenly became not just fields, forests, oceans and mountains:  It was a complete global entity.   And the greatest change in our sense of the world since Columbus sailed for the Indies and didn’t fall off the edge of the watery void.

At the same time, works such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) and Operating Manual For Spaceship Earth (1968) by R. Buckminster Fuller brought the need for conservation efforts to greater public attention than ever before.   President Nixon was persuaded to establish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which both consolidated several smaller agencies and strengthened the aspects of oversight and penalties for infractions.

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