Getting enough exercise?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/04/29 17:10 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/04/29/413553.aspx


(No technical content in this post)

I love Typhoon, a Thai restaurant that has muliple locations, the closest one for me in Redmond about 4 miles away. They have a dish there called General's Noodles with the following description on the dinner menu:

Egg noodles with chicken, shrimp, fried wonton, sprouts, peanuts, sugar and lime.

I just love it. I have been in the habit lately when I eat there to order another one to-go and eating later or the next day. It is awesome food. I don't think it is a genuine Thai dish since I have never seen it in any other Thai restaurant. And believe me, I have looked. I asked them if they had a cookbook, but no such luck.

On the whole I would say it is my second favorite food in all the world (right after stuffed grape leaves, but that is a story for another day!).

Anyway, I was home yesterday, feeling a bit peckish around 5:00pm. And it was sunny out in Redmond. I had just left a foot of April snow in Cleveland. And like I said it is just 4 miles from here. And there is a cool bike trail next to SR 520 that is a straight shot for most of the way. I looked at my fully charged Pride Mobility 3-Wheel Victory Scooter and considered the fact that its 20-25 mile range was almost certainly on flat ground, not on hills. Would I be able to scoot there?

I decided I would.

(People are probably shuddering when they think about where this story may be going, especially in the context of the title of the post. Think of it as FORESHADOWING, a sign of quality literature!)

Now Pride Mobility scooters have a battery guage on them with colored circles on it -- red for empty, moving into yellow for near empty and then up through to green for fully charged. There is one red, one yellow, and then four greens, each one a little darker. The meter is most effective while you are scooting on level ground -- it is how you know if you really are full or not. Going uphill drops the meter down, and downhill makes it look fully charged when it is not.

But I jammed quickly, and I made it there is about 40-45 minutes, no problems at all. They messed up my order a little (one of the only flaws of an otherwise wonderful restaurant is the fact that they are not so good taking to-go orders over the phone). But I was in no hurry. A few minutes later I was off, heading home with my bounty. As I left, then even under load I was in the second highest green circle. I figured I was all set.

Of course that was to change.

Suddenly, just before I made it to the bike trail ( say about 5 miles into this ~8 mile journey), something happened. The power dropped down to between the last and second last green circle.

Damn.

I realized there might still be enough juice to make it home, though I remembered most of the trip home being uphill a little. I was a little nervous, but I figured I did not have too much choice so I should just go for it.

As I countinued, the meter was poking dangerously in towards the yellow circle, and then suddenly it hit the red and just stopped.

I got up, took a look at the freewheel lever, pulled it up, and started pushig the scooter. It weighs about 150 pounds, but I figured if I was holding on to it I would probably not fall. After about 50 yards I noticed there was a circuitbreaker reset button, and pressing it gave me back the juice. So I gratefully stopped pushing, turned of the freewheel, and started sooting. I carefully avoided making the scooter go fast enough for the meter to head down to the red circle as that seemed like a surefire way to lose power again, and I slowly plodded home (probably closer to 2mph than the scooter's 5mph maximum, at this point). It looked like I would make it back.

Or not. Just before 51st St., it decided any hill was too much, and I had to push it all the way back from then on. Mike tells me that it is 1.3 miles that I pushed it, plus a little bit of the time on 40th St. that I was pushing.

I had a lot of time to think as I was pushing the 150 pound scooter, mostly uphill.

Mostly wondering if I would ever be stupid enough to let this happen again. And then realizing I probably am that stupid. So as a mitigation strategry planning on how I hould get some extra batteries for it to carry with me for next time, like I can with the smaller scooter. And wondering how best to have someone take a look at the scooter and let me know what is wrong with it now (is one of the two batteries in trouble? Or is there another problem?).

At one point a biker stopped and asked if there was anything he could do. But I was almost to 40th St. and it seemed like there was no practical way he could help ithout abandoning his bike. I told him thanks very warmly, but that I was almost there and I would make it. I actually felt really good that someone just saw me having trouble and asked if they could help -- even if there is no practical way to do so, his motivations were purely along the lines of "someone is in trouble, how can I assist?" and that is a great thing about people sometimes.

Anyway, I made it home finally, though I was barely able to walk or even stand for most of the night. I am still a little shaky now but I am mostly recovered. It was probably the most exercise I have had in a while, even more than the show shovelling exercise from last week. I am not anxious to repeat it (and may not make a Typhoon jaunt in the scooter again), but like a time many years ago that extreme circumstances caused me to run on a beach in New Jersey when I was usually having trouble walking, it is good to know that I still have reserves that can be tapped, when needed.

And I still have those General's Noodles to eat! :-)

 

This post brought to you by "♿" (U+267f, a.k.a. WHEELCHAIR SYMBOL)


# bg on 29 Apr 2005 3:39 PM:

dude - next time get a take away

take care.

bg

# Michael S. Kaplan on 29 Apr 2005 3:42 PM:

Hey bg -- what the heck is a take away? :-)

# Jo-Pete Nelson on 29 Apr 2005 3:53 PM:

Having not ever met you in person, I'm left a little bit confused at how you were able to push the thing in the first place. Is it more of a balance issue at this point (my mom carries a cane because of balance problems)?

Anyway, I'm glad that *one* person saw that there was a problem with a person pushing their scooter and stopped to offer assistance. I'm usually very well-intentioned, but sometimes I am afraid that if I offer assistance, people will think I'm some kind of killer or something. Like when you see someone struggling with too much luggage at the airport and the warning over the loudspeakers tells people to never allow anybody to give assistance.

Maybe you should get a cell phone for trips like that?

# Michael S. Kaplan on 29 Apr 2005 3:54 PM:

Hey Jo-Pete -- for me the balance is the biggest issue (certainly the most long-standing), though the fatigue kicks in too, eventually. Less often now that I am usually riding a scooter, well except when I have to push it.

I felt really good that someone did stop, but I knew there was not much he could do.

I had a cellphone, but I did not think it would make sense to call someone -- what would they do? They'd have to park at one end, walk to where the scooter was, and then help push it back. Nightmare from a logicistics perspective.

Plus I was the moron and I was not really dying or anything. I figured as long as I was able to get it done I should just do it. It can be hard to ask for help, sometimes.

# bg on 29 Apr 2005 4:39 PM:

>Hey bg -- what the heck is a take away? :-)

I wrote the wrong thing anyway i meant, you should have got the restaurant to deliver (hey with all that cash your employer made this year they should have bought it for you!).

i believe take away = take out? - you go to the restaurant and get the food to go.

i forgot to set my CurrentUICulture from en-gb to en-us sorry :)

# Larry Osterman [MSFT] on 30 Apr 2005 10:25 AM:

Bo's General's Noodles are an absolute treat. Typhoon is absolutely one of my favorites, we try to get there at least once or twice a month (we don't always succeed).

But I'm DARNED impressed you tried it in the scooter. I'm absolutely astounded you made it up 51st, my old Subaru wagon could barely make it up that hill.

Out of curiosity, why didn't you continue up bell-red to 40th? I'd think the hills wouldn't be as bad then...

# Michael S. Kaplan on 30 Apr 2005 10:30 AM:

Ah, I did not go up that hill on 51st -- I did the bike trail next to 520. Its a much nicer hill than the one you're thinking of. :-)

I could try surface roads instead of the bike trail, though I will definitely have a spare battery with me if I try it again!

# kq on 10 May 2005 3:08 PM:

Your story made me laugh(!) though I'm sorry it cost you a lot of energy. I appreciate that you stuck to it and tried to get back home yourself...I'm kind of hard-nosed like that, but after 5 years of this crap, I'm getting a little better about asking for help. I enjoy reading your blog. Keep the stories coming.

referenced by

2008/10/16 Insufficient to push itself plus 160 pounds of me

2007/09/15 I'll feel better after I eat something? Well, maybe... or maybe not!

2005/05/28 Second time's a charm!

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