Scooting at the gym

Summers can be weird for me from a physical activity standpoint. The campus rec center only lets Summer semester students use the facility, so in a sense I’m “gym homeless” for a few months. Unfortunately, this is also driven by my reduced pay rate in the summer at my assistantship. Thankfully my husband has a black card membership at Planet Fitness that allows him to bring a guest with him, which also means that he has more incentive to actually use his membership.

My TravelScoot has been the magic that has made getting to the campus rec center possible, with the added benefit of not needing to worry if I work out so hard that my legs aren’t functioning well enough to walk. I was a bit nervous using it at Planet Fitness though…probably a combination of thinking “the parking lot isn’t that far from the door, so I should be able to walk that distance” and partially from the painful visibility of being a Scooter Fatty in a space that’s marketed for body transformations (PF has partnered with the awful “reality” TV show The Biggest Loser, which is one reason why I don’t have my own membership there anymore).

My scooter next to a recumbent bike at Planet Fitness
My scooter next to a recumbent bike at Planet Fitness

As a part of my Access Fitness project, I needed to get a real idea of what the facility looks like from a seated viewpoint, so I used it to jump my ever-present shyness hurdle. The picture to the left shows the row of recumbent bikes with a gap in between where my TravelScoot sits as well as glimpses of the signature yellow and purple strength training machines in the background. I was initially really giddy about there being a space between bikes that a wheeler could park their device, but realized that it’s there because of a large pole that would block a person’s view of the TVs that are mounted to the ceiling. Accidental accessibility…well, it worked out.

I haven’t gotten any comments from other gym goers about the scooter, but I have had some interesting looks. Some people look really confused when I zip over to a recumbent bike and get on (although I think most people subconsciously realize that a lot of scooter users can stand and walk a little…I would expect this reaction to be more blatant with my manual wheelchair because people freak out a bit seeing me stand with that). I’ve had a few people give me weird looks during my ride as I keep a decent cadence (usually 70-80bpm for fellow fitness geeks, but that depends on what I’m listening to or if I’m talking to my husband while we bike). At the end of my ride, no one looks at me quizzically since I’m usually holding the bike white-knuckled when I get off the bike and I usually manage to trip on either my feet or the floor trying to get to the scooter (this is why I usually wear fitted pants or leggings to the gym…I really don’t need extra fabric either tripping me since I’m short or catching on any part of the bike as I try to dismount!).

I have to admit that the scooter has been giving me license to go too hard, which is something I’ve always struggled with (I still remember my MMA instructor telling me that I only had two modes, on or off, and my Crossfit instructors probably would have said the same thing). The other night my husband decided that he needed to match my time, program selected, and level (60 minutes, random hill, level 5-7), which left him drained and walking slowly…I didn’t have to worry about using my legs to get to the car plus my endurance is pretty good, but I should have been worrying about how I was going to get up the stairs to my second floor apartment. Not my smartest move, but there’s something that I find satisfying about peeling off a sweat soaked shirt & bra…tangible signs that I busted my ass in the gym and enjoyed it! It’s a little difficult to get out of my sweaty leggings when I’ve fried out my nerves, but I don’t think my husband minds helping me in that regard 🙂

More fitness adventures await!

Pre-race photo before my first 5k on wheels
Pre-race photo before my first 5k on wheels

*I do not get paid by TravelScoot to endorse their product. I am just a huge fan of this amazing company that puts out a product that has had a huge positive impact on my life. However, I do receive a small referral payment if someone mentions my name when they buy a TravelScoot from the company.

New project: Spoonie Hacks

Sorry I haven’t been posting much, but I’ve been alternately working on my Access Fitness project for one of my Spring classes (hosted on this blog) as well as a new blog project I’m tentatively calling Spoonie Hacks. This new project will be more entrepreneurial (as this blog is more about talking about life as a part time wheeler/scooter/walker and everything that intersects with that).

Spoonie Hacks will be a product review blog that also features crowdfunding projects that could benefit people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. Although this blog does do product reviews, it’s only been for product in exchange for my review (in fact, I’m working on a long overdue review of Cheeky Girls Production’s Belly Dance for Healing from Illness).

Some of the products will be things featured on BackerClub (a great place for people that frequently back Kickstarter and IndiGoGo). Once this project picks up momentum, I will work with product designers, companies, and other go-getters to help get their product into the hands of people that can benefit. I will also be looking for things not necessarily designed for people with disabilities or illnesses…sometimes the most creative adaptations are the ones that were designed for any/everybody!

The name is still up in the air, so if anyone has name ideas, let me know!

Campaign: Lower conference fees for underpaid academics

Feminist Philosophers

I propose to start a campaign and invite conference organizers to consider a category for all those scholars who inhabit the shadows in between PhD and tenure position (be they postdocs without financial support from their institutions, lecturers, adjuncts or unemployed). My proposal is to use an additional criterion for reduced fees, besides the one based on student/non-student status. I propose to use a criterion based on income and funding opportunities from institutions. If the attendee has a low-income salary, and/or unstable job (which usually equals low income), and/or is not eligible for any institutional financial support, they should qualify for an additional registration category. Without such a category, a big part of the academic world is excluded from the research community.

I think this is exactly right. I have actually seen conference which allow one to identify as “unemployed/ underemployed” and get a reduced fee, or no fee. This…

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