Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Last Thursday I got out of my van to go into the
library and when I made the transition to Balance,
it started dithering quite a bit. The dithering
and the sound of squishing rubber on the sidewalk
and I knew I had a flat. The extra dithering didn't
make it feel unstable, but I knew I should transition
back to Standard Function. I went back to Standard
with no issues. I then took the bot and a new tube
to my local bike shop. They took the tire off for me
and put the new tube in (charged me $5). Apparently
the guy didn't put the tire on correctly because
after leaving the store, I went up into Balance
and the dithering was quite a bit. Enough to scare
me. My first thought was to transition to 4-Wheel
and then Standard, but it was dithering so much and
I felt like it was really unstable. In order to
make the Balance to 4-Wheel transition, the seat
needs to lean way back. I was nervous that tipping
it back like that would be enough to make it tip
over. So then I thought about getting the bike
shop guys to pick me up out of the chair and let
it fall. I decided against that because without my
weight in it when it's in Balance, I don't know
what it would have done. So I went back to my
original thought and made the transition to 4-
Wheel Drive. It didn't tip over, but it did
suddenly shoot forward about 5 feet, which was
a little scary. It wasn't enough to throw me out
of the chair, and I didn't run into anything or
anyone, but I'm thankful that there wasn't a curb
or a building or a person to crash into. LESSON
LEARNED: When in Balance with a flat, make sure
there is plenty of room in front and behind you before
you make the transition to 4-Wheel. Common sense?
Yes. But sometimes common sense isn't there when
in a scary situation. (I spoke with IT this morning
about it, and they weren't sure why it shot forward
like it did.)

While on the phone with IT, I asked if there was
a way to force it to "fall" from Balance to 4-Wheel.
There is, and the IT person I was speaking to got
in an iBOT while we spoke and made it do it.
Instead of making the seat lean back, you
make it lean forward. You move the left toggle
to the right corner. It'll start beeping as a
warning, but push the button again and hold it
there and it will fall down to 4-Wheel. I've
unintentionally experienced this "fall" a couple
of times. Although it's abrupt and a bit
unpleasant, it isn't an issue for me, and I
have bad osteoporsis. I would think this might
be a problem for people who live with a lot of
pain though.

So anyway, IT told me I did the right thing
by making the Balance to 4-Wheel transition
the "right" way. But now I know another way
to do it if I need to. I think forcing it
to make the fall would have been less scary,
however, I'm impressed once again at how safe
it is in Balance Function. People ask me
all the time if Balance is scary. It isn't.
They always ask if I'm afraid I'll tip
over. I always say no. Outside the bike
shop when it was dithering a lot because
of the blowout, I was a bit afraid, but
that was the first time. And it ended up
not tipping me over... so I've no doubt how
amazing the balancing function is.

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