Retired bus driver Barry boards ‘route to freedom’ with ‘bollard beating mobility scooter’
Barry Levitt, 69 from Leicestershire, has been able to return to the open road thanks to an all-terrain and all-weather mobility scooter called a TGA Breeze S4.
Barry has lived in Hinkley for over 20 years and is a retired bus and HGV driver. He ‘loved every minute of being on the buses’, locally and near Poole, however had to give up work early due to ill health. Today Barry builds model dioramas of the bus depots he used to work at, complete with miniature Leyland buses, and also continues to be a fan of trains. As his dad worked on the railways, he had the unique experience as a young boy of riding on the footplate of the famous Flying Scotsman steam engine, a memory he’ll never forget. Barry’s passion for going places will never die however now living with Ataxia, walking far is a struggle these days.
With his right leg starting to become numb now and again four years ago, he decided to give up driving. This was a big thing for Barry as he had driven all of his life. When he sold his car, his freedom was lost. A mobility scooter seemed to be the answer however Barry had so many problems with the ones he bought, he nearly gave up. That was until his ‘bus replacement’ Breeze turned up.
Barry is now back doing what he does best – driving around from place to place. He has no worries especially as the width of his scooter is narrower than all the others he’s had, so can get between bollards and barriers that obstruct pathways. His Breeze is still a large comfortable 8mph scooter, however at only 27” wide it has opened-up many more countryside tracks and trails as Barry explains: “My TGA beats the lot when it comes to driving, it handles so much better than anything else. I’ve had other scooters before, but nothing like the Breeze. What’s really handy is that it will squeeze between bollards that block paths from being used by motorbikes and quadbikes. These barriers are a nightmare for so many people in wheelchairs and on scooters, they should be removed to make way for disabled people. I’m lucky though as they don’t stop me.”
Barry continues: “I got a Breeze not so much for seeing friends, but for getting out on my own. I do all my socialising online these days but being outside is a must. I live alone down a quiet lane so I can easily pop to the shopping centre or the doctors about a mile away. The big ride is always on a Sunday though – around 10 to 15 miles. I go into Hinckley, through the park and onto the next village called Burbage and then back home.”
“I really enjoy being out… it’s freedom to go where I want.”
Before choosing a Breeze Barry did a lot of research online. He read many of the customer stories on the TGA website and couldn’t find a bad Breeze review anywhere. What’s special about Barry’s scooter in his eyes is the rigid canopy which protects him from the wind and rain. His previous ‘cabin scooter’ used to leak all the times whereas his TGA remains ‘bone dry’ even during the recent storms.
Overall, Barry is ‘chuffed to bits’ with his Breeze which is now his only form of transport. As Spring approaches Barry will be out even more and concludes: “What reassures me when I’m on my scooter is that I see lots of older Breezes about. A friend of mine in Sutton has three of them, with one over 10 years old and still going strong. As an ex-driver of bendy buses, which were so long and weird to drive, I appreciate how easy it is to steer a Breeze. It takes me to places that would be off limits and beats any pothole in its way.”