Al Thieme was a young man working as a plumbing and heating contractor in Bridgeport, Michigan, when a family member began to lose her mobility due to multiple sclerosis. Witnessing this loss of independence, he worked in the evenings, after his day job, to create an innovative form of mobility, inventing the first ever power-operated vehicle/scooter — the Amigo, named for being the "friendly wheelchair." Thieme met with many organizations, such as the MS Society, to explain the Amigo's benefits and functionality and launch his product. He officially founded Amigo Mobility International, Inc. in 1968 and an entire industry was born. Just two years later, Amigo Mobility introduced motorized grocery carts for retail stores, just one of its many innovations. Today, the headquarters occupies nearly 52,000 square feet of space and, as Amigo Mobility's president, Al continues to run the company on a daily basis and spearhead new product introductions.
In today's globally-accessible society, travel mobility with a motorized vehicle is becoming more portable than ever before. However, with any number of travel scooter models on the market, their variance in size and folding capabilities require a vehicle lift for a car or van. If you've downsized your vehicle to save on gas consumption or maximize energy efficiency, the likelihood of requiring a lift to transport your mobility scooter remains an added expense. In response to this challenge, Amigo Mobility recently added the Amigo TravelMate III power operated vehicle (POV) to their full line of POV/scooters. Radically different from the TravelMate II, this Amigo scooter allows the lightweight unit to be completely folded down for easy transport. The TravelMate III is a portable scooter designed for people in need of walking assistance for long distances and do not need a mobility vehicle full-time.
The most compact model in the Amigo scooter line, the front drive TravelMate III boasts a 31-inch turning radius and is a mere 53 pounds (without battery pack) yet can accommodate users up to 250 lb. Equipped with a powerful self-contained/service-free hub motor, the TravelMate accelerates smoothly and gets you safely where you want to go. The new-to-Amigo twist grip throttle, similar to what's used on a motorcycle, allows for effortless one-handed controls. Additional features include an aluminum platform, forward and reverse applications, collapsible seat and handle, five position adjustable seat, front wheel guard (which also serves as the lifting handle) and lithium-ion battery option. It's also available in three sporty colors: new lime green, cinnamon red and pacific blue.
And it has already developed a following. At 62, Margaret Forester is very active with her family and friends, but is occasionally troubled by arthritic knees. "My TravelMate allows me to keep up with my friends at weekend craft shows we like to go to," comments Margaret. "It's so easy to fold up and put in my trunk that I've begun to use it when I go to the mall and on other outings." The Amigo TravelMate III is available worldwide by contacting 1-800-MY-AMIGO (1-800-692-6446) or by visiting myamigo.com.
Need a POV just temporarily? Rent the perfect traveling companion, an Amigo TravelMate, from the company. It can even be shipped to a hotel or residence. Rental fees vary from $25 a day to $199 for a month, plus freight. To learn more, call 800-248-9130.