Crane Lowndes, 50 from Sutton-on-Sea in Lincolnshire, lives with disability and in between travelling across Europe supporting haulage drivers, has been adapting two TGA Breeze mobility scooters into mini lorries.
Crane was born with Cerebral Palsy (CP), which is a neurological condition that affects the movement and co-ordination of muscles. Crane’s CP particularly affects his legs so walking is extremely difficult, therefore a mobility scooter is the only means of retaining independence outdoors. Despite living with these difficulties, Crane has successfully volunteered as a ‘driver’s mate’ for several long distance haulages firms over a period of 30 years. He has been responsible for essential map reading, cooking, loading and lifting. His geographic knowledge and experience in the trucking environment has been invaluable for many drivers and haulage companies, especially before the introduction of satellite navigations systems. This passion for trucking has led to Crane ‘pimping up’ two of his three, 8mph TGA Breeze mobility scooters so they are more ‘lorry like’.
The TGA Breeze is a highly popular model of mobility scooter that won the Top Gear extreme mobility scooter challenge broadcast on BBC2, and holds the World Record for: ‘The Greatest distance covered in 24 hours by a mobility scooter’. Before converting his two cabin models, Crane owned a Breeze without a canopy, which had clocked up thousands of miles without any mechanical issues. The Breeze cabin was discontinued in 2006 and TGA currently supply a rigid canopy and all-weather vinyl cover for the latest S4 model. Therefore Crane’s versions are irreplaceable and regarded as ‘mobility scooter classics’.
Crane began his unique scooter conversions in 2006 when he purchased his first second hand TGA Breeze with cabin. This factory-standard model was located near Inverness in Scotland and following its delivery, was quickly accompanied by a second scooter discovered in Gloucester. This second model had stood in a garden for several years and was in a very poor state of repair when Crane took ownership – full of leaves and covered in mould. Crane then began the complex task of renovating these scooters and adapting them into mini-juggernauts, a process which was to take several years. Both these scooter cabins are based on models that are no longer manufactured in the UK so represent rare, mobility vehicles that are treasured by Crane.
Crane explained: “My dad was a lorry driver so I’ve always had a passion for all thing trucking-related. As I have spent so much time in cabs travelling to destinations such as Yugoslavia, Italy and Spain, I really wanted a scooter that felt familiar. It took me a long time to find these cabin versions of the Breeze as they are not made anymore. Using my knowledge of mechanics inherited from my dad, I’ve been able to adapt both scooters with new spotlights, LED lights, radios and Sat Nav. Plus for decorations I’ve mounted Michelin men on the outside of the cabins; with rosettes, curtains and trucker graphics inside. I have over 50 Michelin men in my collection and a selection of these fellas now look great mounted on my Breezes.”
Crane concluded: “I go for a drive two-to-three times a week along the coast and regularly get stopped by passers-by who take photos. I alternate between the two models each week so their battery condition remains good and I wax them fully three times a month. I make sure the years of work I’ve put into them is not lost as they are now classics. I am very careful as any damage would be a disaster, hence I’m always on the look out for spare parts just in case. Now I have settled down with five children and a wife, my long distance adventures are less frequent, but I can still enjoy truckin’ along the seafront thanks to be my TGA Breezes.”