*This post has been updated since it was first published, to include information about the exciting new Rollz Performance. Scroll for discounts on Rollz rollators and byAcre rollators.
As a rollator fangirl hell-bent on flooding social media with proof that disability doesn’t have to mean devoid of style, I’m often asked about my, dare I say it? Cool rollators by Rollz and byAcre. Both are brands I fell in love with, and now have partnerships with (scroll to the end for sick discounts); but more than that, I’m tackling this topic because there aren’t always (ever?) systems in place to help those of us with progressive MS navigate the transition from independent pedestrian to someone who could use a little support to stay upright.
Like wtf, how are we supposed to figure this out on our own?
From canes and sticks, to trekking poles and forearm crutches, walking bikes, miniature horses, bumper cars, donkeys, dolphins, and piggy-back rides, this is not a comprehensive post about all your mobility aid options. I’m focusing on the Rollz Motion and ByAcre in response to a question I get asked all the time:
I love my Rollz and my byAcre equally because they address different needs, so this question feels like an impossible game of Would You Rather. Like, why don’t you just ask me to choose between coffee and cabernet? Miss Vickie’s and French fries? The Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics?
Ok, that last one was a trick Q. Obviously. The answer is Netflix in my pyjamas for 3 weeks, because watching other people exercise is hella boring.
The good news is that depending on your lifestyle and needs, your choice between the Rollz and the byAcre (or a different mobility aid altogether) might be easier. Just as everyone’s MS is different, so are the tricks and tools we need to manage our disease, and just because this is how I roll, doesn’t mean either device is right for you.
Rollators can be great options for people with MS because they help with things like balance, endurance, and fatigue. Rollators can help you go further, faster, and safer, and using one means you always have a place to sit. A cool rollator can help you feel better about the shitty fact that you need one in the first place.
I think of my mobility aids as part of our household transportation budget. I live in a city. My hood is like Sesame Street where the butcher, the cheese monger, and every employee at the liquor store know my name, so most days I don’t need to travel far. As a non-driver, when I consider the cost of my rollators plus the half dozen Ubers I take throughout the week, I feel good because I realize my transit needs are actually cheaper than even the most modest car. Then I go online and order a new sweater to reward myself for being so good at money. Of course, the car-free, city-life isn’t realistic for everyone, but the high cost of living with a chronic illness like MS is a post for another day (and like, a bottle of cheap vodka). Keep scrolling for discounts on the Rollz and the byAcre.
The Rollz Motion and the byAcre rollators have a lot in common. They’re both exceptionally designed, well-made, highly functional devices that come in a variety of colours to complement your personal style.
The main difference between the Rollz Motion and the byAcre is that the Rollz converts from a rollator to a transport chair, allowing you to walk as you are able, and then to get a push when fatigue and foot-drop kick-in.
The byAcre is a straight-up cool rollator.
The Rollz recognizes that part-time wheelchair users exist; and to be honest, this was news to me. The people in charge of telling us about MS spend a lot of time reassuring newly diagnosed patients that “most people with MS don’t end up in a wheelchair”. This is an infuriating statement that reinforces the (false) notion that wheelchair-use signals The End, and that fails to prepare anyone with the resources to manage disease progression if it happens. Again, a post for another day, another bottle.
It would have helped a lot if someone had explained to me that many wheelchair users are actually ambulatory.
If your lifestyle includes outings where you’d like to walk, but you tire easily and your day gets cut short, you may benefit from a device that lets you get a push when you run out of steam. Every step counts, and the more you move, the better. I use my Rollz when traveling and when I’m at home in the 6ix for all-day activities like an afternoon at the ROM, a stroll through the Distillery District, shopping on Queen West, or a trip to the new Eataly.
Recently I traded my Rollz Motion (Optimus Prime) for the new Rollz Performance; a device designed for all terrains. I know you’re thinking what does a city-girl like me need with an off-road rollator? Well, let me tell you, I’ve traveled all over Europe and rolling over cobblestones in Rome or Paris isn’t as romantic as it sounds when motion sickness means you need to stop for gravol and gingerale or avoid cobbled areas altogether.
Except for the fact that the new Rollz Performance is only available in jungle green, it looks pretty much the same as the original. The functional difference is that it has pneumatic tires, which is a fancy way to say ‘air-filled’ and air-filled means a smoother ride over kinds of uneven ground. I tested the new Rollz Performance on a bumpy but beautiful dirt trail that is embarrassingly close to where I live considering I’d never been in the ten years we’ve been here (because hello, inaccessible), and it was awesome. It was more comfortable for me in both rollator and transport chair mode, as well as for The Banker when he was pushing me.
I had been worried that the new model would be bigger and heavier, but in fact it’s a teeny, tiny, negligible amount lighter. It’s worth noting that if you travel with the Rollz Performance you will need to pack the air pump that’s included with your purchase.
The Rollz Motion is heavier than a standard rollator, due to the fact that it’s designed to be able to support your full weight when seated. Personally, I would find it difficult to balance and get this beast in the trunk of a car on my own. I’m never on my own when I’m using it anyway, because a transport chair is not a wheelchair. You will need someone else to use the Rollz in ‘push-me’ function.
It’s always a good idea to test out a mobility aid in real life, if possible, before purchasing. Bonus tip: If you’re in NYC, you can borrow a Rollz Motion at the Museum of Natural History while you learn about the great blue whale and the Big Bone Room. How great is that?
There are more options for straight-up rollators out there than there are for convertible transport chairs. I love the byAcre because it looks so good, like, what’s missing from this pic?
This is my every-day rollator. I use it in the city to go short distances; I take it to the opera and the gym, to the coffee shop around the corner, and from the car to the bar. When the weather is too gross to handle, I use it to roam the hallways of my building to get my steps in. Its convenient shape and size mean I’ve never met an Uber whose trunk it didn’t fit. The byAcre’s carbon fibre bones make it the lightest rollator in the world. I can pick it up with one hand (and I have trouble picking up a hair dryer with one hand).
Not pictured is the detachable back strap that comes with the byAcre, because you don’t want to tip backwards when you sit on it. I admit, I don’t use mine as much as I should. Mostly because I don’t want the strap to block my outfit. Pro tip: When I need to sit, I park my rollator up against a wall, so I can’t fall.
Be sure to check the height and width levels before ordering. If you’re very tall, reach out to the company to see if this device is right for you.
It took me a long time to adjust to the mobility-aid version of myself. But if a rollator, or any mobility aid will help you keep moving and participating in the world, I urge you to lean in. The thing that I needed to feel good about this disease milestone (let’s call it what it is), was representation. Consider tagging your snaps with #babeswithmobilityaids on social media. For added inspo, stream season one of Fashion Dis, the groundbreaking TV show hosted by moi. Your confidence (even if you’re faking it) WILL help someone still struggling to adjust to this new reality.
It is up to this community to redefine mobility aids; what it means to be young and chronically ill. Mobility aids are not limiting and sad. They are empowering tools.
If you have specific questions about either of these cool rollators, feel free to contact me. Of course, it’s always great to post questions because someone else might be pondering the same thing. And if you love your mobility aid (Rollz, byAcre, or something else), feel free to brag about it in the comments. You never know who it might help.
Go forth and rollate!
Full disclosure: If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
byAcre now has Canadian distribution! Order here.