PAUL Abbott has always lived life in the fast lane.
But following a devastating diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, he now prefers to travel at eight miles an hour.
The 52-year-old motorbike fan was heartbroken at being unable to ride his beloved Honda CB 650 Nighthawk after the disease progressed.
But now he has swapped his bike for a customised motorised pirate-themed scooter, which features pirate ship sails, flags and gothic imagery - and has a pirate character on the front
“Even though it is all a bit slower these days, I still get out on the road on my scooter,” said Paul, who lives in Armley. “It still gives me freedom and I am not racing along anymore, but I love getting out and about.
“The MS does get progressively worse but as long as I look after myself, take my medication and stay healthy as possible, then I am ok. In a way I am still in the fast lane - but now I am on the pavement and much slower!”
“I certainly get some attention,” he added. “People wave and shout and say ‘hello’ where ever I go.
“My sons Cameron, 18 and Rowan, 17 do think I am a cool dad, I think.
“People do tell me I am an inspiration to be so positive - but what else can I do?”.
Paul also offers support to other people with MS via internet forums, meeting regularly and also carrying out fundraising for research.
He previously worked at Thurstons in Wakefield making portable cabins and also in foundries, but now due to his disability is unable to work.
The engineer was just 33 when he was told the devastating news in 1996 that he had MS - a lifelong condition that affects the central nervous system.