I'm 5'9" @ 200#'s. I'm an avid walker, and we live on a steep hill and walk a minimum of 5 times per week and sometimes twice a day. The walks are a minimum of 1.5 miles up and down a short but a rapid increase in height from basically sea level to just under 500' in a quarter of a mile.
My problem with lifting is due to two rotator cuff tears and a bicep head tear on the right shoulder. In spite of a lot of PT, I still have problems of lifting my arm over my shoulders with zero weight. That eliminated a couple of classic Spey Casting actions like the single Spey cast, and my PT advised me not use a two handed spey rod that weighed over 8-10 ounces and over 13'.5' long. So I have sold the longer rods and moved to the shorter rods, which are the big sellers now.
I was not ready to be a cripple for life, so I have adapted to the shorter two handed fly rods and avoid doing casts that require lifting my hand over my shoulder. On shad, striper, steelhead fishing, my adaptations enable me to catch as many fish as the uninjured fishers and often more.
There are a lot of two handed casters with similiar shoulder problems. Since the financial meltdown, the surviving rod makers have moved to shorter and lighter rods. Many of the manufacturers, who stayed with the 15' to 18' rods have gone out of business, been bought or are in terrible financial situations. They failed to address a real need in their audience and continued to create and market rods for the pros and international competitors, who might make up 2-5% of the total market.
When, my fly fishing friends and younger relatives suffer from an overload of testosterone and challenge me re not lifting my hand over my head. I ask them if they would make fun of a blind man, not able to see, a deaf person unable to hear or a one legged guy unable to run. Those are disabilities like my right shoulder is.
The bad shoulder is why I got into the Hobie Mirages. We had a roof rack for one day, and we had to get rid of the roof rack on my pickup and went to a trailer for our Oasis due to my limitations.
I have a bed extender for my pickup, and I can load my 12' Freedom Hawk with its poontoons attached on and off with no problem. Or I can throw it into the truck bed without the poontoons and use a cargo net.
My shoulder doesn't allow me to load our Oasis with the bed extender without some help. I know that seems like I'm a woosey to some. Also, some people can stand up in their Hobies and cast fly rods. I can't, nor do I worry about not being able to do it.
Pedaling the Oasis has not been a challenge and after the first couple of trips, 1-2 hours of good steady pedaling was not a problem. My wife and I averaged about 3-4 mph, (measured by GPS), when both of us get into a cadence with our Oasis, and we have hit 6 mph for a short time.
I probably would not have a problem with the Propel except maybe taking an unplanned nap in calm water on a sunny day with that seat. I have a similiar add on seat for my Fish Hawk 12, and I have come close to nodding off on a calm day while anchored in the sun.
To restate my needs. I'm looking for a good pedal yak 10-11.5' which is light enough to load and unload with my physical situation. Launch it and retrieve it with minimal problems. Then, have a safe, dry and fun ride in good to moderate conditions. It should be easily removed from my truck and stored on my Jon Boat or in our car port shed by this old woosey. I want those trips to be enjoyable, safe and not require a day's rest to recover from so called fun.
Thanks for your comments.
As a cyclist, I will say that a propel is like pedaling a recumbent bike around in circles where a mirage is like a seated stairmaster up and down in line. Do either of these motions sound more comfortable to you? Also, an objective analysis of product histories will show up plenty of problems with both products to cause concern. The Hobie is a good boat, and I'm about to buy one in a couple days. I suspect that either would work for you, though you're likely to see a lot more pro-Hobie responses here. I don't know if people answering already know your size. I see that you're 73, but that doesn't tell me if you're a compact 140 pounds or 6'+ and 250. That would be important to know if one were to answer about the dryness of ride and stability for the smaller boats.
Personally, and I'm not a little guy, I don't think any "normal" kayak is too heavy to drag with a cart. Loading into the back of a pickup off a cart is also pretty trivial if you're fit enough to be out on the boat.
Also, as far as having to paddle goes, I hope you have the ability to paddle in the event of a drive failure in either case.
I know the Hobie turns well, and would recommend investigating that aspect of the propel.
In any case, you should be able to get a test ride, or at least see the boats before you commit one way or the other. I'm not the expert, and I won't even claim to play one on TV.