Image via: Segs in the City
On a recent trip to Baltimore, my family decided to try something a little touristy and a little different: let's not just take a tour of the city, let's take a tour of the city while riding (balancing) on Segways!! The lovely folks at Segs in the City were all too happy to make that wish come true.Okay so taking a city-tour of a city you already live in seems kind of dumb. But, when you mount a Segway and then try to take the same tour, it suddenly becomes an entirely new city. Our tour around Baltimore took us through multiple neighborhoods, as well as offered a few historical sites as well as interesting new dining spots. The guide gave us most of the lesson during the first half hour of the ride, when we were still shaky at best, so we had plenty of time to practice going a few feet and stopping, then going a few more feet and stopping. Then, the last half of the tour, when you are jsut making your way back to the shop, is when they lead you through of a more extreme-Segway ride, complete with broken sidewalks, restaurants with tables outside, streets still made of cobblestones and just about any other distraction and road-surface-disturbance that can find its way under the wheels of your Segway.
Now let's be honest, they could be reading the phone book for all I cared, as I was too busy just trying to keep from falling over or running anyone over for that matter. (Though they do give you an audio headset so you can hear what the guide is saying, even if you're stuck halfway down the block). Trying to keep the wheels from touching anything (which apparently is bad, very very bad), and learning how to stop (much less stand still) at intersections took all of my concentration and left very little for a city tour. That's okay, I wasn't really there for the history lesson anyways.
After an hour of riding the Segway, I can say that I'm not sure I ever felt confident on the Segway. It will probably take several more rides, preferably not on downtown streets, before I get the hang of things. My mom, on the other hand, said she was a natural and was jonesing for more ramps, potholes and bumps. Anyone interested in getting a Segway should take the tour as an inexpensive way to determine whether commuting to work via Segway every day is for them. Trying to balance on the Segway, while carrying a purse or daybag, might take some work. Or if you are on vacation and need something different, this tour added a unique twist to a city tour.
One negative I noticed: your feet are killing you by the time you are done. You know how your feet feel after pounding the pavement for several hours? Yeah, it's kind of like that. Also, if you are white-knuckling it through your tour, your arms and hands will probably feel like jell-o by the end. Segs in the City offers one hour and two hour tours, but for the first timer I would definitely say an hour is plenty. At the end of your tour, they give you a nifty little card that says you've completed their tour/training and that you are eligible to take the Segways out by yourself if you didn't get enough the first time around.
Segs in the City (SITC) tours are available in Baltimore, Washington DC, Annapolis and Gettysburg. They offer both tours and Segway rentals, for the experienced rider. The Segways run on electricity and are charged just by a regular wall outlet. In fact, the woman at SITC said that the units take very little electricity to charge and even with all of their Segs, the change in electricity bill is nill. Maybe having more Segways driving through the city, even if they are manned by tourists, will help make them more common and reduce some of the stigma around these two-wheeled transports. :Segs in the City
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