32 New Things: Ride A Segway

Every year I compile a list of new things I want to try.  Some are difficult,
some are weird, some are disappointingly normal.  You can read about
past adventures here.

Ever since Gob rolled onto Arrested Development in his Segway I knew I had to experience this two wheeled wonder of dorkdom for myself.  There’s actually a Segway tour that runs through my neighborhood and I see them all the time – in their helmets and yellow-shirted tour guide, zooming along the sidewalk and signalling with their arms to indicate before they turn.  It was all so weird and dorky I could barely handle it.

So when a Groupon for a two-hour Segway rental arrived in my inbox, I was sure it was Providence at work and goaded my dude into joining me.  You guys?  I haven’t had so much fun in months.

Here’s what you need to know about Segwaying your way to joy:

1.  There’s maybe a 90-second learning curve
Get on it.  Lean forward to go faster, lean back to slow down.  Pull the handle in the direction you want to go.  Annnnnnd now you’re a master Segway-er.  Done!

2.  They top out at 12 mph
I know this because my guy and I spent much of our two hour rental trying to drag race each other on Minneapolis’s greenway.  But when both your Segways top out at the same speed, it’s a pretty anti-climactic race – despite our best efforts to crouch down and make ourselves more aerodynamic and paddling through the air to gain momentum.

3. 70% of the population will grin/cheer/laugh/yell when they see you
Why?  Maybe because we were grinning like idiots the whole time?  Because Segways are just so dorky and awesome?  Because it’s hilarious to share a lane with super serious lycra-ed cyclists, while we stand fully erect, calmly zeeeeeewwwwming along?

4. Try to rent a Segway, rather than take part in a tour
Tours are lovely, but you’ll have to stop all the time and toddle along at a sedate six miles an hour.  It’s heaps more fun just to rent one and zoom all over the city.  And then you can take them to a dirt baseball diamond and write your name in the dirt and make donuts.  You know, hypothetically.

5. You are going to have The Most Fun Ever – if you can get over looking like a fool

Travel has made me almost immune to looking foolish – I can spend hours speaking a language badly, getting lost, getting sunburned, making social faux pas, so it takes a lot to make me embarrassed.  Sure, Segways are dorky.  But you’ll also experience that visceral, almost physical joy that we only seem to be capable of from ages 9-15.  Really, truly your face will ache from grinning.

Have you ever ridden a Segway?  What would you like to do, but won’t because you’re afraid you’ll look silly?

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22 Comments

  1. Han

    I really really want a go! I've wanted a go for years! I think I need to hire one as like a Christmas present to myself or something lol.

    Reply
  2. Laura Jane

    This always looks like so much fun! I really need to find a rental joint in my area…

    Reply
  3. sometimessheblogs

    Segways are sooo fun! Because I was a tour guide for awhile in my city, I'll say 2 things: 1) it is important to wear helmets, even though you feel like I dork. The one crappy thing about these guys is that they run based on balance, which means that running a wheel into a curb can cause it to flip out and buck like a horse. As a tour guide I saw 95% of my riders through their tour without a scratch, but the 5% that didn't listen to me when I warned them to watch out for a curb ended up on the ground. This includes myself, yes I was careless one day and ended up flying over the handlebars and landed head first, on grass thankfully, and very happy I had a helmet on.
    2) I'll agree that a rental is probably more fun than a tour for sure! But let me put in a good word for a Segway tour when you go to a new city! Such a great way to see sights you may not know about.

    Reply
  4. Jess

    A couple of pro-tips:
    1.) Definitely make sure you're riding the 2nd gen model (as pictured in the article). The first gen was far harder to turn since the handlebar was a fixed unit.

    2.) Wear flats! Do not even attempt this in heels. It runs on your sense of equilibrium, and heels make everything a thousand times harder to gauge. Speaking from experience here 🙂

    Reply
  5. Amanda

    I have ridden a Segway (yay)…in a store (boo). It was a long time ago, and there were some set up in an empty retail space, advertising for their tour. We hopped on a zoomed around for a few minutes, but didn't take the tour b/c it was our hometown. But best Segway moment ever was when I saw a whole family riding up a hill. About halfway up, dad must have leaned back, lost his balance, jerked forward, back, forward, etc. for about a minute. The rest of the family didn't even notice until he started cursing (loudly). I could tell that they were all torn between hysterical laughter and wanting to help. I'm sure it's an oft-spoken of family memory. In short…be proficient before attempting steep hills.

    Reply
  6. Abbey

    This made me smile all over the place.

    Reply
  7. Purplebandana

    There's actually a Segway tour that runs through my neighborhood and I see them all the time – in their helmets and yellow-shirted tour guide, zooming along the sidewalk and signalling with their arms to indicate before they turn.

    I used to work as a guide on that tour! It was an awesomely fun job and Segways are pretty much the coolest super dorky thing ever. The tour does give you some time to play around along with sharing many interesting historical facts!

    Reply
  8. Melissa

    This absolutely made my day.

    Aaaand makes me want to ride a Segway even more. Eep. My morning has just been made.

    Reply
  9. Terri

    LOL, you look so cute!! I have never ridden one myself, but we were rescued by a Segway-riding security officer when my car was locked inside a parking garage after it closed…

    Reply
  10. Cassie

    I've never rode at Segway, but I can totally see why you would be grinning the entire time. Looks like fun!

    P.S. I created a list of 30 before 30 a couple months ago–inspired by you!

    Reply
  11. Sarah Rooftops

    I WANT A SHOT! (wailed in my most juvenile voice) They look so much fun.

    Reply
  12. Amy

    I've always thought that Segways were a bit precarious looking but you have persuaded me otherwise! I've never seen one here in the UK though…

    Reply
  13. Mandy

    I think your face in that last picture pretty much says it all. So fun!

    Reply
  14. hungryandfrozen

    I have never even considered them, but you are definitely selling the fun aspect of it! If I ever get the opportunity I might just take it up now. I can't ride a bicycle so I like that there's so little involved in this. And you're right, every time I do see someone on a segway it makes me smile!

    Oh, and cute top!

    Reply
  15. Morgan

    hahahahaaa so awesome

    Reply
  16. Julia H. @ Going Gulia

    Aren't they fun?? I got to ride one a few years ago at a robotics competition my brother attended. The guy who invented the Segway was there, so they had one available that people could try out. Man, I could ride that thing all day.

    Reply
  17. Heather G

    This made me smile so big! Your post made me think of one of my best vacations. My cousin and I were in Minneapolis and we took the segway tour. Like you, we were grinning like idiots the whole time and I was sporting a funky, round, black helmet to boot! Thanks for posting. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Jessica

    Wow, I'd really like to try that! Unfortunately, where I live, they only have this place where you can rent them as part of an "experience package" that you get for birthdays and anniversaries instead of a traditional gift.
    Not afraid in the least, it would be immensely fun.

    Reply
  19. Lulu

    "But you'll also experience that visceral, almost physical joy that we only seem to be capable of from ages 9-15."

    I love that so much!

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    I did promo work on a Segway…dressed as a Nun! I whizzed around in a habit handing out flyers – it was the BEST part-time job I have ever done!

    Reply

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