A Segway Tour Is the Best Form of City Sightseeing
Let’s admit it: segway tours have an image problem. A line of helmeted tourists zipping around Chicago’s Loop or the National Mall in Washington, DC is always enough to elicit snide remarks from the locals. No matter how fun or practical they may be, segways just aren’t viewed as a “cool” form of city sightseeing.
Except that, well, they are. After polling my coworkers and discovering that none of us had so much as set foot on a segway, I decided to sign up for a city segway tour myself. After all, there had to be a reason behind these sightseeing tours’ enduring popularity. Ten seconds after hopping on a segway, I understood that reason completely.
It Takes One Minute to Learn How to Ride a Segway
I signed up for a two-hour sightseeing tour of downtown Nashville, which began with a 10-minute safety video about how to ride a segway. Our group of about 10 people learned such helpful tips as “Stay off very uneven surfaces” (you’ll fall) and “Don’t try to go down stairs” (you’ll fall). Our cheerful tour guide then hopped on a segway and demonstrated its operating principles: how to move forwards, how to go in reverse, and how to stop. He hopped off and began inviting each of us, one at a time, to try it for ourselves. I was nervous, to say the least; surely I’d be the first person in history to fall in the segway training room.
I shouldn’t have worried. Within about a minute, the segway felt like an extension of my legs as I criss-crossed the room, going up wooden ramps, turning, and stopping in front of the group. This was so easy, even a child could do it! (Actually, a child can do it—segway tours are usually for ages 12 and older).
Segways are Incredibly Responsive
A segway operates on a gyroscope, keeping its own balance while keeping you upright, as well. The handles on a segway are just for holding—all of the movement happens when you shift your toes to move forward and your heels to move backward. This machine senses when you’re on, when you’re off, and when you’ve run into something, and it tries to correct your balance at all times. It’s almost like a sentient pair of wheeled robot legs, which can be terrifying or comforting depending on how you think about it.
You Get Over the Silliness Pretty Quickly
When our little group rolled tentatively out onto the sunny Nashville sidewalk, every single person we passed laughed at us or had something cute to say. Groups of teens yelled after us. An executive joked, “I’m late to a meeting, where’s mine?” An old man on a park bench hollered something cheeky. No one could let us roll along un-kidded.
But you know what? Once the first 10 minutes of acute, oh-my-god-everyone’s-laughing embarrassment subsides, you just get over it. Yes, you’re wearing a lime-green helmet and following your guide like a baby duck in line. This is you. This is your life. And guess what? Your life rules.
Segway Tours are a Great Way to See the Sights
Taking a segway tour is hands-down one of the best forms of city sightseeing, if what you want to see is major downtown attractions. Think about it: you cover a ton of ground without wearing out your feet, and you get to ride with a cooling breeze fluttering your clothes. Better yet, your tour guide will explain everything you’re seeing and give you fun tidbits about the city along the way.
Of course, taking a segway tour also proves that you can withstand gentle mocking from complete strangers, and that’s a good skill to have. You’ll step off that segway feeling stronger and even accomplished. Sure, maybe you did nothing but stand on robotic wheels, but sometimes a little risk can go a long way.
Krista has lived in Europe and Taiwan, and she loves road trips to kitschy US sites. She prefers to travel by train, but she always falls asleep and misses her stop.