VIDEO: What is a Segway and How Does it Work?
If you've spent any time in America's most tourist-friendly cities, you've probably seen some fellow sightseers on magical two-wheeled transporting gizmos. These are Segways, and they could change the way you tour your next vacation spot...or even your own city.
But before you can hop aboard, you probably want to know: 1) "Uh, what is a Segway?" and 2) "How does a Segway work?" Good questions! To answer those and more, simply explore this page:
- Click the video above to watch two of our writers try a Segway tour for the first time.
- Scroll below and we'll answer your FAQs, including "what is a Segway?", "how much is a Segway tour?", and "I want a Groupon for a Segway!" (which is not technically a question, but that's OK).
What is a Segway?
Invented in 2001, the Segway is a "personal transporter" (according to Segway, Inc.), and is best defined by the following characteristics:
- It's self-balancing, which means its natural state is to stand up straight.
- It's electric.
- It has two wheels, a handle, and a platform for you to stand on.
- You propel and steer it by leaning. (More on that in the next section.)
How does a Segway work?
A Segway works by detecting your mass and sensing how it shifts when you lean forward, backward, and side to side. While that might sound tricky to master, learning to ride a Segway is quick and easy. Here's a step-by-step look at how your first ride should go:
- After your guide turns on the Segway, you'll step on and grab the handlebars.
- To go forward, lean forward ever-so-slightly. Then, to stop, just stand up straight or even lean slightly backwards.
- To go right or left, slightly lean into that direction.
- Practice! Just keep yourself from moving at top speeds.
Where can I find a Groupon Segway tour?
Ready to try one yourself? Below, click on your city (or the city you're visiting) to see if there are any Groupons for Segways tours available:
How much is a Segway tour?
The cost of a Segway tour will vary from city to city, but typically the price, per person, of a 90-minute Segway tour is between $50-$99.
That said, on Groupon, that range of prices lowers to about $35-$70 per person.
How fast does a Segway go?
Depends on what setting your guide sets it in—"beginner mode" or "standard mode." The top speed in beginner mode is 6 mph. The top speed in standard mode is 12.5 mph.
Going full throttle and hitting 12.5 mph doesn't sound like much. But you won't find many Segway tour guides recommending you moving top speed through what's likely a tourist zone—12.5 mph, especially for first-timers, will feel very fast.
What does "Segway" mean?
You might think "Segway" is an acronym, or the product of two words squeezed together. But actually it's just a play on words: "Segway" was derived from the word "segue," which means "to make a transition without interruption."
Speaking of segues, you might be wondering if it's dangerous to use puns while riding a Segway, and thus asking yourself...
Are Segways safe?
A Segway is no more or less safe than riding a bike, so long as you being cautious and paying attention to your surroundings. Your tour guide will also likely insist that you wear a helmet—which is a smart move.
All the reasons we think Segways are the greatest.