Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v04n14)
Don't laugh at Segway riders...they are just having fun - By Ashley Plummer
posted: Jul. 13, 2007
Prior to making my first step onto a Segway, I must say, I was hesitant about two things-one being physical and the other being mental.
I have often seen people riding Segways and I could only imagine what the point was-what would the benefit be of this type of mobility if you were not actually physically exerting yourself?
The second thing was my wrist. I shattered it so badly a little over a month ago that I needed surgery (I am recovering beautifully). The problem was that I wanted to continue this beautiful recovery without the possibility of falling off a motorized vehicle (seeing that I broke my wrist falling off a non-motorized vehicle, I wasn't ready to even the score).
However, in the name of not being a complete coward, I decided that I would not let my doubts get the best of me.
We (Alan Hague and I) began our Broad Ripple-Monon Trail Segway tour with an orientation where we were fitted with helmets and introduced to our vehicles by our wonderful guide, Joe Coombs.
I was riding an i2 model, which can be purchased in black or white. Mine was white. Joe held onto the vehicle as I took my first wobbly step onto it, "just as though I were stepping onto a stepping stool," he said.
I was set in "Turtle mode," which meant that I could not go above 4.5 mph. While I was a little disappointed initially, it was probably for my own good.
I immediately began to swerve around the parking lot after Joe let go of the handle bar. He explained to me the basics of movement-and I am not kidding when I say that the minute you get on one of these things you will understand why people do ride them-they are a ridiculous amount of fun.
Basically, the entire ride is controlled by your feet. You push your toes down, you speed up. You put pressure on your heels, you slow down or even stop. You lean with your hands one way, you turn. I felt pretty comfortable within five or 10 minutes, so of course I started testing the waters by making tight turns at my highest speed. . . cough*. . . still 4.5 mph.
After Alan got comfortable with his Segway (he was also riding an i2 model), Joe directed us to the Monon. The Indianapolis Art Center Gardens were our first stop. We wound around the gravel trails of the gardens, hopping over bumps and cracks. Joe explained that the vehicles can go over just about any breaks in the road or trails, but to approach them with caution.
When we got back on the trail, I was finally allowed to leave Turtle mode. This meant that I could now travel up to 10 mph. However, my machine was lacking in that both Alan and Joe were able to go up to 12.5 mph. They were gentlemen though, and did not leave me behind.
We rode our Segways down to 86th Street. Actual Segway tours that don't involve reporters trying to show off how skillful they are on machinery they are not familiar with cost $45 for an hour. Joe said that most riders make it to 86th and back in an hour, and the tour itself makes a great gift for out-of-town friends who wish to enjoy a day in Broad Ripple.
When we returned and hopped off our Segways, my legs felt wobbly, and I found myself wishing I could jump back on my i2 and ride it home.
If you are one of those people who laughs at Segway riders on the trail, I challenge you to ride one and not leave wanting to take one home, too. Just don't assume you will get a work out-it's fun with technology, so honestly, you could really exchange X-Box time for Segway time.