Segway tours and segway tourism may be on the rise. But for some travelers, it’s still an idea they may not be used to. The most common reason for this tends to be that many of these travelers haven’t ever ridden a Segway before, and worry that it will be difficult, or that they won’t be able to enjoy their tour.
As it turns out, the reality is quite the opposite. Segways are easy to control and use only a few basic functions to steer, stop, and speed up. Once you’re comfortable on one and get on a Segway tour, you’ll be shocked at how many more sights you can visit!
What Is a Segway?
Segway was created by Dean Kamen. While it first debuted in 2001, it wasn’t until the following year that mass production began. It was initially produced in New Hampshire by the company Segway Inc.
Segways are often touted as the most eco-friendly way to get around. They’re two-wheeled transportation that runs on electricity. They also self-balance, to keep riders stable. Users direct the vehicle by leaning, and via a set of steering handlebars.
Which Segway is Used for Segway Tours?
There are two primary choices for Segway tours: the Segway i2 SE, and the Segway x2 SE.
- Segway i2 SE (professional self-balancing scooter for use in warehouses and other locations)
- Segway x2 SE (ruggedized self-balancing scooter for use on most challenging terrain)
How Does a Segway Work?
Segways operate with a handful of basic functions, so once you have those down, it’s very easy. To move forward, lean your body slightly forward. The process is the same to go back except you lean slightly back; moving backward should only be done to get out of a tough spot or turn around.
To steer the Segway left or right, put pressure onto the handlebars and push in the direction you want it to go.
To get onto the Segway, place your right and left hands firmly on the handlebars. Then, place your feet on the balance board one at a time.
Basic Segway How-to-use Guide
Wear the Right Gear
Long sleeves and pants are best to protect against accidental slips off the scooter. Knee and elbow pads are always highly encouraged. However, if you forego all other safety gear, such as knee and elbow pads, you should still wear a helmet for safety. It’s also a good idea to put on a visor or other means of eye protection. If you’re riding in poor visibility, get a reflective vest for safety.
Get Familiar with the Process
Always read through the manual and instructions before you attempt to ride a Segway. Whenever possible, try to find an experienced Segway rider to assist you on your first time riding one. Make sure you’re familiar with all the critical functions you’ll need to be able to access to control your ride.
Use the Correct Stance
Always stand up straight on the Segway unless you’re controlling the vehicle’s movement (backward, turning, etc.). Keep your hands firmly on the handlebars, and your feet planted flat on the foot panels. Don’t lean too close to the handlebars. This can make it difficult to control the speed and direction of the Segway.
Keep a Steady and Appropriate Pace
Segways aren’t designed to take sudden, jerky movements, nor are they designed to go above certain speeds. They will naturally self-balance and realign to a central position. However, the vehicle can’t always compensate and re-balance in time if you’re going too fast. That’s why you’ll get a warning if you go too fast, and then the Segway will begin to shift more upright and slow itself down.
Only Ride in the Proper Places
When you’re riding a Segway outdoors, you can go a little faster, but try to limit your speed to a brisk walking pace. Outdoors, you should stick to smoother, more even areas; uneven, jarring terrain can be difficult for Segways to remain balanced on. Avoid steep slopes, too, since it throws off the speed and balance of the vehicle.
Indoors, there are some rules of thumb for common courtesy. First, go slower. You should only reach a slow to moderate walking pace at most. Keeping to the center of walkways is encouraged, as long as you leave room for other people to pass you on either side.
In both instances, Segway riders are expected to give way to pedestrians and take proper care when going through any crossways. Corners are another tricky spot to navigate. Always slow down when going around corners and take extra care, as others may be coming around from the opposite way.
Be an Alert Rider
Pedestrians are always a matter of concern for Segway riders; they often won’t hear a Segway approaching, and the vehicles move faster than the average walker. Other people aside, you always need to be on the lookout for rocks, debris, and obstacles that your Segway can’t handle. That means curbs too. Segways may have trouble with jolting curbs and potholes. Try to avoid wet or slick areas.
Sightseeing Segway tours are easily distracting with all the landmarks, so it is important to remember to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. If you need that photo, stop your Segway and then take the picture.
Exiting the Segway Properly
Segways aren’t difficult to dismount, but it’s still worth mentioning that it needs to be done safely. That means you exit the Segway only on flat terrain, and turn it completely off before you step off the platform.
What Are the Most Popular Segway Tour Destination Cities in the World?
It should come as no surprise that Florence, Italy, is one of the biggest Segway tour destinations in the world. In fact, most larger Italian cities have Segway tours for offer. Rome is another big draw for Segway tourism since you can see popular destinations more quickly than on foot.
Costa Rica is another Segway tourism hot spot. Tour guests get to see a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean along on the tour that goes through Nahomi Park.
The Greek island Crete has great Segway tours that are popular among visitors and allow for both one and two-hour tour options. Riders get to explore the harbor, lighthouse, Venetian walls, and so much more in Old Town.
Chicago, Illinois, in the United States has a plethora of Segway tours. These range from touring Al Capone’s most frequented parts of the city to spooky history excursions.
Gettysburg is a big draw for Segway tourism, with plenty of historical tours and even tours that take you through the historic Gettysburg battlefields. There’s an option for every level of a history buff, whether you have a glancing interest or studied the Civil War for years.
Madrid Spain offers wonderfully personalized tours with a guide that shows you all the best local attractions.
If you love old European architecture and living history, you’ve probably considered visiting Prague in the Czech Republic. Fortunately, Prague is an ideal place for Segway tours. You’ll see the staples of Old Town as well as historical cathedrals.
Why A Segway Tour Is A Great Alternative To a Regular Tour
- It’s more eco-friendly than any other vehicle centered tour type.
- It’s a convenient way to get a close look at your surroundings with very little to block your view.
- You’ll save your energy. Walking tours are great, but they can leave you drained after a long day. Segway tours allow you the best of both worlds, with enough energy to keep enjoying the day after the tour.
- They’re a budget-friendly tour option. Tours can get expensive, and while prices for Segway tours vary, by and large, they’re more affordable and cost-efficient than other tour offerings.
- Segway tours are faster. Walking tours tend to take much longer than other tour types, although other vehicles also have to mitigate traffic. Segways allow you to use sidewalks or special traffic lanes, but don’t limit you to a regular, slow walking tour pace.
While many people have yet to ride a Segway or take a tour, Segway tourism is growing in popularity. However, there are tons of reasons that so many people won’t go back to other types of tours once they’ve been on a Segway tour.
It may be a foreign idea to some, but a Segway tour is the best way to get the perfect views of your destination while letting you relax and go at a more efficient pace. Trust us, once you learn to use a Segway, it’s intuitive, easy, and, most of all, it’s fun.