Off-road Segways!

Bill Loguidice's picture

I went on vacation last week with my wife, kids, in-laws and sister-in-law to North Carolina. I'm not big on these types of vacations (particularly ones involving long drives) as they tend to be more effort than payoff, but one of the highlights was that my wife and I (sans our kids) got to go off-roading on modified Segways (essentially a bit more power and bigger tires). Now, ever since it was known as "It" and was really ramping up the hype machine several years ago, I've been intrigued by the concepts. I'm also a fan of inventor Dean Kamen. Despite it not living up to the massive hype and not being quite as groundbreaking as implied, it still ended up being something very, very cool. Needless to say, I've been wanting to try a Segway for some time and I finally got my chance with this tour. One option was to use regular style Segways and go on a city tour, the other option was to go offroading and explore forested areas. We chose the latter.

The age limits were 12 to 59 (insurance purposes) with a certain weight range limitation as well. An approximately half hour training program was required, which we did in the parking lot after watching an introductory video. It's actually a bit tougher to get the hang of than you would think, but it really does respond well to subtle shifts in bodyweight from the feet up to move forward and backward at varying speeds. On newer Segway models you turn by turning the handle bar, on these older models you turn by twisting the handle with your left hand. You of course have to be careful of sharp turns (you can tip over) and excessive bumps or slippery surfaces.

Since we were lucky enough to be the only two on the tour with the tour guide and the bugs were biting and it was a pretty hot day, we decided to change plans and go offroading on the North Carolina/Virginia highway that's actually on the beach (only four wheel drive vehicles are allowed). This was great because there was a nice ocean breeze and we still got to see the wild horses. Anyway, it was a wonderful experience and a unique technology. It really does feel like part of you after awhile, though your feet do get tired and you really must be careful of quick turns! These vehicles top out at 12 miles per hour and can run for about 25 miles on a single charge.

Here is the tour company that we went with. Now we're "Segway certified", whatever that means. I'd love to get one of my own someday right after I get a motorcycle. Of course my two daughters, one three and a half and the other getting close to two, will have to be much, much older, but I can still dream... Needless to say, I highly recommend this to anyone interested in technology (and of course fun). What follows are a few select photos:

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Comments

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Interesting story

Pretty sad how a commuter is getting harassed trying to use a Segway to go to work via bike paths...

http://www.siliconvalley.com/news/ci_10235458?nclick_check=1



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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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