Segway Tours

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 27th October 2009.

In 2001, the Segway Personal Transporter was unveiled to the world by its inventor, Dean Kamen. Since then, over 50000 of these electric two wheeled scooters have been sold and now the opportunity to ride these fantastic machines is available in Sydney.

Based at Olympic Park, Segway Tours Australia offer two hour tours and last Christmas, I purchased gift certificates for my family. This year, we got together at Homebush for a fun-filled ride around the Olympic site. Until that moment, I had no recollection of seeing my parents ride a bike, let alone a self-balancing high tech Segway. The pictures alone were worth the tour fee.

Homebush is ideal for Segways as there are multitudes of ramps, bridges and footpaths, all installed as part of the development for the 2000 Games. Starting at the Visitors Centre, we all had to practice getting on and off the Segway, supervised and instructed by our friendly tour guide.

Without the electric servo drive motors, gyroscopes and tilt sensors on, the Segway is pretty much like a push lawnmower, however, once initiated, the footplates remain horizontal and the steering column is magically held sturdily upright.

To make the Segway drive forward, you simply lean forward and off you go. To brake, just apply pressure through your heels and it slows down. Steering is performed by twisting one of the handlebars, forward for left and backwards for right.

The Segway is speed limited via a series of coloured keys, and as we became more proficient, we were allowed to increase our maximum speed, although we never got close to the machines top speed of 20 kilometres per hour.

We certainly turned heads riding around Olympic Park. I’m sure we were quite a sight, speeding past the picnic areas and playgrounds in formation.

In Australia, the use of Segways on roads and footpaths is illegal. Even within the fairly safe and generally car free Homebush precinct, we were required to disable our machines and push them across the road.

I’d certainly recommend a Segway tour for a fantastic morning or afternoon of entertainment. With a helmet supplied as part of the fee, I never felt unsafe and the driving technique is extremely intuitive and easy to pick up. Practically anyone can have a go.

At $99 for a two hour tour, I think the tour fee is reasonable when compared to other unique Sydney experiences such as Oz Trek or Bridgeclimb. Why not shout someone you love a Segway tour? The photos alone will be worth it. Once you are onboard, I guarantee that it will be pretty hard to wipe the smile off your face.

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Published in: on December 13, 2009 at 14:40  Leave a Comment  
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