Monday, June 20, 2011

One for the bucket list

Johnnie has always been fascinated by the Segway, those two wheel stand up vehicles you saw in Paul Blart, Mall Cop and, if you live in California (or other warm states), you might see them in malls, on trails or on the sidewalks. Anyway, I was thrilled when a month ago I saw a Groupon advertising Segway tours in our area. I missed the Groupon deal but decided to sign us up for a tour for Father's Day.

We went on our tour on Saturday and it was a blast. I never told Johnnie what we were doing and had him completely mystified. I told him this was one for the bucket list -- probably not at the top of the list but on there nonetheless. He was blown away when we pulled into the parking lot where we were meeting the person (Joe) who would lead our tour.

We started with a few minutes of safety discussion and individual lessons getting on, off and learning to drive it. It's all done with foot pressure and the upright is merely there as something for you to hold onto -- there are no controls in the handle at all. Lean forward, you go forward. Lean back on your heels, you are in reverse. Move the handle to one side or the other and you turn. Zero turning radius. Way cool. Silent operation.You wear a bicycle helmet (they provided although we brought our own) and reasonable footwear -- no flipflops.

I have pictures of Johnnie that I'll post as soon as I remember where I put the camera.

It was a beautiful day for this -- about 80 degrees, sunny and no breeze. Just delightful. We went on the Genesee Riverway -- a hiking/biking path and about half a mile of it is suspended above a marshy area where we saw turtles, swans and cignets (baby swans), ducks and geese. On the paths, the top speed (governed) is eight miles per hour but the Segway ungoverned will get up to 12 miles per hour. Eight miles an hour was plenty fast for us.

There were six of us, three couples, in the group and everyone did really well. It's a mix of balancing like you do on a bicycle -- there are no brakes -- and the balancing of water skiing. The more you lean forward on the balls of your foot, the faster you go. When you balance flat on your feet, you stand more or less still.

The worst part, I think, was standing still on our legs - they got sore after a while and Joe recommended we not stand stiff-legged but unlock our knees a bit to take bumps better and relax our legs. That worked but both Johnnie's and my legs still got tired.

Unfortunately, being the klutz that I am, when we stopped on an uphill incline, I got flustered when my Segway started rolling backwards and I forgot to shift my weight forward to stop the thing. I ended up running into the woman behind me -- in reverse -- and I fell off the Segway. Duh. She fell as well but she didn't hurt herself. Me? I landed on my right elbow and scraped the skin off an inch-long by 1/4 inch wide area directly over my elbow bone. And of course collected a few new black and blue marks. I'm very lucky I didn't break my elbow. Incredibly, the Segway never tipped over - they're incredibly stable.

Joe came to the rescue with gauze pads and tape so we could continue. I was shaken up but didn't want to go back. It was way too fun. When we got home, I soaked my elbow in epsom salts to clean it out then doused it  with peroxide and ultimately slathered itNeosporin and gauze pads wrapped in paper tape.

Fairly sore even two days later because of where the cut/scrape is and it's difficult to pad it sufficiently to make it comfortable. Anyway, enough about my injuries.

It was a real blast and it is rare for someone to fall. Unless they're me. Then it's just a matter of time. However, I wouldn't have traded the experience for anything, even the cut and road rash isn't a big deal.

If you get a chance to go on a Segway tour, do it. It's such fun. If you want more information, just let me know. Awesome!

No comments: