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7 Reasons That Riding A Segway Was Disappointing

Posted on October 29, 2010 in Posts | 0 comments

On Wednesday, a group of us went to the National Railway Museum in York to take advantage of their new attraction, a Segway ride.  Having spent the week eagerly anticipating this outing I was rather excited.  But it turns out that riding a Segway was disappointing.  Here are seven reasons why.

A shiny new Segway X2 on a plain white background

1.  Waiting.  There were four Segways, and there were more than four people in front of us.  That meant that we had to wait.  And while we waited, we could see Segways, but we weren’t on them.  And, not only were we not on them.  No one was on them.  But still we had to wait.  Because waiting is compulsory.  And we got hungry.  So we talked about food and got hungrier and hungrier and hungrier.  Ideally we wanted our Segways to be made of cheese when we got to them.

2.  The Course.  The wait allowed us to observe the Segway course close-up and for some time.  We realised that there was a slightly raised kerb in the middle of a bend; an observation that filled us with dread.  Still, one of us had heard that it’s physically impossible to fall off a Segway and we were reassured by this.  And also the course was surrounded by a massive inflatable barrier, so if you went off course you’d drive into something soft.  And bounce off it and land on the concrete floor.  And then get run over by a Segway.

3.  The Outfit.  Apparently jeans, a brown merino knit sweater, a grey blazer and a pink, purple, brown and white striped scarf is not the correct outfit for riding a Segway (or riding anything else when visible to people).  To ride a Segway, you are required to dress as Robocop.  The kit includes a black helmet and several pieces of black body armour: wrist guards, knee and shin guards, and elbow and forearm guards.  All we lacked was a bullet-proof chest-guard and a flame-resistant codpiece.  They, presumably, are available on request.

4.  The Briefing.  The briefing went on for a very long time.  I have no idea what was being said, as it was a briefing.  While Harry (the briefer) pointed at Segways and gesticulated wildly, I was wondering if the pope wears white underpants or whether he occasionally puts on red ones when he’s feeling frisky.  Then the impossible happened:  A man fell off a Segway.  I realised that this was probably unrelated to my papal contemplation (unless god was smiteing inaccurately that day), but it did get my attention and made me resolve to listen.  And then the briefing ended.

5.  Danger.  The first Segway arrived and it was time to go.  It was not made of cheese.  A friend prepared to mount it while his girlfriend and I watched, expectantly; hoping to see him careen crazily out of control and hurtle into an inflatable barrier or even fall off in a less spectacular manner; we didn’t mind.  The important thing was that he should fall off.  He didn’t.  He did lurch back-and-forth alarmingly for several seconds before performing an inadvertent pirouette which got our hopes up, but then he set off quite steadily and sedately.  This was very disappointing.

6.  Then It Was My Turn.  I stepped on to the Segway and, while everyone watched, expectantly, hoping to see me careen crazily out of control and hurtle into an inflatable barrier, I leant forward and I was away.  Soon, I reached a corner and leaned back to slow down, and I slowed down.  Then, I steered into the corner and the Segway went into the corner.  It was undramatic.  It turns out that Segways are the simplest vehicle in the world to operate.  I seemed to have the slowest one ever made because, despite going quickly through the corners, I was slower on the straight than everyone else.  I was even lapped twice by a small boy, who seemed to revel in whooshing past me as close as he could.  It was slower than running or cycling and not much more fun.  And I could have wiped the floor with the small boy at running or cycling.  And I could beat him at Trivial Pursuit.  And arm-wrestling.

7.  The Video.  Later, after the event was over, we settled down to watch the video, which was filmed by my non-Segway-riding wife using my phone.  I had pressed record and handed the phone to her the correct way up before wandering off to don my Robocop costume.  Within thirty seconds she was filming in portrait, rather than landscape and the phone was upside-down.  She doesn’t seem to have wondered why the part of the phone facing her bore the word “ǝƃuɐɹo” at all.  Fortunately I noticed this and, the highlight of the video is a tall upside-down man with a gaudy scarf and partial body armour explaining the finer points of holding a phone the right way up.  The rest of the video consists of two minutes of footage of slow moving Segways, nine minutes of slow moving Segways obscured by the inflatable barrier she decided to go and stand behind, one and a half minutes of giant index finger and forty-five seconds of gazing longingly at an ice cream van (which is the second best bit).  Overall, a disappointment.

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