At long last I managed to have a go on a Segway this summer. It is one of the coolest ways to explore the forests and countryside. OK, I know that mountain bikes are much more exhilarating, but Segways are just so much fun. What’s more, the controls are pretty much the same balance and movements you use on the Wii Fit Segway racing game.
What is a Segway?
Segways are a brilliant mode of transport. They have two wheels attached to a self balancing platform that you stand on. Attached to the front of the Segway is a long pole with a handlebar on the top.
You can now buy your own self balancing scooter iswegway which is your own personal hoverboard. These Segway hoverboards are much smaller and have some cool lights on them. The only down side is that your can only use them in the UK on private land as they are illegal on public pavements and roads.
The basic idea is that you stand on the platform and shift your weight forward to go forwards. You use the handlebar to turn.
The Segway Experience
So, onto what the Go Ape Segway experience is like. As I said earlier, it is pretty much similar to Segway racing on the Wii Fit. Segway on the Wii uses the balance board for moving forward and backward, and the hand controller for turning left and right. A real Segway is exactly the same, but a far more pleasurable experience than just watching a screen in your lounge.
The Go Ape Segway Experience begins with a familiarisation session where your instructor explains what the Segway is and how it is controlled. You are given a helmet (safety first folks) and a token to war around your neck. The token acts as a security feature and settings control for the Segway. Without it, the Segway will not work.
The first step is to step onto the Segway and just stand there to get a feel of the balance. This is quite easy. Next you are shown how to slowly move forward and backwards. Then it is the turning round in a circle on the spot.
Once you have mastered the basic control of the Segway, you get to practice on a short circuit around some trees. If your instructor is happy and you are confident to continue, you all set off on the forest trails.
Riding the Forest Trails on a Segway
This is really fun. Everyone in our group had big grins on their faces. After winding our way through the forest trails on our Segways, the instructor stopped us and changed the Segway setting into advanced mode. This allowed us to travel faster.
Now we were really motoring. The instructor took us on various trails going up hill and down, which made you have to think once again. Going faster downhill, you tend to want to pull the handlebar towards you to slow down rather than adjusting your weight more onto your heels.
Where to try the Segway Experience
Segway at Go Ape
Since Go Ape have partnered with the Forestry Commission in the UK to set up treetop adventure courses, they also saw the opportunity to use the forest trails for Segway exploring. I went to Go Ape in Black Park near the Pinewood film studios where they filmed Harry Potter. You can go on a Segway at most of the Go Ape sites now, but Segways are much more widely used in the US. Segways are not legal in the UK on roads or the sidewalk, so the only place you can use one is off road.
Segway at Center Parcs
Center Parcs is known for its forest holidays, where cars are not permitted which leads to a safe environment for families. Cycling and walking are the main ways to get around. 2015 saw a new mode of transport being used by visitors. The personal segways are allowed to be used at Center Parcs because it is private land and therefore is legal. Bonus! But if you want to try out the big offroader Segways, there is a Segway activity you can book where you can explore the rough tracks around the woods at the Center Parcs villages.
Segway at Amboise in France
The beautiful town of Amboise in France was the home of Leonardo Da Vinci, and one of the residences of the king of France. You can explore the town on a Segway, which you can rent from the shop next to the river near the chateau.
Amboise has plenty of history to discover, and some rather wonderful shops to browse.
Segway Tour of the Trulli Houses in Italy
Another amazing place to explore on a Segway is the village of Trulli in Italy. These amazing houses in the village are round and built from stone. They were built in such a way as to be able to avoid the taxes at the time.
If like the idea of cruising through the forest on a Segway, then you can Book a Segway Experience from Go Ape to go at one of the many sites across the UK and US.
Buy your own Segway
The off-road Segways that Go Ape use are hugely expensive, but you can get one of the hoverboard Segways from Amazon.
The personal self balancing scooter Segways are quite heavy because of the battery. You soon get the hang of balancing on them. There have been many reports of battery faults or overheating issues when charging, so make sure you read the reviews before buying your Segway to check you are choosing a decent brand.
As always, you will get what you pay for. If you are not sure, book a Segway Safari from Go Ape to find out if you like it or not.