Dallas Segway Tour

Today was Candy’s birthday and, along with some friends that have done it before, we decided to celebrate with a Segway tour in downtown Dallas.

My first impression of the idea was a little iffy. I would rather have ridden my bike around downtown (as I am wont to do) than stand there lazily on two electric-powered wheels. Plus, I’ve seen these groups of touristy-looking folks, wearing helmets and standing stiffly on the slow-moving vehicles, moving in a line along the downtown sidewalks. It looked rather silly to me.

Well, I thought about it and realized that, as usual, I was full of shit. Let’s face it, everyone wants to at least try out a Segway and see how it is. I remember the crazy hype back in 2001 when the thing (code name “Ginger”) was introduced and, although it could never live up to its promotion, it still made an impression. All in all, it had to be fun.

There are a couple companies that offer Segway tours, and we chose one based on… well, we had a Groupon.

Candy and I had gone to our third Dallas Savor Wine Tour yesterday and then gone to Lee Harvey’s for a Naked Lunch concert last night and stayed out too late. When I crawled out of bed – too early for a Saturday – I didn’t feel too well. I’m getting too old. But I gutted it out and we drove downtown to the Segway place – in a cool old brick building.

We had a few minutes of lessons, a quick pep talk, then off we went.

That might be the most amazing thing about the Segway – how easy it is to learn. After all, this is a completely unique and new transportation form. It has no controls at all – only a platform to stand on and a stick with a handle. There is no seat or restraint – you just stand there. Still, after only a minute of practice, we were off along the streets and sidewalks of a big city. We had to maneuver along narrow twisting paths, through curb cuts, and over precarious routes along concrete dropoffs.

It was a piece of cake. The only difficulty I had was that, at first, I stood too stiffly and my feet and ankles were painful and cramping. After a bit I was able to relax and flex better and it became comfortable.

I was surprised at how far the tour went. We started out on the edge of the West End area (near the bus station) and headed out to the famous bronze steer sculpture and City Hall, then north clear through the heart of downtown. We visited the Arts District and then on to Klyde Warren where we took a break. Finally we rode west to visit Dealey Plaza before heading back.

That’s a complete tour of downtown.

The Segway is a great way to tour an area. You cover a lot more distance than you can walking, of course. You see so much more than in a bus or car tour. I’ll give it a nod even over a bicycle because you are able to keep your head up and look around while you ride.

The last leg of the tour was a blast. By then I was very comfortable on the machine and was able to enjoy myself – doing a bit of slalom between landscape trees along a stretch of sidewalk, swinging around in close spaces, or simply picking up the speed (a little bit). It’s an odd experience – the key to comfortably riding a Segway is to forget you are on one and let your instincts take over. I really can’t tell you how to go forward or backward, how to stop or turn – you just do.

Most of the people in the tour were not from Dallas and I asked them if they thought the Segway Tour was a good way to see a new city and they all were enthusiastic.

So, the next time you visit someplace or even revisit the place where you live – check out and see if a Segway Tour is available. Do it if you can. It doesn’t look as silly when you are in the bowels of the thing than it does from outside looking in.

Candy getting her Segway Lesson.

Candy getting her Segway Lesson.

The tour stops at the Dallas Eye.

The tour stops at the Dallas Eye.

Segways lined up at Dealey Plaza. The Texas School Book Depository in the background.

Segways lined up at Dealey Plaza. The Texas School Book Depository in the background.

Riding around at the Old Red Courthouse.

Riding around at the Old Red Courthouse.

Riding up to the JFK Memorial.

Riding up to the JFK Memorial.

Inside the JFK Cenotaph.

Inside the JFK Cenotaph.

JFK Memorial

Rolling down the sidewalk and across the street.

Rolling down the sidewalk and across the street.

9 responses to “Dallas Segway Tour

  1. I’d like to do a movie, or a time-lapse piece on the route of Kennedy’s motorcade. Part of the route is now a one-way street, going the wrong way, of course.

    Maybe the Segway could take that part on a pedestrian walk . . .

    • That would be cool. I think the only part of the route that is against the one-way is the single block along Houston street. I guess you could shoot along the sidewalk there.

      Uh, maybe I shouldn’t use the word “shoot.”

    • Probably. The thing balances itself – so that’s no problem. The only thing is that you steer by leaning one way or the other. My best guess is that you would take a little longer to get the hang of it.

    • It is fun. Plus, it’s a good way to explore. The company we used has tours in Austin and San Antonio – plus other companies have tours in New Orleans. Something to think about when visiting another city.

  2. I always see these tours and all I can think about is how long the city is… (around 1 mile-ish) and how much more interesting it would be for a walking tour.

    • I love a good walking tour. The Dallas Center for Architecture has a great tour of the Arts District.

      We covered a lot more territory on the Segway that you could on foot, though.

  3. Pingback: Afronauts | Bill Chance

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