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Friday
Jan142005

Four Hours on a Segway

I think the Segway Human Transporter is really cool, and I've read many articles about how they work and what they are like. But this past weekend I had the unique experience of spending about 4 hours riding around New Orleans on a Segway. Eye Opening. Here are some (surprising) observations and conclusions.

It really works. It keeps you balanced, and once you get the hang of it, it's quite easy to move forward, backwards, and turn. It takes about 10 minutes to be able to work it safely and then maybe another 30 to feel proficient.

The machine seems really heavy and powerful. Heavier than I thought. Like a lawnmower heavy. While it doesn't move fast, it does have a lot of power so that when it wants to move, it just moves.

I also came away feeling that the various towns and cities that decided not to certify them for sidewalk use, and instead treat them as motor vehicles were correct, surprising myself!

Yes, it's easy and fun, but you know what, it's also not that hard to fall. A moment of distraction, and forgetting for an instant how to turn, and you can be flat on your face. Or you can crash into a person. And as I said, it's heavy.

I am a great admirer of this machine, and I went into this experience feeling that those townfolks that wouldn't allow us to scurryi around on our Segways through central park just didn't get it. Well now I think they are right.

I have to imagine it was that way when bicycles were first invented. (This is pure speculation, I have no idea of what actually happened.)

Yes it was a marvelous machine, apparently magical, riding on only two wheels. And yes, it was quiet and elegant and everyone thought they should get one. But I bet there was a period of 10 to 20 years when there were restrictions on their use and special training and special places to ride them.

I would say that kids would have had to be raised being tought how to ride them from parents, and that it really has to be internalized at an almost subconcsious level. My bet is the same has to happen with things like the Segway.

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