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Friday, 16 August 2013

Rise of the Segway


It’s hard to believe that the Segway has been around for as long as it has, just over 10 years ago it had it’s first unveiling on Good Morning America, with Bryant Park riding around on the electric powered beauty in New York.

There has been quite a lot of buzz surrounding the Segway, particularly in the time leading up to its release, what with the development, invention and financing of the vehicle being the subject of the narrative book, ‘Code Name Ginger’, by journalist Steve Kemper.

But Segway driving really is an experience like no other, and there are a fair few people who would absolutely love to have a go on this nippy little two-wheeled machine.

So how does it work?

The machine is very much based around Dean Kamen's balancing technology, which manages to balance with the help of dual computers that run propriety software, two tilt sensors and five gyroscopic sensors. Very clever stuff indeed!

The Segway can then be driven and steered by sensing the shifting body weight of the driver – lean forward to go forwards, backwards to reverse and side-to-side to steer. The speed is also controlled by the change in the balance point.

The electric motors of the Segway are powered by phosphate based lithium ion batteries, which means that this is an incredibly eco-friendly machine, whereby charging it up simply involves plugging it into a wall socket.

The Segway Experience

There is a reason why the Segway experience is so popular in the UK and that is because many of us can’t just go out and treat ourselves to one whenever we want.

There are mainly two reasons for this, firstly it is an incredibly expensive machine, despite actually working out much cheaper to run than a petrol driven car.

Secondly, in the UK it’s illegal to drive them on the roads and footpaths – the Segway is considered a powered vehicle and therefore subject to Road Traffic Law, and, as it doesn't meet the required safety standards, this means it can’t be allowed to be driven anywhere.

However, thanks to gift experience opportunities, we are at least able to give it a go for ourselves – and these types of experiences aren't too expensive either!

Experience Days with a Segway

Jumping on board a Segway is an extremely unique experience. Running on two wheels, while standing upright and taking control by leaning into different positions, can give you quite a buzz.

A Segway experience will usually start off with you having a full instruction, safety briefing and being kitted out with safety gear, such as a helmet, shin guards and elbow pads. You’ll then be taken around by a guide, or if you’re lucky, let loose on your own to race along a varied terrain track.

For whatever reason, people are going bonkers for Segway rally experiences right now. We're not entirely sure why, but much like an expensive sports car, not everyone can really afford one, but that doesn't stop people wanting to drive one.

The great thing about a Segway (especially the off road one) is that they're just so much fun to ride. You don't so much drive it as lean your body to accelerate and turn, so it's a strangely natural feeling where you don't really have to think about steering as you would with a go kart for example.

Best of all, you don't need a driver's licence to ride one, which makes Segway driving a great experiences for teenagers who haven't passed their driving test yet.

Go on, give it a go! It's even more fun than it looks.

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