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August 06, 2010

Pittsburgh Segway Tour

Friday morning I had the pleasure of spending two hours in the care of Segway in Paradise, Pittsburgh's Segway tour operator. (discussed here in the Post-Gazette) It was a morning well spent.

We departed Station Square in a group of five at 0930 after a quick safety briefing and orientation. We'd been told in advance to wear sneakers and the company provided bike helmets. A rather clever radio earpiece let us hear the tour guide's comments and corrections (just a few) as we maneuvered around town.

We crossed the Smithfield Steet bridge and rode across downtown to Sixth Avenue, then headed north to stop for a break in the Cultural District's Agnes R. Katz plaza. During the break, our guide Ben adjusted the Segway's speed settings (since we had some experience now) so we'd have more power on the broad sidewalks of the North Side trail.

Across the bridge to the North Side, west along the river, took a loop around the baseball stadium, rode down to the river again, and took the Fort Duquesne bridge ramp back to the Point. A few more downtown blocks to the Smithfield Street Bridge and we were done.

Our group had one out-of-towner. Pittsburgh showed well along the route and the tour guide's patter was informative and effective. The two-hour tour cost $60, which is not inexpensive, but two hours was enough time to get comfortable with the machine; I think the 45-minute ride ($25) would leave you wanting more.

Riding the Segway was fun and became intuitive pretty quickly. It wasn't an energetic activity; you stand still on the machine, and lean forward and back.

We rode on the sidewalks, and I wouldn't want to ride a Segway in car traffic. You could see that a downtown that primarily used Segways would be a very cool place, but I don't think there will be a lot of joint-use development.

For worksites that involved crossing intermediate distances (airplane hangars, corporate or college campuses) I could see that having a dozen Segways as duty vehicles would be very practical and a lot of fun.

Website: Highly recommended.


MH said...

I've seen what I think was the same man on a Segway on the CMU campus and on Forbes in the Squirrel Hill business district. That's about 1 1/2 miles away and I do wonder if I didn't see a regular Segway commuter (hopefully one who uses the sidewalk). Something like 95% of my driving could be done by a nice golf cart with very little lose of speed, if it was a legal option and safe for carrying a child.

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