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The Segway Tour

August 10, 2008

I’ve been on vacation the last 10 days, mostly at the beach in North Carolina, but partially in Richmond. On the first Saturday of the vacation, I met my soon-to-be-betrothed friend from high school, Bryce, and 13 of his friends for a very unique bachelor party: A tour of Richmond on Segways.

If you’ve never heard of Segways, don’t worry. They haven’t become a mainstream source of transportation, and I doubt they ever will. They are, however, perfect for extended walking tours. We covered about 15 miles in 2.5 hours on Saturday, something that wouldn’t be possible while walking. And every minute on the Segway is a fascinating experience, making up for the tedium between historical landmarks.

In short, a Segway is a battery-powered human transportation device that uses 5 computerized gyroscopes to balance a person on a small platform bridging two large rubber wheels. Without the gyroscopes, you’d just fall off the machine. So you have to trust that it’ll balance you.

When on, the Segway is always moving forward. So to park it, you lean forward, guiding the machine to the front, and maneuver it so its front end presses against a wall. It’ll keep on trying to move, but the wall will stop it from doing so. This is particularly important to note because if you are riding the Segway and fall off, it will keep going forward. I only fell off once—I thought I was losing my balance (I wasn’t) and stepped off the front of the Segway. It promptly ran me over and went looking for a Slurpee.

The worst fall of the day happened to the most unfortunate victim, Bryce himself. He was riding a bit too close to the person in front of him, and when that person fell, Bryce fell over him. He hurt his arm and scraped his face—not good for the groom (the wedding was later that day)—but he ended up being fine. His bride didn’t even notice.

We rode all around Richmond like a tech-savvy gang (I dubbed our gang “Segue”). I went to school in Richmond, but I don’t remember it being that cool. It’s definitely come into its own in the last ten years. Cobblestone streets aren’t great for Segways, but the Canal Walk and platforms extending over the picturesque James River are.

The coolest moment of the day happened when we were racing around in front of the Governor’s Mansion. Governor and possible Vice President Tim Kaine himself appeared at the front of the house, waved, and got into a black Escalade. The car pulled out right in the middle of our pack, and Kaine rolled down the window, asked if we were having fun, and shouted, “Go Hokies” (several of the guys were wearing Virginia Tech sweatshirts) before driving away.

Before I end this, I should probably note that it was not my choice to wear the pink helmet. All the other guys swarmed on the “cool” helmets before I had my pick (I’m not one for jostling), and the only helmet remaining was this pretty shell. I think it’s fair to say that I took one for the team, riding around Richmond all day like that.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Neeraja permalink
    August 11, 2008 8:28 am

    2 things.

    1) Don’t go on vacation again and not mention it to your faithful readers. I was worried you were dead. Granted, not so worried that I bothered to call or email either you or Caroline, but still. The thought crossed my mind more than once. (I’m having nightmares re: that Greyhound Bus thing)

    2) Betrothal is engagement. So by saying your “soon-to-be betrothed friend”, you are suggesting that your friend is about to get engaged. In fact, in this instance, your friend was already betrothed, and was in fact “soon-to-be wed”. When I read your statement, I was worried that your friend had divulged to you that he was preparing to propose and you had blasted the secret on your millions-of-hits per day blog.

    Oh wait.

  2. Janet and Buzz permalink
    August 20, 2008 3:00 pm

    I ‘ve just finished reading all your blogsincluding this and the rest to date. it’s just like having a conversation with you. i love it particularly the Remley. i like them too and It’s Buzz favorite drink. He told me that when we forst became engaged. That’s what sealed the bargain. Grandma janet

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