Updated in 2021! Riding a Segway should be easy, right? This is what it was like to try riding one for the first time during a Toronto Segway Tour.
For a girl best known for her love of thrill-seeking, extreme adventure activities such as… book club – or art tours – or writing in a café… it’s hard to find an activity wild enough to really get Vanessa’s adrenalin pumping! Who am I kidding – the readers of Turnipseed Travel know me better than that! It’s time to take a (tentative) walk on the wild side – with Segway! Here's what it was like taking a Toronto Segway Tour in the city's Distillery District with Go Tours.
Pretty in Pink
I was fortunate to be part of the TBEX conference’s tour of the TorontoDistillery District, which included a historical tour done on Segway. This is a gorgeous part of the city, and perfect for photography. While anything other than walking usually fills me with dread, I felt oddly confident about riding (operating?) a Segway. Perhaps toooooo confident! With a most un-Vanessa-like flourish, I grabbed a bright pink, princess-themed helmet and strutted over to Segway Ontario’s intern, Sebastian, to learn the ropes.
A Rocky Start
Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the demonstration, as obviously a jaunty hop onto the Segway is not the correct way to start. For a few seconds of sheer terror the machine and I bucked wildly until Sebastian swiftly brought us under control. After that, my confidence faltered and I tensed up, leading Sebastian to give me some extra, remedial lessons as he implored me to relax my shoulders, which at this point were up around my ears. Did I mention that I excel at tension?
Look at me go!
Things greatly improved once the tour got underway. It was actually very easy and intuitive to follow the people in front of me and mimic their motions to gently turn and slow down.
It took me a while to stop looking immediately in front of my machine and instead take the time to look at the pretty surroundings as well.
At one point I felt like I was flying and I was so proud of myself to have finally let loose and whiz down the street – only to see a family with small children walk past me. Guess I wasn’t going so fast after all!
Would I do Segway again? Perhaps, under the right circumstances. I love walking tours, and this is a new and fun twist on that concept. But I’m far more relaxed on walking tours when I can look around and wander more freely. I think Segway tours would be a neat way to explore a neighbourhood in a hop-on, hop-off fashion, so you could experience the best of both kinds of tours. I would recommend starting with a short tour, in a small group, so you could get a feel for it without being overwhelmed.
I can’t thank the guys at Go Tours enough – they were relaxed, friendly, and they really knew their stuff. They never made me feel silly or awkward (although I absolutely looked like both!) and they were passionate about their neighbourhood, which makes for a winning combination as tour-guides.
Go Tours tours start at $39 for 30 minutes and longer tours and themed tours are available for a bit more. For instance, they offer a ghost-themed Segway tour and that would definitely be my top choice. It would be a fun alternative to the usual evening activities in the area and a great way for solo travelers to meet new friends and enjoy a unique group activity.
As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. What's the most unique kind of tour you've ever taken?
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24/6/2013 01:57:50 am
Well done, Vanessa! I was at TBEX Toronto as well, though I missed this opportunity. It looks like you had a ball! Sometimes the hardest thing to do is taking that first step... that leap of faith. You did it, and it looks like a great time. So what's next? Zip-lining perhaps? (I'd highly recommend it!).
24/6/2013 04:09:24 am
Thanks Ian! The ziplining review is coming up soon! One thing I really took away from the Segway is that it's okay to feel silly in front of a group for a few minutes until you get the hang of things - in the end I was proud that I was so "brave!"
24/6/2013 04:52:43 am
You're like me - a (non) adventurer! I've often thought of taking the segway tour at the distillery but I'm a little worried about the cobblestones for a first timer. Glad to see that you had a ball! You should wear pink crown's more often - brings out the colour in your eyes. ; )
24/6/2013 04:06:13 pm
Thanks Mary! I have to say, the cobblestones were completely undetectable - if anything, I went more slowly because I wasn't sure of them, but the Segway tires are large, wide, and thick, so you really don't feel the uneven texture.
I am of mixed minds about the segway. Glad I too got to try it while in Toronto, but I think my final verdict is the walk or bicycle tour. The tour leaders with the segway totally made the experience - they injected life into the history of the distillery district and made it a fascinating place. Two thumbs up!
24/6/2013 04:04:50 pm
Agreed! It was really neat to try it, but I might not always choose it if I have the chance for a walking or bike tour. Ultimately, it's the tour guide, not the tour, that makes or breaks the experience.
24/6/2013 04:08:12 pm
I think wearing the crown made the experience!! It's hard to tell from the photos but Ryan is wearing a shiny red helmet with gold wings on the side - he was "Flash!"
24/6/2013 03:52:05 pm
Good for you for stepping outside your comfort zone and doing this tour!
24/6/2013 04:09:52 pm
Who knows what wild moments await me - maybe drinking white wine instead of red? Walking the dog 6 blocks instead of 5? Ha ha ha - it was def outside my comfort zone but I'm glad I did it!
25/6/2013 03:27:03 am
Hi-fives should only be done with an expert rider! love it! Looks like you had great fun.
26/3/2014 03:39:39 am
LOL - We liked faking our expertise!
10/8/2014 01:36:31 pm
You should absolutely give it a try and let me know what you think!!
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