Riding a Segway should be easy, right? This is what it was like to try riding one for the first time in Toronto's Distillery District.
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 Segway tour in Toronto's Distillery District.
Pretty in Pink
I was fortunate to be part of the TBEX conference’s tour of the Toronto Distillery 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 Segway Ontario 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.
Segway Ontario tours start at $39 for 30 minutes, and hour long walking tours start at $19. The best value would come from a walking tour, as you get double the time for about half the money. However, as a special attraction or experience, I think the Segway tour is a reasonably priced option.
They offer an evening 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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