Taking the Segway for a Spin

My wife, Elisabeth, works for an organization called Cross County Connection. They are a transportation management association, which means they work with governments, communities, businesses, and commuters to provide solutions to transportation problems here in Southern New Jersey. Recently, they partnered up with Segway to promote the new Segway Human Transporter and have obtained a demo unit.

The great folks that they are, they invited me to get trained and take it out for a spin this week. I've read and seen pictures, but never saw one in person before. It is actually pretty big and heavy (I think around 80lbs) It runs on rechargable batteries that can be recharged in any household outlet.

The hardest part about riding it is to stop thinking about balancing yourself. Once you get over the fact that there are only two wheels holding you up, moving around on the HT comes somewhat naturally. Look in the direction you want to go, and lean forward. You can't fall over the front; the further you lean forward, the faster it goes. Lean back a bit and it slows down and eventually starts to move backwards. The hardest part is maintaining a full stop; it is rather sensitive to shifting your weight which makes it a bit tough to hold still.

A small control knob on the left handlebar allows steering; if you are standing still you can turn in place; if you are in motion, the HT balances itself to prevent you from flying off the side depending on your speed. There are three electronic "keys" used to start the HT; each sets a different user level - beginner, intermediate, and advanced. These control the maximum speed and handling. If you try to go faster than the limit for the particular setting, you end up leaning over the handlebars...it just won't allow you to go faster. I was able to ride it around a parking lot, up an inclined sidewalk and around a number of turns with relative ease after a brief training session.

The Segway HT is definitely a cool and fun way of getting around. Thanks again to Elisabeth as well as Chris at Cross County Connection for the training!