Friday, September 02, 2011

Segue to a Segway

I know what it feels like in that moment someone cries out, "Abandon ship!"

It wasn't the high seas or an iceberg that got the best of me, but a runaway Segway.

We set out for a fantastic riverfront tour with Segway of Cincinnati (we scored a great Groupon deal; a 90 minute tour will normally set you back $60).

Hopping on a Segway and driving it around is very intuitive, once you get the hang of it.

I first stepped on the platform as the guide held the handle bars, and I instantly began teeter-tottering back and forth until I got my bearings. I felt a little bit silly, but he said this was normal.

After I settled down and stood still and straight, I easily leaned forward to propel the Segway forward. A little leaning back, and the Segway slowed down, stopped, and began traveling in reverse.


These guys know a lot about the city, and they offer a bunch of historic tidbits along the way. On our Riverfront tour (there are three options - Downtown and Eden Park can also be explored by Segway), we learned a little bit about the history of Over-the-Rhine, the city's old inclines and the story behind Friendship Park.

About the incline: Much of Eggleston is a virtual parking lot wasteland. If you walk along Eggleston, traveling south, you might notice a small, stone monument recognizing the old Mt. Adams incline. Beside it, there's a nondescript, white pole.

This pole is the last remaining piece of what was, up until the late 1960s, Cincinnati's most popular tourist attraction.

What was old will be new again someday, just like classic cocktails and public transportation, and I'm just waiting for the day a Cincinnati politician proposes reviving an incline.

When that happens, I'll be right there cheering them on.

But I digress.

We cruised to the riverfront and sailed through Sawyer Point toward Friendship Park. Wingman and I were zipping along the trail, keeping pace with the guide, and I got a little cocky. I leaned forward while cruising up a hill, and found myself in trouble when the hill crested and I started traveling down the other side.

The Segway sped down the concrete path at full speed, and I'd lost complete control.

Wingman trailed behind me as I sailed down the hill, yelping as I tried in vain to slow down.

My only option (I am somewhat surprised that I accomplished the following successfully) was to careen into the grass and leap off. In a skirt and Birkenstocks.

And that's exactly what I did.

The Segway sped off into some shrubbery as I landed face and knees down, my hands bracing for the turf.

"It was actually a very graceful leap," Wingman would later say, as if to ease some of my injured ego.

A few days later, I only have a faint bruise on my right knee - it could have been a lot worse if I ditched the Segway on cement.

I got back on and finished the trek - it's actually a beautiful tour along the riverfront - passing the Serpentine Wall, the backside of Great American Ball Park and through part of the Freedom Center.

Friendship Park Fiasco aside, I loved the Segway tour, and am actually really looking forward to getting on one of these funky vehicles again soon.

Just make sure there's plenty of grass around.

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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