Sunday, July 26, 2009

Segway Tour

Another thing I've always wanted to try is a Segway tour or ride. I've seen then a few times, on TV shows such as Arrested Development, in movies such as Paul Blart: Mall Cop, even on other tours - when I was in DC for the MCM last October, I walked right by a group taking a guided tour on Segways. It looked fun so after digging around a bit, I found that Segway of Central Florida offered a historic tour of nearby Mount Dora.

My friends Amy and Christine and I showed up a few minutes early, and started getting used to the Segways. They are very sensitive - we quickly found out that it doesn't take much leaning at all to make the Segway go forward. Turning was done by pulling the central handle left or right, and that's about it. After doing figure 8's in the store for a few minutes, we headed out for the tour.

The tour itself began in a park, with a view of the lighthouse. Almost immediately, we went offroad onto grass, which the Segway handled quite well. We quickly got comfortable controlling the Segway - it really didn't take much time at all.

Mount Dora Lighthouse
Originally uploaded by klbarrus
This lighthouse is on Lake Dora, and is the only lighthouse on a freshwater lake in Florida.

We wound our way through Palm Island Park, through a nice neighborhood and Gilbert Park, up Mount Dora (a towering 100 feet or so), and through downtown. Our guide filled us in with information about the B&B's we passed, the original general store and lakefront dock, sites of historical interest such as the location of the fire and police station, so-and-so's original house, and so on. Granted, Mount Dora doesn't have the adventurous or exciting history of other cities, but it was enjoyable enough on top of the Segway ride. It began as a factory town and added more when a railroad was built, and these days it hosts a lot of festivals, from art to bicycling events.

Our Segways had a speed limiter of 8 mph, which I immediately translated to the running pace of 7:30 min/mile. We are all runners and I joked that I could qualify for Boston if I could ride a Segway the whole time. Halfway through the tour, the guide showed us how to take it out of "slow" mode, upping the max speed to 12 mph, or a rather speedy running pace of 5:00 min/mile. We didn't have any trouble with the extra speed, and zoomed away for the rest of the tour.

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