If you’ve ever seen the film Paul Blart: Mall Cop, then you’ll know exactly what a Segway is. If you’re anything like me, likely this is something you’ve been wanting to try. I had been wanting to ride a one for quite some time, and Clearwater Beach on the Gulf Coast of Florida is the ideal place to do it thanks to the amazing scenery, great weather, and interesting routes. In all honesty, it is one of the most fun experiences I have ever had.
For those of you who may not know what a Segway is, let me help you out. It is a two-wheeled, motorized transport that utilizes gyroscopes to help the rider maintain their balance. It also checks the pressure of the rider’s footprint at one hundred times per second. Therefore, the more pressure you put on your toes, the faster it will move forward; the more pressure you put on your heels, the faster it will come to a stop. Like a motorcycle, it is imperative that you lean with the Segway as you go forwards or backwards. It truly is an incredible and intelligent machine. Not to mention that the one I rode could reach a top speed of 20km/h (12mp/h) so not only is this machine convenient and fun, it’s also quick.
If you live in the Clearwater area or plan to visit, you will likely see the participants of The Segway Adventure tour cruising along the beach sidewalks. The facility, which is located at the Magnuson Hotel, starts the tour from an alley south of the central roundabout. Parking is available at the hotel for five dollars. Tour guides begin the adventure with a training session that demonstrates how to properly use the Segway and informs participants of everything they will need to know. Our tour guide, Joe – who is a VERY experienced rider and guide – gave very thorough instructions, telling us what to do (and what not to do) while allowing us to practice within the safety of the parking lot until everyone felt comfortable.
After approximately 30 minutes of training, we were off to The Beach Walk, which is a long, wide sidewalk that runs the length of the oceanfront on the southern end of Clearwater Beach. The Walk tends to get quite busy, so this is where I began to feel famous considering the crowd was enviously stopping to watch my fellow riders and me as we coasted along past them.
After the Beach Walk, Joe guided us along the gorgeous Clearwater Memorial Causeway, which was a comfortable ride with breathtaking scenery. We paused at the top of the bridge span to admire Clearwater Harbor and, of course, take pictures. At this point, Joe imparted some interesting facts and stories about the history of Clearwater and pointed out some of the most historic and expensive houses in the neighborhoods. We then continued across the bridge and into the City of Clearwater.
After a spin through Harbor Oaks, the tour reached its farthest point at a public fishing dock. Here, the adventure allows for a 20-minute break so that participants can do whatever they please – this includes riding around freely, taking a stroll, or simply sitting a while and taking in the view. I opted for a bench with a stunning view of the harbor. Then it was time to head back along the same route, which allowed us a second pass at the spectacular views.
As I said, this is one of the most fun adventures I’ve ever had. I loved it so much that immediately following the tour I began researching similar experiences in my hometown. It’s an experience for both family and friends to share, and especially a GREAT team-building activity for co-workers!
The Segway Adventure tour provides helmets and water bottles – not to mention a great history lesson. Participants should wear comfortable shoes as you will be riding for two hours. This includes a 30-minute training session and a 7.5-mile journey that will last approximately one and a half hours. The tour is $65 per person and SO worth it! Segway Adventure is open seven days a week and hosts two tours per day – one setting off at 10 a.m. and the other at 3:30 p.m. If you’re in the Clearwater area or plan to be, you don’t want to miss it!
For more information, check out their website: www.thesegwayadventure.com
Review Article and Photos by Marisa Filippo