Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Segway adventure

Today's healthy activity: er... well, it wasn't all that strenuous, actually. Segway riding along Tanjong and Siloso Beaches
Distance: does it matter?
Time: 1 hour

I've always wanted to ride one of these things. They seem so practical to use, so easy to get around with, and they look like a lot of fun too.

The Segway is really an expensive kick-scooter without needing the kick. The motor is battery-powered, charged from an ordinary wall socket.

The controls are intuitive, easily picked up as soon as you get on board. Lean forward to move forward and the further you lean the faster you go. Likewise lean left and right to wheel in the direction of the lean. To decelerate, lean back or return to vertical to halt. The handle grips mostly function as a point of reference so you brain knows which way to lean, but they don't actually steer the device. Just shifting your weight does the trick. Oh yeah, the handles are also a way to steady yourself over bumpy terrain.

Sentosa is the only location in S'pore that operates the business of Segway riding. The facility is at Beach Station where they offer a basic fun package, and a beach "adventure" -- guided, of course. I opted for the latter. Cost $35, and because I was alone I got a guide immediately (normally, there's a 1 hour pre-booking for a guide).

My guide was an affable chap who engaged me in easy conversation throughout the ride. Because it was just me and him, and he seemed to think I could handle my Segway with ease, after a while he raised my speed limiter from 8km/h to 20. I still couldn't catch up with him, though, and I didn't really want to. Didn't want him to think I was some kind of danger to myself and others and cut short our ride. He took the pix, in case you're wondering.

Riding the Segway is effortless fun. Once the speed limiter is off, it really moves. It requires only a little fine motor control and is quite maneuverable even within crowds of pedestrians, up and downslope even.

As a workout, it didn't work anything to speak of. Maybe an hour in the sun helped me to sweat out toxins, but that's about it. But if anyone (LTA?) is thinking of cutting off vehicular traffic from the CBD and Orchard areas, Segway rentals could be one way to do it!

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