Turning on a Euro, rather than a sixpence, seemed an apt description as a slight stroke of my hand turned my Segway to the left, right, or in a full circle. Having seen them gliding along at sporting events and snaking along the sea front in Tenerife I was finally trying one out with Tenerife Segway Tours in La Caleta.
It’s basically two chunky wheels, a platform, a steering stick, and a proud boast that which ever way you lean you can’t fall off. Not wanting to be the exception that proves the rule, I was pleased to find our guide and instructor Julio ready with a detailed run though of technique on the forecourt of their shop. The four of us, two Brits and two Germans popped our helmets on and were individually coaxed in both languages with plenty of good humoured encouragement. It’s all about letting the computerized gyroscope at the heart of the Segway compensate for each body movement when leaning forward or back to suggest direction.
So there we were out on the pavement negotiating our first ramps and low kerbs as we headed up above La Caleta with La Gomera across the Atlantic and Fañabe merging into Torviscas in Costa Adeje. The other Brit, Dave, had used a Segway twice before in other countries and was so keen for another go he had driven down with his wife from their Candelaria hotel. Our route took us up between Tenerife Top Training and Golf Costa Adeje where we stopped for some background info on the machines.
The Segway was invented in 2001 in New Hampshire and soon became popular for its clean and environmentally friendly nature. Our quartet had the X2 model with a top speed of 12 mph, they are meant for convenience rather than racing. They cost between 8,000 and 9,000 euros but are incredibly cheap to charge up at an ordinary wall socket.
With small variations for user weight it’s possible to do a couple of miles each way to work, around 25 kms and back, in a week for just a 25 cent electricity cost. In Holland and Belgium they are used a lot by urban police. Los Cristianos had two Segway mounted police a few years ago and I often saw them go down the concrete steps from the beach promenade onto the sand, they can cope with all surfaces.
Reaching the top of the road we headed down via a zone of narrow pavements and easily threaded our way between palm trees before ramping down to cross the road. At the bottom of the hill we came out by the Sheraton La Caleta and found their block paving forecourt equally to our liking. Arriving back at the shop nearly 90 minutes after starting our instruction drill, we were all relaxing and letting the Segways do the work for us with the slightest of encouragement. Skirting the final corner down to the shop forecourt was done with a flourish. What a nice way to travel.
Tenerife Segway Tours; (0034) 922 71 51 69 or 661 081 281, open Mon-Sat 10am to 7pm, closed Sundays; prices from €15 for a 15 minute Discovery Tour to €55 euros for a 2.5 hour Expedition Tour; booking essential.
Category : things to do
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