10 Weeks 10 Dates #9: Making a Smooth Segwayby: Julie and Zane on 2010-07-28
My desires to moonlight as a mall cop finally came to fruition this past weekend when my dating partner and I went on the coolest date ever...Segways. One part total awesomeness, one part sheer embarrassment, these robo-legs came jam packed with excitement. "But Julie and Zane," you may ask, "how could you go on a Segway tour date if you live in New York City which has a law banning the use of them?" Great question total stranger but future friend of Hers & His! We wondered this too and we searched high and low for nearby tours.
There are a few technical innovations that I have been eager to try out since their creation: self-parking cars, smart phones, electronic cigarettes and the clasp-shop. However, all these pale in comparison to the one invention that has promised to revolutionize our lives... Segways.
Not wanting to plan a different activity because come on, how often can you justify spending $100 for an hour and a half of futuristic rollerblading? We set out to nearby Philadelphia and made a day of it. Daters, be advised, book a week in advance, some of these tours fill up quickly during the nice weather. Philadelphia offers a few different guided tours, so on a whim we chose iGlide, Segway instructors to the stars. Or, just to us bloggers.
When Julie set up the voting for possible future dates I hoped riding Segways would be chosen. As the laziest form of travel (next to the "people mover" as seen in airports and casinos) I just had to see what all the fuss was about, especially if it was the harbinger of my life becoming obsolete.
Our original plans were to travel up to Poughkeepsie and ride down along the Hudson but underestimated the sheer volume of like-minded tech-aficionados; it sold out quicker than the new iPad. This proved to be a non-issue as we opted to go take a Philly tour just 5 minutes from my sister's family.
We booked with the 7pm group and spent the day anxiously awaiting our high-speed crashes while visiting with Zane's sister, brother-in-law and adorable 8-week old niece. When out to lunch, Zane's sister made sure to let us know that we were participating in one of the most touristy, nerdy activities known to Philadelphites. Her description of helmets, brightly colored safety vests and public humiliation did not line up with what I had envisioned. Squashed were my hopes of kids tugging on their parent's sleeve shouting "Mommy! Mommy! I want to be like her!"
The scenery was lovely. Thinking ahead, Julie booked the tour at dusk which made everything look better. Having completed the date, I'd have to say the only thing that could top riding Segways was seeing my adorable 2-month-old niece. During our visit with my sister we were told how the Segwayers were widely regarded as loser-ish uber tourists. Not only snapping pictures of the everyday sights of Philly has to offer, but doing it in helmets and neon ponchos atop wheeled contraptions not unlike over-sized roombas with handles and "pimped out" wheels. This didn't worry me in the slightest as I have never had any misconceptions about the way people look when riding Segways. Rather, the weather was the issue of greatest concern to me. While sitting in a Belgian bar having lunch, a freak storm tore through the city. Mass thunder, heavy downpour, and mighty gale force winds. We were quickly reminded of the tornado warning NY was subjected to a few days prior.
The stormy weather cleared just in time to leave the air scented with summer and the humidity dispersed, along with my dignity. We took a stroll to the Philly Art Museum where, according to my print out, we should meet our tour group. If you haven't been to Philadelphia before, it's beautiful. We've been a few times for vacations and the downtown is truly beautiful. Full of history and charm, and small enough to soak up in a weekend. We had yet to explore the museum area, so we were in uncharted territory for this tour.
There, in the distance, in front of the museum was an iGlide van, suitable for portable devices of the future, or kidnapping a busload of school children. The instructor Dude, who could be described no other way, hung around chatting up our awaiting classmates, a dad who wanted to be "hip" for a day and his two teenage children who were dreaming of video games and emo songs. "Daaaaad" they whined as he embarrassed them over and over with his "let me tell you" stories, making friends with any stranger who dared get close. Aww, it was like my own father was there to join us on our adventure!
Our rag tag group zipped around like we owned the place, and being as our tour group was comprised solely of out-of-towners, I could understand all the glares from locals. I couldn't help but feel superior to these piétons faible. Like the founding fathers, whose likenesses surrounded us cast in bronze and gold, we stood tall on our pedestals, towering over the mere peasants. "You need to move your legs to move? Hah, I just feel myself moving and I'm gone!" There is nothing better than seeing an irate person disappear in a flash at 10 miles an hour.
No one ever checked our IDs or asked for paperwork or proof that we had already paid for the class online. No, Philly is not about rules. Philly's about keeping it chill. I hope there was a headcount somewhere between us all signing one big paper for legal purposes and hopping aboard our Segways, because I feel like we could have gotten away by just walking up and acting like we belonged. (That is not a recommendation to cheat the system, but an astute observation.)
The lesson was brief and efficient: Lean with your hips, steer with your arms, don't crash into street vendors. Oh? That last part wasn't in the lesson? It should have been. Helmet on, Segway in motion, my hips didn't seem to care that I was careening toward the poor guy selling water. Luckily he must see about 5 classes a day, so HE was shouting at me "Lean back! Lean back!" Thanks Water Man. Thanks for making me feel so inadequate. Crisis avoided, I rolled about, getting my "Segway Legs." Tourists didn't seem phased, they must see this a lot in the area, but I did get a few "oohs" which made up for my helmet hair.
Once we were all well versed in the ways of the Seg, we were off! ...To the fountain, 30 feet away. Then stopped. To learn about the fountain. Then we were off! ...To that statue 20 feet to the left. Then stopped. To learn why the French are okay. Woops, did I forget this was a "guided" tour?? The Dude did his best to make Philly architecture as gnarly as possible and ensured we got enough cruise between our culture. We saw some amazing sites and because we had the evening tour, got to enjoy an amazing sunset. It was the best combination of fun, adventure, romance and learning. I highly suggest this as a great way to learn something new with your partner.
So what is it like riding Segways? Well to quote an ostentatious sign that welcomes you to Brooklyn on the BQE "Believe the Hype" It is awesome! Imaging coasting on rollerblades on the flattest surface, or standing in front of a fan, on a sinking ship. It takes mere minutes to get the handle of it, but once you do, you will feel the freedom of truly cruising. Sure you will feel like a complete tool as everyone around you will inherently hate you, but personally I thought it was a very fair trade-off (maybe not as much if we were forced to wear the neon life vests).
I give this date a 10 "miles per hour is the max you can go on a Segway before it bucks backward as a safety/'scare the crap out of you' mechanism" out of 10! It provides many memorable moments, few pulled muscles and pictures to show your kids one day "When people used to use their legs and Segways were merely for entertainment." Go when the sun isn't sweltering and splurge at least once for this totally awesome adventure!
Do this date. Seriously, go now and do it. Certain places may be a little on the pricy side but once you're done, you'll be ready to drop five grand on one of your own. With tours, not only do you get to ride around on some truly unique vehicles, but also get a little knowledge out of it as well. Did you know in the beginning, they almost voted to speak German in Pennsylvania? Well gosh, dieses ich gebe 10 "Verlierers sind ich" aus 10.
About the Authors
Julie and Zane have been dating 2 years and have moved a combined total of 5 times. After moving in together for the first time, they began a blog entitled Hers & His to record their adventures of living together and to avoid having to repeat stories for their parents. They enjoy exploring their city of New York, Law & Order: SVU, Sushi and Jeopardy. Julie works in marketing and Zane is a video editor. They are the proud parents of a handsome little kitten named Buster. Even when life becomes as mundane as it can be, they always find a way to make it feel epic.