Segways. If you're like me and have long been curious about the somewhat strange looking electric vehicles, it's now easier than ever to try the two-wheeled upright mode of transport for yourself. Forget CityCycle – there's an easier way to take in the sights of Brisbane City without having to push the pedals to the metal. Also by cruising on the battery operated devices you can feel the exhilaration of the wind in your face without even having to break a sweat.
On a crisp morning, thanks to the Kevin and Tara at Kangaroo Segway Tours, we began the tour at starting point at West End, heading out to traverse the impressive network of Brisbane's bikeways and running paths. Before you get the all clear to ride freely however you'll be given a 15-20 minute training session. It might seem short, but it's amazing just how little is required to get the feel of the battery operated vehicles. Tara mentioned that they frequently have riders as young as 12 and as old as 70. She also said that people who never could see themselves taking part in such an adventurous pursuit left the tours feeling a sense of pride, citing a recent older passenger who took the tour with her daughter and was left feeling unexpectedly emotional after the 1 hour experience.
Segways suit all ages, with the mode of transport easy to master and instinctive to manoeuvre
Despite the initial odd sensation of moving on a set of motorised wheels, riding a Segway feels incredibly instinctive with manoeuvring the vehicle made possible simply by leaning your body in different directions. To speed up you lean forward slightly putting pressure towards the front of the feet, and to slow down, leaning back, putting more weight onto the heels. Stick your butt out and bend your knees like you're doing a squat and you're able to stop almost instantly, and with handlebars similar to a bike, Segways pivot smoothly, allowing for sharp turning.
Each tour starts with a 15 minute training session, not included in the tour length.
Best yet, the self balancing machines can't fall over. So despite the strange sensation of leaning further forward to get more power on an incline, the computers and sensors are able to maintain balance by adjusting the pitch angle. If it all sounds complex, all you need to know is this: you'd have more luck tipping a car into a ditch than flipping your Segway. So with the training out of the way our group of four headed down to the river, under the William Jolly and Go-Between bridges and along the prime waterfront at Southbank overlooking Brisbane city.
Our 1 hour tour went from West End, through Southbank and over the Goodwill bridge before returning over the Kurilpa bridge
On some of the more open stretches of paths where there was less traffic, we cruised at about 16km per hour (Segways can reach speeds of up to 12 miles per hour) getting plenty of smiles and a few strange looks from those who were obviously unfamiliar with seeing people whizzing by while standing on two feet. On the one hour tour we cruised from West End, through Southbank, over the Goodwill Bridge and around the Brisbane Botanic Gardens before heading back.
Kangaroo Segway Tours offer a flexible routes around Brisbane inner city, and depending on the needs of your group there's plenty of opportunity to take pictures, and even stop for a coffee along the way. The company also run evening tours which offer a different perspective of the city and river when all lit up. There are also 2 hour tours which go around the Kangaroo Point cliffs, or through the Roma Street Parklands. There's no doubt that Brisbane's climate at the vast network of bike paths means it's ideally suited to the Segway, with no riding on roadways necessary along the tours.
After an action packed 1 hour tour we reluctantly stepped off the Segway and put our feet back on solid ground, only to notice just how much effort it is to have to lift your legs to move yourself forward after having the machine take care of such onerous matters.
Tara and Kevin's personable commentary along the tour and easy going nature made sure we felt comfortable at all times, as we went along at a good pace. Offering Brisbane's best value Segway rides that starting at just $69.00, Kangaroo Segway tours are an excellent way for locals and visitors alike to gain a unique and exhilarating perspective of Brisbane. In my mind, the wheels are still spinning, eagerly planning my next Segway adventure.