At the beginning of the current millennium the world waited anxiously for “Ginger”, a new invention from master inventor Dean Kamen. Kamen promised that “Ginger” (his code name for it) would revolutionize the world. In December of 2001 his new invention was finally unveiled. “Ginger” turned out to be the Segway HT (HT for Human Transport). The name Segway was chosen as a play on the word “segue” — to make a smooth transition — since the Segway HT was supposed to segue mankind into the next era of human transportation. Apparently Kamen believed walking to be an outmoded means of transportation. He wanted to replace it with his new marvel of modern technology, the Segway HT. However, the rest of mankind hasn’t seemed to share his opinion, as fewer than 24,000 Segways had been sold by August 2006.
While the Segway may never replace walking and bicycle riding as the preferred means of getting around, there is no denying that riding a Segway is an extremely fun experience. In addition, riding a Segway is a skill very easy to master. It takes less than one half hour to be comfortable on a Segway, and proficiency can be attained in only a matter of hours. A study done several years ago determined that 93% of all people who have seen a Segway want to try a Segway, while only 1% would like to own one. At a cost of over $6000 per unit, it’s no wonder! But don’t worry. If you are part of the 93% interested in the novel experience of riding a Segway, Palm Beach Segway Tours is here to provide you this opportunity.
Between December 2001 when they first “rolled” out, and August 2006, all improvements in the Segway were fairly minor. Changes may have been cosmetic, or small improvements were made in the software, but basically the functionality was the same for the first five years. In August of 2006 the new Segway i2 debuted, with full LeanSteer™ technology perfected. You might be under the impression that the Segway PT (Personal Transporter) has been steered by leaning, but that is not actually the case. The new Segway i2 PT is the first incarnation to fully allow the rider to turn in any direction, simply by leaning that way.
All older models went forward by leaning forward, and backwards by leaning backward, but in order to turn left or right, the rider was required to turn a throttle-like control with the left hand. The Segway turned to the left if the rider turned (throttled) the control away from him/her, and the Segway turned to the right if the control was turned (throttled) toward the rider.
The degree to which this control, located on the left handlebar grip, was throttled, determined the intensity of the turn.
Although most riders developed proficiency with this control very quickly, many never fully adjusted to it. Motorcyclists, for example, frequently complained that it was counter intuitive to them. They had spent years used to the right hand throttle controlling the acceleration of their motorcycles. For them, attempting to ride the older Segways was a constant struggle with years of ingrained muscle memory. Many others had trouble as well. In a panic, many would attempt to turn away from danger by trying to turn the handlebar in that direction, forgetting that they needed to use the control in order to turn. Often this aggressive panic move would damage the weakest part of the old Segways, the steering column.
The perfected LeanSteer technology of the new Segway models has made control far easier. Now the Segway turns in whichever direction the rider leans, not just forward and backwards. To turn left or right on the new Segway i2, the rider simply leans left or right, with the intensity of the turn controlled by the severity of the lean.
Because it is far more intuitive to ride a Segway now, training times can be greatly reduced. This is an important consideration for anyone considering taking a Segway tour of a city. You personally may train very quickly and be ready to start the actual tour, but no good tour guide will embark until all riders demonstrate a sufficient degree of proficiency. This process is a lot quicker on the far more intuitive to ride Segway i2 units.
In addition, you are less likely to damage the Segway, or hurt yourself because you zigged when you meant to zag. This happens quite a bit with the old technology. With the new LeanSteer technology, you always zig when you mean to zig, and zag when you mean to zag. Thus, there are far less surprises, far less accidents, and far more satisfied customers when you tour with Palm Beach Segway Tours on our new i2 units. We encourage you to watch the SAFETY VIDEO before going on the tour.
Curious why you don’t fall over while standing still on, or riding a Segway? The Segway is truly a marvel of modern technology. It is the world’s first self-balancing human transporter. It uses a process called dynamic stabilization to keep you upright at all times. For a detailed explanation of this process, and for a hint into the science behind the technology, please click on the following link: