So, we’ve heard of these things called Segways and we’ve heard they’re really rather fun. But what makes Go Ape’s Segway Experience so unique? We spoke to James Winter – Area Manager and responsible for all things Segways – to gather some more information about what an hour on one of these all-terrain, two-wheeled, electric machines is really like.
James has been part of the Segway team since day one, so he knows a thing or two about them. The beauty of Segways is that they appeal to everyone – from families and corporate days out to hen/stag dos and birthday parties. At an hour long, it’s a less intense session than the Tree Top Adventure, but many choose to do one followed by the other.
Unlike the Tree Top Adventure, which involves training followed by a few hours finding your own way around the forest without an instructor, the Segway experience is slightly more structured. A Segway instructor will lead you around the forest – but this is no bad thing. James says they’ll often get to know you well during your experience, and will adjust and tailor each session to suit you. They know exactly which areas are best to take you, depending on weather conditions and on the ability of the group.
First up, you’ll have your helmet fitted. This is followed by a training session, during which your Segway will be in ‘training mode’, set at 7.5mph. Around half way through your Segway experience, and when everyone in your group is happy and the conditions are right, the speed setting is changed, meaning you can travel at up to 10.5mph.
If you’ve never stepped on a Segway before, you might be worried about balance and co-ordination. But you certainly don’t need to be an expert unicyclist to master the art of the Segway. In fact, it couldn’t be easier; simply step on to it and enjoy the unique experience of this “clever piece of kit”. It magically keeps itself upright, allowing you to move effortlessly and glide through the forest at your own pace. However, James stresses the importance of paying attention for the duration of the session. The Segway Experience is certainly not without its risks; it is still possible to hurt yourself and fall off if you’re not concentrating. So make sure you stay switched on and “keep your wits about you”, James warns.
Another great thing about Segways is that you get to see parts of the forest you may not necessarily venture out to if you were just going for a walk. It takes you away from the main trail, allowing you to see areas you’ve never seen before, even if you have been “coming to the woods to walk your dog for years”.
So can anyone go on a Segway? Not quite. Just like the Tree Top Adventure, you have to be over ten years old. You also have to be over seven and a half stone and under 19.5 stone – this is so the Segway gyroscopes can keep their balance.
The Segway Experience is an all-weather activity, so it’s equally as exhilarating come rain or shine. Just make sure you wrap up warm in the winter, James says, as you’re standing still so don’t generate a huge amount of body heat.
Once you’ve tried the unique Segway Experience, you’re likely to want to feel the sensation again. This is why James sees the same familiar groups coming back regularly. Segways are available at ten of the Go Ape locations, so find the one closest to you and get a taste for living life adventurously.