Echo Lake Aquarium And Science Center, Burlington, Sunday, July 6, 1 P.M.
I have always made fun of the new-age scooters called Segways. But secretly embedded within my cynicism was a mounting curiosity — surely shared by many — and that’s why I went to ECHO’s “Body Language” exhibit last Sunday to give one a test drive.
Bruce Morrissey, founder of SegRides of Vermont , was on hand with part of his “fleet” to complement the exhibit by offering demonstrations and free rides. As he explained the finer points of Seg-riding, I remembered all the crashes I had stupidly viewed on YouTube before coming. So, instead of volunteering as the guinea pig, I watched the first few riders and tried to bolster my confidence.
Once aboard the Segway, I had to acquaint myself with the gravity-centered accelerator and throttle steering. To accelerate, you simply lean forward; you lean back to stop, and the Segway stops on a dime. You control the steering with a throttle-like knob on the left handlebar. Turn the knob all the way in one direction and you can spin in place, kind of like a figure skater, fully experiencing the Segway’s 360-degree turning radius.
After a few laps behind ECHO, I was starting to get the feel for the Segway, and Bruce even complimented me on the way I bent my knees into the turns. Guess I’m a natural! I felt as cool as is possible riding a Segway, wearing my shades and metallic helmet and dodging waterfront walkers. I learned Bruce had spinners for the wheels but didn’t bring them along, so I was unable to pimp my Segway. Regardless, for one afternoon I was up there with the best of them: the NYPD, Shaq and all the other talented, high-self-esteem individuals willing and able to ride the vehicle today.
Even better, I was able to add “Riding a Segway” to my list of “Things I Can Do That President Bush Can’t.”