Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Why Buy a Segway? (one might ask)

Well, for me, it's part environmental concern, part "social coolness" factor, and partly to save fuel costs.

For the environmental part, the Segway uses electricity for power, and that is generally cleaner to produce than gasoline, and the emissions are much lower.

For the "social coolness" factor, well, I am a nondescript 42 year old guy with mostly gray hair and an ever-so-slight belly paunch, and I'm raising two kids under 10 yrs old. My social opportunities are EXTREMELY limited at best, and completely nonexistent at worst. If people talk to me on the street and ask me about my Segway, that's more social interaction than I normally get, and I appreciate that.

As for the saving fuel, well, the cost of fuel will NEVER repay the initial outset cost of purchasing the Segway. But based on the 400-450 Miles Per Gallon equivalent which the Segway achieves versus a car, (even my 48.5 MPG Hybrid car) I'm saving between 25 and 31 cents in fuel cost every day that I commute on the Segway. So that extends the gas tanks in my car and means fewer $2.50 per gallon fillups. At the end of the year, I hope to save between 1200 and 1500 miles of driving on my car, so that slows the depreciation value of my car for resale purposes. So it helps in numerous ways.

In addition, I take my kids to Texas twice a year to visit family. When we do go, taking the Segway will be fun for all the family to glide on and it will enhance all the lives of those people, even for a short time and in a very minor way. It's at worst a conversation piece.

I hope those are not broad rationalizations but instead are genuinely good, sound reasons why a Segway is in my care at this time.
Segway Comedy

Last night we had an interesting bike/Segway ride, my two kids and me. We took a 3-mile one-way trip to Denny's for dinner. My son's bike had been having air problems in the tire (slow leaks) but we checked and he had plenty of air when we left home.

After dinner, when we started home, his rear tire was almost all the way flat. His front was low. It was 7:15 pm and already dark, and there was only one place between Denny's and home to buy any "air in a can" tire filler stuff, and that was the Food City which was about 2 miles from Dennys. So off we went into the night.

About 1/2 a mile from Food City, my son had two full blown FLAT tires. I decided to carry the bike with me on my Segway and let my son walk. So I propped the bike up on the side carry bag and held the frame with my right hand (which you don't need for Segway usage) and off we went. At Food City, we got the Fix-A-Flat, but alas, Stevie's rear tire had a hole in the stem, so it would not seal. It aired up a little, as did the front tire, but not much. We started home again with Stevie riding again.

After about 1/4 a mile, TWO FLATS again. So I had another idea: Let Maddie ride on the Segway with me, and carry the bike again on the sidebar, and let Stevie ride Maddie's bike. So for the last 3/4 a mile, that's how we rolled. Maddie standing in front of me on the Segway, Stevie riding Maddie's bike, and me holding Stevie's bike with my right hand. Very comical scene, and I wish I had a picture. Surprisingly, I felt completely safe and secure on the Segway that way, as I had told Maddie to just stand straight and not worry about leaning to slow or go, that I would do all that for us. It worked wonderfully. Segway was RIGHT AT the 260 pound rated limit, with my 190 and Maddie's 45 and the bike, which I would guess to be 25-30 pounds.

Oh, the adventures we have had and are going to have on the Segway. Stay tuned !!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Interesting Segway ride Saturday the 25th of March....

Took my Segway to the Phoenix Park-n-Swap and into Downtown Phoenix for the Home and Garden show. About a 20 mile roundtrip - more on that later.

At the Park-n-Swap, I rode into the gate and stopped at the first food court to get a breakfast burrito. After parking the Segway and ordering, I heard an announcement over the loudspeaker system: "As a courtesy to our guests, no rollerblades, skateboards, scooters, or other motorized vehicles with the exception of motorized wheelchairs are allowed inside the Park-n-Swap." That was obviously intended for me. Someone had seen me and ratted me out. So I used the power assist mode and walked the Segway around until I was on my way out, and I rode it out the last 100 feet. Nice to be noticed, eh?

Later, downtown, I had just turned off the sidewalk into the shopping area where the AMC 24 movie theater was located, where I was going to see "Inside Man" (very good movie, long but lots of high drama and comedy.) I heard someone shouting "hey, you, stop come here, stop!" and looked behind me and a security guard was trying to flag me back to the street area. I turned around and headed over when another, older and wiser guard told the other guard, "No, he's OK, he's fine" and they let me proceed.

At the movies, I bought my ticket and was walking the Segway up to the ticket taking girl and a manager came over to open the door for me. After I got my ticket torn and was walking away toward Theater #2, I heard the manager say to the ticket girl, "Police Vehicle." They thought I was a cop !!! I should have asked for some free coffee and doughnuts !! LOL. Anyway, inside the theater near the exit door to the outside was a wall outlet, so I charged my Segway for the two hours I was in the movie. Worked out great !!

As far as the cruising range on a charge, I think something is wrong with one of my batteries - it's either not holding a charge or is depleting too fast. I ran out of juice about 5 blocks from home and had to pull the Segway the rest of the way. Not an easy task !! The Segway dealer is going to swap both my batteries for two from his shop to see if things get better. I'm sure they will. I'll likely be getting a new battery out of this issue, maybe two. I want my 19-24 mile range !!!