Monday, November 26, 2007

Well, It Was Fun While It Lasted - 3,936 Miles

In what might be the shortest life ever of a $5,000 Segway, my Segway has ceased to function as a commute vehicle. I used it for about 20 months every workday.

It has some sort of hardware problem that causes "Emergency Shutdowns" during my commute rides. Last Friday it would not restart like it normally had in the past, and it left me stranded. The Segway does not do this in the afternoon as much as in the morning, so SOMEHOW I think it is related to temperature. But to repair it outside of warranty is not a financially sound decision, because it needs tires ($279) and new batteries ($1200) and the shipping ($200) to Segway Corp for repair (more hundreds of $$ for labor and parts) so it can no longer be my commute vehicle.


I have purchased an IZIP Electric Bike to replace the Segway as my commute vehicle of choice. I live in Phoenix, so during the hot summer months I cannot just "ride a bike" because it would mean showering at work in the morning and again in the afternoon after the commute. I'm too old for that hassle - so an electric bike, which allows me to pedal "WHEN I WANT TO" is almost a perfect choice. It will allow me to exercise a small bit as I can pedal when I want to and use electric assist when I want to, something the Segway could not provide.

Putting the IZIP together tonite (November 26th, 2007) and will keep this Blog updated with the tales of my new-fangled commute vehicle.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Driver of Highlander Hybrid Forces Me To Yell (and Cuss) At Him

I was having a nice, peaceful glide home yesterday afternoon. Came to a red light at the entrance to the 202 Freeway near the Salt River Bridge. The left turn lane on the other side was in full flow, turning in front of me. There was a line of cars at the red light behind me (I was at the entrance to the crosswalk waiting for the line of left-turners to finish so I could go.) I had pulled forward to "nose ahead" of the green Highlander which was the first car waiting to turn right onto the freeway entrance ramp. I was there to let him know that "as soon as this line of cars finishes, I'm GOING because I'm in the crosswalk and I have the right-of-way by both my position ahead of you and by Arizona law which gives pedestrians in the crosswalk the right-of-way over vehicles."

Well, the flow of cars finally ended and I started to go. In the corner of my ever-alert little eye, I saw HIM pulling out ALSO !! I turned my Segway toward him a little and he honked, so I honked back and he stopped and I continued to pull on out into the crosswalk. His belligerent act made me instinctively turn my head toward him and yell very loudly, "CROSSWALK, MOTHERFU**ER!!!!" while pointing down at the ground. He gave me a glare which he got back in full, and we both went our merry ways.

This event in essence ruined my evening. I was not in a good mood the rest of the night. I hope I see him again there at some point. I'd like him to mouth off to me about the incident and let me rip into him again about not giving a pedestrian the crosswalk right-of-way as law and common sense requires !! Sometimes people are such arseholes.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

RAIN?!?!?!? In Phoenix ?!?!?!?!? No way !!!!

Well, after 16 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days of riding the Segway to work every day, I *FINALLY* had a weather event which delayed my commute. I had gone through wind storms, dust storms, ice on the sidewalks, medium rain, light rain, fog, darkness, 115 degree days, etc. But about 8 minutes into my commute yesterday, with a big rainstorm visible to the east of me, the rain started coming down on me. HARD and FAST rain - not some normal little Phoenix sprinkle. By the time I got across the Salt River bridge and to an area which had a little business strip mall and an available dry area under an overhang, I was soaking wet on my left side. My right side was mostly just sprinkled on, but I was drenched on the left side, which was the direction the rain had been coming from.

I parked the Segway and stood around waiting for it to die down - rainstorms in Phoenix, even in the rainy season which is now, are usually very short. If you get 5 minutes of steady, solid rain on you, consider yourself lucky. But this rain was hard and persistent. That first "rain-forced stop" was about 15 minutes. When it had died down a little and was raining slower, I took off again. Made it about 5 blocks and the rain started coming down hard again. I took shelter under a good, thick tree canopy and waited about 5 minutes, where it slowed again. Made it about 2 blocks this time before I had to take shelter under another overhang at a doctor's office. This time it slowed down to a mostly hard sprinkle and I was able to make it all the way home. So the rain managed to delay me about 25 minutes total.

Last year I purchased a rain parka JUST for this moment - but of course it was home in my closet, not in my Segway bag where I should have had it. NOT ANY MORE IT'S NOT !!! I packed that puppy this morning and if this happens again (which it of course WON'T now that I am prepared for it) then my parka will save me. BRING IT ON, MOTHER NATURE !!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More Holey Tire Problems

Slime finally failed me!! I finally had a hole too big for Slime to fill. Had to go get a "self plug kit" from AutoZone and I think the hole is "plugged" for now. Survived the first morning trip anyway.

Hopefully it will hold. I want to get 18 more months out of these tires but they sure are looking thin. At $275 for a new set, I want to put that off as long as I can.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Long Segway Rides Stimulate Thinking

I just decided recently that I do some of my best thinking during my afternoon 40 minute glides to home from work.

Like many people, I have historically done most of my best thinking while in the shower; but the Segway rides have replaced that now.

Yesterday I decided to start writing Segway haikus. I came up with two on the ride home, and two other haikus to share with my kids. I'm going to put the haikus on a page on my new website I'm starting,

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Slime is Da Shizzle !!

Had an issue with my tires recently. My right tire was losing air pretty noticeably quickly. In the first few months, I had to refill the tires about every two weeks. Then it became one week. Then I noticed that my right tire went down considerably faster. The right tire eventually started going down in about a day and a half. I had to take action !!

First I tried that "Fix a Flat" for car tires, but all that did was make a stinky mess in my garage. No effect at all on the leak.

So I did my research on and other places, and it appears the SLIME products were the ones to use.

I bought two 8-oz bottles of Slime for Tubeless tires (for $9.99 each !!!) at a bike shop and I put the slime in the tires the afternoon of May 8th. No mess, no fuss, no bad smells. Aired the tires up and ran the Segway around a few minutes to distribute the Slime evenly inside the tires.

Since then, the tires have not lost an OUNCE of air !! It's amazing !! Now I will be airing the tires up only maybe once a month or so I'll wager.

Everyone who has a Segway needs to SLIME those tires !!
Carnival Went GREAT

Gave about 90 Segway rides at the school carnival. Many kids came back for seconds. A couple of them were too small to ride it alone so I had to ride with them.

Calf muscles were REALLY SORE the next three days from all the jogging along forward and backward while I was escorting the riders on their merry treks.

Fun was had by all !!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Distance Adjustment and Carnival Segway Rides

I had the chance to drive the company pickup truck home and back the other day, so I decided to measure the miles from home to work.

Using Google Maps, I had estimated 6.0 miles. But the odo in the truck said 6.4 miles. So I got to adjust my mileage on the Segway and I'm now up to 2313.6 miles total. Cool....

This Friday (tomorrow) my kid's elementary school is having the outdoor carnival. I gave Segway rides for free last year, but this year they have incorporated me and it will cost 2 tickets for a ride. Hope to give about 24-30 rides in two hours. Kids are gonna love it.

Friday, April 20, 2007


I had a really spooky, heart-rate-spiking incident yesterday morning on the way to work on the Segway.

First of all, let me explain that I come to work really early, arriving by 5:30 AM. This time of year in Phoenix, the sun is not yet up, so my trip starts in total black dark and I arrive at work just at the beginning of light appearing on the horizon. I have a bike light on my handlebar guard that provides me about 20 feet of illumination in front of the Segway for that areas where street lights are not present.

About a mile from the end of my trip, I cross the Salt River and then the 202 Freeway on a pedestrian bridge about 8 feet wide. The total length from the start to the end of this bridge is probably 3/4 a mile. The sidewalls on part of the bridge are about 3 feet tall and concrete, with the other side being either steel rails or a chain link fence.

At the end, right before it goes back to regular sidewalk with no walls on each side, it goes down a little incline and curves slightly to the right. Another feature of the last part of this bridge is that there is a LONG stretch (200 feet) at the end where there is a gap in the streetlights and the sidewalk gets REALLY DARK there. This is the one place I need my bike "headlight" more than any other place every morning to make sure the sidewalk is clear of rocks, bricks, bottles, etc which might toss me off if I hit it at 12 miles per hour.

So, I'm cruising along in a "sidewalk trance" basically, almost at the end of the bridge and nearing the point where the streetlight illuminates the sidewalk again finally.

Suddenly, and completely surprisingly, I notice some movement on the sidewalk on my right, up against the 3-foot-tall concrete road barrier wall. It's a shirtless Hispanic man, in a fetal position but up on his knees, leaning against the wall !! As he either hears me or sees my light, he raises his head and moves his hands forward on the sidewalk like he is about to crawl.

But the really scary part was just SEEING him there and seeing him raise his head up and realizing that in this very dark and "expected to be empty" section of sidewalk, someone was there !!

Well, at that exact moment, I have NO IDEA what his intention might be. Is he about to rise up and mug me? Is he going to jump up and point a gun or knife my way? Is he going to jump up and tackle me off the Segway?

I have VERY limited options to defend myself. First of all, from the time I notice him until the time I will pass him is about 2 seconds total, because I'm moving about 16 feet per second. I don't really have time to react to anything he would do.

Imagine my relief when I see this: he puts his head down and SPITS on the ground beneath him right as I fly by him. That's when it hits me: he's just a drunked up or drugged up guy laying on the sidewalk. He's no danger to me.

I had a brief thought of stopping to see if he needed help; but at that time in the morning, in the darkness, I would really be in a pickle if he was sober enough to want to fight or be aggressive toward me in any fashion. Not that I'm worried about defending myself one-on-one, but if he had a knife or any other weapon, then I would be at a distinct disadvantage.

So it was definitely something I will remember and will think about every day when passing that point. Strange and Weird and Scary and SPOOKY.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

About 405 Miles Per Gallon (equivalent)

Just did the math on my first 2100 miles of Segging. Total electricity cost: $12.96

At $2.50 per gallon of gas, getting 2100 miles for $12.96 equates to

404.95 miles per gallon

for the 2100 miles I have done on my Segway so far.

Pretty decent !!! :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New Speed Record? Maybe so....

This morning I made it from about two blocks down Broadway to Thornwood in less than 21 minutes. I caught all the lights green and really was cookin'.

No way to know if this was an "official" speed record, but it was pretty darn fast !!

P.S. 29 Days since my wrist injury, and it still hurts and is weak. Surely I must have cracked a bone in there somewhere.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Ouch. (ouch.)

Sprained and/or broken and/or cracked wrists really hurt. Some of the time at least.

Still mystified as to the exact sequence of events which lead to my severe crash on Monday morning. It happened so fast and was so strange that I guess I will never really know the exact cause.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sidewalk Pavement Is Hard

Major wipeout today on the Segster. Complete driver error.

On my commute to work today, there is this one spot where a little drainage ditch right beside the road does not have a sidewalk across it. To get onto the sidewalk on the other side, you are required as a pedestrian or biker or Segger to Leave the sidewalk, go briefly onto the shoulder of the road, and then cross a little asphalt "bump" back onto the sidewalk where the sidewalk starts again. That "little bump" really is not so little - I usually catch a little air everytime I got over it.

Today I caught TOO MUCH air, and the result was getting to eat some sidewalk. (oops)

It happened really fast and I was not EXACTLY sure what happened to cause the crash at the time. After thinking about it for almost two hours now I think I know mostly what happened after reconstructing it in my mind.

I must have accelerated a little too much on my approach to the bump. That was Problem One. When I hit the bump, I think I must have been leaning forward too much - Problem Two. Once I was over the bump and the Segway started accelerating and leaning forward too far, I should have either leaned back more in an attempt to slow it or else should have jumped off and let it go down - Problem Three. Once I was into the fall with no way to get out of the crash, I should have tucked my head and done a front roll, letting my helmet protect me and not trying to catch myself - Problem Four.

So the Segway went down forward, I went down with it, and was thrown to the front left. Like I knew better than to do, I tried to catch myself with my left wrist and ended up smacking the left side of my face on the sidewalk. When my cheekbone hit the pavement I saw stars and knew I had scraped my skin off. The unsuspecting part was that I had not only a small strawberry on my upper cheekbone, but also a larger one down on my cheek right to the left of my chin and up on my face a little bit. And my left wrist was sprained from the ill-conceived and failed "catch myself" effort.

I got to work and cleaned my wounds and Jerry recommended a wrist wrap to immobilize the wrist. I noticed a little "double-strawberry" on my left knee also. I think I must have been going between 8 and 10 miles per hour at the time, because it was a pretty significant bang to the ground. The Segway, thanks to the handlebar guard and the front bag, was fine; just a little dirt on the front cargo bag.

So, lesson learned: keep your speed down and senses with you when going over a known bump - too much air can lead to too much sidewalk in the facial area.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Almost got to Eat Some Pavement Today

I was cruising along, full speed, on a darkened sidewalk less than a quarter mile from my work. All of a sudden the Segway hits something and does a little bounce-turn to the left, then back right, then wobbles almost enough to toss me off as I lean back to slow it down. All that in about 1 second of real time. My heart was racing with the adrenaline of almost getting to eat pavement for an early breakfast.

I stopped and went back to see what I hit. I recognized it instantly. It was a fist-sized rock, and amazingly, it was a rock I had noticed a couple of days before on the afternoon trip. I thought I would never have to worry about it because it had been about 2 inches from the edge of the sidewalk, and I usually never get a wheel that close to the edge. But this morning I did, for some reason; maybe just drifted.

Anyway, I kicked the rock off the sidewalk into the gravel, and I hopefully will not have to worry about that rock ever again....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Well, Life Does Change !!!

Been a few months since my last post, so I guess I should say I'm still a-kickin' and still a-Seggin'.

In fact, I'm on my Segway for an hour and 20 minutes every day now.

My Mom is retired, and has moved from Clyde, TX to live with my two kids and me in Phoenix. She is my "unofficial" nanny and is taking care of the kids for me during workdays. This means I save about $6000 a year in child care fees, some of which I am paying to her for room and board and I give her a little "allowance" every week so she can have pocket money. She turns 62 years old on November 30th, so she will start her Social Security withdrawals at that time. I will get to claim her as a dependent on my 2007 taxes, so that will help me even more. It's really a win-win situation for both of us.

What this means in term of the Segway is that now I get to seg all the way from home to work and back every day. This means 12 round-trip miles a day, at 40 minutes per leg of the trip. This is piling up the miles.

Before this new development, my goal for miles had been 1,700 for the first year on the Segway. With my new, longer commute, I'm going to hit about 1,839 miles by my 1 year anniversary date, which is March 10th. That's great, and means my Segway will have saved almost that many miles for my car (not every mile was commuting but most of it was.)

So things are going well. Still loving the Segway, still getting honks and waves and questions from complete strangers. All is well !!!