If you have never ridden a Segway, you might experience a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately, the folks at Asheville’s Moving Sidewalk Tours have worked with visitors of all ages, sizes, and skill levels. They are ready to answer any questions you may have about your tour. In addition, they are as comfortable with the young teen guest as with the senior citizen (you must be 10 to take part in this tour).
On our tour, we met in the lobby of the Asheville Visitor Information Center, which was great for a couple of reasons. It was easy for an out-of-town visitor to find, and it provided a place where we could pick up information about the area in order to figure out what we wanted to experience next.
Mastering Our Mode of Transport
If you’re not familiar with what a Segway is, the easiest way to describe it is a two-wheeled motorized vehicle made up of a platform you stand on and upright post with handles you hold on to. The Segways used by the Moving Sidewalk Tour are self-balancing, meaning they can sense where you want to go by monitoring the way you’re balancing your body. Not to put too fine a point on this, but if you have any questions, ask your guide. They really are great about answering.
One member of our tour was older and concerned he may not be able to physically handle a Segway. He was told that anyone who can climb a flight of stairs unassisted and without a handrail, weighs between 100 and 260 pounds, and can stand for long periods of time can ride. The older guest did just fine throughout the tour.
We heard someone ask if they could rent a Segway and take off without a guide. The answer is a hard no, and with good reason. The guide is there to keep visitors safe, but just as important, he is there to tell people about Asheville, its history, and what it has to offer.
Once our guide determined that no one in our group was a danger to themselves or others, and that we all knew what we were doing, he announced that we’d passed our rider certification training, and we were off. The tour lasted two hours, including the 20-30 minutes it took us to get everyone up to speed on Segway operation.
In case you’ve wondered what a group of tourists on Segways looks like, imagine six people (five guests and one guide) gliding down the sidewalk with incredibly dorky, but necessary, helmets on their heads. You may also expect to see those people laughing, because in our experience, the guides are as clever as they are knowledgeable. We suspect that Moving Sidewalk Tours would be fun for anyone, but it’s especially great for those who are seeing Asheville up-close-and-personal for the very first time.
Those tour guides are also quite thoughtful when it comes to which route they will take. Two members of our group of five had taken the downtown tour before, so the guide switched it up a bit, allowing the newbies to see the high points of downtown before heading out to tour a stunning Asheville neighborhood. He even let the youngest member of our group have some fun in a park on his Segway.
-It came as a bit of a surprise when our tour guide asked if we wanted to stop at a coffee shop for a quick jolt of java. Make sure you bring money along on your ride in case your group makes a stop.
-You will want to wear comfortable shoes – and bring a jacket because the breeze can be quite cool.
-You might leave your backpack or heavy purse in the trunk of your car. There’s a small storage bag hanging from the handlebars of each Segway, just large enough for that light jacket, a wallet, and a camera.