By Raul Garcia Jr.
You have seen it on the movies, you have seen it in the shopping mall and you have wondered what would it be like to ride one– and now you can at Segway Valley Tours at South Padre Island.
“As long as you’re comfortable with you on the machine you’re really good to go,” said Reid Vaughn, SegValley Tours guide.
It’s a leap of engineering from the Pogo Stick invented in 1891 that were designed for jumping off the ground in a standing position. The Segway is like a Star Wars vehicle and it’s reminiscent for the sound, speed and alien-like technology. The Segway can go from slow to fast in an instant like hyperdrive and the sound it makes gives you an added rush cruising down the island strip.
The SegValley Tour guides take the time to train every rider that they take out with practice riding a straight line and back and learning to turn.
“Everything is done with the weight shifting of your feet except for the steering,” said Rachel Bunton, the store manager. “It’s swing arm steering sort of like a joystick.”
SegValley has their walk-in office on South Padre Island off Padre Boulevard and Amberjack Street. Segways are always charged for anyone to enjoy. Groups can also call ahead to reserve a tour ahead of time. They are the only Segways rentals in the whole Valley and also host tours in Harlingen, the National Butterfly Center, Bentsen State Park and Port Isabel starting at $45 dollars an hour. Call (956) 565-2404 for inquiry or a reservation.
A family visiting the beach from Omaha, Nebraska took the tour down the strip and to Isla Blanca Park. Their guide showed them the many sand castles and tourist attractions on the beach.
“At first it was really scary and then is was really great,” Kate Jones said. “I thought the tour was great and I loved the scenery and it didn’t even take very long.”
Transporting down the main strip in style beats walking it the old fashioned way. Enjoying the island breeze on a segway is something new everyone who visits the beach needs to try.
The Segway was introduced in 2001 by its inventor Dean Kaman. The machine got its name from the word segue, meaning smooth transition. It’s a personal transporter built with computer sensors and electric motors in the base of Segway that keep the machine upright when a rider maintains balance while standing on it.