|On board the Segway at Titanic Quarter|
Having seen them several times on holidays, I knew a little about Segways but still wondered how they kept upright.
The apparent defying of gravity has got to do with an onboard gyroscope and while to an onlooker it is obvious that it works, it takes only a few minutes on the machine for that to be confirmed and to feel at ease. We had booked the "experience" with Segway NI and presented ourselves at the Titanic Quarter for a 90 minute tour.
Before starting off we had a short but obligatory safety briefing from our instructor and guide, Kyle.
After some practice at moving, turning and stopping, Kyle led us along a cycle lane to the first stop on our tour at the SS Nomadic brought to Belfast from Paris where it had served as a floating restaurant close to the Eiffel Tower. Then it was over to Titanic Belfast where he pointed out the arrangement of seats around the building that spelt out the ship's final distress signal in Morse code.
On next to the Slipways and Plaza and many interesting facts and things to see including a panel of inch-thick steel, weighing several tons, set on blocks but kept in place by its own weight. The ship was made up of thousands of these riveted together and it seems to defy logic that something of that size and density could float in the first place. There wasn't too much time to think about the physics of that though as a very large tarmaced area was just the place to put the Segway through its paces. Kyle adjusted something inside each of our machines which made them a lot more responsive and faster. Yes, we could lean forward and get it up to its max speed of just under 13 miles per hour!
We did! It was exhilarating. He gave us plenty of time to make use of all that space and get as much experience as we could. It was then that I gained the experience of falling off.
We had been warned about turning sharply but the tarmac had been paint-marked in several places - X marks the spot so to speak - and it seemed a great idea to travel full speed and stop exactly on the spot. That turned out not to be as big a challenge as initially thought so what about doing it backwards while turning?
Not to be recommended - but no harm done other than to pride.
Off again, down a long stretch of road, still in the cycle lane, to the Northern Ireland Science Park where we had a look at HMS Caroline , under wraps prior to its reopening as a museum. Kyle pointed out that a lot of the timber being used for its decks had come from impounded wood. We manoeuvred our machines around the Pump House close to the fitting out dock and then we parked up our Segways for a warming cuppa inside.
Replenished ourselves it was time for the home run back to base and we travelled
that road with confidence. The time had passed all too quickly and we enjoyed our first experience enormously.
We returned our machines and while taking our farewells Kyle explained that they offered an off-road "experience" near Craigavon - where there would be hills and mud and mess. Really ?
Charge up those batteries, we'll be seeing you soon !
Over to you:
Maybe you'd like to know a little more about how the machine works? Then check out more at Segway Personal Transporter PT