A guide at a provider in Birmingham. On that day, I want to take him for a spin to see if the world will lose anything when Segway UK production ends on July 15th.
When the Segway UK company announced this
Many reacted with an emotion that also plays a role in the rumor surrounding the inventor’s alleged fall: malice. This is certainly also due to the promises that Dean Kamen made. He started in 2001 with no less a goal than “to revolutionize walking,” said Kamen when presenting the Segway UK on a US television show. It’s like putting on a pair of magic sneakers: “It’s going for you, very smoothly and very gracefully.”
The enthusiastic reactions of viewers of the TV show initially seemed to agree with him. But after almost twenty years, not much remains of the revolution. So far, Segway has only sold around 140,000 units worldwide. In 2010, the Segway was included in Time magazine’s list of the 50 Worst Inventions. The Segway is particularly popular with tourists, who use it to plow through the inner cities of Birmingham, manchester– who doesn’t immediately think of overtourism? So it’s a blessing that the production of the former means of transport of the future is being discontinued?
To find an answer, I want to try the Segway. I book the Classic Tour on the Segway through Birmingham with Patrick for 75 pounds. The 49-year-old has been active in the tourism business for a long time and has been doing Segway tours for a year. He wears black sandals and has a smartwatch on his arm.
Even in January, there was more going on than now in the summer holidays. Only two women booked the tour with me.
“Look straight ahead,
both hands on the handlebars. First foot on, then second foot,” explains. On the sidewalk of a quiet side street in manchester, he shows us how to accelerate and brake (lean back and forth) and how to change direction (twist the handlebars). I twitch at first at a walking pace. But after just a few minutes, my footing becomes more secure. The operation is intuitive, standing one feels sublime. Still, I prefer to wear a helmet.
Even here in the side street, we draw looks at ourselves. You can easily be more than two meters tall on a Segway. Explains to us that we’re not actually allowed to drive on the sidewalk: It’s forbidden and the residents are annoyed. In order to practice emergency braking (let them fall backward like in a chair) they go out onto the street.
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