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Czech Life

Role your way to obesity…

Perhaps I am a kill-joy, but I don’t like Segways .  I just don’t really see the point of them. I think I may be in the minority here, as they are currently littering up the streets and (even more irritatingly) the pavements of Prague.   Many tourists here, apparently too lazy to actually walk across one of Europe’s smallest capital city centres, try instead to ‘roll their way to eventual obesity’  (a potential tag-line for Segway perhaps?) and choose to explore the Golden City by Segway.  I’m all for green, eco-transport, which Segway claims to be. But surely the “leader in personal, green transportation”  is less personal and green than your own two feet…

What's wrong with this picture?

Presumably, if we had been meant to roll around we would have been born with wheels at the end of our legs.  Although maybe this is a sign of things to come. Perhaps one day in the future, if evolution has its way, we will just be born with wheels instead of feet. And remote controls for hands. And wireless receivers in our heads so that we can check our emails wherever we are, with or without an i-Phone.

Perhaps I am jealous. Despite the slow pace of the Segway, I am not sure I have the balancing skills to stay upright. I mentioned a while ago that I’m not very handy with a pair of ice-skates and I fear wheels might prove just as tricky. I think it might end up like the snowboarding debacle

I am especially annoyed by those people who insist on wearing helmets whilst segwaying. A Segway moves roughly as quickly as a fast walking pace, and raises you a mere half a foot from the ground.  For short little me, that would be a normal height.  You do not generally see fast-paced walkers of average height strapping on a helmet every time they leave the house, just in case they happen to fall over. I’m not exactly a live-on-the-edge risk taker with a death-wish, but the helmets are surely a sign of health and safety gone mad.

The Segway website actually includes a pop-up safety notice to all potential customers.  This reminds the general public (who would probably have done something terribly stupid by now if it wasn’t for all of the health and safety signs telling us not to) that whilst “riding on any personal transportation machine inherently includes risks” Segway are committed  to “educating” their customers on the safe operation of Segways.  It also reminds us to read the manual, wear a helmet and to “use good judgment” while riding.  Talk about taking the fun out of it…

The website fails however, to mention two very important points, which I think every Segway rider should know.

The Chinese military....The only people in the world who can pull off the helmet-on-Segway look successfully. Look - no hands!

One: You will look like a bit of a prat. Yes. To the Segway staff who ‘cruise’ around the Old Town Square – you just look like overgrown children. To the office worker who commutes by Segway – you are still holding a briefcase and you still work in an office. You are not James Bond.  Unless you are in the Chinese military (who use Segway as a viable form of military transportation), there is no way to make this look good. Especially with the helmet.

Two:  The Segway website also includes testimonials from happy customers.  It does not, notably, include a message from Jimi Heselden, who owned Segway until September 2010. This is likely because Jimi sadly died last year, having become unbalanced whilst riding his own Segway (an off-road model) around his country estate. He fell off a cliff and into a river.  He was, quite literally, a victim of his own success.


About CzechingIn

A blog about an English lady living in Prague.


3 thoughts on “Role your way to obesity…

  1. A victim of his own success? oh, how this made me laugh.

    God rest his soul – of course.

    Posted by Rachel Brown | June 10, 2011, 10:28 am
  2. Yikes!

    The thing i hate the most about them is the fact that most of the people who use them are fat and lazy (probably stupid too, like my weightwatchers leader woman – i bet she’d have a segway if Weightwatchers told her to).

    Posted by Lucy | June 10, 2011, 12:42 pm
  3. I’m only surprised they’ve lasted as long as they have – I thought they’d die out as quickly as the Sinclair C5.

    Posted by Jim | June 10, 2011, 1:05 pm

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