Amsterdam has bikes, San Francisco has trams…and Iceland has the Segway.

Wherever you look in Reykjavik it seems there’s always someone on a Segway.  Businessman on the way to work? He’s on one.  A group of tourists wanting to see the city from a different perspective? They’re donning protective helmets and earnestly trying to keep up with a tour-guide zooming off ahead.
Being from England (and therefore not being used to seeing such new-fangled technology on the streets) my friend Helen and I thought that this would be the ideal place to get to grips with the Segway. After all, when in Rome…

Before booking ourselves on a full-blown tour, we decided to hire one out for an hour or so to learn the basic movements. We stumbled upon a woman hiring out Robstep M1’s, a lighter-weight Segway in an assortment of bright colours (and a bargain at a snip under £2k on Amazon…). Seeing as how we watched an old man confidently leap up onto one right in front of us, we thought it would be easy.
Ten minutes after being shown the ropes by the woman, we were falling off, running the machine over our feet and speeding into statues. A successful trial run it wasn’t.
  A rare moment upright on the Robstep M1
The key to using one is confidence. You’re supposed to place one foot on the machine so it can gauge your centre point, before you bring up the other foot. All this is done without holding on, so you have to step onto it with a sense of assurance that you’re not just going to topple over – something I was reluctant to believe for quite a while!
Accelerating and braking is done by transferring your weight between your feet. I found the sensors incredibly sensitive so had to concentrate particular hard on my movements to avoid riding out in front of a car. The small wheels make it quite difficult to go over uneven surfaces – something I’ve heard is handled much better with the larger tyres of the Segway.
After half-an-hour of riding round a tiny courtyard, the woman finally persuaded us to ride out a little bit further (probably due to the fact we weren’t a very good advertisement for her business…). Very reluctantly we cautiously headed off towards some of the sights of Reykjavik (well, the graveyard), stumbling every few minutes.

Altogether, we spent a good hour learning the basics. Walking felt extremely strange and so much effort afterwards – I can imagine growing even lazier than I already am if I had one in my shed at home!

Where to Segway

If you’re taking a trip to Reykjavik, it’s well worth hopping on a Segway for a unique tour of the city. The aptly named Reykjavik Segway Tours run tours of the city in groups of less than five for  ISK 10.000 per person (approx £50 or $82). Sway Reykjavik also runs both group and private tours, with participants fitted with headphones to ensure they can hear the tour guide’s instructions. Both companies also cater for complete beginners, so they’re perfect if you’ve yet to set foot on one!
Have you had a go on a Segway? How did you find it?