Sunday Segway Session in Southport
The Easter weekend presented a great opportunity to tick something off my monthly challenge list. Initially I planned to head to Wales to tackle Snowdon, but the weather forecast was pretty abysmal so we had to rethink. I was keen to keep cost down so looked for something local and found Segwaying at Leisure Lakes in Southport. We booked online on Easter Sunday at www.segwayz.co.uk. Luckily for us there was still a couple of spots available on the day at 12.30pm.
We arrived at Leisure Lakes about 12ish and took a while to find exactly where we were going and found ourselves driving down a narrow muddy tracks to a dead end caused by a Motorcross event being held this weekend. The rain had been coming down heavily so I was a little nervous having to turn the car around on a boggy patch but managed to negotiate it fine. We turned around and drove back where we came from to find the Segway hut was quite obviously signed and we should have seen it on the way past.
Laura and I went and registered ourselves and signed the usual disclaimers. We were greeted by a friendly instructor and were joined by a couple of young lads and a dad with his two older kids. The challenge started immediately for Laura as whilst the rest of us picked up helmets and fastened them with ease she made it seem like someone had asked her to complete a Rubik’s cube puzzle whilst blind folded and hanging upside down. She must have tried to put about five different helmets on and discarded each one as broken – in reality she just couldn’t fasten them due to lack of coordination! Eventually with a little help she managed to get the helmet on and was ready to take on the next big challenge – putting on the hi-vis vest. To give you an idea of how difficult she made this look just watch this famous clip of Mario Balotelli trying to get his bib on.
Anyway, once Laura had sorted her wardrobe out we headed outside and the instructor showed us through a few basic manoeuvres that would enable us to Segway around the park. The first time you embark onto the Segway it is a little nerve racking and it can take while to get the confidence in your balance. Once up we did a couple of simple turns, zig zagged around some cones and learnt to stop. It was straight forward and surprisingly easy to find your balance once you trust in the Segway. The only bit that seemed difficult at first was stopping, but once we got going properly and started to relax on the Segway it became natural.
After our brief training we each chose a Segway and the instructor led us on an off road tour of the Leisure Lakes. We raced around the grounds swerving this way and that trying to get as comfortable and confident as we could. Laura struggled a little at first as she was a bit stiff and robotic but after five or ten minutes managed to relax and was pushing her Segway with the rest of us.
The night before had seen a lot of rain come down and so there was lots of mud and puddles to avoid or head straight into depending on your outlook. We sped along the paths, whizzed around trees and powered over small hills and bumps. The instructor guided us around the park but left us free to enjoy doing our own thing in the most part. We stopped at various locations that presented different obstacles to overcome. A highlight was at one point managing to get the wheels off the floor briefly as I jumped over one of the hill ramps. I also almost came off the Segway twice when I hit a couple of the muddier and wetter patches and the wheels spun, but luckily managed to just about stay on the Segway and in control.
About forty minutes into the hour session the rain started to pour down and we were getting drenched. We were undeterred and carried on with the fun. At one point towards the end a hail storm hit and the hail stones were coming down so hard they hurt!
As we headed back we came to a point where we had to aim the Segway between two posts. I chose the narrower of the two gaps and just got through slamming the wheels against the posts as I went through. I styled it out and pretended nothing had happened as I continued the final stretch to the hut where we hand the Segways back.
As I stood waiting for Laura to come back I started to wonder if I should go back as she was only just behind me and seemed to be taking a long time. Eventually she came trundling along and parked up. It turns out that she had followed me through the narrow gap and also struggled. Only instead of both wheels skimming the posts on either side she hit one of the posts head on with one of her wheels and started falling rapidly towards a car. In an attempt to stop the Segway hitting the car she jumped forward and used herself and a shield between the Segway and the car. The wheels kept spinning and she struggled to work out how to get the Segway to stop as its wheels shaved her legs! Happily, the Segway stopped of its own accord and she was okay, although left with a slightly grazed leg – in her own words ‘no risk, no fun!!’
To sum up I have to say that despite some pretty horrid weather for parts of the Segway off road tour we had a great time. I was a bit sceptical about this as one of my experiences as it hadn’t really grabbed me as something exciting to do, but we both had a lot fun doing it and would happily do it again.Tags: challenge, experience, segway, southport