I discovered a wonderful new way to see the sights of Chicago recently –gliding about on on a Segway. Chicago, situated at the southwest end of Lake Michigan, has a lot to offer in the “oh my gosh, what a view” department. The tall glass skyscrapers, many in architectural textbooks as first of their kind, the gorgeous expanse of Lake Michigan with massive public parks, gardens, bike paths, and meandering walkways is very cool.
Taking a Segway tour through the waterside parks, down and around Soldier Field, the Aquarium and the Planetarium, zooming around the huge fountain and along the bike path was one of the most fun and stunningly beautiful things I have done in a long time.
First of all, what is a Segway? It’s a funny looking contraption that looks a bit like a hand lawn mower that you can ride on standing up. Turn it on and off you go, giving you speedy access to places cars can’t go and at a pace faster than a walk in the park.
When we first announced that we were gong on a Segway tour in Chicago, a dear friend, admonished, “Now, Susan, for heaven’s sake, be careful.”
And justifiably so. I fall off bikes and break bones and am probably the only person you know who could crack a rib doing yoga. Yes, I need to be careful.
But I am living testament, that even the most uncoordinated and accident-prone can ride one of these things.
First, you get signed up with a reputable tour company. At our orientation we watched a safety video and then we went to the park, towing our contraptions like landscapers off to trim the yard. We found a quiet spot where our quirky young twenty-something guide with purple hair and a ring in her nose carefully and patiently instructed us in the Segway’s use and supervised our practice.
We learned to lean forward on the balls of our feet to make the Segway go forward. Learning back on the heels of the feet makes it slow down and stop. Moving the handles like a joystick side-to-side make it spin in circle. Now that was fun!
Twenty minutes of practice and we were off on a glorious adventure.
Why do I include in Design Destinations? The views were amazing. Stopping at the planetarium, looking back at the skyline of Chicago on a clear blue November day was breath taking. Looking at the vast expanse of windows on the Aquarium, skyscrapers behind it, was an interesting juxtaposition of form and shape.
Zipping around Solders Field, contemplating the Memorial Wall and imaging the excitement on game day, gliding by the new Art Museum wing with its soaring white canopy roof and cruising down the bike path with the endlessly enticing Lake Michigan on our right was a visual treat I’ll always remember.
And I will do again. I understand that Architectural Tours are available on the Segway. A wonderful alternative to shopping on Michigan Avenue……although…….hmmmmm……..gotta make time for that too!