Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Flaming Steeds


As a child I imagined the modes of transport in the later years of my life would consist of charging a hover car for the super highway, stocking up on fuel for my jet pack and remote controlling my scooter when I needed to pop to the shops. Life in the 21st Century hasn't quite lived up to all these expectations, not quite, but I came closer to a part realisation of one of these fantasies last week when She Who Dares tried Off Road Segway. A segway is the closest we've come to the remote controlled scooter, an upright, electric motorised vehicle that looks as if it should be zooming down the corridors of a space station, not cutting through the forest in Norfolk. These one's are specially adapted for rough terrain, with tyres like tractor wheels, and camouflage paint to make them look rough and tough.

We didn't feel quite so rough and tough when we signed the indemnity form with a warning printed across the top in large red capitals:

THIS IS A DANGEROUS ACTIVITY THAT MAY LEAD TO ACCIDENT OR DEATH

I'd never seen a sign like this when we've abseiled off cliffs or jumped into swirling seas, never mind reached a top speed of 10 miles an hour, under supervision, a foot above the ground on an upright scooter, but in these days of health and safety they weren't pulling any punches with the warnings.

It took us a while to get the hang of the things, even to get them started, they're responsive to balance, so we had some very wobbly starts and juddered around the training area at a snails pace before setting off on designated tracks through the forest like a gang from Chorlton and the Wheelies. Gliding along under trees and through ferns, our confidence grew until we unexpectedly hit troughs and holes in the path, the bumps adding extra excitement as we flew, inches above the ground. Given our growth in confidence, the instructor set the segways to sport mode and eager to try out the new responsiveness we leaned forward pushing them to maximum speed on the level path back to base. Just as we were gaining a level of competence, our session was over, but I've persuaded the family to go back and give it a go in a few weeks, watch this space!





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