Once, when my husband Bob and I were on vacation in Texas (I think it was in downtown Austin), we saw an amazing thing: about a dozen or so folks on Segways, meandering down the sidewalk, single-file, in that kind of piddling along-what?-I’ve-got-all-day manner. It seemed fairly surreal and was a jaw-dropping sight. Turns out, they were on a sight-seeing Segway tour of the historic downtown area, instead of walking herd-like or riding on a bus.
“Those crazy Texans,” I remember thinking, laughing to myself.
But Segway tours are catching on across the country, from Baltimore to Los Angeles and around the globe, from Thailand to Paris! These green machines are all the rage! And now, they’re coming to Boise!
The Segway Boise story all began when Boiseans Tom Padilla and Greg Reid had a Segway experience when they went to Reno to watch the BSU game in November.
“It also happened to be my wife’s birthday,” said Tom, “and there was a Segway tour at one of the Reno hotels.” Tom took his wife and five friends (including Greg) on the tour as a birthday party adventure. “It was a blast! We had so much fun.”
That night, Tom and Greg hatched the idea of bringing Segway touring to Boise. Now, they are co-owners of a touring business, making that dream a reality: Starting Friday, Adventure Tours of Idaho, www.adventuretoursofidaho.com, is offering Segway Boise by Glide Tours (and Date Night rentals).
For the first few days, some tours may be free (Thursday — that’s today — at 5 p.m., limit one per person; check the Web site for other availability). The Grand Opening is Friday, 245 South Capital Blvd. in the Grove Hotel, featuring free food, non-alcoholic beverages and demonstrations. (They’ll also be offering Trikke — pronounced “trike” — rentals, human-powered three-wheeled bike-thingies called “cambering vehicles” that look like a combination of skateboard and bicycle, with no pedals.)
The actual tours, using Segway Personal Transporters, begin with a 30-minute training session so you can get familiar with the, um, vehicle. Then, off you go for a two-hour tour, with a guide well-versed in local history leading the way to Downtown Boise, The Boise River District, 8th Street, Grove Street, the Basque Block, the Train Depot and more.
There are even Date Night Specials, where you get two Segways from 4:30 to 9 p.m. (that’ll cost you $99 plus an extra $30 if you want to return the Segways the next day, so you might want to keep that option for a REALLY special night). “You will see and appreciate Boise from an entirely different perspective,” promises the Adventure Tours Web site.
Plus, it’s just plain fun, Tom said, adding that folks like to play on the machines, so each tour will provide a little time and space for just zipping around.
Along with the Segway, you get a helmet, beverage and rain poncho, if needed. And, there are a few caveats to keep in mind: You must weigh at least 100 pounds (sorry, Tori Spelling) and no more than 250; the minimum age is 16 (16 & 17 year-olds must be accompanied by an adult), and there’s a security deposit ($500 per unit, held by credit card authorization).
But just think — you get to take your visiting fam on a tour they’ll never forget and hey, you can even buy a photo disk of the adventure at the end of your journey.
Tours are skedded at: 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. $65 per person. Reservations “strongly recommended.”