Inside Fat Tire Tours

What is a Segway and how does it work?


This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get and is one of the toughest to answer. Very basically, a Segway is a two wheeled personal transporter. When Dean Kamen unveiled the Segway in 2001 it was hailed as one of the biggest innovations in transportation since the automobile or the bicycle. It’s technology as a number of different applications around the world, including a wheelchair that can climb stairs. It has allowed wounded warriors to remain mobile despite amputations. It has been used to hold water hoses to dose dangerous fires and keep firefighters safe. The Segway has been used by police and security forces from parking attendants to mall and airport security. Our favorite application, though, is touring.

A Segway is powered by two large lithium-ion batteries that will allow it to travel for 20-25 miles on a single charge. But the most incredible part of the Segway is how it balances. It was designed to mechanize the normal human balance functions. Think about it! The way you balance and move forward is that little “sensors” inside your inner ear tell your brain and your body whether you are standing straight up or going to fall over. When you want to walk, you lean forward and your feet come out from under you to catch up and keep you upright… thus moving you forward.

The Segway does the same thing! There are little sensors and computers at the base of the machine that take readings on where your body weight is. If you lean forward, the wheels drive forward in order to keep you upright and balanced. It is also built with a number of redundant systems to make sure that no matter what, the Segway will never shut off or throw you off unexpectedly. All you gotta do is keep your eyes on the road and lean wherever you want to go! Its that simple!

For more information on Segway technology and Segway safety, check out Segway, Inc.’s website or, just come on tour with us and try first end.

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A family by the eiffel tower.