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  1. #1
    Member Dan Smith's Avatar
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    Bicycles and Segways?

    The Segway is the much-publicized compact, self-balancing, battery-powered scooter. It is said to attain speeds of 10-12 mph. Actually, according to this page, they can go up to 20 mph but are artificially restricted to lower speeds. (I wonder how long before teenagers discover how to disable the governing mechanism?)

    There is a debate underway in Boston, and likely in other cities, as to whether they should be allowed on sidewalks. According to a 7/12/2002 Globe article, "A proposed bill would give the 83-pound devices access to every Bay State sidewalk, trail, and low-speed road, and would bar cities and towns from imposing any restrictions on the Segway." WalkBoston opposes it.

    It seems to me that one of the things bicycle advocates should try to find out, soon, is how well Segways and bicycles mix. My own feeling is that Segways do not belong on sidewalks any more than bicycles do... but that Segways add to the rationale for designing lanes specifically intended for "mid-speed" travel. That is, Segways belong in the bike lane... and that's another reason why we need good bike lanes.
    He said: "This front wheel wobbles." I said: "It doesn't if you don't wobble it." --Jerome K. Jerome

  2. #2
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    (Dan, you are a remarkably handsome fellow! )

    Segway may have a niche. It may become an alternative to driving, but more likely, it will become an alternative to walking for out-of-shape drivers. They are likely to compete with walkers on the sidewalk, since Segway users (if I am right about them) will have the mentality that the street is for cars and the sidewalk is for...well, Segways. I can forsee their widespread use inside Disneyworld, as well...in fact, I can see them used just to get folk from the parking lot to the front gate.

    I love the non-polluting, technologically advanced character of these critturs, as well as their usefulness (with some adaptations) for the disabled. However, as an alternative to walking for the general population, it reminds me of a nuclear-powered toothbrush...

    But I agree with you that bicycle accomodations need all the help they can get!
    Last edited by LittleBigMan; 07-20-02 at 09:31 PM.
    No worries

  3. #3
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    As a cyclist I couldn't care less about Ginger/Segway/whatever it's called this week. After all, I ride on the road and have to contend with cars and such anyway. However, as a walker (yes, I'm one of those primitive people who actually enjoys a good walk now and then) I'd be very worried because, to put it simply, they do not belong on the footpath/sidewalk.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    How well will Segways work out in bicycle paths? They are wider than bicycles and a bit less maneuverable. The prospect of sharing a footpath with a Segway does not terrify me, but I do share some of the concerns expressed by others in this thread. I have admired Dean Kamen and DeKa Engineering for a long time and was pleased when my local IEEE chapter gave him a special award (and even more pleased that he actually showed up at the award dinner with a Segway), but I still do not know precisely what Segway's market niche(s) will be. If it cuts into motor vehicle usage, bravo; if it displaces walking, boo hiss!
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  5. #5
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    I like your sign off from JKJ's "Three Men On A Bicycle" Haven't seen or heard him quoted in over 25 years. Thanks! for the reminder of how humorous he was.

    I take that back. I remember seeing some of his stuff still in print in the late 80's.
    Last edited by ljbike; 07-21-02 at 05:45 PM.
    ljbike

  6. #6
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    Just out of curiosity:

    Has anybody actually seen one of these d@mn things in the hand of a private owner?
    Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!

  7. #7
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    Haven't seen any private owners yet; just politicians lavishing their praise and Postmen and Policemen using them on their beats --at least according to newspaper reports.

    The hype and PR for this transportation marvel, is exactly what is needed for bicycles, but there doesn't seem to be anyone with deep enough pockets or the entusiasm to take on the job of promotion.
    The segway guys are hustling pols in every state and getting them to write favorable laws to enhance their selling pitch when they do go public.
    All I can say is, this guy must be one heck of a salesman and have some very influential backers to get this much attention from the press and the local, state and federal governments.
    ljbike

  8. #8
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by D*Alex
    Just out of curiosity:

    Has anybody actually seen one of these d@mn things in the hand of a private owner?
    (Please don't take this as a slam against Segways: )

    I didn't actually see one, but recently a government employee in Atlanta had an accident while riding one. The newspaper article showed him getting attention from the paramedics for a leg injury.

    He seemed to get a lot more sympathy than a cyclist would have...
    No worries

  9. #9
    hyperactive ferret LightBoy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LittleBigMan
    He seemed to get a lot more sympathy than a cyclist would have...
    Of course he did. Segways are cutting edge, they're hip, they cater to the "I'm lazy and would pay someone to chew for me if I had the money" demographic, which for some God-awful reason seems to include just about everybody.

    Besides, bikes are just kid's toys, right? So any adult that's fool enough to ride one is just some big dumb kid. Everyone knows that when kids play in traffic (instead of on the path where they belong) whatever happens to them is their own damned fault. But if a Segwayist (or is it Segwayer? what about Gingerer?) goes down, well then that's a big deal. Gotta protect your own, you know?

    But don't listen to me - I'm kind of cranky right now.
    Work to eat. Eat to live. Live to ride. Ride to work.

  10. #10
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LittleBigMan
    It may become an alternative to driving, but more likely, it will become an alternative to walking for out-of-shape drivers.
    I couldn't agree more. This is the only reason I can think of why anyone would want one of these things.


    But I agree with you that bicycle accomodations need all the help they can get!
    SO TRUE!!!!
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2011 Felt Z4

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  11. #11
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ljbike
    Haven't seen any private owners yet; just politicians lavishing their praise and Postmen and Policemen using them on their beats --at least according to newspaper reports.

    .
    What an endorsement! The post office, on the cutting edge of technology; politicians, on the cutting edge of creative thought; and police, on the cutting edge of child abuse.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  12. #12
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    We have a few of those out here. I don't really mind them too much. I have even found people going to the technical parks and doing up to 4 ft drops with them and riding the teeter totters. Not sure how long they would last but it sure is fun to watch.

  13. #13
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    At $3K+ apiece, it may be a while before they catch on.

    Anyone read about or heard about how they run in adverse weather? Can they operate when wet?

    I'm betting NASCAR will not create a new division for these things.

    Carl
    Just Peddlin' Around

  14. #14
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Maelstrom
    We have a few of those out here. I don't really mind them too much. I have even found people going to the technical parks and doing up to 4 ft drops with them and riding the teeter totters. Not sure how long they would last but it sure is fun to watch.
    Are they already being sold? An eBay user tried to pre-sell two segways, bidding was up to twenty thousand plus US dollars...

  15. #15
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Well re-reading I might be mistaken on the product. I was just a spectator watching some guys filming this guy trying to do tricks on a mini-trials course here in whistler. Which product he was using I am not sure of. Sorry.

  16. #16
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Not a problem, Some guy in Japan has already created a cloan, saw it on TV, he said market price should be ~$500, not $3K

  17. #17
    Member Dan Smith's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ljbike
    I like your sign off from JKJ's "Three Men On A Bicycle" Haven't seen or heard him quoted in over 25 years. Thanks! for the reminder of how humorous he was.

    I take that back. I remember seeing some of his stuff still in print in the late 80's.
    Ah, well... the title is actually "Three Men on the Bummel," a bummel apparently being a rambling journey. Amazon lists a paperback edition as still in print and "usually ships in 24 hours." But there is also a free copy on the Net at Project Gutenberg, here

    I think an awful lot of cyclists would enjoy it. It's about a bicycling tour through Germany. Here's the part where they first get the idea:

    "I have it!" exclaimed Harris; "a bicycle tour!"

    George looked doubtful.

    "There's a lot of uphill about a bicycle tour," said he, "and the
    wind is against you."

    "So there is downhill, and the wind behind you," said Harris.

    "I've never noticed it," said George.

    "You won't think of anything better than a bicycle tour," persisted
    Harris.

    I was inclined to agree with him.

    "And I'll tell you where," continued he; "through the Black
    Forest."

    "Why, that's ALL uphill," said George.

    "Not all," retorted Harris; "say two-thirds. And there's one thing
    you've forgotten."

    He looked round cautiously, and sunk his voice to a whisper.

    "There are little railways going up those hills, little cogwheel
    things that--"
    He said: "This front wheel wobbles." I said: "It doesn't if you don't wobble it." --Jerome K. Jerome

  18. #18
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    Thanks for the title correction. I'm glad to see he is still in print. I agree that those members who like to read would enjoy him. And thanks for posting the free web site.

    I'm still pondering who painted your avitar.
    ljbike

  19. #19
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    This is America, right? These Segway POS's, they got motors, right? Maybe they will redirect the attentions of bike thieves away from human-powered machines. I can see it now--the Trek, the Kestrel, the Colnago all parked together with cheap cables, and the thief gets caught when bumper-jacking the U-lock holding the Segway that's next to them!

  20. #20
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    Well, I've never seen a Segway in use; but around downtown Seattle I've seen a few powered scooters (2-wheel in-line). One was a big electric thing on the downtown sidewalks, narrower than a Segway but longer--probably about the same "volume". It looked like a thoroughly rotten idea to me; this 100 pound ankle crusher weaving through downtown peds at anywhere up to 10 or 12 mph. I can't even imagine how bollocksed-up things would be with 3 or 4 of these things in the same block. I've also seen a couple gas powered ones roaming the streets and bike lanes. I don't know what to make of them; but at least the Segway won't spit 2-stroke exhaust at you. Seems like it would take up a wide chunk of bike lane at a pretty slow speed, though.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Wouldn't it be hard to look over your shoulder for traffic with a Segway? I heard they turn, stop and start from shifting your CG. Since bicycle lanes are next to traffic most of the time, head turning is a must. Maybe this is why they belong to the sidewalk.

    Then again, the sidewalk is for slower walkers, so there really is not any place for the Segway in our traffic system.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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