Arriving in a new city there are multiple ways to get acquainted with your surroundings. You could for example spend the day hopping on and off an open top bus, opt for a walking tour with a knowledgeable guide, or if it’s a city on the water then a gentle river cruise could do just the job.
But when it’s a stag party and testosterone is flying high you need something a bit different. And so it was in Valencia that we opted for a tour on Segways, intriguing two-wheeled motorised scooters where you stand on a platform and lean forward to move ahead and backwards to reverse. There is also a dial on the handle bars to steer the beast.
Rolling up slightly late for our allotted slot (nothing to do with the excesses of the previous night of course), it looked from the outset like a balancing challenge that was going to test us beyond our abilities. Most of the group however quickly got to grips with the Segways and managed to avoid little more than a few stutters as they moved over bumpy surfaces. Others had more spectacular falls, but stag party rules unfortunately prevent me from going into any more detail.
Segway hire companies are popping up more and more in European cities – building on the attraction of the speeds they can reach. Ours were put on a setting of up to 25 / 30 kilometres per hour, allowing us to wiz past pedestrians and cyclists.
For us, Segways were the perfect way to explore the networks of tracks created in the mass of landscaped gardens in the old Turia riverbed. The parks were created from the 1930s when the water was drained and in the last 30 years an array of futuristic buildings have sprung up, housing arts centres and museums.
We had a lot of fun on our 90 minute jaunt around off-road Valencia, but if many of the ‘lads’ in the group knew of the ironic and tragic death of the man who owned the company producing the Segway in 2010. Millionaire Jimi Heselden was found dead in a river after plunging 80 feet over a limestone cliff in West Yorkshire while riding one of his two-wheeled scooters.