Lean in and rocket up the mountain!
The Segways were lined up against the wall waiting to be claimed. Helmet fastened, I could hear the low rumbling of the interstate a few blocks away as our guide Chelsea gave instructions riding the personal mobility machines. I was at the Glenwood Adventure Company in Glenwood Springs, Colorado preparing to go “off road” up a mountain trail on a Segway Personal Transporter.
Glenwood Springs is a 3 ½ hour drive via I-70 from the Denver area and about an hour from Aspen. Famous for its naturally-fed hot springs pool, Glenwood is a great weekend getaway, with hiking, mountain biking, and river rafting in the summer, and snow skiing in the winter. The town sits in a valley where the Roaring Fork and the Colorado Rivers meet on their way through Colorado. I was getting ready to hit the trail.
Having a great time practicing, I was eager to be on our way. If you can walk a straight line, you can ride a Segway. The machine is electric, and responds to weight shifts. The rider leans forward to go forward and leans back to slow down and stop. After roaming the parking lot and getting accustomed to the machines on uneven terrain, we were set to head up to the top of Red Mountain and get a bird’s eye view of the valley. The trail is actually a private road that is approximately 5.7 miles long. The first part of the tour goes through the original town of Glenwood Springs and to the trailhead. The first mile or so of the trail is paved, and the rest is gravel. The road winds through the trees, occasionally opening up to views of the town below.
As we motored through the town single file, I noticed the curious stares. Chelsea was stopped by a visitor to inquire where to rent the machines. Once we reached the trailhead, Chelsea opened the gate and we were on our way up the mountain. It’s fun to be able to enjoy the wildflowers and trees while riding the Segway. Although the machines do have a low hum, the birds were audible through the trees. The machines had a “governor” engaged to prevent them from going any faster than 6 miles per hour. At first, this feels very fast. By the time the three hours were over, we were ready to disengage that restriction and race down the hill.
We stopped part way up to look at the views and to move around. Glenwood Springs was laid out like a living map several hundred feet below us. I found the hot springs pool, the train station, and our hotel before jumping back on the transporters and continuing up the mountain. Mountain bikers passed us on their way down and local residents walking their dogs gave us a wide berth. Reaching the top of the mountain, I enjoyed the views of Lookout Mountain, the Flattop Range, and Mt. Sopris.
I was a bit apprehensive to descend the mountain. The road was pretty steep in places and I was concerned that speed would be an issue. I was wrong. In fact, I think the ride down was more fun than the ride up. By this time we were all pretty comfortable on the machines and had no problems. Once back in town, the biggest challenge was to move through the crowds on the sidewalks. We had left town before most of the tourists were up and about and returning about lunch time. Once we got back, we were sorry to give up our cool machines.
I would have never been able to hike that trail to the top of the mountain and back down again. It’s fun riding through town and up the mountain. For those who might have a difficult time with long hikes or bike rides, a Segway is a great choice. They are easy to ride and allow the rider to experience the trail as a hiker would. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to ride!
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