Updated Thu, Jul 17, 2014 11:14 am
It’s a bird, it’s a plane — no, it’s a Segway. Many outdoor enthusiasts in the area and those traveling to explore the beauty of the Hocking Hills can ride a Segway on an outdoor adventure trail, seeing the area in a way that has never been done before.
Seven years ago the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours not only brought the zipline tour to Hocking County, but were the first in Ohio and the entire Midwest to bring the adventure to the area. Now they offer a unique opportunity like no other with the Segway addition making them the first once again.
Chris Schrader, regional manager, explained the process of using the high-tech equipment. The first step in taking this adventure is learning to get on and off the Segway. Schrader instructed adventure seekers to put their left foot and left hand on first followed by the right.
Once on the Segway many people try to balance themselves, but the Segway has a combination of a series of sensors, a control system and a motor system that allows for auto balancing.
“Everything you do on the machine matters,” Schrader said. The rider controls the movement of the Segway with his or her body. “Lean forward to move the machine forward and to stop move your body back,” Schrader instructed.
The Segway goes up to 12.5 miles per hour and glides across the terrain.
“There is never a need to go backwards on the machine,” Schrader said. Move the handles to the right or left to turn, but keeping the handles in either direction will result in spinning in a 360-degree circle. “Most people have riding the machine down within two minutes,” Schrader noted.
Guests can ride Segways at their own pace in the designated playground area for up to 30 minutes.
Another option guests can choose from is an off-road Segway adventure, an up to two-hour guided nature tour. Guests will awe at the beauty of the area through the exciting off-road adventure.
The property at the canopy tours encompasses 187 acres. Paths for the Segways consist of grass and gravel.
“On the tour guests will make a stop at the river and have a chance to see butterflies,” Schrader said.
With all adventure-seeking options either for the Segway or ziplining, highly-trained staff instructs the guests on what to expect and provides training according to Schrader.
“With every product we offer we have an extremely high customer satisfaction rate,” commented Schrader. “People come here to have fun.”
Schrader touted the Segways, “Have definitely brought an excitement that only a new product can.” Word of mouth and happy guests bring more people to the area.
The Hocking Hills Canopy tours rolled out a birthday party program Friday for local residents in Hocking, Fairfield and Athens counties to introduce the Dragonfly course with a significant discount.
A group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was just coming back from a Segway tour through the property. Rebekka Channell of Canal Winchester explained at first it was kind of hard to balance, but she quickly picked up on it.
Although she didn’t know what to expect at first, she was very happy with her experience on the Segway and said, “It was a lot of fun and pretty easy to ride.”
Channell has a fear of heights, so she said it was a great alternative.
Amelia Hartzog of Athens, who also tried the Segway, said, “It was a pretty fun experience.”
According to Steve Stamas, a leader with the church group, they had members from different congregations attending as part of their youth conference. They are camping in the area and came to the facility for a variety of activities. He opted for the zipline instead of the Segway but said, “It was beautiful seeing the scenery.”
To try the Segway, guests must be a minimum age of 14. For those 14 and 15 years old, they must have a responsible adult at the course location.
Participants under the age of 18 must have a signed waiver by a parent. There are weight restrictions for the equipment ranging from 100 up to 250 pounds. Every participant must sign a waiver and release form. Closed-toed shoes are required with other safety equipment.
For the safety all of the guests, no one under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or impairing legal drugs, are allowed to participate in the tour. Pregnant women are not permitted to participate in the tour.
So, if hiking and zipping isn’t your thing, maybe a Segway adventure is.
For more information, call 740-385-9477.