The Segway is a great personal electronic transportation vehicle for anyone, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. With its handlebar to help balance the rider and its steering capabilities, you will find the Segway is easy to control once you learn the basics and give it enough tries. To help you learn, here is how to keep your balance while riding a Segway and some other steps to help you stay upright.
There are multiple parts to riding a Segway you’ll need to learn to become proficient. These parts are hard to adjust to, but most of the problem lies in remembering all the steps and rules of each section. You will find better success if you receive help for the first few times you ride to help prevent any falls. A second person can help you remember all the details on how to balance and drive.
Mounting and Dismounting
The beginning and end of every ride requires you to get on and off the Segway. To start this process, first switch your Segway to balance mode. This will help to keep the Segway upright as you step onto it. The first few times you do this it would be beneficial to have someone hold down the Segway so it does not move or tilt. Have them hold the center of the handlebar and the control shaft. Once it’s in balance mode and held in place, place your hands on the handlebar. Place one foot onto the Segway with your weight on your back foot. Step up quickly, shifting your body weight from your back foot to your foot on the Segway. As you shift your weight you need to bring your backfoot onto the Segway and distribute your bodyweight between your two feet as you stand on the Segway. It’s important you don’t tug or move the handlebar when you step up or down from the Segway as this can cause it to move and shift, creating problems for you or others around you.
Moving Forward and Backwards
Once you’re on the Segway you will need to learn how to move forwards and backwards. The first step to learning how to move is to take a good stance that will keep you balanced. You’ll want to have your feel slightly apart—about a shoulders width—while keeping your knees slightly bent. This will give you the best stability and allow you to shift your body weight as needed during the drive. Keep your arms bent when holding the handlebar and keep your back straight to give you good support. Once you have a good form you will need to lean forward to move. You only need to lean a small amount to start moving forward; too much and the Segway will fall over. Take it slow as you lean. Once you have control of that speed you can lean further forward for more speed. To slow down, stop leaning and stand upright to slow down and stop. Going backwards is similar to going forwards other than the fact that you lean back.
Once you have a bit of practice moving forwards and backwards, you’ll need to learn how to turn so you can get around. Turning is a slightly more dangerous maneuver than just normal forward movement. The sharper the turn, the harder it is to stay upright. As such, don’t take turns too fast. Give yourself plenty of room to turn to avoid any accidents. To start a turn, being moving either forwards or backwards. Then, twist the handlebars to the direction you wish to turn. Don’t turn the handles too quickly; this will cause the Segway to veer and possibly throw you off balance. Slowly turn the handlebars in the direction you want to go and lean into the turn. This will help keep the wheels firmly planted on the ground and provide stability during the turn. The faster you go through the turn, the more you will need to lean.
This is only true for the normal-handled Segway. A newer model of Segway is coming out; it’s called the 9bot Segway and features a handless method of steering where all you need to do is lean while sensors and control shafts will turn the Segway for you.
What To avoid
You’ll need to avoid several types of terrain while on a Segway. These terrains and obstacles are a bit dangerous to drive on as they can easily cause you to lose control of your Segway.
There are many reasons the ground can be slippery and cause your Segway problems. Ice or rainwater can create a lack of traction which can easily cause your Segway to fall and you along with it. Avoid any ground you think might be slippery.
Small gradual inclines aren’t a problem for a Segway, but deep slopes cause a lot of slippage. This can disturb the balance of the Segway and cause it to tip. That’s why it’s so important to avoid any steep slopes. At best, you’ll have a difficult time moving and at worse you will fall. The best plan of action is to get off the Segway and use its power assist mode to help climb an incline or go down a slope.
Bumps or Holes
A bump or a hole is a dangerous thing for any vehicle and the Segway is no different. Running the tires into one of these can cause the Segway to lose control and topple. Even if it does not cause you to fall, there could still be damage to the wheels. Curbs are the same as bumps for a Segway, so avoid them as well. It’s important you keep your eyes out for these obstacles as you drive if you want to keep your balance.
In this case, uneven ground means any time your wheels aren’t the same height, such as one wheel being on a curb and the other on the street. This kind of tilted ground will limit how well you can control your Segway and your balance. If the ground causes enough of a tilt to the Segway, you might fall over as well. Just like the other obstacles, avoid uneven ground where possible.
Now that you know how to keep you balance while riding a Segway you can enjoy it to the fullest. Although it might sound like a lot, once you get a bit of practice it’ll feel easy. The last piece of advice we can give is to relax. Driving a Segway is fun, and you shouldn’t stress out when riding one.