Although I’ve lived in Edmonton my entire life (nearing 27 years now), and as much as I try to attend or partake in unique-to-Edmonton events and activities, there are still so many I’ve yet to do – and that’s something that really excites me.
Something that’s been on my Explore Edmonton bucket list for awhile now is doing a segway tour through Edmonton’s River Valley!
I finally crossed that off the list last weekend with Mike!
The River Valley Adventure Co. puts on the segway tours and is located at Louise McKinney Park downtown.
Seeing our beautiful river valley while on a segway is such an amazing way explore Edmonton!
I had asked my friend Sharman if she and her boyfriend wanted to segway with us and she asked why she’d want to do it in Edmonton’s River Valley versus doing it in another city.
Answer: Did you know Edmonton’s River Valley is Canada’s largest urban park with 160+ kilometres of parks, trails, and outdoor attractions? Why wouldn’t you want to segway through this river valley?!
The segway tours don’t come cheap though (which is why our friends declined going with us).
For a one-hour tour, you’re looking at $59.99 per person.
Most of your initial tour is also training, so for first-timers, it might not feel like best value for your money.
Groupon actually helped us save money so it was just half off ($30 per person) instead!
I’m not sure if they’d put the segway tours back on Groupon anytime soon (probably though), but that’s always a nice place to look for a discount.
There was 8 of us on our Sunday afternoon segway tour and everyone was a newbie.
I’d actually briefly been on a segway at NAIT during their Open House last year so I was probably the most experienced (or at least comfortable on the segway) of our group.
Riding a segway is actually way easier than you might think too!
The segways themselves are very smart.
They’ll auto-shut down for safety, auto-stabilize, shake to let you know you’re going too fast, and there are speed locks you can set so you don’t get too out of control.
You control the segway by shifting your body weight forward, backward, or to the sides you want to turn.
Lean slightly forward to accelerate, slightly back to slow down. Lean your body left or right to turn.
— Linda Hoang (@lindork) April 3, 2016
You stand perfectly still with your back straight/body centered to get the segway to stop, and you’re never – ever supposed to travel backwards on the segway (very unsafe!)
Our instructor Joe was really funny and enthusiastic.
He spends a bit of one-on-one time with every one to get you started on your segway, and really pushes the safety message (which I appreciated).
It took Mike and I no time to figure it out!
We really had a lot of fun zipping around on the segways, but as I alluded to earlier, if you pick segway-ing up quickly, but others in the group don’t, then well, you’re kind of stuck.
And that was the main problem we had.
About 3 others in the group seemed to be having quite an issue with speed/control of the segways, and as you’re expected to go in single-file line through the valley, Mike and I found we were going at too slow a pace because we needed to accommodate the others.
Since we only had an hour and the majority of the time was spent with the group learning how to segway, we didn’t actually end up segwaying too far – or too fast (but you can get going pretty quick on those things!)
We sort of did a quick loop around Louise McKinney then circled back up and then down again.
We passed the walking bridge that would take you across the river – but didn’t actually go on the bridge.
Instructor Joe said that when you return after your first-time segway training then you can just skip right to going across the bridge and spend more time actually riding the segway through the river valley.
Still, on the basic loop, you get a pretty good feel for the segways, and the views are stunning (Edmonton is so beautiful!).
When we went, the weather was also fantastic.
That beautiful in early April?
I’m picturing segwaying this summer will be an even better experience!
Every one who segways gets a little segway operator ‘license’ with stamps.
You’re encouraged to get the card stamped with your return visits so eventually you get a ride for free.
I’m excited to return and fill up my segway card!
There are a few things I’d recommend you do to get the most of your segway experience though:
7 tips to get the most out of your river valley segway tour
- Book with a group of friends! Friend or couple dates are fun but see if you can round up 6-8 people and go as a group because if your friends are slow to pick it up and it affects the speed of your group, it’s way easier to deal with that than dealing with strangers who slow you down.
- Watch for a Groupon or look at other discount opportunities. If it’s your birthday – you actually get to ride for free as long as you bring at least one other person with you! Consider a segway river valley birthday party – that seems pretty unique and cool to me. Also history shows that if a company does a Groupon once, they typically do it again, so watch for those before you book.
- Do 90 minutes, not 60 minutes. An hour goes by way too fast – and if it’s your first time and the majority is spent on teaching you how to segway safely (which is super important – but also a time suck) then go for a longer stretch so you get more time to actually zip around.
- Go more than once. As mentioned, the first time you go is primarily training and can move at a fairly slow pace (unless you go with that group of friends/people you know). When you return after your training session, you get to request to go right into segwaying (crossing the river, etc.)
- Call to book instead of doing it online. That way you can try to customize the ride a bit more – and make it clear that you’re not in it for a beginner session (if you’re not a beginner).
- Bring a camera (or use your phone)! They encourage photos/videos of your segway adventure (and even have spots to spot and offer to take photos of you). I even took a few selfies and videos while on the segway – takes a bit of extra balance but totally do-able.
- If you’re more of a speed demon / learn quickly, try to be at the front of the line. The front of the line really helps dictate speed/pace. Unfortunately Mike and I were in the back of the line so we could only go as fast as the people in front of us. Try to get a spot up front for maximum fun-times!
Overall, what a great experience!
Mike sort of felt dorky riding the segway (thinking mall cops), but I really think it’s so cool! It is a bit pricy to justify too frequently at the regular rate, but do watch for discounts.
I can’t wait to visit the river valley again and I can’t wait to do it on a segway.
Explore Edmonton! You won’t regret it.
So have you gone segwaying before?! How’d you do? What’d you think?