Wow, it’s been a whirlwind. I’ll say this though: don’t pass up any chances you have of visiting the former Yugoslavia because you will most certainly not be disappointed. I didn’t get a chance to post this earlier, but loyal reader Monica sent this in whilst I was away. I have my comment on it in the comment section, where comments belong.
Today while walking to the neighborhood market, a middle-aged couple whizzed past my roommate and me on two segways. They were stone-faced, expression-less, as if it was completely normal to see your neighbors riding segways on sidewalks for leisure and we were really surprised. I had heard stories of sales of vespas and motorbikes rising, but I hadn’t seen that segway sales and inquiries have risen too, at rates of 40-50% over the past few years.
In fact, segways
are no longer just for policemen and city workers, but now Jane, Dick and Harry are buying them too. They are also being used by tourists everywhere from Chicago to Zambia, as the tourism community harnesses them for their benefit. At a cost of $5,000, it is steep for most people, but as gas prices are rising, more and more grow interested. At a cost of approximately 1 cent per mile, it’s cost efficiency is alluring. They are also convenient to recharge in your home after ever 25 miles. http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2008-06-16-segway_N.htm
Some people say they buy segways to use them instead of their cars, but segways are not completely substitutable for cars for several reasons: a) you have no covering, so riding a segway in bad weather is not advisable, b) there is no storage space on a segway, c) you can only go 12.5 miles, d) they are only made for one person, and e) where the hell do you park a segway securely??? For these reasons, it would not make sense for most people to get rid of all of their cars to buy segways, and thus, segways are best rented by tourists to see cities or bought by affluent singles or couples who can afford to have both segways and at least one car, or for affluent singles or couples living in an urban area where people don’t need cars.
Some people may think segways are great for America to transition to as popularity rises > leading to supply rises > leading to falling prices. This is based on the idea that America will become less dependent on foreign oil. But are segways really good for America?
The likelihood that men and women in America exercise on any given day, accoring to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, is 21 and 16 percent respectively — pretty low rates. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm
If segways are not perfect substitutes for cars, they are more perfect substitutes for walking and biking, two ways in which average Americans who don’t enjoy exercising or who have trouble making time for it are able to expend calories. As my roommate says, “if you can segway, you should be walking or biking anyway,” based on the argument that segways are only really useful for touring, novelty purposes, or for traveling relatively short distances, since their speed is only 2-3 times faster than walking and they require use of paths or sidewalks instead of roads.
People are even riding them through nature trails. On one hand, it is lessening our dependence on foreign oil, but on the other, it is also making a sedative lifestyle easier for some, as they creep into suburbia and start replacing walking and biking.
Is America doomed to become a nation of overweight segway riders or is this a passing trend like slap-bracelets and razor scooters?