Segue

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.

Title: Segways…

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?
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9 Comments

Filed under Self Improvement

9 responses to “Segue

  1. The one comforting thing about fat people is that they don’t move very quickly. This means if I’m reasonably far away from one of them, I can be comforted in the fact that they won’t get uncomfortably close to me before I can react. Segways provide these fatties a means to enter my no-fat-zone, which is 12 feet (approx 4m) in diameter.

    Logically, I think that this shouldn’t be a huge problem since at least they won’t be walking and sweating profusely whilst on a Segway. But in reality, fat people sweat at hockey games and I won’t escape their damp fupas and love handles. The Segway might be the most revolutionary thing to ever happen to fat people. If it could climb stairs, they’d never walk again and sales would climb through the roof. Ugh.

    The real problem here is that Segways allow fat people to go places (outside) that they don’t belong. We can only hope that the price stays high enough to price out the poor and ignorant fat people.

  2. Greg

    Well, I don’t think that really fat people can even ride them, I think there’s a weight limit. I could be wrong though.

  3. Opoefiets or omafiets means ‘granny bike’. But many cool young men ride it as well, for decades already now. Many others too. It’s the perfect authentic undercover wartime-vehicle for a resistance hero like me.

  4. Can you explain to me why it beats a Vespa? I mean really, what is it with the Dutch and their bicycles where everywhere else the moped is king?

  5. Hm. Good question. I guess something about only having short distances here and no hills? Something about a tradition of no nonsense in the culture maybe (Calvinism) and of being shamelessly economical? Most probably also a tremendous and widespread fear of becoming fat. Yes, I’m sure. And, as mentioned, bikes are low profile and an excellent vehicle for undercover resistance operations.

  6. Monica

    Bikes work well in the Netherlands, for all those reasons you mentioned, but they really haven’t caught on quite as well in the US, especially DC, where it’s hard to park your bike, hard to maneuver through the streets without getting hit by a car, and not conducive to going up and down hills. Nonetheless, there is a community of bikers here that are fiercely trying to make the city more bike friendly, and get more people to bike to work. I must confess that my bike’s tires are deflated and it hasn’t been ridden since I moved here…

  7. Monica

    And overweight or obese people will never try biking — thus, it’s practically impossible for if it to ever catch on in the US among adults, where 2 in every 3 adults fit in that category. The post already underlines Americans’ piss-poor rate of exercising. Really though, the uptake of bikes would probably be one of the best things for our country.

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