Ever watched Rumble, the Thunder's mascot bison, race around on a Segway at a game? Did you think, "That looks like fun"?
Well, it is, and you can do it, too. As an added benefit, you'll get to know your city better. A year ago, Craig Margo started Sure Beats Walking LLC, offering guided Segway tours.
Margo and his wife got hooked on the two-wheeled electric vehicles after a tour in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
"Cheryl and I also like the Heartland Flyer. We take it to Fort Worth twice a year," he said. "After the Puerto Rico trip, we arranged with the Segway dealer in Fort Worth to meet us at the train station. We rented the machines for four hours before our return trip. We went all over downtown Fort Worth."
The Margos figured if they enjoyed it so much, people in Oklahoma City would, too. He made a business plan, researched permits and insurance, bought five Segways and a van to transport them, and gave his first official tour last May.
He offers four different guided tours. New this year is the Oklahoma River Cruise/Trail Tour, which gives participants two ways to enjoy the Oklahoma River. Gliders meet at River Park, just east of Meridian Avenue, and, after a short training period, travel four miles down the south side of the river, past lush, green banks and the Centennial Grove. Scissortails swoop overhead, while on the water, Canada geese with their troops of goslings paddle by. At the Exchange landing, everyone boards one of the river cruisers for the trip back upstream.
A little leery about riding a Segway? Ask someone who's done it. British visitor Zoe McAden tried it last fall.
"It's really, really cool," she said. "When you first get on, it's intimidating and you think it will take forever to get the hang of it. Then, before you know it, you're zipping around like it's second nature."
The hardest thing is to relax and let the machine do the balancing. Once you do that, it's a piece of cake, and Margo is there to help with getting on and off the vehicle.
The Bricktown Area and Oklahoma State Capitol/Harn Homestead tours combine sightseeing with history. The Oklahoma River Trail Area tour, which goes from the river park just north of the Stockyards east to the wetlands past the old downtown air park, is for riders who are more interested in speed than speeches.
"My favorite thing is seeing parts of Oklahoma City that I've not seen before," said local resident Jimmy Widdifield, who's taken all the tours. "I've learned a lot of history about Bricktown and Oklahoma City. And I've seen things I didn't know were there, like a little park downtown that has artifacts of Oklahoma City's past."
Taking the Segway tours has inspired Widdifield.
"What's been so valuable is you find these little places," he said. "Now I'm going out and exploring Oklahoma City more on my own two feet."
In addition to regular tours, Margo does private tours and corporate team-building events. Riders must be at least 16 years old; under 18 requires parent/guardian permission. Tours last one to two hours and cost $50, with a small extra charge for the river cruise. "Elaine Warner
photo Segwayers zoom along the Oklahoma River Trail Area tour.