Why walk when you can explore the city on wheels…
At first glance, it looks nerve-wrecking – like an accident waiting to happen – and if you’ve ever seen anyone whizz pass on one of these battery-powered, self-balancing machines, it would have boggled your brain trying to figure out how a Segway works and how riding it can appear quite so effortless. I put all my fears aside and discovered that while the centre of Milan can easily be explored on foot, taking a guided tour of the fashion capital on a machine that becomes a natural extension of your body, just makes the adventure that much more exhilarating and unforgettable.
1. Anyone can do it
Yes, able-bodied or not, you can zip around on a nifty two-wheeler, seated or standing, but to experience the cool breeze brush across your face and through your hair, you must be at least 16 years old and weigh a minimum of 45kg (my petite frame just about qualified!). This is important because you will shift your weight to manoeuvre the Segway forwards and backwards.
2. Learn how to ride a Segway
Dress for the occasion by wearing casual, comfortable clothes and flat shoes – luckily for hair-do’s, helmets are not compulsory! Safety is a huge priority for the Segway Tours staff and before hopping on, there’s a quick, comprehensive training session explaining how to step onto the machine one foot at a time, the importance of staying clear of hazards on the path, taking wide turns so that nothing hits the sides of the wheels, the Segway’s limitations and how to correctly shift body weight.
3. It’s a guided tour
A professional guide will lead and assist you with the Segway. Two or three people will have one tour guide and as the group size increases, so will the number of guides who will explain the history and significance of important locations in your preferred language. My guide, Emilio, is fluent in English and his sense of humour and patience was simply admirable. He is a skilled master when it comes to controlling a Segway; he forewarns his followers about potential dangers, monitors traffic and was quick to come to my rescue a few times.
4. See a lot in a very short time
My tour started at 10:30am from the Segway Tours office at Piazza Sempione and by midday, I was back there. In just 1 hour and 30 minutes, I had rolled along Parco Sempione’s gravel paths, sped through the Sforzesco Castle’s courtyard, through the cobbled streets to Piazza Mercanti and onto the majestic Duomo. We admired San Fedele Church, greeted Leonardo Da Vinci’s statue in Piazza alla Scala, zoomed around the grand arena and spent some time admiring L’Arco della Pace, the impressive gateway to Milan built by order of Napoleon. What would’ve have taken a full day on foot was neatly packaged into an effortless, educational and insightful round-trip. The big plus? No sore feet!
5. Great group activity, even for the paraplegics
Both the Downtown Tour to the city centre and the Movida Tour to glamorous night spots can accommodate up to 20 people. Segway Tours also caters to the needs of paraplegics with a seated version, Genny, which works in exactly the same way. This means that if you have a friend who is disabled from the hip down, they don’t have to miss out on the fun and amazing memories.
6. Get attention!
Walking through Milan’s streets will have you blend in, but on a Segway, you become a head-turning attraction. Bystanders turn to look which sparks amused chatter, school kids cheer you on, people take photos and other tourists who witness your joy, enquire about Segway Tours too.
7. Get perspective on the city make-up and proximity
Getting around by bus, tram, on foot or by underground, doesn’t make it easy to understand the layout and proximity of the city – something which you can only make sense of after a second or third trip. On a Segway, you really get a clear understanding of just how compact Milan is, how close in proximity the must-see locations are, and how easy it is to navigate the fashion capital.
To book for yourself and a friend, email Segway Tours or call +39 02 39545062
For more information and pricing on all tours, visit the Segway Tours website
Getting to the Segway Tours office:
Piazza Sempione, 5 (Arco della Pace)
Tram 1, 19