Seg­way-ing through Philly

There’s no bet­ter way To dis­cover The street arty side of Philadel­phia Than by be­ing “bat­tery charged”

WKND - - Travel United Stated -

He honked at us. We were in the mid­dle of the road, but we re­fused to give way. We could un­der­stand his ex­as­per­a­tion: four hel­meted tourists on bat­tery-op­er­ated two-wheel Seg­ways, hog­ging an en­tire lane of a street that cuts through a neigh­bour­hood of Philadel­phia. “Hold your lane; you have the right of way,” Ben, our tour leader’s voice crack­led over the re­ceivers strung around our necks.

Yes, we were on an off­beat tour of the fa­bled city where the US Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence was signed. The thrust of our two-hour Seg­way tour was to ex­plore some of the mu­rals — not graf­fiti — that adorn the walls of build­ings in dif­fer­ent neigh­bour­hoods of the city. In the process, the city shared with us its se­crets and de­light­ful lit­tle nuggets about it­self.

But first... We had to come to terms with the Seg­way. Rid­ing those con­trap­tions, which com­prised of a rod on two wheels with no gas ped­als, brakes or steer­ing wheels in open traf­fic, freaked out two mem­bers of our group who opted out of the ad­ven­ture. We, how­ever, steeled our­selves and hopped onto them for prac­tice runs un­der the watch­ful eyes of Ben, within the premises of Philly Tour Hub. Lean for­ward to go for­ward. Lean back to slow down and stop. Turn the guide stick right to turn right and left to turn left. It’s quite sim­ple, he said. And the truth is: it was quite sim­ple. Three runs across an ob­sta­cle course and we were ready to hit the road.

How­ever, we were still a lit­tle ner­vous when we found our­selves sur­rounded by traf­fic. The thrill of hold­ing our own with cars whizzing past was pretty unique. It was not long be­fore we started to bond with the Seg­way. Like a well-trained stal­lion, it re­sponded to the slight­est nudge. We rode down bi­cy­cle lanes when­ever we came across any; trun­dled down foot­paths; hogged en­tire traf­fic lanes...

Once the Seg­way felt like an ex­ten­sion of our bod­ies, we could fo­cus on the arty side of the ad­ven­ture. In­deed, the city of Philadel­phia is one big sprawl­ing open-air art gallery with over 4,000 mu­rals on dis­play. We pulled up in front of the first ex­hibit which was, fit­tingly, a paint­ing of the city’s iconic sky­line.

WHEEL­ING AROUND: De­lighted tourists make the most of an arty tour

a num­ber of Mid­dle East­ern air­lines op­er­ate di­rect flights to Philadel­phia. Other car­ri­ers do so from their hubs in Turkey, Europe and the US. Trains and buses con­nect the city to most ci­ties around the coun­try.

there are op­tions to suit ev­ery bud­get. In ad­di­tion to Seg­way Mu­ral Tours, Philly Tour Hub of­fers vis­i­tors a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ways of ex­plor­ing the city. con­tact: Brand USA at www.the­bran­dusa. com and Philly Tour Hub at www.philly­tourhub.com

wknd@khalee­j­times.com

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