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