The unbelievable has happened: Segways* are now in Sri Lanka. If you're goday and you're not familiar with Segways, it's basically a device you get onto, standing, and you can roll everywhere like a boss instead of walking. The company Amazing Adventures is now using them for tours around Colombo and Galle.
*Segway is actually a brand of personal electric vehicle but we use the term to refer to these devices by Ninebot. Actually, Ninebot just bought Segway literally yesterday, so that's fine.
Watch this fun video to see the YAMU team in action on these things.
Segways aren't typically known for being fast, but these ones went up to 20 km/h, which doesn't sound like much, but actually even 15 km/h feels fast when you're standing on this thing and speeding down the Galle Face rampart. As a note, the speed also makes gliding much cooler than walking.
How it works is you book a Segway tour by Amazing Adventures on their website, and show up at the location. There, you'll meet a team who'll strap on your safety gear and run you through some simple training, before you get started, with a guide in tow on his own machine.
You get to pick the duration of your tour, the location, and the day or night tour - we did a 60 minute day tour around Galle Face, which covered the rampart and went all the way past the Lighthouse to Sambodhi Chaithya and then to Janadhipathi Mawatha. This would cost you Rs. 3000, and 30 minutes would be Rs. 2000. These are great rates considering what fun it was, and the stuff you can learn from the guides who accompany you (also considering actually buying a Ninebot would cost Rs. 400,000 and a Segway much, much more).
The ride itself is very smooth, you feel like you're gliding. The machine has a sensor that senses your feet once you climb onto it and does the balancing, while you have your hands on the handle. To move in any direction, all you have to do is make an ever so slight suggestion against the handle, and your machine begins to move. Getting around this way is better because you're saving energy, you're faster and it also totally beats the heat when the breeze hits you.
Your guide will tell you stories about the places you pass as you go along. We were told that especially in the Galle tours, the guides would be trained to tell stories creatively and also make little stops along the way, like for a drink on the roadside, or a chat with a shopkeeper, to make your tour more entertaining and interactive.
I personally haven't had as much fun as I did on this tour in ages - it is pretty much one of the most fun activities available in Colombo and Galle right now. Usually there's a guide that follows you around on his own Ninebot making sure you're doing it right and not going too fast (it's very easy to get the hang of, but accidents do happen), but this doesn't mean you can't race each other and pretend the trees to Sambodhi Chaithya are part of an obstacle course.
However, once we wound up our tour at Janadhipathi Mawatha and got off our machines, I did not want to use my legs anymore. So this feeling of disappointment with the human anatomy is always a risk. If you can get over that, this makes a great outing with a bunch of friends for both tourists and locals alike.