Segway Tour Catalonia
Ever ridden a Segway? They’re not as easy as they look you know. But once you’ve mastered one you can easily strike out across miles of countryside, forest track, and yes, river. Without putting in much effort. I took to the hills of Sant Llorenc del Munt i l’Obac Natural Park in Catalonia. Just me, the rolling countryside, a handful of other riders and a bunch of frisky machines…
Segway riding in Catalonia
What I immediately learn is that the Segway is in control. Until the human takes control. And the human can only take control once they stop thinking about being in control. So basically the machine is mostly in charge. This is not good news for a practising control freak. What I thought might be a quiet afternoon out is actually a battle of wills. A date night of egos; where both of you want to order the wine.
A date between control freaks
“For sure you will not crash. In terms of the system I mean. You can do all sorts of crazy things on your own!” grins Pere Llorens from Dinamic Solutions who owns the Segways and is guiding us today.
Pere is not a big ego; he’s a friendly and outgoing guy who wants us all to have a good time on one of his 35 machines. He is also a wizard. In the demonstration he does not touch his handlebars. Yet he’s kind of doing a Segway dance in front of us. The people who were nervous before now start to look like they think he’s dabbling in the dark arts.
I am not nervous. I have been dying to have a go on one of these machines since I saw Mall Cop at a KIDS AM screening when the children were toddlers. I may have been the only person in the world who found Paul Blart hysterical and I have to admit I looked into the price of a Segway back then. So I can’t wait to get one out on a mountainside. Particularly as we are in the first natural park of Spain, on the Els 3 Monts trail; a trail that connects the natural parks of Barcelona by a special signposted itinerary divided into six stages.
This is a land of dry stone architecture, Romanesque and Modernist buildings and world class hiking and climbing. It is not a place where people fall off Segways. But that won’t happen to me because I am Mall Cop in the Countryside. I jump on, stand on the little platform and attempt to go forth. But the Segway shoots off skittishly and suddenly I am a little nervous. My fictional romance with the machine takes an unexpected turn now we are in each others arms for real. Honestly? I find him a little bit immature.
Out of our comfort zone
“This is how it works. The segway is most comfortable flat. When we move we put him in an uncomfortable position. He wants to be flat again. When you lean forward you are turning the platform and the Segway says ‘Hey I’m not comfortable with that.’” Pere explains the science behind the Seg.
My suitor is already saying ‘Hey! Hold up.’ But I stick with the programme. After all, everyone else is a beginner too. We set off down a little forested track with a high crag towering above us, framed by a momentary sunburst. The sun is warm on our cheeks and once we take to the hills I become distracted by the rock shaped like a camel. And then by a rock shaped like a locomotive. And then by a beautiful house in the hills that’s for rent. And I don’t even realise I am whizzing, freewheeling like a pro, flying over bump and navigating dirt track.
The Segway reminds me who is in charge
“When you go faster you demand more power from the engine and he is more uncomfortable. This machine goes at 12mph top speed. Too fast and the Segway will stop!” shouts Pere. And right at this moment that happens. And I cling on for dear life.
Getting it on
It’s time to show this machine who is boss. I slow things down, stay in control and skim down a hill. I pootle through a river, squeeze through a barrier, climb through meadow and pass vines with tiny bunches of grapes still forming. I take my Segway right up to the gates of a cultural centre Marquet de les Roques that was once the home of a famous poet. I try to remember a sonnet to stroke my suitor with. I feel we are starting to bond. Until I try to get off. Who knew I had to put a wall in the way of him and the mountains to stop him from taking off?
Is it love?
Our ride ends where we started, at Can Brossa. I hand my new friend back reluctantly. I am already feeling a little bit lonely. Could this be love?
Disclosure Note: Thanks to Costa Barcelona Es Moltmes for providing the activity that allowed us to bring you this post. The views and experience are all our own.