Back in 2010, my then-boyfriend walked through my front door and announced that Jimi Heselden, the British businessman who bought the Segway company, had died in a freak accident.
“He rode right off a cliff,” my boyfriend explained.
That part, it turned out, was only half-true. As the story goes, Heselden died in what many considered “an act of courtesy” after he reversed his machine to make way for a dog walker and, in so doing, fell 40 feet to his death.
This, by the way, had nothing to do with anything. It was just how my boyfriend and I passed our time together: with him sharing bizarre news items trending on Reddit and me listening, perhaps realizing that the information might come in handy some six years later when I wanted to settle an argument for an elderly Irish couple on holiday in Durban.
“Don’t worry,” I overheard the man say to his wife just outside a Segway tour office yesterday afternoon. “No one has ever died on a Segway.”
I, fresh off of a two-hour roll through Moses Mabhida Stadium and Durban’s Golden Mile, couldn’t help but guffaw as I walked by. When they both turned to stare, I said, “Oh, someone definitely died on one – the owner of the company.”
When the woman looked properly horrified, I hastily added, “But he fell off a cliff. I can’t imagine you’ll do that here.”
And that much is true. There are no cliffs on the tour. In fact, the worst thing that could happen is that someone might scoot right off the stadium mezzanine, but it would really take some doing. I should know – I was just there and managed to avoid it.
I did, however, fall down a flight of steps. But that was the guide’s fault, really. He never should have proposed I ride down them in the first place.
Nor should he have told me to take my helmet off for a photo. Or suggest that I try to hit the maximum speed of 20 km/hour while riding through a flock of geese. But he’s the professional. Who am I to argue?
I don’t know if the woman ever made it through the tour yesterday, but I hope she took my advice and hopped on. Because Segways are fantastic fun. In fact, it’s nearly impossible to not have a good time on one.
Just, you know, watch out for the cliffs.
Bonus video: This is what the most fun four seconds of my day looked like yesterday. Email subscribers, view the video here: www.adviceineeded.com