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Ever since the Segway was introduced in 2001, I’ve wanted to ride one.

The two-wheeled personal transporters that seem to defy all laws of physics and gravity looked like so much fun, but I never had the opportunity. In many cities I’d see people zipping all over on guided Segway tours and asked myself, “Why wouldn’t that work in Corpus Christi?” Thankfully, Tim and Peggy Heuston asked the same question.

Earlier this year, Tim and Peggy opened SegCity, offering Segway tours along the Bayfront. On a recent postcard-perfect morning, I stepped onto my first Segway and let Tim take me on a tour. And I fell in love with this city again. After a quick tutorial on how to operate the Segway, we set out to roam the most beautiful parts of the city, covering nearly five miles in 80 minutes. Tim points to our natural beauty and lets you soak it in: a mother dolphin and her babies that are currently calling our bay home, the public art, landscape and structures along Shoreline Boulevard, the views from the ship channel, the intricacies of Heritage Park, chasing seagulls on the T-head and everything in between. All of this on a nifty little machine that is a blast to tool around on. The Bayfront sidewalk is nice and smooth and Tim really lets you open up the throttle.

To see every Bayfront asset in one fell swoop, laid out like a banquet, is sobering. This is what our tourists see with new eyes — and it is magnificent. More than any activity I’ve done this year, I believe these bayfront Segway tours should be mandatory for every resident, beginning with the City Council and city staff. This simple activity, affordable and extremely fun, cuts straight to the core of one of our city’s biggest issues: We have forgotten what we have. Go rediscover it.

Click here to see the original article. - 09/21/10

Segways, two-wheeled, personal transportation devices, have arrived in Corpus Christi.

Tim Heuston recently opened SegCity Tours, which offers guided tours of downtown on the machines, which are ridden standing up. He offers 1 1/2- and two-hour tours of the bayfront, Watergarden, Heritage Park and sites in between. Prices range from $25 to $65 per person, depending on the size of the group. Heuston rode his first Segway about eight months ago during a visit to Galveston. His wife, Peggy, scheduled a tour with SegCity Tours and that’s when the idea was born. “I had such a ball riding that thing,” said Heuston, 56. “By the time we left, Peggy had spoken to the owner and had received information for opening a store in Corpus Christi.”

Most people who get on a Segway are nervous about it, but get the hang of it within minutes, he said. Three or four minutes into the tour, they forget their concerns and start giggling. “I’ve had 80-year-old grandmas who were hesitant to try the Segways go faster than me,” Heuston said. “People find it liberating. It’s easy to maneuver, it’s quiet, it offers a 360-degree view of the outdoors and it’s good for the environment.”

The vehicles are electrically powered and can go as fast as 12 mph. The charge lasts for 26 miles and the Segway is slim enough that it can maneuver through most pedestrian areas with ease, according to its manufacturer, Segway LLC. Heuston offers fun facts and history about the different sites along the tour, such as the Miradors, public art and the homes at Heritage Park. He keeps his tours on a rigid path because smooth sidewalks with curb cuts are vital to riders’ safety and many sidewalks downtown are unsuitable for Segways, Heuston said. He doesn’t rent out the vehicles because unsupervised users could pose a safety issue for pedestrians when going 12 miles an hour or attempting to use them inappropriately, he said.

Lee Jordan, owner of Burbank-based Captions Inc. and Pizza State in Flour Bluff, has been on three tours of downtown with Heuston. The Corpus Christi native said locals can learn an array of interesting facts on the tour. “I didn’t know we had a Watergarden,” said Jordan, 63. “Other than walking, riding a Segway is the best way to experience the area because they’re effortless and your view’s not obstructed. It’s very effortless, like it’s reading your mind. It gives you the sense you’re floating.” Jordan said he will keep taking the tour at least once a month because he doesn’t plan on buying one soon. Although he loves being on them, Segways cost about $6,500, he added. Alan Albin, special project manager with the Corpus Christi Downtown Management District, took a tour with his wife, mother-in-law and son. “I’m absolutely fascinated by it,” Albin said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to show people the wonderful downtown sights. I find it personally sad that he’s restricted to one portion of downtown, but I understand the safety considerations for riders and pedestrians.”

Heuston said he has received help promoting his tours from several downtown businesses and organizations. He is considering adding a date night tour and maybe adding a second location at Corpus Christi Beach. “Corpus Christi is gorgeous and sometimes locals take it for granted,” said Heuston, who sold John Deere equipment for 30 years in South Dakota. “I have to pinch myself everyday because I moved to a place where people just have a ball. I invite the adventurous to test the Segways.”

Click here to see the original article. - 07/16/10

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