I have always wanted to ride a Segway and when I found out they rent in Grand Rapids, I decided to give it a shot. A friend and I visited Segway Tours of Grand Rapids, a small office tucked away inside the Amway Grand parking garage.

When we initially arrived, we had to call a number on the office window and Mike Kaback answered. Mike explained that it would take about 10 minutes (15 at the max) to get to the office. Mike arrived with his son 10 minutes late making it 25 minutes, not 15. But hey, who’s tracking time, this is about having fun right?

Once we signed the waiver, we started training. There is a trainer mode which teaches you to balance. It’s a lot like standing on a log that is floating in the water, but the log only rotates 180 degrees rather than 360. The trick is to find your center of balance; if you lean forward, the Segway wants to move forward and the more you lean (forward or backward), the faster it goes in that direction.

After about 10 minutes, the training module was turned off and we were making our way through downtown Grand Rapids. It was lunch time and we found ourselves dodging pedestrians, crossing busy streets and trying not to hit trees! Stopping is not easy and I had a few close calls!

Segway rental in grand rapidsThe Segway was fun and perfect for a large warehouse but downtown Grand Rapids was pushing it. These machines are quiet and people don’t see you until you are right upon them and although 12 miles per hour may not seem fast, it’s flying on a busy sidewalk!

Was it worth $50 for 30 minutes? It’s overpriced, no question, but for me, it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. What was really upsetting was the constant nagging for a tip from Mike’s Son Jack (Mike is the owner, his young son helps him).

Also uncouth was Jack’s constant reminder of the time! First off, we lost 10 minutes in training, then, we were reminded of time along the way and when we finally got back, we had time to spare (we were allowed to drive around in circles at the bottom of the ramp for the remaining time).

I can understand keeping a time table, but when we finished, as when we started, there were no customers waiting to rent the Segways and I fail to see the urgency – we probably had a total ride time of less than 20 minutes!

Being so tight with rental time but not being able to make their own schedule was irritating. The operation would do a lot better if they were more relaxed and let the customer enjoy the fun rather than worry about a few minutes and begging for tips.

The idea of having Segway rental in the Amway Grand’s parking lot is creative as you get use of the Amway name, but the traffic is an accident waiting to happen!

Would I rent a Segway again? Yes. Would I rent from Segway Tours in Grand Rapids? Not a chance!

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5 replies
  1. Kim says:

    I purchased a used segway scooter from a pawn shop for a very good price. However on my way home on the segway it died on me. I came home and charged it up, woke the next day excited and hoping to drive it when i took it out it was dead. i drove around town looking for someone to help me either with a new cord or a new battery. However the closest place to get either a new power chord or a battery is 150 miles away in Novia, Michigan. I would like to enjoy my segway or I will result in selling it, because i purchased it from a pawn shop ALL SALES ARE FINAL…. please someone help me……

  2. Donna Batdorff says:

    I went on a 3 hour segway tour for $70 in Washington DC and a 3 hour tour in Chicago for $75. The idea of renting a segway for these rates is really high. They are going to have to bring it down for this to be a successful business model. As for safety, as I mentioned, we (a group of 10-12) rode the streets and sidewalks of DC and Chicago with no issues. So safety should not be a concern, but 10 minutes of training is not enough. I’d say we spent at least a half hour and the trainers made sure that we all could stop, start, get off, get on, etc. I was so excited to see this in GR, but evidently it has a ways to go.

  3. NBSter says:

    The Segway tour business and an unrelated gift shop was a present from his mommy. As for the rates, they are from Florida. Who in their right mind is going to blow $50 to ride one of these?

    What a waste!

  4. Jim says:

    Hi Janice,

    The City of Grand Rapids didn’t take into account wording for the Segway when they created their ordinance (understandable…); however, the Segway is a motorized vehicle and it only takes a small adjustment to the ordinance to include the proper wording.

    It is a motorized vehicle reaching speeds of up to 12mph and falls right in there with a moped, scooter and bicycle.

    I give the whole operation two months before a revised ordinance makes the current location of Grand Rapids Segway tours impossible. This is probably something the business should have checked on before moving forward.

    Have a great day!

    Jim

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