Riding a Segway was something I’d wanted to do for a while.  However, the image of a mall cop, and of George W. riding and falling off one is so not cool, not to mention the fact that the owner of Segway died after crashing his, caused me to hesitate a bit when the opportunity presented itself. Edgar, the owner of Barcelona Glides assured me that I had nothing to worry about.  The owner died when he rolled off a cliff on his Segway and we weren’t going to be near any cliffs, and the only people who ever turned down a chance to ride a Segway due to its supposed uncoolness were a couple of know-it-all teens, who sat around twiddling their thumbs,  looking exceedingly cool, no doubt, while their parents took a whirl around Barcelona.

With that reassurance, and a brief lesson on how to safely use the Segway, I channeled my inner mall cop, took a chance and a tour of the city with Barcelona Glides.  Edgar started Barcelona Glides In March 2005, and despite the fact that this past January was the slowest month ever for the company – which can be blamed on the fact that Barcelona was unusually cold – the tours are very popular.

Edgar of Barcelona Glides

For 2.5 hours, you zip around Barcelona on the person-mover, steering it by leaning forward or backward, and using the handlebar to go left or right. The top speed is about 12 miles per hour, but not wanting to pull a George W., I kept my speed a little slower.

Riding the Segway offers advantages over other ways to tour the city: the ability to go through narrow streets and passageways that aren’t accessible with a tour bus, unlike bikes, Segways are allowed on footpaths, and even at less then top speed, you cover more ground then if you’re walking.

There was no need to fear looking uncool. People stopped and stared and pointed, making me feel like the coolest kid around.  And even more importantly, I had a blast! Edgar is a local, so he took us down little clandestine streets, pointed out his favorite tapas bar and little known shops that are off the beaten tourist path. He also gave us lots of wonderful historical anecdotes about Barcelona that you don’t find in guide books.

So what are you waiting for? Throw away your guide books and preconceived notions of cool and take a glide around Barcelona on a Segway.

Thank you to Barcelona Glides for providing me with a Segway tour of Barcelona.