Archive for October, 2013
Ten years ago today Philip Bendall imported the first two Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) into New Zealand, and today there are more than 300 Segway PTs in use around the country.
These first two Titanium-coloured i167 models with Nickel batteries were soon being seen by tens of thousands of Kiwis at shows like Big Boys Toys, Home Shows, concerts and events nationwide. So many people had their first-ever ride on these two Segway PTs over the next few months that it is hard to calculate just how many it might have been. One of these machines now resides in The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland.
Over the next couple of months look out for stories, reprints of articles, and photos from the first days of the Segway Personal Transporter in New Zealand, right here at Segway New Zealand News.
Lights! Camera! Action!
Earlier this year we participated in the making of a fantastic new episode for season 7 of Lets Get Inventin’ – and it goes to air in New Zealand on Saturday 9th November, TV2 at 4.30pm. After that it will screen in more than 70 other countries.
Young inventor Scott Faville had a great idea that made good use of the efficient, zero-emission Segway PT – and you can find out more about the show at www.younginventors.tv
Yesterday, a UK travel program filmed an episode in Auckland for a series that is going out to hundreds of millions of viewers in 136 countries. Participants rode Segway PTs around the Auckland waterfront completing challenges for episode one. Next, the five couples will be departing on a journey that will take them the length of the country to compete iconic tasks against the backdrop of our stunning natural beauty.
Magic Broomstick Tours (located on Devonport Wharf, Auckland) contributed seven Segway PTs and proprietor Pauline Baker will be seen playing a role in judging. Segway NZ contributed four more Segway PTs for use by the camera crew and others. After screening first in UK, this series will go to air in New Zealand (and other countries) on Travel Channels sometime next year.
Heads up on some Segway & Rugby Action: watch Jono and Ben at Ten on TV3 on Friday 1 November, 2013.
Chris Morland, Director of School Success at the Institute of Sport & Adventure at Otago Polytechnic has begun commuting to meetings around campus on a new Segway i2.
“We’ve got a very spread out campus. My office at the Institute of Sport is located many hundreds of meters from the main campus, and the same distance from the Dunedin stadium. I have a number of meetings every day spread around these three locations, and I quickly calculated that I was losing about half a day per week of productive time getting between them all. Mostly, I have been walking, but is just too slow because the distances are vast.”
“The Segway Personal Transporter (PT) came to mind as the obvious solution because it is the only device that enables me to travel the full length of each journey without dismounting – from indoors, to outdoors, in all weather – all the way from one office in one part of the campus to another office elsewhere.”
Located right next to Otago University, the Polytechnic is part of the busy fabric of downtown Dunedin. “Using a car to get between the buildings is hopeless because parking is at a premium – there is never anywhere to park at the destination, and then there is still a walk to do. And then when you drive back, your original park is taken, so you spend ages driving in circles looking for a new one. Also, as an institution we’re very conscious of our carbon footprint and are always working to reduce it.”
In New Zealand, most of our electricity is generated from renewable sources. Not only is the Segway PT itself zero-emission, but the source of its recharging is close to zero-emission also (especially if it is recharged using a timer in the evening, when almost 100% of power comes from hydro-electric generation).
Chris recognises the possible irony of a senior member of the Sports Institute using an electric vehicle to get around, but says an injury makes it impossible for him to jog or run at all. Using a bicycle isn’t practical either. “Bikes are not permitted to take the direct route across Logan Park because their narrow tyres damage the turf. Nor can a bike be taken indoors and down corridors, and in any case they are not compatible with moving in, around and amongst people in tight pedestrian environments. Mobility scooters are slow and boring, and a golf cart has the same parking problems as a car. The Segway PT is in a class of its own, really.”
Segway On Q, New Zealand’s largest Segway Tour business is located in beautiful Queenstown. They’ve just launched their brand new website.
Segway On Q has consistently rated as one of TripAdvisor’s top activities since 2006, and often one of the highest rated activities in the entire South Island – making their Segway Guided Tours a ‘must do’ for every visitor to New Zealand’s most popular tourist destination.
Over at Yahoo NZ today, Segway On Q features as one of “Five unexpected adventures in Queenstown” with the author saying:
“This only looks sedate. Whining along the waterfront…[on]…this marvellous self-balancing machine, you’re allowed to crank it up to a heady 15km/hr. That’s pretty fast, when you’re only held up by magic. Through town, up the hill, around the gardens, back along the lake edge pretending not to pose for all the tourists, and then a blat out of town — it’s the most tremendous fun. But it’s really hard on your smile muscles.”
Canterbury University has more Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) deployed than any other institution in New Zealand. For example, since 2008 their Locksmith and ‘maintenance man’ Ian Steele has been finishing twice the number of jobs per day on his trusty Segway i180 model, compared with when he walked and was pulling around a tool-box on wheels.
Ian built custom tool-box and parts-case holders for his original Segway PT, and along with mail delivery staff and security staff who also use a fleet of Segway PTs, he has been contributing to improved efficiency of essential staff on campus.
After half a dozen years of daily use, this week the university upgraded the Locksmith PT to a new Segway i2 model. Because of forward-compatibility designed into every Segway PT by its engineers, it will be just a 10 minute job to transfer Ian’s custom parts across onto his new Segway i2.
Graeme Gordon from Urban Wheels (Christchurch) delivered the new i2 and trained Ian about the new features, such as the wireless InfoKey with a remote controlled disabling and alarm feature. Segway New Zealand donated a ‘Patroller’ style LeanSteer Frame with optic white shields and had it emblazoned with LOCKSMITH lettering. Not only does the Patroller version of the LeanSteer Frame offer a large, rider-facing bag but Ian will be clearly differentiated from security staff on their three Segway x2 Patrollers with yellow shields.
Wayne Rigggall, Campus Services Manager, who overseas all of the departments that use Segway PTs says he has identified other applications where he’d like to deploy PTs. “Another department that I am responsible for is the University’s printing services. A Segway PT would be really useful for urgent deliveries around campus, especially now that there is so much construction going on around here. This has caused some of the usual routes to be blocked or narrowed, meaning longer journey times on foot. However, we’re not in a position to add to the fleet at present because all of our available resources are going into repairing and rebuilding the campus after the earthquake. While we have no intention to reduce the number of Segway PTs we use, increasing the number of machines in the fleet is going to have to wait until further down the track.”
Crackerjack Promotions have again hired Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) for an event they are managing. Tonight’s Pink Star Walk in the Auckland Domain will run more smoothly and more safely with two staff on Segway i2 Patrollers, while participants raise money for breast cancer research and support.
Elsewhere, for the fifth year running our Segway PTs have been playing a key role in the four day Waikato Home & Garden Show. Now in its 29th year, this is our favourite show to exhibit at every year. The event organisers have been using two Segway PTs since set-up began earlier this week, and the show is patrolled by Ambulance EMT on their own red Segway PT.