Archive for July, 2014

The Lion, the ditch and Segway

The Lion, the ditch and the Segway

The Lion, the ditch and the Segway

Rohit Gupta uses his Segway x2 to get around his 6 hectare (10 acre) lifestyle block in Dairy Flat, Auckland.

“Originally, I purchased the Segway x2 for my teenage kids to use, to ride around the property and just have fun. I decided a Segway Personal Transporter (PT) was much safer than a quad bike or a farm motorbike.”

“But I’ve been finding that I use it myself quite a lot. Much more than I expected, because it is so handy.”

Rohit says he likes how the Segway PT starts instantly with the push of a button – even on the coldest mornings. He’s also discovered that it speeds up doing some of those jobs that small block owners find so time consuming.

“For example, I put on the knapsack and go weed spraying. For spot spraying it is much faster than walking the paddocks. Also, when the knapsack becomes empty, it doesn’t take me anywhere near as long to glide back to the shed to refill. So the job gets done very much faster overall.”

As an electrical engineer, Rohit might well consider replacing that old knapsack with a manual pumping lever with twin spray tanks mounted on the cargo plates on either side of his Segway x2 complete with a battery operated pump. Now that would be a handy application of Kiwi ingenuity.

Rohit has been fascinated by the Segway PT since it was first announced in 2001. During the mid-2000’s he’d attended a technical talk about the Segway PT and a demonstration of the e167 model to the Auckland Institute of Electrical Engineers by Philip Bendall. That night he decided he’d own one for himself one day. Back then, Segway’s first cross-terrain model – the Segway XT – was yet to be released. Today, Rohit’s business Computer Fanatics Limited is a successful software company that specialises in applications for veterinarians (VETLINK), and farmers (Animal Health Plan, Equine Health Plan), as well as HAIRLINK (for Hair Salons, Beauty Clinics, Nail Bars, and Day Spas).

Rohit and his Segway x2, along with one of his two lions that guard his home

Rohit and his Segway x2, along with one of his two lions that guard his home

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Segway PTs on Kiwi farms

POST UPDATED: 13 October 2014

The new Segway x2 SE getting down and dirty in the mud on a dairy farm in New Zealand

The new Segway x2 SE getting down and dirty in the mud on a dairy farm in New Zealand

The Segway x2 SE can be found putting in a good day’s work down on the farm. Kiwi farmers and lifestyle block owners are using Segway x2 SE’s (and earlier Segway x2 and Segway XT models) to get everywhere from the house to the cowshed, or up from the paddock and down to the gate. Other landowners are using Segway PTs to do everything from lead the horses in to speeding up those never-ending-jobs like spot-spraying weeds. For example, Anne Watts uses her new Segway x2 SE on her 200 hectare (500 acre) dairy farm in Karaka, South Auckland. The Segway x2 SE transports her down muddy races, through puddles and across deep, lush paddocks of pasture – even when the soil underneath is wet and boggy after a week of rain.

Anne Watts with her Segway x2 SE on her dairy farm and equine property in Karaka, Auckland

Anne Watts with her Segway x2 SE on her dairy farm and equine property in Karaka, Auckland

The deeply treaded tyres and agile, cross-terrain capabilities of the Segway x2 SE enable Anne to glide to the four corners of her farm quickly, quietly and safely, whether it is to check on livestock or carry out maintenance. She is going to add Universal Cargo plates that have tie-downs for bungi cords, and the capability to attach or remove quick-release, watertight cargo cases. A Front Case lets her carry an assortment of gear including tools, equipment, wet weather clothing, and a water bottle.

The Segway x2 SE and a quad bike - two very useful vehicles for Kiwi farmers.

The Segway x2 SE and a quad bike – two very useful vehicles for Kiwi farmers.

For Anne, the Segway x2 SE has become an important and often-used part of the transport mix of vehicles that help her work her farm on a daily basis. Of course, if she needs to carry some fence posts, a bale of hay and the cattle dog too, she’ll take the quad bike. But compared with climbing onto a quad bike that requires starting up, backing up and making multi-point turns just to turn around in narrow races and tracks, simply stepping onto the Segway x2 SE with it’s turn-on-the-spot, zero-radius turning is a faster and more convenient way to get around much of the time.

Segway x2 SE on a dressage arena that has wood chips on the surface

Segway x2 SE on a dressage arena that has wood chips on the surface

Anne’s other passion is horses, and she has begun to take the Segway x2 SE with her to horse shows around the country. She loads both horses and the Segway x2 SE into the back of her horse truck, and when she arrives the Segway x2 SE provides a quick, efficient way to get around large equine events. And because it is silent and zero-emission, the Segway x2 SE doesn’t scare the horses.

UPDATE 13 OCTOBER 2014: Anne says that since her Segway x2 SE was delivered at the start of June, there has hardly been a day that she hasn’t used it at least once. Some days it is only for a short jaunt from the house down to a paddock to check the horses or feed some lambs, but most days she is off and on it many times as she works all around the farm.

AnneSunsetArena1

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Segway PT treads lightly across a famous beach

Just how light on the environment is the Segway Personal Transporter (PT)?

Well, here’s what happens when the Segway XT tracks across the famous black sands at Karekare beach (rated #38 on CNN’s list of the world’s top 100 beaches, it is located 35km north of Auckland).

As you can see, the large, low-pressure tyres of a x-Series Segway PT barely imprints on the surface….in stark contrast to the deep depressions formed by the footprints of a person walking a path across the sand.

Segway XT on the famous black sands of Karekare beach, north of Auckland (New Zealand)

Segway XT on the famous black sands of Karekare beach, north of Auckland (New Zealand)

Check out a world-famous environmentalist on an eco-friendly Segway x2 Turf: Peter Garrett gets around without burning the Midnight Oil is a reminder how this lightweight, zero-emission vehicle has been designed from the ground up to to be compatible with and safe in pedestrian spaces.

Karekare is a popular destination that features rugged, windswept vistas. The beach was the star in one of the most striking scenes in The Piano, winner of three Academy Awards (out of 8 nominations) in March 1994: Best Actress for Holly Hunter, Best Supporting Actress for Anna Paquin, and Best Original Screenplay for writer/director Jane Campion. Paquin, who at the time was 11 years old, is the second youngest Oscar winner ever in a competitive category. The film also starred Sam Neill and Harvey Keitel.

Karekare also lends its name to the opening song on Crowded House‘s fourth album Together Alone (as “Kare Kare”), which was recorded in a farm house overlooking this beach.

CNN is currently the third-most popular website, and three New Zealand beaches made its recent Top 100 Beaches list. In addition to Karekare, Kaiteriteri in Tasman Bay (top of the South Island) rated #68 and Hot Water Beach in Coromandel (North Island) rated #94. In 2003 The Guardian newspaper rated Kaiteriteri along with two Carribean beaches, an Irish beach and one on the East African archipelago of the Seychelles as the five best beaches in the world.

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First to upgrade: Christchurch Segway Tours adds new Segway i2 SE

Christchurch Segway Tours is first to purchase a new Segway i2 SE model. This popular attraction in Christchurch is currently ranked #7 of 77 activities in the city by TripAdvisor, and was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for 2014.

Graeme Gordon on a new Segway i2 SE in front of Christchurch’s historic Riccarton House. Originally home to the Deans family, the home is on an estate of 12 hectares of parkland and gardens close to the city centre, and is open to visitors.

Graeme Gordon on a new Segway i2 SE in front of Christchurch’s historic Riccarton House. Originally home to the Deans family, the home is on an estate of 12 hectares of parkland and gardens close to the city centre, and is open to visitors.

Adding the latest model is part of an ongoing strategy of “continually upgrading” their fleet, says proprietor Graeme Gordon.

Graeme started Segway agency Urban Wheels in 2005, and launched his tour business the same year with first-generation Segway Personal Transporters (PTs). The original mix of HT i180 and XT models were replaced by second-generation i2′s and x2′s after 2007. Today he is thrilled to be again leading the way with the first of the new SE range.

Visitors can choose between three tour options, including the popular “Rebuild Tour” that reveals how the central city is recovering from the devastating earthquake of February 2011.

USA Today gave Graeme’s tours high praise, as did travel writer Pamela Wade in the NZ Herald.

 Christchurch Segway Tour riders give way to a tram on New Regent Street, illustrating the gentle mix of old and new in this part of town. Originally opened in 1932 and only reopened to the public post-earthquake last year, the Spanish Mission architecture style buildings and boutique shopping are a focal point for tourists visiting the CBD.


Christchurch Segway Tour riders give way to a tram on New Regent Street, illustrating the gentle mix of old and new in this part of town. Originally opened in 1932 and only reopened to the public post-earthquake last year, the Spanish Mission architecture style buildings and boutique shopping are a focal point for tourists visiting the CBD.

Graeme says the new SE models bring several new features that are really important to his business. The first is the lowered centre console “which really improves rider comfort and safety.” Tour riders have more room to easily step onto the platform and dismount again, and have more space for their feet while riding.

The second feature is the white front and red rear running lights that increase visibility to others – especially in low light. Every previous Segway PT has had exceptional built-in reflectivity on its front and rear edges, as well as cleverly integrated reflectivity on the sides of the wheels. These super-reflective areas shine brightly under car headlights and streetlights. The new active illumination provided by running lights on the new SE compliments the passive safety reflectivity. The lights operate whenever the Segway PT is turned on.

The third new feature might be Graeme’s favourite: an easy-to-remove LeanSteer Frame. Whenbringing lots of Segway PTs along to corporate/group entertainment activities, he stacks his fleet tightly into his vehicle to fit them all in. To do this, he removes the LeanSteer Frames. Being able to quickly take off the new-style LeanSteer Frame – and more importantly – just as quickly put it back on – is really helpful. On the previous models, attaching the LeanSteer took valuable minutes per PT, and“those minutes really added up if you had to assemble half a dozen machines before starting an entertainment event.”

Graeme provides his guided tour groups with fascinating commentary as they glide about his hometown, taking in the many and varied sights.

If there happens to be a bit of magic in the air that day, the group may come across The Wizard of Christchurch. Should you ask him, the 80+ year old Wizard will tell you he has no need for a Segway PT himself because he can simply dematerialise and reappear again wherever he wishes. Alternatively, he can drive his VW Beetle in any direction he wants….because it has two front ends.

The Wizard of Christchurch with a Segway Tour participant, in front of his very special red VW Beetle….look carefully, it has two front ends!

The Wizard of Christchurch with a Segway Tour participant, in front of his very special red VW Beetle….look carefully, it has two front ends!

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