If you’re looking for a unique way to show friends or visitors Anchorage, or have always wanted to try riding a Segway PT, this summer is your chance. Booking a guided tour with Segway Tours of Anchorage offers a unique, safe, and fun way to see a lot of the city in a couple of hours. With no cruise ship visitors this summer, there likely will be plenty of availability for pre-booked and walk-in Segway tour requests. A Segway tour is a great way to cover a lot of ground and learn about the history of and notable sites in Anchorage. Tours are offered from downtown Anchorage or Lake Hood. 

The author leads a Segway tour to Earthquake Park, along the Tony Knowles CoastalTrail. Photo Courtesy: Kathy Day

What is a Segway?

A Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter, often called a Segway PT.  A Segway has a handle and is made up of an internal gyroscope that stabilizes the vehicle and allows riders to stand up without requiring any special skills. They are electric and are equipped with rechargeable batteries. Dean Kamen invented the Segway in New Hampshire and started producing them in 2001. At first, it was thought that Segways would be a huge invention, but their high sticker price (over $5,000) was a barrier to their growth in popularity. Only about 140,000 Segways ended up being sold in more than 60 countries. The Segway company was sold to the Chinese mobility company Ninebot in 2016, and last year they announced that the production of Segways would be discontinued. Today, Segways are mostly used for security and tourism, while electric scooters have become more popular for personal mobility. But you can find Segway tours today in most major U.S. and international tourism destinations. 

What If I Have Never Ridden A Segway?

Before a tour commences, professional guides have you watch an instructional safety video, then give a safety briefing and allow everyone in the group to practice in a parking lot to get comfortable with the way a Segway operates. A Segway Personal Transporter (PT) is reasonably intuitive and easy to learn. Riders should be able to stand for over an hour, be reasonably physically fit, and must weigh between 100-300 pounds. Once everyone is confident with operating their Segway, groups of two to six per guide head out on a tour. Everyone rides in single file, following the guide, with a minimum spacing of six feet in between each rider.

Where Do the Segway Tours Go? 

The Downtown Anchorage tour begins with a short trip down into Ship Creek, where riders have the opportunity to watch locals fishing for king, red, silver or pink salmon. People come from around the world to fish in Alaska. A stop in Ship Creek allows tour participants to see what an urban fishery is like, and to learn more about the different species of salmon that can be caught in our streams. Guides also explain what Anchorage was like when it was a Tent City in the early 1900s, and how construction of the railroad brought people to the city. 

From Ship Creek, the downtown Segway tour heads out to the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, with a stop at the Oscar Anderson House. Oscar Anderson was one of the first people to live in Anchorage’s Tent City and his house was one of the first built in Anchorage. The house is now a museum that is open to the public for tours. 

As Segway riders make their way down the bike trail, they take in the views of Cook Inlet and the Alaska Range, see the landslide from the 1964 Good Friday earthquake and learn about how dangerous the mudflats can be, and how active volcanoes can affect life in Alaska. They see the silhouette of Mount Susitna, colloquially known as “Sleeping Lady.” On a clear day, they might even catch a glimpse of Denali, North America’s highest peak.

After riding through Westchester Lagoon, participants head back up through a downtown neighborhood to the park strip. A stop to see Star the Reindeer is always popular. Riders proceed to the downtown core where guides point out good restaurants, shops, the museum, and flowers in Town Square. It ends on 4th Avenue with a stop at the Balto statue and details about the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which starts there on the first Saturday in February.

For those who are interested in aviation, the Segway Lake Hood Tour is a perfect choice. Participants meet at the Alaska Aviation Museum, and tickets to the museum are included in the price of the tour. You can either tour the museum before or after your Segway tour or come back later to spend more time in the Museum. Lake Hood is the world’s busiest seaplane base, servicing an average of 100 flights daily and housing nearly 800 aircraft. The Segways travel around Lake Hood and Lake Spenard. Learn what a “tug” is, the difference between a Cessna 206 and a Beaver, and stop in at the Alaska Airmen’s Association office, for close-up views of floatplanes taking off. Guides talk about the history of this area, including details on Joe Spenard, who helped build the first road from downtown Anchorage to the Spenard area. They also share how pigs named Mo, Joe and Curly helped to solve a long-standing problem of birds nesting on the island between the lakes. The Lake Hood Tour ends up passing by The Lakefront Hotel, a historic Northern Air Cargo airplane, and the Department of Transportation building.  

Segway Tours of Anchorage strives to share some of the most beautiful areas of Anchorage – downtown and near the airport – with visitors. Anyone who only has a couple of hours to spend in the city gets to see so much more by covering a larger area on the Segway in a shorter period of time. In addition to learning a little more about Alaska’s largest city, participants find out that riding a Segway is a blast!

Segway Tours of Anchorage is taking reasonable COVID-19 safety precautions including requiring a mask indoors and during training and social distancing during the tour. All helmets, Segways, and tour site surfaces are regularly disinfected using the EPA-approved Oxi-Thyme hydrogen peroxide sanitation fogging system that kills all viruses and bacteria on contact. Hand sanitizer and wipes are also readily available for all tour participants. 

Downtown tours depart daily from 315 E. Street (across from the Hilton Anchorage Hotel) at 9 am, 11 am, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm, and 7:30 pm. Lake Hood tours depart at 10 am and 2:30 pm from the Aviation Heritage Museum, 4721 Aircraft Drive (right next to Ted Stevens International Airport). To book a tour with Segway Tours of Anchorage, call (907) 277-4545 or book online at www.segwaytoursofanchorage.com.


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