The best way of overcoming fear is facing it head on and moving forward. A Mount Dora guided Segway tour helped me conquer a fear this summer and reminded me when life knocks you down, just get back up, learn from mistakes and carry on.
Important Public Service Announcement
Before I continue, here’s a public service announcement: texting (or any other activity on an iPhone) and maneuvering a Segway just don’t mix. Can you see where this is going? The photographer in me NEEDED to capture an amazing image of riders gliding across a boardwalk spanning water during my Segway tour of Mount Dora. My right hand gripped the Segway’s handle while my left hand reached for my phone and attempted to unlock it.
Rather than capturing the moment, I clipped the corner of the boardwalk. The Segway immediately stopped and I fell the boardwalk, scraping my arms and legs but grasped the Segway with everything I had. OMG! I was embarrassed at my foolishness! My ego was bruised more than anything else on my body. (And believe me, my ached the next day.)
Having been diagnosed that week, I could have played the diabetic card saying my blood sugar was low and caused disorientation but I owned up to my stupidity and vow never to do it again.
Confronting My Segway Phobia
Before falling, I wasn’t feeling very confident on this machine that was once promised to change how people got around. Staff from Segway of Central Florida, which offers guided Segway tours of Mount Dora, had given me a thorough orientation inside their office before setting me and the other participants loose outdoors. They trusted my Segway skills which entailed of shifting my body weight to move forward, backward, to slow down and to stop on a dime. It just wasn’t me who trusted my balancing abilities.
Up until that summer day in Mount Dora, I had a Segway phobia. This silly little fear began back in 2003 when I was one of the guinea pigs helping Florida Ever-Glides, the country’s first guided Segway operator, test out their Sarasota tours before launching to the public. Oh, I remember that day well because I felt like a rock star. As we glided along Sarasota’s waterfront and downtown area, we turned every person’s head. They were curious about this odd mode of transportation and were even more thrilled learning they could do it soon, too.
Although a bit unsure of my ability to control a Segway, I was managing it pretty well until the group needed to cross busy Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41.). I was at the back of the pack and the brief traffic light had turned when I was still in the intersection.
Yikes! Traffic was heading my way and I panicked. Attempting to roll up onto the sidewalk and away from moving traffic, my machine hit the curb and I fell off yet I remembered what I was told. Never, ever let go of the Segway. See, Segways don’t have handle controls or handy kill switches like when falling off a treadmill (not that I would know what that is). The machine still moves once set in motion and stops when resting against something.
From that point, I never stepped onto a Segway again for fears of repeating the disaster.
Looking for Something to do Near Orlando? Visit Mount Dora and Take a Guided Tour with Segway of Central Florida
After my dramatic spill in Mount Dora, although a tad shaken, I got back on that Segway to catch up with the group and discovered a new confidence. Perhaps I was worried about the “what’s the worst that can happen?” scenario and realized taking a spill was the worst that could happen.
Although I was a guest of Segway of Central Florida, the guides did not judge and seemed genuinely concerned about my well-being, while I was concerned about the machine’s condition (it was ok). I really, really like these Segway guys in Mount Dora. They are patient, knowledgeable about the community, kind and most importantly, tons of fun. One of the guides that day happens to be a Mount Dora City Council Member – how many other communities have an elected official leading tours to the public?
Being a big fan of walking tours, I really enjoyed learning about Mount Dora via Segway because we were able to cover at least twice as much than if we were walking. In addition to discovering the area, the tour allotted time to set loose on the machines in an open setting with the purpose of getting more comfortable atop them. Segway of Central Florida currently offers two Mount Dora tours, each run between 60 and 80 minutes and cost $48 per person. Advance reservations strongly recommended by calling 352-383-9900 or visit their website for additional information.
Located less than an hour’s drive northwest of Orlando, Mount Dora is an adorable lakefront community with boutique shops, delicious restaurants (try Pisces Rising – yum-ola!), and an abundance of activities. A Mount Dora getaway is the perfect way to decompress from the thrill of Central Florida’s theme parks.
Segway of Central Florida
430 N Alexander St.
Mt Dora, Fla. 32757
Additional posts to help plan a vacation in Mount Dora:
For additional things to see and do, check out Visit Mount Dora online and What to Do in Mount Dora.
Image Source: Special thanks to Rori Paul of Rori Travel’s Florida for the awesome images!
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