A chronic injury was never going to get in the way of Melbourne-based Liz Kelly’s much-anticipated New Zealand holiday; with help from Central Otago cycle tour company, Bike it Now, Liz rode the region’s renowned Otago Central Rail Trail… on a Segway.
“With my injury, I can’t ride a bike. I’ve ridden Segways in Berlin and San Francisco, and other places we’ve travelled but this was the first time in a rural setting and over such a distance,” she says.
“Here I was in the heart of New Zealand’s cycle trail mecca, in this absolutely stunning landscape, not only mobile and joining in but keeping up. In another life, I’d have been on a bike, that’s for sure.” And there are plenty of people like Liz who, for whatever reason—accident or physical impairment—aren’t able to ride a bike. “What an opportunity to participate in an active holiday. Talk about liberating!”, Liz says of the experience.
Meanwhile, sourcing the Segway; determining each day’s do-able distance (Segways have an alarmingly short battery life); coordinating pick-ups; and ensuring muscle-power aplenty to heave the 47-kilogram machine into the van at the end of each day of the four-day trip, were just some of the logistics that fell to Bike it Now tour planner, Lois Mulvihill.
“As far as we knew, this hadn’t been done before but we were absolutely determined to make it happen,” says Lois. “It required some out-of-the-box thinking on our part, and we were all—including Liz—a little apprehensive at the start, but it went off without a hitch. We were delighted!”
Word of the intrepid traveller travelled fast. “We’d be in the middle of nowhere and other cyclists would say, ‘Oh we heard about you, you’re the one with the Segway,’” recalls Liz. “People seemed intrigued, even a little jealous!”
Liz says their trip was exceptional. “Bike it Now’s coordination and can-do attitude, the fabulous accommodation and food, the terrific Kiwi hospitality—it was all stand out, the complete package. In fact, the experience inspired us so much, we have already segued into our next getaway.”