Mallards Pike Lake, Park End, Lydney, GL15 4HD | 0845 643 9215
Go Ape is the UK’s No.1 forest adventure provider, with its Mallards Pike, Forest of Dean venue being one of the most beautiful in the country and the perfect setting to unleash your inner Tarzan.
The SoGlos team embarked on a wind-in-your-face Forest Segway Experience at Go Ape in the Forest of Dean, whizzing up hills and rugged trails, and leaving as proud owners of our very own Segway Safari Licences.
Since seeing people zipping around the parks of Washington DC on holiday last year, hopping on a Segway has been high on our list of must-do experiences – despite reading that the owner of Segway Inc had in fact plunged to his death off a cliff on one.
So when we discovered that Go Ape in the Forest of Dean had launched a brand new Forest Segway Experience in July 2013, we jumped at the chance to embark on the ultimate forest adventure on one of its nifty all-terrain, self-balancing and eco-friendly Segways.
Arriving on a bright summer’s day, Mallards Pike Lake was the picture of serenity, with families picnicking by the waterside, a few groups of friends preparing themselves for a day flying through the treetops and even a couple of colossal carps breaking through the water now and then.
We headed up to the Go Ape cabin where we were introduced to our friendly group leader John, who explained briefly what our Segway adventure entailed before asking us to sign an all-important disclaimer form.
Then it was time to buckle into a sturdy helmet and the SoGlos team joined a group of 12 fellow Segway riders, surprised to see how diverse the age range was, which included a middle-aged hen party, a couple of silver-haired speed freaks and a group of young-at-heart housewives.
The group was led into a cornered off practice area where our gleaming Segways awaited, and John explained a little more about how the two-wheeled vehicles work, before teaching us all on a one-on-one basis how to hop on and off, and propel ourselves in all directions.
During the practice session, our Segways were limited to training mode and a top speed of seven miles per hour, and after another brief safety talk during which John showed us where his phone, walkie talkie and first aid box were all kept – just in case – we set off on our trail through the fairytale Forest of Dean.
With training mode now disabled, we whizzed up to a top speed of 10 miles per hour with the wind in our hair, following John on a rugged trail up hills, through thickets and winding paths, all the while hearing the whoops of adventurers zipping through the trees overhead.
The Segway experience itself is difficult to describe; more like gliding than cycling, the vehicles use gyroscopic sensors to detect weight shifts, allowing you to travel smoothly and with ease simply by leaning the body forward or backwards and the handlebars to the left or right. The chunky tyres and great suspension also helped us over the rockier parts.
We stopped often along the route to swap speed demons up at the front and so that John could warn us of any twists and turns to watch out for ahead – even taking a detour at one point to avoid a couple of llamas resting in the middle of the path.
There was one hairy downhill moment when I thought I’d lost control and my Segway was literally running away with me, but John calmly instructed me how to hop off safely when the vehicle was in motion and I survived completely unscathed, feeling more than a little embarrassed in front of my peers!
Before we knew it, our hour was up and we were back at the starting point begrudgingly returning the Segways, before being presented with our very own Segway Safari Licences to keep as a memento of the day.
Priced at £30 per person, the experience would be more of a special treat than a regular family outing, but is one we won’t be forgetting in a hurry. The only limitations are that you must be over the age of 10 and weigh at least seven stone to ride.
If you fancy a fun way of exploring the forest trails and a unique, wind-in-your-face experience closer to ground than the Go Ape Treetop Adventure, give the Forest Segway Experience in the Forest of Dean a try – it’s one of only 10 places you can do so in the whole of the UK.
By Shelly Elcock
Thursday 01 August 2013
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