Release Date: Monday, September 17th 2012
Tempe Town Lake tour features spin on a Segway
By Nancy Puffer
Gliding around Town Lake on a Segway at sunset is becoming a popular way to experience one of Tempe's most renowned landmarks, especially for out-of-town guests.
"It's very, very easy," said Darcie Williams, owner of Segway of Scottsdale, which operates the Tempe tours. "Probably just a few minutes after getting on it, people kind of click with the machine and they start having a lot of fun."
If it sounds fun to you, the frequency of tours will be increased in the cooler months ahead.
A Segway is a two-wheeled, battery-powered, personal transporter that's controlled by a handle bar and the subtle movements of the rider.
Not only is it a unique way to explore the city but a tour-ticket purchase helps the less fortunate. The Segway tour provider gives one dollar from each ticket sale to the Tempe Community Council, the charity that partners with the city to coordinate services and allocate funding for Tempe's human-service needs.
Riders meet at Tempe Center for the Arts and receive Segway training from the tour leader. The group trains together under the direction of the tour guide.
Williams said Tempe Town Lake is perfect for Segway tours because of its long trails with open access and lack of traffic. Riders get to see some of the most scenic areas of Tempe.
"The tour leader goes around Tempe Town Lake and you see views of the Beach Park," Williams said. "We go over Mill Avenue Bridge, we see the Papago Mountains, we stop by the marina, we sometimes go up to the (Loop) 202.
"They have a natural preserve in that area. We basically see all the sights and talk about some of the facts around the lake while you're riding the Segway. We have great picture opportunities that allow the guests to stop and take pictures, or we get those photos for them."
The tours typically last about 90 minutes and cost $75 per person.
Williams said she doesn't know exactly how much she's donated to Tempe Community Council but does know that it is thousands of dollars over her years doing business in Tempe.
"When we started getting everything in line to work with the city of Tempe, we had one of their city members out on our tour and we got to know them personally," Williams said. "We really started getting to know the city a little bit better and the people that worked there. We had attended City Council meetings to get all the authorization and things approved to have the tour at Tempe Town Lake."
At one of the council meetings, Williams met Kate Hanley, executive director of Tempe Community Council, and a business relationship was formed.
"She told us a little bit about the organization, and we felt like that was just something that we could do for the city of Tempe because they had helped us through all the steps and processes that it took to make our Segway tour happen there," said Williams.
Hanley, who recently took one of the Town Lake Segway tours, said Tempe is fortunate to have business owners like Williams who make it a priority to invest in the community.
"With these donations, we are able to fund services that help improve the lives of others in our city, specifically those who are struggling with homelessness, domestic violence or a disability, as well as the low-income elderly, working-poor families and prevention programs in our schools," Hanley said. "It's great to see businesses work in partnership with us to make our city a place where residents care for and about one another. The Segway tours around Town Lake are great fun and a wonderful way to explore our city."
Williams notes that all riders must be 16 or older and wear a helmet to take the Town Lake tour. In October, additional tours will be added, running at 10 a.m., 2 and 4 p.m.
"We'll have tours available more often ... So we have tour times throughout the day that people can sign up for as the weather gets better and we get more tourism in town," Williams said. "The beginning of October is kind of when we start seeing tourists come, and they really have an interest for Tempe Town Lake."
Information: segwayofscottsdale.com or 480-306-4801.
Tempe Community Council information: www.tempecommunitycouncil.org or 480-858-2300.