Segway tours a first for B.C.

Adventure guide Barb Rivest helps people take magic carpet rides through the natural world, but her “magic carpets” are eco-friendly and have two wheels.

Off road: Segways can provide a unique way to view the Shuswap landscape.

Adventure guide Barb Rivest helps people take magic carpet rides through the natural world, but her “magic carpets” are eco-friendly and have two wheels.

Rivest gives tours from her Scotch Creek home on Segways, upright, two-wheeled, battery-powered machines.

“Segways are super fun to ride,” described Rivest, an experienced outdoors guide who spent years guiding rafting tours on the Fraser River.

When Rivest first rode on a Segway a few years ago, she was hooked. Rivest began exploring how to bring the eco-friendly machines to the Shuswap.

Rivest now offers the only off-road Segway tours in B.C. She guides locals and tourists alike on nature trails around her home and in Roderick Haig-Brown Park.

The Segways are almost silent, explained Rivest, making only a slight whirring noise. For her adventure tours, Rivest uses the x2 Cross-Terrain model with larger tires. An urban model, the i2 is also available.

Riding a Segway, said Rivest, “allows many people to go farther than they would usually walk. Some of us will walk in the park, for example, for fifteen minutes or so, but we can go much farther on a Segway. That’s really nice, especially for older folks.”

Rivest enjoys helping her tour participants become comfortable riding the self-balancing Segways, which are manufactured in New Hampshire.

“At first, some people are unsure. Then they relax. You have to trust the machine. It’s like it will do what you think and go where you want it to go. After the tour, many people want their own.”

The Segways are also designed for a wide range of people and after orientation, no special skills are needed.

Rivest and the Unique Adventures clients sometimes see deer and rabbits along with interesting plants on the popular “Back Forty” tour on 120 privately-owned acres near her home.

Rivest gives tours to those 14 and older. For those ages 10 and up, Rivest also gives Segway learn to ride clinics in a controlled environment.

The Roderick Haig-Brown Park tour is Unique Adventure’s signature tour. Rivest has a permit to operate in the park, an area she cares for deeply.

“Our first concern is for the park,” said Rivest, whose Unique Adventure’s website calls the park a “magnificent conservation area.”

Fellow trail users have responded very positively to the Segways.

“The reaction has been all positive. They think it’s really neat. Of course, we are always very respectful of others on the trails.”

Rivest hopes to expand her Segway tours into different parts of the Thompson-Okanagan. She recently was approved as a Segway dealer for B.C. and would like to see Segways in security and pedestrian environments.

To learn more about Segways and Shuswap Unique Adventure Tours, go to www.uniqueadventure.net or call Rivest at 250-955-0073.

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