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Philip Torrone on Segway HT in Seattle
Philip Torrone was able to sell one of the family cars after being the first person in the State of Washington to own a Segway. He uses it daily, even in Seattle's damp clime.

Segwaying Seattle

Personal journal of first 800 miles on a Segway HT

By Philip Torrone

Philip was kind enough to permit EV World to reprint his journal, which you can find at http://www.bookofseg.com

Today (5/10/03) is the 160th day of HT use. I'm pretty sure I might be the first private individual to reach 160 days and over 800 miles on a Segway HT. Each day I travel from 7-10+ miles on the Segway HT (it all depends what and where we're at). I mostly use a Segway HT but also use - -my feet, a bicycle, public transit and even a car when needed -- it's all about choices (and non-cars ones if possible).

Seattle's Q13 news interviewed Philip on his way to work.
Watch Q13 Video

First the disclaimer. This is my personal journal and experiences with the Segway HT (human transporter). I am in no way affiliated with Segway L.L.C. or Amazon. I do not work for or with Segway or Amazon in any way and I do not get paid to do any of this at all in any way. The company I work for and my family are in no way involved with Segway, L.L.C. or Amazon in any way. If you still have any questions email me, I'll answer any questions. please read the entire article first though, thanks.

So let's get to the nitty gritty of these 160 days.

The Money
Everyone asks about the cash savings since I gave up a car, so here it is. By using the Segway HT, we were able to give up 1 of our 2 cars, the HT worked that well for us. at first I was skeptical about the HT, but after a few weeks of commuting with the HT, we said goodbye to one of the cars. Since giving up a car, we're saving about $600 per month (car payment, insurance, parking, gas and more). $600 is a bunch of money, not only -was- I driving to work, but I was working to drive. The HT along with my other ways of getting around have worked out far better.

So far, and each month since we have an extra $600 now, we're giving a significant portion to charity / nonprofit groups, mostly state and local groups which focus on important issues to our family. in the last 160 days we've saved over $1,800 ($600 per month). If you'd like to know which groups, please drop me an email (or if you know a group we should consider donating to). I have insured my Segway HT recently, it's about $20 per month. I don't think insurance is needed but it puts my friends and family at ease.

Power
It costs less a little over a dollar per month to charge the HT, Seattle gets most of it's power from hydro power, this summer we're going to invest in solar panels to charge the HT off the grid or at least offset it. before you fire up the email and say "well, the power needs to come from somewhere that pollutes" many power-plants are 97% less-polluting than the cleanest conventional cars on the road today. lastly, controlling emissions from a single power plant is easier than cleansing millions of independently operated autos, also most power plants are located outside populated areas. Read more...

Extra Work Week
There are many ways to look numbers in regards to savings and time. Here is one example someone suggested to me. Since I get to work sooner, my employer gets more hours from me over the year, I'm a salaried employee and I work quite a number of hours usually, but one could assign a dollar figure for 1 hour extra work time per week (12-15 minutes per day), which is about 4 hours per month -- for a total of 48 work hours per year. That's almost a full work week for me, just because I get to work a little sooner now. It also works the other way too, I have almost a full work week extra at home as well. it all depends what I feel like doing at the time.

Losing Weight
I still continue to exercise more with the time I've been saving getting home sooner and being able to leave later, I've lost over 16 lbs as of 4/20/03 since owning the HT, my goal is another 5 or so in the next 3 months, it's swimsuit season afterall. the Segway HT gives me back time, if you're healthy, you'll do unhealthy things with that time, if you're healthy, you'll do healthy things. one thing is for sure, I burn far more calories standing up and leaning around on the Segway HT than I used to sitting in a car on my butt drinking coffee and talking on a cell phone (we all do that admit it).

The Other Car...
We've also used our remaining car less, on average we're taking about 5-6 less trips per week (20+ per month) if we keep this up, and I expect the number to actually become higher over time as the weather gets nicer, these small trips will increase the life of our car and put less wear on it. I'm sure there's a small amount of pollution that is being avoided as well, but I'm not sure how to quantify that. the traffic is awful around here, my family is very happy about using the car less.

People and Safety...
It would be impossible, or at least very hard to count the number of people I've interacted with. I think I've given about 300 or so -on Segway HT- demos to people who have requested it in my area. I've used the HT in many areas, many with people, many without. I would say that in the last 160 days, I've been around 7,000 to 8,000 people, the numbers may seem pretty to some, but reflect the times I have been at the space needle, key arena and the Seattle center--with lots of folks on weekends for demos (it is by my office). every interaction has been 100% positive, I have interacted with young-old-disabled-blind-folks with guide dogs, wheelchairs, many of these people are new friends that I see on a daily basis now. I personally feel the HT is safe around people, it is my opinion, from my use that the HT was made from the start to be with and around people. the safety statements Segway, llc have made seem to be true, at least the have been for me.

Locking It Up?
Many people have ask if I lock it up outside my destinations, of course. it locks just like a bike. a cable lock and ulock are used on the Segway HT, the 64 bit encoded keys work only with my unit, so it's unlikely someone could even use the HT. lastly, I have the HT insured.

The Weather and Terrain
I take the HT in rain, in Seattle, it rains, a bunch. The HT has never slipped, I've never fallen off, I've never had any problems with the HT yet, it is a very reliable travel instrument, at least it has been for me. with 160 days and over 800 miles behind me, I think it's a good indication that even someone who commute full time on the HT is safe as are the people around him / her.

That said, if it's too rainy or if the weather is too bad, i'll take a car. It's about having the option folks, the HT isn't perfect for everything everyday everywhere. Many people ask "can the Segway HT take hills?" If you've ever visited Seattle you know about the Queen Anne Hill as well as our other steep hills. On my daily 7-8 mile commute I go over hills which are 18% to 25% grade including the Queen Anne Hill , those are *very* steep - avid cyclists as well as cars have a hard time going up these hills at times. here and here is some info about the hills. also, here is a map of my commute.

More Than Time and Savings...
The best part I think that doesn't have a time or dollar figure - I've met so many nice folks in my area. many of these people, who I would have never talked with before, are now friends. a car kept me in a glass and metal cocoon, a bicycle is something that I enjoy, but most of the time, you don't stop and talk with people and not many people have ever walked up to me on a bike start a conversation. Perhaps, the "newness" of the HT will fade away, and in my area, I think it has -- but as people get these human transporters - the time and money savings are interesting to plug in to excel, but the real value I've gained has been from the personal interactions in my community and a sense the contributions we're making from the savings are going to help. I've joined many local groups, I've met state senators, people in my lcoal and state goverment, I've met people I'd never even talk to from all walks of life, this has been priceless, but very important to me.

Why Not a Bike?...
I get asked this quite a bit "why don't you use a bike", and here's the answer, I do! I do enjoy cycling I've cycled to work many times when I could and can, I am a member of the bicycle alliance of Washington and if you can cycle to work or wherever your destination is, please do, it's the best for all of us. but, during the work week I need to be dressed up, carry lots of cargo, meet with clients and my building does not have a shower or a facility I could get unsweaty (my commute is pretty rigorous, even for avid bikers). I personally do not have a problem cycling with traffic, but many people do. Many people are dressed up and cannot cycle to work. Also many people in the USA haven't been on a bike since the age of 12. It's important we have more non-car choices the HT is just one of them. This summer, I'm taking one months of Segway HT savings and getting a new bike. And if you're asking "why not walk" it takes over 1 hour for me to walk to work. Again, the Segway HT was a car replacement, I walk more than ever now.

Not for Everyone...
I'm still not 100% sure the Segway HT is best solution for my travel needs yet and for some, I'm sure it is not. If you can bicycle or walk to work, I'll always think that that is the best solution, when I can I do, it's really that simple. but many cannot for many reasons, so the HT for me -- allowed me to not take a car. Together, walkers, bikers, carpooler, bussers, Segway HT'ers we can all lessen the total number of cars and car trips.

Overall and "so far" the HT has exceeded all of my expectations, and I'm looking forward to the 160 days of use.

Times Article Viewed: 5679
Published: 17-May-2003

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