You may never catch me whitewater rafting or ziplining across the Chattahoochee.
But last week, I did do something a little daring -- at least by my standards.
Instead of possibly putting my life at risk -- and soaking myself in the process -- I opted to enjoy the river via Segway, a personal transporter that kept me on dry ground.
It's not something that I would've normally done. But after writing a column about my fear of whitewater rafting a few weeks ago, I got an email from Vicky Partin, co-owner of Chatt Glide Tours, suggesting I give one of her Segways a try.
Never miss a local story.
Vicky and her husband, John, fell in love with Segways after gliding in big cities like San Francisco and Nashville. They thought Columbus offered better scenery and launched the local business in 2006. They recently moved into the Whitewater Express shop in Phenix City, just across the 13th Street bridge, and have been enjoying all the fun on the river.
At first, I wasn't sure gliding was a good idea. I'm not the most coordinated person and didn't want to embarrass myself. But I decided to step out on faith and broaden my horizons.
So, last Friday I met Vicky at her office for my first excursion. I brought my 14-year-old daughter along as a last hurrah before school begins. We got the 2-for-1 deal for $55.
When we arrived a little before 10 a.m., Vicky had me sign waivers freeing the company of any liability in the case of an accident. That made me again wonder, "What in the world am I getting myself into?"
But Vicky, 68, soon put me at ease. She showed us how to use the Segways and told us about the battery-operated gyroscopes that control their movements. She also assured us everything would be OK if we just followed the rules.
"Lean forward to move forward," she said. "Lean back to reverse, and stand still to stop."
My daughter had no problem grasping the new mode of transportation. But I was a little wobbly at first and had a few stumbles. So I took it slow and kept repeating the instructions.
From there, we set out on a two-hour tour of downtown Columbus, starting on the pedestrian bridge on 14th Street, then traveling down Broadway. We welcomed the gentle breeze as we glided past local businesses and then cut over to Front Avenue, where we rolled past the gazebo before hitting the RiverWalk.
Until then we had been traveling about 6 mph, but the open space inspired us to pick up speed, and soon we were traveling 10 mph along the Chattahoochee. We stopped at the island near Eagle and Phenix Mills and watched all the water activity: a group of women doing standup paddleboarding on the water; people whitewater rafting; a man kayaking in the raging rapids. We were not in the river but were close enough to feel its energy.
When we returned to Vicky's office, I felt invigorated. My legs hurt a bit, and I realized then what a great workout it had been. I guess in life it pays to lean forward.