May 15, 2005

Something French.

Americans have largely shunned the Segway, it seems, because you just look too damned foolish riding one. I mean, this says it all, doesn't it?

Aren't the French supposed to be -- or at least look -- more sophisticated than us? How then can you explain this? (That's one of a number of pictures from Paris, by my colleague, Nina Camic. For more, go to her blog and scroll down.)


Be said...

Oh dear. Well, it's an improvement over purple 'yanquis' caps, the homeboy-baggy jeans and the sweatshirts with bad English printed all over them.

Stephen Aslett said...

I'd bet $100 that those people are actually American tourists on a Segway tour of Paris.

My reasons for thinking this:

1) They're all wearing identical gray helmets (except for the woman in the yellow jacket, whose helmet is black).

2) They're all wearing identical see-through ponchos.

3) They're travelling in a close knit group, with one youngish person way in front (the tour guide) and one person way in back (one of the tourists whose job is to stay behind the group to make sure no one gets separated).

Perhaps the blogger mistook these for Parisians because the group is so small. That's explainable by 1) the rain and 2) the month. May is too soon in the summer season to see large amounts of tourists in Paris.

They do these things in my hometown of New Orleans. You'll note that the black helmets are smaller women's helmets and the gray helmets are larger men's helmets.

The Paris segway tours are run in association with Fat Tire Bike Tours. Both groups even share tour guides. When I went to Paris last year, I took both the day and night bike tour (on different days, of course). Highly recommended. It's a great way to see the city, meet people, and get some exercise.

henny said...

I tend to defend Americans and bash the French, but when it comes to issues of transportation I have to break habit. As dorky as the French look riding their Segways, at least they aren't as ostentatious as the average gas-guzzling American.

Ann Althouse said...

Stephen Aslett: Yes, good chance they are tourists, but the French are still offering these things, encouraging the tourists to be a bigger spectacle than they would otherwise be. That's not elegant and sophisticated of them.

tiggeril said...

They have Segway tours here in Chicago.

Unfortunately, tourists tend to not be very good at steering and they make walking along Michigan Avenue a bit of a chore.

That having been said, the mere sight provides some much-needed amusement on a weekday.

TigerHawk said...

A couple of weeks ago I was in the suburbs of Chicago on business and met a doctor who travels from his office to a hospital in the same huge complex via Segway. Apparently it shaved his travel time from 15 minutes to six or seven, and he had calculated the savings over the course of a year. He added that he only felt free to use the Segway because he was "already married." So the idea that a Segway is a sex-repellant is well-understood, apparently.

Ann Althouse said...

Tigerhawk: Why do men assume they don't need to be sexually attractive to their wives?