The Segway should be extinct.
But much like the cockroach, they’ve survived what should have been their ice age. They’re in the urban core of some of the world’s finest cities, piloted by wide-eyed tourists with helmets strapped to their heads. Dallas is no different. Except it is, because Dallas doesn’t exactly have a ton of history in its urban core. If Kennedy makes it to the Dallas Trade Mart, my tour guide, Cyndi, is out 45 minutes of material.
Cyndi works for Dallas Segway Tours, selling 90-minute jaunts for $83.36 a pop. (Included: a bottle of water and photos documenting your trip.) You feel for her. Dallas is a relatively young city; to keep me from riding in circles while she speaks, Cyndi has to get creative.
The fun stuff is what guides in other cities would skip over. She’ll remind you that architect I.M. Pei’s City Hall was in RoboCop. She’ll point out the walk-in-closet-sized Record Grill and note that Bonnie Parker once worked there. If you’re lucky, she’ll tell you about the time she foiled a drug deal in broad daylight by buzzing a Dallas police patrolman. She’ll then hand you his card.
The usual suspects are still there, of course. You’ll zoom to John Neely Bryan’s cabin, to the Kennedy Memorial, to Dealey Plaza. She’ll point out where Oswald was briefly jailed and take your photo where Jack Ruby’s Carousel Club once stood. The Adolphus makes an appearance, though Cyndi was off by about $300,000 on how much it cost to build in 1912. Rounding error.
When the tour company called to confirm my reservation, the voice on the other end said, “We can’t wait to ride you!” with a childlike excitement that zapped that phrase’s awkwardness. Cyndi’s a lot like that. Her heart is in the right place. It just happens to be on a Segway, in downtown Dallas.