My new favorite tour company in Philadelphia: DeTours, which offers historical tours of Philadelphia by Segway, bike, or foot — running, that is. I was lucky enough to be offered a Segway tour by owner Rasa Vella, who combined her love of Philadelphia with her love of sports and activity in this innovative company. Cast aside that desire to laugh at Segway riders, because WOW — riding a Segway is awesome! It’s especially satisfying when you breeze past pedestrians (give them a polite beauty-pageant wave if you’d like) or glide along the street as a line of confused and frustrated drivers forms behind you.
Okay, but aside from the simple fun of riding a Segway, DeTours really does offer a great product. Rasa and her employees have a wealth of knowledge about the city — most of it important, some of it random (did you know Mothers’ Day was invented in Philadelphia?) — and they’re eager to share it. DeTours is also the first company in the city to get permits to take those Segways all through the city. The tour starts in Old City near the Betsy Ross House, and, after a short lesson in safe Segway practices, takes you through Old City, Center City, Chinatown, past City Hall, and all the way to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You’ll then loop back, taking a trip along the new Schuylkill River path, stopping at peaceful and quiet Schuylkill River Park (an under-appreciated spot in the city, says Rasa), and back through the “gayborhood” to Old City. Rasa is also planning different types of tours to different city destinations (a cheesesteak tour, perhaps?), so be sure to check what the tour options are when you book your trip.
I’m so obsessed with riding Segways now that I almost forgot to mention that DeTours also offers bike tours and running tours. And don’t worry, everything you’ll need is provided for you — the bike, the helmet, and a cute DeTours bag to throw all your stuff in.
Tours are all in small groups and last for a few hours, so wear your comfy shoes and don’t forget the sunscreen. And be sure to bring the camera; your tour guide will happily photograph you with the Rocky statue, in front of City Hall, or anywhere else you’d like to pose.