High Profile: Shawn Jenkins, Owner of Segway of Cincinnati

Spend any time in downtown or Over-the-Rhine and you’re bound to see a Segway or two (or five) zipping around the streets or sidewalks. Thanks to local big wheel Shawn Jenkins, owner of Segway of Cincinnati at The Garage OTR, these two-wheelers are steadily segueing from futuristic toys to modern conveniences.

“Having your own Segway is like having your own bus with no one else’s stops.”

“Top speed is 12.5 miles per hour. The carbon footprint on a full charge is about a dime. They’ll do a 36-degree slope—so they can go up Monastery, up Sycamore, up Vine. They’ll do any hill in Cincinnati.”

“I only feel stupid when people are yelling stupid things at me—which is usually when people are sitting at stoplights in their cars. I have a thick skin. I’ll hear things like ‘Oh, go back to California,’ or ‘You’re lazy—why don’t you learn to walk?’ Typical comments that come from ignorance.”

“I know where the shortcuts are, know all the alleys. I’ve always joked it would be fun to do a back-alley tour of Cincinnati—just alleys.”

“You’re elevated, it’s invigorating, it’s way more intimate than in a car. I have a lot of customers who have done tours in other cities and know it’s a good way to get introduced to a place.”

“We talk about slips, trips, and tips: avoiding loose material like deep gravel (slips), hitting stationary objects (trips), and having one wheel higher than the other (tips). The Segway will do everything it can to keep from tipping over, doing what we call a safety shut-down: It’ll slow you down and beep and freak out. At that point you have about 8 to 10 seconds to jump off.”

“It takes 14 times of being seen to be remembered as a brand. So if it takes 13 times of being laughed at, and I’m remembered on the 14th time, that’s fine with me.”

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