San Francisco Electric Tour Co. will offer three-hour guided tours — using the bike paths along the waterfront — on the self-balancing gizmos, starting Nov. 15.
Although the Segway is capable of navigating San Francisco's challenging hills, the tours will stay in the relatively flat neighborhood around the marina, with stops at Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, the Maritime Museum, Ft. Mason, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Marina Green and the Ferry Building.
"It's not a thrill ride," said company owner (and chief battery charger) Brian Huber. "You can go up the hills with them; it's just that you're using a lot of battery power." When brakes are applied, as when going downhill, the battery gets charged.
Though a Segway can move as fast as 12 mph, the devices have speed-limiting devices. Riders will start off at 6 mph and accelerate to 8 mph halfway through the tour.
Huber expects riders from age 12 to 80. The vehicle, he says, will be as much of a draw as the location. "Everyone knows what it is," he said. "I passed some Japanese tourists who didn't speak English." They pointed and shouted, "Segway! Segway!"
The tours, which cost $65 a person, depart from Fisherman's Wharf at 9:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. daily.
Though no license is required to operate a Segway, riders must be at least 12 years old. Those younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
San Francisco Electric Tour Co., (415) 474-3130 or http://www.sfelectrictour.com .
— Maggie Barnett
American will take back the legroom
At American Airlines, which four years ago began ripping out 7,200 seats in its fleet to add legroom in coach, the squeeze is back on.
Saying it can no longer afford the loss of revenue from the missing seats, the airline early next year will begin reinstalling some seats on four of its models.
The average seat pitch in coach, said spokesman Tim Wagner, will decrease from nearly 34 inches to 32 inches — still an inch more than before the "More Room Throughout Coach" program was launched in 2000.
Security concerns in Philippines
The State Department last week issued a "public announcement" on the Philippines, noting "ongoing security concerns" and urging Americans to exercise special cautions, particularly because terrorist groups do not differentiate between what it calls "official" and "civilian" targets.
The announcement cites terrorist and criminal activity and suggests that travelers defer nonessential travel to some southern parts of the country.
For information, see travel.state.gov, click on "international travel" and on "public announcements."
— Times staff