In the league table of public humiliation, falling over in the street probably ranks at number three, pipped to the post by a declined credit card in Sainsbury's and your child shitting itself in a cinema. Through recent experience I can add a new and more shameful entry to the list: falling off your Segway on a packed Greek street. If you've not seen the movie Mall Cop ("barely funny, with a ramshackle plot") and have no idea what I'm taking about, a Segway is a small electric powered, two wheeled mode of transport that cleverly moves forwards or backwards at various speeds depending on how far your body is leaning. They look like those little old rotary lawnmowers except you stand on these.
Still giddy after my first Segway sightseeing tour of Berlin, I flew to Athens and booked myself on their new city Segway experience. Buoyed with my newfound confidence I signed the "no helmet" disclaimer and hopped on my two-wheeled wonder only to instantly fall off. 10 minutes later, as I tried to pull off an emergency stop on a pavement packed with evening commuters, I completely lost control, falling off again and simultaneously managing to terrify and amuse the locals. Only seconds later, still nursing my hip and my pride, I fell off again, this time attempting to mount a deceptively high curbstone. Shamed, bruised and forcing a smile I limped through the rest of the tour with the greatest of care.
The guides for both cities were young, fun and very relaxed - allowing lots of freedom to whizz about and enjoy the Segways. Berlin has lots of wide bike paths making it easier and safer city to get around than Athens. There was also more to see in Berlin and Mariette, our guide, gave light, informative, historical snippets at each stop.
Segways are a lot of fun and despite the odd broken bones I heard about, they're a great way to see a city, but take my advice and wear a helmet.