I first saw the Airwheel on TV and instantly liked the concept. I was intrigued so I went on to the Airwheel website and had a good look around at the wide range that they offer. Not only was I really keen to have a go, but I just had to add it to the Challenge200.
Before having a go I gleamed some tips from the Airwheel instructional videos online, which were very simple to follow and explained how the Airwheels work. They are a bit like a Segway really, but without the long handles, and your feet are on the outside of the wheels instead of in between them. The Airwheel’s gyro technology allows the Airwheel to self-balance, so as you lean forward you go forward, lean back and you slow down and eventually go backwards. Lean to right…well you get the idea.
So with the support of my lovely family we picked a nice flat unused road and switched the Airwheels on. They suddenly come alive! Instantly they twitch and go upright all by themselves, it’s very strange when you let go of them and they just stand upright. I didn’t think I would get away with testing these out of my own, my wife Vicky was quick to jump on too.
We started by holding on to someone next to us and getting both feet on to the footplates then slowly leaning forward. We quickly discovered that trying to take things tentatively or slowly made things very wobbly, but lean forward with purpose and everything kicks in to gear. Although self balancing, you can still lean over to the left or right too much and fall off, so this is what we spent the first 20 mins trying to perfect.
The orange strap attached to the top of the Airwheel was very handy, it gave a little more confidence, and a great way of stopping the Airwheel from falling over if you need to jump off the back of it.
After about 30 mins I learnt how to jump on to the Airwheel without support which really sped things up, although if you get a bit overconfident, there is a good chance you could fall off.
Its a very strange feeling riding along on an Airwheel, it just doesn’t feel like anything I have ever done before. Once you get more comfortable with leaning forward and you start to relax a little, riding the Airwheel was pure joy!
Go too fast, ie 12mph, and the Airwheel tilts back to slow you down, a little reminder not to go too crazy, but if they weren’t restricted, you would have another extreme sport on the scene.
At first the Airwheel feels very weird, wrong and wobbly, but it quickly becomes exciting, smooth and brilliant. Add in to the equation that it is battery powered, portable and pretty cool looking and you have the start of things to come in the future for environmentally friendly commuting and recreational fun! I really can’t wait to see where this company will go next and what the future holds, very exciting!