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Photos are of Segway tour group on the waterfront at Perkins Pier in Burlington on July 17. Burlington Segways owner Rick Sharp, 62, of Colchester and tour guide Jonathan Joffe, 21, of Burlington lead the group.

Segway tour group on the waterfront at Perkins Pier in Burlington on July 17.

Burlington Segways has eight employees who are trained to teach Segway operation and give tours. Unlike a bicycle, the Segway balances for the rider. It’s as simple as standing on the five-foottall gadget with handles and leaning in a desired direction. Lean forward and it moves forward, lean back and the Segway comes to a stop. Sharp and his crew taught about 800 people to ride Segways in Burlington last year. Business is good. In fact, business tripled in 2014, Sharp said. And they are on track to triple again this year. Married couple Denise and Craig Potter of Mentor, Ohio, were not at all surprised to hear of their success. They visited Burlington Segways while on vacation in July.

was sooner,” she said. “The experience was awesome. In our two weeks of travel, it was my favorite activity.” Helping people enjoy time in the city is a big part of enjoying his own life, which is a top priority for Sharp these days. An unforeseen accident almost ended his life in 1996 when he ran a paragliding tour in California. He was testing conditions for a tour group and broke two vertebrae in his neck and his right leg.  “I did damage to my perineal nerve in my leg so I can’t lift my toes on my right foot. That forced me to use a cane and it’s difficult for me to walk more than about 100 yards,” Sharp said. “I tried a Segway in 2008 and really enjoyed the mobility it gave me.” 

“Our vacation goal was pretty unstructured, the Northeast and Boston, so we tried to find cities that had a reasonable travel distance between them and had something interesting to see or do. Burlington fit that criteria,” Denise Potter said.

From there he bought his own and started using it at home and on the Burlington Bike Path. “Segways are great for people with disabilities, but they are also a lot of fun for the able-bodied as well,” he said. “They allow people to cover five or six times the territory they could on foot.”

They had never tried Segways before. Potter said her Segway was easy to handle. “Now I wish I had known how fun it

Sharp and Masters also own two rental properties in downtown Burlington, and operate a Christmas tree farm in Milton.

Sharp practiced law in Vermont from 1978 until 2013. It was a general practice with a concentration in environmental law, taxation and real estate.  He gave up his law practice in order to devote his time to the Segway business. “It’s more fun to ride Segways about the waterfront than it is to spend time indoors, or in court, on a nice summer day,” he said. Sharp still teaches paragliding with Masters at Sharp Park, a 101-acre property they own in Milton. “We enjoy the smiles on their faces as they learn, and we get a kick out of teaching high-risk recreation safely,” Sharp said. More than 2,000 Segway tours were given at Burlington Segways and Sharp Park in 2014. The Sharps plan to be the biggest Segway dealer in the Northeast within five years with a network of ski area and recreation facility partnerships. “We expect our tour business to double or triple again in five years,” Sharp said. Burlington Segways can be found at 277 Pine Street in Burlington. For more information call 802-489-5113 or email burlingtonsegways@comcast.net.

FALL // 2015 Destination VT

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Destination VT Magazine Fall 2015  

Destination Vermont is distributed to over 20,000 residents and travelers each quarter. Vacationing couples pick it up where they dine and s...

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