Thomas Frey: I’ve been a big fan of Dean Kamen and the massive potential for his Segway Human Transporter, but until Sunday, I was an outsider like most people, always a watcher, never a rider.

But that changed when we found out that we could schedule a test drive at the Brookstone Store. Brookstone is the only national retail store chain to offer the Segway.

Even though its not exactly the ideal place to schedule a test drive, we did find Eric, the Flatiron Crossing Brookstone’s resident Segway guru to be very accomodating as he coached us from novice Segway hacks up to some level of proficiency.

Deb Hellman wants the world to know that she was the first to master the device. There were five of us first timers including my two sons Darby and Kyler. And I have to admit she’s something of a natural, even though she did cause one guys waffles to burst into flames when she nearly t-boned a trash dumpster.

While I always had a secret dream to own a Segway because it just looked like fun, now I can say with much more conviction that I would love to be an owner. But my decision to become an owner doesn’t help me overcome the very real price barrier – $4,500 – with no known financing available.

It is also tough to justify a vehicle like this from a practical standpoint. It doesn’t replace a car, and it doesn’t replace a bicycle. Instead, it becomes an additional vehicle for travel needs that are, as of yet in my mind, still undefined. But I still want one.

Do yourself a favor, go visit your local Brookstone Store and try one out for yourself. I highly recommend it.

More about Segway here.