If you're one of those people who get sweaty palms just thinking about roller coasters, stop right here and by all means don’t read any further! We’ve found five extreme uses for roller coasters that’ll make even the hearts of true adrenaline junkies leap. We’re not going to say much more – just that they involve bikes and skates…
5. Roller Coaster Motorbiking
Oh, if only! Motorcycle fans would flock from everywhere to ride their bikes over a specially designed roller coaster track. After all, wouldn’t that be the ultimate test of stamina and guts?
Well, those wishing to move a bit closer to the dream can board the MotoCoaster, a unique roller coaster model where the usual roller coaster seats are swapped with individual ones that riders straddle like a motorbike.
Riding a motorcycle down the roller coaster
Notice that there are no seat belts, and especially that there's no overhead protection, so riders can't do loop-the-loops.
MotoCoaster track in Darien Lakes Amusement Park near Buffalo, NY
Darien Lakes were really smart and entered into a sponsorship agreement with Orange County Choppers, making the most of the motorcycle craze to promote their new ride. This ride opened in 2008 but there are many similar ones around the world.
4. Roller Coaster Mountain Biking
Now here’s the bike and roller coaster idea taken a step further: the mountain bike roller coaster! Swedish artist and designer Anders Jakobsen created this bicycle roller coaster for "The Dutch Bicycle" exhibition in Eindhoven last October.
A daredevil in Eindhoven
Though the installation might simply look like a huge “8” from the top, it's quite impressive on the ground – with hairy bank turns and a highest peak of nearly two meters.
Time to hit a bike skills park like the Colonnade in Seattle, WA for practice
The narrow installation in Eindhoven was “open to anyone willing to risk life and limb for a thrill ride,” but apparently not many daredevils were able to even complete one circuit.
3. Extreme Roller Coaster Cycling
This image is a favourite on the Internet and is no doubt Photoshopped – much to the relief of parents the world over. We simply love it, training wheels and all, because it encapsulates our thirst for adventure, which is no doubt even stronger at an early age. "What if I could go down a roller coaster on my bike?” the little girl might be thinking. Or the image might be a clever ad for wearing a bicycle helmet, always. We’ll never know.
2. Tandem Roller Coaster Cycling
The Skycycle is the Japanese version of those tandem cycles one can rent for getting around – only that this one is on a roller coaster track high above the city of Okayama in Washuzan Highland Park. It's scenic with the Shimotsui-Seto Bridge in the background and green because it's pedal-powered – but definitely not for those with a queasy stomach.
The tandem cycle at Okayama's Washuzan Highland Park comes with simple seat belts and a pink basket for picnic supplies.
A Japanese tandem coaster
Off you go! Would you like a pink or blue cycle?
Japan's Washuzan Highland Park with the Skycycle track
Wow, this is high up! Step on the brakes and no overtaking please.
1. Extreme Roller Coaster Skating
Adrenaline junkie Dirk Auer took in-line skating to new heights – literally – when skating down an 860-meter wooden roller coaster at Stuttgart fun park Tripsdrill in just a minute. In his custom-made skate, he reached speeds of up to 86 km/h.
Dirk Auer while on his way down
"The roller coaster is wooden and so unlike rides made from iron and steel there was always a chance of the odd nail or screw that would not be entirely flat. If the skates were to catch a stray nail then I could have fallen and I would almost certainly have died," says Auer.
Well, we do hope he didn’t approach his world record quite so casually. We’re sure the engineering student devoted some of the two months of planning and 110 hours of work to checking for stray nails.
The young German was already well-known for his in-line skate stunt in 1997, when he reached a speed of 307 km/h clinging on to a Porsche GT II.
A few years later, Dirk Auer was in the news again for skating continuously for 24 hours – 512 km from Frankfurt to Munich. Afterwards, his body and mind were so tired that he forgot words and couldn’t speak at all for some time. It took six weeks for his muscles and brain to recuperate. Maybe he should’ve just taken the train like everyone else?
His current goal? Being the first human on in-line skates to break the sound barrier. Good luck, Dirk!
Last but not least, here's a stomach-churning video of Dirk Auer going down the roller coaster.
Inspired? Well, there are do-it-yourself roller coaster kits for the backyard out there. Or, you could simply visit your nearest amusement park.
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