Skating a rollercoaster?

I know people will call me nuts, but this looks like fun: via The Daily Mail, we learn that an extreme sports enthusiast took a high-speed ride on a rollercoaster — on specially designed roller skates!

An adrenaline junkie has taken in-line skating to new heights and set a new world record after racing down a roller coaster at speeds of 56mph.

Dirk Auer decided to go where no sane man or woman had gone before and skated down an 860 metre track in just over a minute.

Wearing specially designed in-line skates, the German made the attempt on the Mammoth roller coaster at the Trips Drill theme park in Stuttgart.

There’s several photos accompanying the feat, including this one:

From a physics point of view, this is sort of interesting.  On the one hand, it’s probably easier to skate a coaster than it looks, because the banked turns of the coaster are designed to keep the forces a rider experiences pointing down into the track, meaning that one would expect that forces tugging from side to side are not too bad.  On the other hand, I get the impression that Auer was traversing the coaster faster than a normal car would, which means that the banked turns would not compensate as well for his motion.

I predict that I won’t have to wait too long to try such a thing: I’m guessing some enterprising theme park manager will design a ride similar to Auer’s feat, though probably not one going quite so fast…

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2 Responses to Skating a rollercoaster?

  1. I was trying to figure out why he didn’t just fall over backward at the plunges, when his torso inertia would continue forward, but his skates would conform to the path of the track. On closer inspection, I see that each skate has a handle (which I think might also have been a brake). What do you think?

    • PD: I think the handles were essential in keeping him from falling over backward. Looking at the rough surface below him, it’s somewhat chilling to think of what would have happened if he had fallen over.

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