When it comes to searching for odd vehicles on China’s largest online shopping site, I try not to limit myself too much. Sure it’s fun to find various things that zip around on wheels, treads, wings, or fins. But sometimes, you have to expand your horizon beyond just air, land, and sea. That’s the case with this week’s find for the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week. Meet the awesome human-powered backyard rollercoaster!
It’s human-powered, but not in a “put your back into it” way. There’s not so much shoving of a train up a hill as there is pedaling a crank to pull it slowly up to the peak. From there, gravity does the work as the riders careen around dangerous-looking turns en route to the start of the backyard rollercoaster.
What’s not to like? It’s 35 meters (115 feet) of galvanized steel and fun!
And the best part is that it’s finally a ride that lovers of wooden rollercoasters can enjoy too. Sure, it’s technically a steel track, but at least you get wooden cars! And don’t worry about those bumpers they put on the back of each car… I’m sure these things aren’t known for suddenly running into each other. It’s probably just a spare tire!
At this point you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Ok Micah, this is obviously very cool, but I thought this was the Awesomely Weird Alibaba Electric Vehicle of the Week column, not the human-powered vehicle column.”
But don’t worry, I’ve got a plan for that.
The bicycle crank technology is technically powered by a parent with a stomach full of Wheaties for breakfast, but I think we can make this a bit easier on Mom or Dad. That stationary bike is just begging for a mid-drive motor to be swapped into that bottom bracket like a DIY electric bike!
We’re one Bafang e-bike conversion kit away from this coaster running all day on an e-bike battery! Sure, someone’s still got to sit on that thing and hold the throttle, but that’s a small price to pay instead of actually having to pedal your kids up a roller coaster hill.
But the truly best part about this whole setup is that it isn’t just for kids. Adults can ride it, too! It may be a short track without much extra stimulation for adult riders, but what it lacks in pizazz, it makes up for in risk of severe neck injury.
Just check out the video of a girl-at-heart woman riding it below (it’s at the end of clip, after the safety section showing the aluminum-can parts that apparently serve as the safety ratchet).
Look, I’m not saying that a $2,200 backyard rollercoaster that you ordered off the internet from an unknown Chinese company is a bad idea. I’m just saying it’s probably just as much fun to watch it on the internet as it is to ride it, at least after the second or third ride.
So let’s just enjoy that this thing exists, not risk our own wallets (or vertebrae) on actually trying to buy one.
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