Are all zip lines created equal?
The beauty of zip lines is that when they are made no two should ever be the same, unless they are side by side at the same place.
Basically riders should be aware that when they are being built it is necessary to determine how you are going to stop them.
Some stop with gravity, others use your involvement and some zip lines will use mechanical devices to do this.
What is the best?
Gravity is always the best for a couple of reasons.
Number one - If built properly the smallest rider to the largest rider will stop without any involvement from the rider at the exact same place. Anything mechanical will break down and fail at some point and using welders gloves with your hands resting on the tops of wheels moving at high speeds will cause problems for some riders.
Number two- Using a breaking system to slow the rider down would be the last resort. Bungee Breaking Systems work great if you are unable to create the natural loop required for a gravity system. Other engineered systems will work very similar to what theme parks use to stop some of the high powered rides. A typical canopy tour will not employ the expensive engineered systems because you zip to zip around natural trees or telephone poles instead of zip to exit.
Number three-Using a newly trained rider to stop a fast moving zip line is never a good idea. First off riders come with varying degrees of excitement and fears. When fear strikes a rider they fail to retain what they just learned about stopping a zip line. This results in injuries where they slam into trees or the staff hooking them onto the next stop. Lastly this type of stopping system requires the user to place his or her hands directly near the path of a pinch point. Depending on your size and weight will determine how fast you are traveling. A person weighing 200 pounds with newer zip lines wheels and a tail wind will travel much faster then a small child with older wheels and a head wind. You are processing this information on a trial basis because no steadfast rules apply. Come in too fast and you cause damage to you and the equipment. Come in very slow and the team must rescue you while you are stranded high above ground.
We clearly are biased at Xtreeme Challenge because our system is gravity. We have run hundreds of thousands of riders in our 8 years and have seen all shapes and sizes of clients. Another key factor is seasonal help vs. year round full time help. We use year round staffing and it makes a big difference. Zip lines built and installed in the United States are far better then those zip lines in other countries. You never know what you may get on a zip line internationally until you trust your life on an inspection that didn't take place or a person with next to no experience hooking you on or taking you off.
Speed and Distance
The goal of a good zip line is to produce as much speed and safety as you can provide to the rider.
The equation is weight, wind and wheels. If the wind is behind you and you weigh more and are using newer wheels then you will fly faster. You can never take the wheels out of the equation since they all perform differently and create friction. You can tune them up but they all deteriorate over time and must be retired. We use a Doplar Radar Gun to track our speed and it varies between 25 and 30 miles per hour every time.
The Xtreeme Challenge Zip Lining experience is different then most any place in the United States or abroad. We are a private facility that caters to one group at a time with no hours of operation. What this means is that we can accommodate our riders 365 days a year 24-7. Our Zip Lines our entry system with The Indian Jones Bridge
Doing a flashlight zip line is unbelievably different then daytime rides. Imaging flying at top speeds into total darkness and back. Without a doubt doing this with you in control of the breaking system would be suicide and that is why a gravity system allows us to offer this safely for all ages.
Doing a Corn Hole Zip Line is tons of fun and just as good as zip line basketball. Both involve teams competing for points scored while flying and releasing a ball or corn hole bag over a target.
What about a zip line top speed award. We teach varying techniques for jumping off that can create more aerodynamics producing speed changes that we measure with our radar gun.
Zip line only adventures start at $85 per person for about 2 hours depending on how many in your group and how long on the property you stay. Some of our clients stay in our lodge overnight while others come for 2 hours or longer.
Call toll free 1-800-701-0225 or click for a free rate quote
Xtreeme Challenge is located on 10 acres in Monroe, Union County North Carolina just minutes from Charlotte NC.
This article written by Michael Valentine Owner/Lead Facilitator of Xtreeme Challenge