Street Luge – Six Steps to Getting Started
By Steve Batchelor
Street luge is an extreme sport which involves hurtling down a large steep hill at up to 60+mph lying on a little board on wheels. You are just a couple of inches away form the pavement and trying to steer this over-sized skateboard around the bends. The chances of hitting an object or hole in the road and flipping over are pretty high. Sound like your cup of tea and want to know more about getting involved?
Watch some street luge events first hand. After this you may decide that you are not as insane as you thought you were and will take up knitting instead. If this doesn’t put you off try and chat to some of the riders to make sure they are not all insane or nearly paralysed. Try and catch the X games.
Part of this sport is building your own street luge, you can find plans for this on the internet and some of the riders should be able to give you some tips and pointers. You need to research this carefully to make you luge go as fast as possible for increased adrenalin rush.
Safety…not a word commonly associated with street luge. Ideally you could do with being wrapped in a mile of bubble wrap, but that would not be aerodynamic. So, firstly, if you want to live get a decent motorcycle helmet with a face shield. You should also be wearing leathers, ideally an all in one motorcycle suit, if not, a jacket and trousers. Pad yourself out with all you can find, old skateboard pads, hockey pads and motorcycle equipment, the more the better. If you want to use your hands again get some good gloves and you will need some very sturdy boots as these are your brakes, if you wear through them be prepared to have your feet tickled…
You are ready for you first run, start with a prayer and make sure your will is up to date. Take it steady while you learn to control the luge, see if you can get other riders to go with you and help you with a few pointers.
Practice as much as your injuries will allow and look out for advertised events that you can compete in, when an event comes up try and travel with other riders, make friends and exchange tip and techniques, you can pick up ideas for improving your luge and equipment.
When you have entered and few events you should have built up a collection of other luge loonies as friends and you can continue to improve your knowledge about the sport and make your luge the fastest. Before long you will be helping new maniacs enter and enjoy the life of the luge…
Street Luge – Six Steps to Build a Street Luge
It’s a good idea to look the designs of other successful luge riders to get an idea of what you want. Speed is the main objective so you want something aerodynamic. Hopefully you are going to be going pretty flaming quick so the luge must be sturdy. Make some sketches of what you want you luge to look like.
When you have your design down you need to make your seat pan and rail. You might choose aluminum, fiberglass or wood. The properties of each are obviously different and all have pros and cons. You have to consider weight and length. It must be the right size for your body, but you probably worked that one out for yourself…. Consider flexibility too, you don’t want your butt to be bouncing up and down while traveling a couple of inches above the tarmac at 60mph…
Luge builders generally use the wheel and trucks from skateboards as they are specially built for this kind of thing. You can design you own axles if you prefer and have the know-how and equipment to make them. Be aware though that if these don’t quite run true or can’t run at 60mph plus you are going to be cart wheeling down the hill minus your luge.
You will have noticed when looking at other luges that many have headrests, hopefully you have put one on your design too. Trying to hold your head up and steady at 60mph isn’t easy and a headrest will do this for you. Also you don’t want to be using your head as a secondary brake; this will only slow you down….
Your luge should now be almost complete, check it carefully and add any cosmetic touches you desire. Maybe you want foot pegs; perhaps a front bumper is a good idea, that’s bound to help when you are being thrown head over heel down a hill. On a serious note, think about ways you could lighten, strengthen and increase the aerodynamics. Check the wheels run smoothly too.
Make sure you have read my guide to getting started in Street Luge before you actually leave your fate in the lap of the gods. Get the safety equipment right and you could avoid injury! Now you are ready to street luge…. Good luck.
Steve Batchelor is a Extreme Sports enthusiast and the webmaster at wwwextreme sport guides.com [http://www.extremesportguides.com/] where you can find some great information on many different extreme sports. He also recommends infogoldmine [http://www.infogoldmine.info/] for more info on extreme sports as well as many other subjects.
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