For many of us, the only experience of a luge every four years is when we watch the Olympic television coverage for hours. Those who find it fun to glide downhill at top speed may have a hard time finding a place to try the sport. If you want to experience the thrill of luge without first finding the frozen road, try Lord Luge.
Street luge is one of the most extreme sport popular with many skateboarders and outdoor sports enthusiasts. The best skateboarding, sledding and courage combine to form one of the most exciting and dangerous sports. Riders use wheeled sleds to sprint on paved roads, often reaching speeds of over 60 mph (96 km/h). The sled is similar to the one used at the Winter Olympics, but with wheels instead of runners. When you drive, your body rests only a few inches off the ground, so you can feel any collisions and twists on the road.
The sport is believed to have started around 1970s when skateboarders learned that they could speed up by lying on the board. This technique is known as “batboarding” and has been performed on traditional skateboards and longboards. Competitive riders used this technique to win races, but due to the high injury rate, most boarders abandoned this technique by the end of the decade.
Physics of Street Luge
Much of the appeal of street luges lies in the simplicity of the sport. Participants use a board that moves only by gravity. For this reason, road toboggan can only be done on hills and other slopes. The greater the slope, the greater the gravity and the faster the speed. The steeper the slope, the more momentum. This means that the rider will take longer to stop and the impact force in the event of a collision will be much higher.
Many of the thrills of street luge come from the high speeds associated with sports. With the rider lying down, there is little wind resistance and you can run faster. Regardless the slope of the course, riders still can increase their speed by working to make their body as aerodynamic as possible to go faster. They do this by pointing their toes, bowing their heads, and keeping their bodies as flat and horizontal as possible.
Like the weight of a sled, terrain also plays a major role in toboggan sledding on the road. The smoother the road, the less friction it has with the sled wheels and the faster the ride. Rough roads and bumpy roads increase friction and slow down the sled. Heavy sleds, or sleds carrying heavy riders, tend to be slower than sleds made of lighter materials. Modern road sleds are often made of fiberglass or carbon fiber and are relatively durable compared to their total weight.
Street Luge Boards
Modern street sleds are very similar to the sleds found on winter ice rinks. Most luges are less than 2.4 meters, but they are made of aluminum or fiberglass and can vary in length depending on the size of the rider. The sled can have 2 or 3 axles holding up to 6 wheels.
Wheels average 2.75 to 3.5 inches (70 to 90 millimeters) and are made of harder plastic that will last longer than soft rubber tires. Steel bearings to connect the wheel to the axle. New ceramic bearings are much more durable than steel bearings, but they are also more expensive. So most recreational riders are still sticking to steel.
It’s amazing how simple most road luge boards really are for a sport that allows riders to race at such extreme speeds. These boards do not have a suspension system and riders are at the mercy of the terrain. As you speed up the downhill, you can feel all the bumps and dips on the road.
Most Rugers who live to ride another day start by running the course they want to ride. This allows the riders to understand the situation and also the terrain and prepare for potential traction and skid issues. Be aware of road bumps that can come off the board or damage the wheels, such as potholes and cracks. Finally, be aware of things that can collide while driving, such as streetlight posts, mailboxes, and fences. Only when you know where all these items are will you start planning your route along the course.
Street Luge Safety
Like all extreme sports, toboggan on the road is not for the timid. Drivers suffer many injuries and even professionals admit that this is a very dangerous sport. Because the body is so close to the road, some of the most common injuries occur when a part of the body hits the road surface. Simply manipulating the steering can cause your elbows and shoulders to hit the road surface, causing humps, bruises, broken elbows, and dislocation of your shoulders.
To be fully prepared for the danger of toboggan sledding on the street, think about when you fall, not when you fall. Plan your trip knowing that you will eventually be wiped out. That way, you’re more likely to wear the right safety equipment and choose a route that protects you while providing the thrill.
When you’re done, keep the following safety tips in mind as you begin learning to ride:
Find a small hill and get started. Even at relatively low speeds, you’ll be amazed at how fast you can ride on street threads.
Consider Taking Classes
By learning from more experienced riders, you can learn more about the risks associated with street luge and how to minimize them.
Choose Safe Riding Routes
You need to think carefully when learning how to control the board. Also, don’t add routes filled with traffic or obstacles to your mix.
Maintain Your Equipment
Some of the most common causes of road luge wipeouts are equipment failures. If the wheels fall off the board or the axles break, the ride quality can quickly be compromised. Keep your gear in place and invest in quality gear to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.