So I was reading MsXXFast’s blog, and on her banner I notice a picture of her street luging. That just looks like a ton of fun. I’m also getting a bit bored with my bike, and being that I have to wait on funds before I can create the changes which will result in more power and therefore my renewed interest, I need something to keep me busy in the mean time. I thought this then an appropriate time to go luging.
I looked at the resources available to me, and posted up on my local motorcycle forum, the CSC, asking if somebody was into street luging. I mean, sport bike people are some of the rare people willing to risk life and limb for a good adrenaline fix, so there’s gotta be somebody who’s got a setup. I mean, there has to be just a little something wrong with you if you’re willing to play at high speed, with traffic, on a vehicle not much higher off the ground than a tortoise’s nose. Well, a fellow by the name of Snowman replies that indeed, he does have a setup. Excellent!
A note on Snowman: He is very soft spoken, listens and notices almost everything, and if you ever think he isn’t involved in what’s going on, think again, he’s just so damn ninja about everything it’s impossible to know if he hasn’t also looked into your soul while you were talking and he was listening. He’s also low-key and relaxed because his tolerance for crazy is sky-high. He’s been to Antarctica many times (another one of my dreams), and done all kinds of crazy thing, so if he doesn’t get excited about your stories, it’s because his are so much better…. But he’d never say that. Ever.
Anyways, Snowman tells me to bring my onesie and a helmet that could be sacrificed. Sacrificed? Oh dear… He’ll bring the luge, shoes and gloves. Right, I guess I can’t back out now, eh? We meet up and head of towards a small hill for me to figure out this body steering thing. He gives me some pointers and then lets me loose. My heart is pumping in my throat. This is but a small hill, but I have no brakes, and the first time is always nerve wracking. <grin>
I spend the next 2 runs down a long sidewalk figuring out the luge dynamics and then we migrate to the street. Nothing but a thing! I really enjoy the street and get quite stable on the board at about run 4 or 5, I forget. Apparently I hit 50mph on his chasing truck’s speedo. I think at this point Snowman was a bit worried that I didn’t like it because I was very quiet and didn’t say much. I guess he wasn’t ready for how I learn. I shut up, listen, practice, and after some accomplishment and victory, only then do I allow myself to talk freely and celebrate!
We then head to some windier stuff and I learn the importance of brakes… Brakes? Oh right, I forgot to mention, brakes on a luge are old pieces of car tire glued to the bottom of your shoes, in this case, sneakers, and they bounce wildly if you panic brake and just jam your heals into the ground…. I freak out a couple of times, pre-corner, but make it through reasonable OK. I’m scratching the crap out of my elbows, I’ll have to work on that…..
I practice the braking thing, and then we head to a slightly windier road where my top speed in a short stretch of the road is an estimated 45mph or so. I get the hang of braking quickly, and get surprised at how quickly this thing can actually turn. I’m slightly overwhelmed, and like a little kid, when Snowman catches up in the pickup I yell “again, again” as I put the board in the bed. He just grins and drives back up. Bless the man and his amazing patience! I finally say that I’m spent, and can’t guarantee my safety anymore, my muscles are screaming! I have never had a core workout like this! It’s like holding a half-crunch for 6 minutes – the length of the run. I’m gonna have to start working out if I’m gonna keep this up.
Snowman tells me that on the longer, smoother, bigger, faster hills that the rider is tucked in much more and moves a lot less, so, being that I’m lazy and don’t want to have to work out, I can’t wait to go faster….
There is only one problem with this: Now I have to come up with another $500 to build my own board, because this stuff is just plain addicting!
Here’s a video of my experience. It’s a bit long and boring, but I wanted to give prospective new riders an idea of how their first time might go, if they have a good teacher. I’ll see you at the bottom of the hill!