Rye Playland - 7-17-2012 - Derby Racer Physics

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 1:22 AM

I am not going to get into each ride, blah blah blah. There were no real additions or subtractions from last year so...I'll stick to a few things.

First - It was VERY hot today - with almost no breeze coming in from the sound. Being a summer weekday there were some camps (3 I think) and very little else during the peak of the afternoon when I arrived.

If you plan on going on a Tuesday afternoon, expect few lines and massive power riding for those who want to do that.

Parking was 5 bucks...which is not bad at all. On weekends it's more. A wristband will set you back 30 bucks.

I spent most of the day hanging out with a buddy who actually was supervising a camp trip. It was hot, though relaxing by a shady table.

I went on the "boat-soaker" to cool off and I stayed on the bridge to make use of the next few sets of riders to make sure I stayed cool. Within 15 minutes, I was completly dry.

Later in the day I did something I never did before. I took the ride on the pontoon boat around the lake on the east end of the park. The guide /driver took me and a family of three on a 15 minute cruise. He slowed down by a big pole and shared that an osprey's nest had 3 young birds in it, but the parents are out fishing. If they were back with some grub, we would see them. He also pointed out a commerant (which is a tough bird to be because you can fly and swim, but it's hard to fly after you swim unless you stick your wings out for an hour and a half to dry.) Pretty silly member of the bird world. I guess the commerants got the short end of the stick. He also showed us an area of woods that is known to have deer, raccoons, two cyotes last year and an abundance of tics. Also scattered about were fiberglass animals (zebra, gorilla, etc) that looked out of place in this natural environment. Then it was back to the dock. I sort of wanted more for my $5.

The reason I am pointing this out is that the lakefront rents paddle boats and if you are thinking of doing that, expect to have legs like trees if you want to go all the way out and back. There are 3 islands in the lake which make for a pretty sight.

I did spend some time on the fishing pier, but after getting a few small taps, I gave up. I will point out that a police officer was on the pier and he seemed to know the other two people who were fishing there. (I picked up bait at city island.)

By the end of the day, people were starting to come in perhaps in preparation for the evening fireworks. I left long before they started.

One last thing I want to mention...the Derby Racer is a decent ride, although the horses do not go back and forth along with the up and down movement. Why do the ride ops on this ride insist that everyone leans left and ride with the right foot in the top postion (sturrup) and the left foot in the bottom? Also, why did one of the ride ops (who was standing while the ride was at top speed) also lean left. What is the physics behind it. It made the ride uncomfortable. Any thoughts. Thanks for reading this.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012 3:00 AM

That sounds like a fun and unusual day. Playland is on my bucket list.

I've only been on Cedar Downs at CP, which still has the racing motion, and I understand it turns at a slower rate than your Derby Racer. I'm going to assume that your ride turns counter-clockwise like ours, which would cause forces to the right. Centrifugal? Centripetal? Anyway, leaning to the left, toward the center of the ride, is the body's natural way of keeping it's balance while on the horse.

The carousel, believe it or not, is one of the amusement park's biggest safety concerns, as there's little or no restraint and riders are left on their own to stay on their horse, and mishaps occur frequently. Being that the Derby travels at such a high rate of speed, I'm going to guess this is the park's way of keeping riders in the safest position possible, so the unsuspecting or careless don't fly off their horses. They ask you to put your right foot on the highest rung to give that extra bit of push in case you start to drift off. It's a lever, essentially- a bent leg will supply stronger and more immediate force than a straight one.

I'm no physicist, but this makes sense I think. And I happen to be up with nothing to do.

I'm grateful our Cedar Downs still jockeys for position, but I'm jealous that yours goes faster. I hope the visitors to Playland mind the ride ops and do what their told, as there's only 3 such rides left on the earth. It would be a shame if an accident forced cumbersome safety devices, or worse yet, closure of a such a great and rare classic.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012 7:16 AM

The ride ops on this ride really earn their money.

My wife and I were riding the Derby Racer in May,when a

woman started to panic.2 ride ops got to her before the emergeny stop .

We were told by the ops that that's one of the reasons they stand on the ride when its moving,is just so they can get to someone in an emergency.

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Friday, July 20, 2012 12:17 AM

I just wanted to mention that I really like Cedar Downs at Cedar Point. Which is why I found their announcement of having the 100 year old carousel, to be not that big a deal, when Cedar Downs is so much more fun, and is more unique. There aren't many like it left.

So, the Derby Racer goes faster than the Downs? I also can't see it being that wild that someone would panic on it, considering that the back and forth motion of the Downs is not being used in the Derby.

What other rides does Playland have?

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