Silverwood security saves money, environmental impact, with bicycles, recycles soda bottles

Posted Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:45 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Silverwood Theme Park is using bicycles for its security patrols instead of utility vehicles, saving 8 to 16 gallons of gas each week. The park also initiated a massive recycling program in conjunction with PepsiCo for the many soda bottles purchased by guests.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011 2:01 AM
Jeff's avatar

They donate broken bikes? How thoughtful. I'm not one to encourage needless spending, but a good bike makes a world of difference for the rider. Those crappy Wal-Mart bikes are crazy heavy and inefficient, and probably awful geometry for the rider. It's like buying your auto mechanic tools from that aisle of the grocery store you never go down. $500 in the grand scheme of things for a solid, aluminum bike is not a lot of money.

Good for them on the recycling though. This is something that most parks suck at. I'm looking at you, Cedar Point.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 2:24 AM

I was thinking the same thing with the bikes. Wouldn't it make sense to buy a few good bikes that will last a long time instead of continually purchasing crappy bikes that you have to get rid of after a short span? Other than that, I applaud their efforts.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 6:20 AM

Jeff said:
$500 in the grand scheme of things for a solid, aluminum bike is not a lot of money.

While I agree that spending a few extra bucks on a decent bike is a better investment than saving a couple bucks on a crappy bike, aluminum is probably not a good choice for people who aren't Lance Armstrong.

Steel framed bikes, while heavier and less stiff than bikes constructed from alternative materials, will pretty much last forever, so long as you don't let them rust. Aluminum bikes, on the other hand, will undoubtedly fail, and typically within a decade or so due to aluminum fatigue.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 10:16 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

The bike donation thing is odd. Those Walmart bikes are not easily repairable either.

As for Lance Armstrong, he wouldn't be caught dead on an aluminum bike. He rides carbon. :)


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 10:32 AM

That's because he can afford to hire people to take care of his bikes. :)

Carbon fiber is an exceptional choice in terms of strength:weight, but requires an exceptional amount of care as well.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:48 PM
Jeff's avatar

djDaemon said:
Aluminum bikes, on the other hand, will undoubtedly fail, and typically within a decade or so due to aluminum fatigue.

On what planet does this occur? My father's aluminum bike has been around for 15+ years, made back when they weren't nearly as good as manufacturing them. Mine is four years old. Come to think of it, as a cyclist since high school, I don't know anyone who has had an aluminum frame fail.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:06 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

It most defiantly happens, especially if you're putting a lot of miles on it. The way these guys are using them I can't imagine a decent frame failing within ten years.

An aluminum frame subject to repeated heavy loading (being bashed in hard mountain bike use) may last a few years. At the other extreme, an aluminum frame that is not stressed (ridden gently on the smooth road) may last for decades.

Source: http://www.ibike.org/library/bike-frame.htm

Aluminum frames possess the shortest fatigue life of any material used to manufacture bicycle frames. The typical aluminum frame possesses a life expectancy of five to 10 years. The fatigue life of steel is much longer, but the material requires more maintenance. To prevent rust formation steel frames must be cleaned and polished regularly and periodically coated with rust stop on the interior of the frame.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/87520-bike-frame-aluminum-vs.-ste...z1WimTLh2c

Last edited by eightdotthree, Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:08 PM
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Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:07 PM

Earth:

One important structural limitation of aluminium alloys is their fatigue strength. Unlike steels, aluminium alloys have no well-defined fatigue limit, meaning that fatigue failure eventually occurs, under even very small cyclic loadings. This implies that engineers must assess these loads and design for a fixed life rather than an infinite life.

I suppose, since the failure mode is related to fatigue, that frequency (and the amount of stress) of use has a lot to do with it. If I ride an aluminum bike daily, trekking up and down mountainous terrain, my bike will fail sooner rather than later. If I stick to nice flat, paved bike paths and such, then yeah, that bike may last decades.

Aluminum, like steel, is an alloy, and as such comes in a wide variety of metallurgic configurations. Using high quality 7075 "aircraft" aluminum as opposed to, say, 6061 will produce very different results.

The point is, simply suggesting aluminum is superior to steel is misleading. In fact, very high quality steel alloys can outperform aluminum alloys, simply because they can offer similar stiffness:weight ratios yet don't suffer from the same fatigue limits.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:09 PM
Jeff's avatar

What data is that based on? I've been at this a very long time, and if it really were that common, you'd think I would know at least someone who had a frame fail. More to the point, the suggestion that it's not appropriate gear for an amusement park rent-a-cop seems pretty silly to me.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:12 PM

Jeff said:
What data is that based on?

Science! :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_frame#Aluminum_alloys

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium_alloy#Aluminium_alloys_versu...s_of_steel

More to the point, the suggestion that it's not appropriate gear for an amusement park rent-a-cop seems pretty silly to me.

I didn't mean to suggest that, and in fact my "not Lance Armstrong" comment is probably backwards. If you are a heavy bike user on a budget, a nice steel framed bike may be a better investment, simply because it will last forever. An aluminum bike will only last a long, long time with light use, and won't last forever unless you don't use it at all.

Last edited by djDaemon, Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:14 PM

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Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:15 PM
Jeff's avatar

You're still not pointing me to the people who have experienced frame failures. I'm sure they exist, but apparently not in the quantity that makes it an invalid choice.

I would never go back to a steel bike. I just don't like the ride (or the weight).


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:16 PM

It does sound odd to say we ride the bikes til they break and then we give them to poor kids. I suspect goodwill does some minor clean up and repair to bikes it receives though I agree a Walmart bike probably isn't a good candidate for repair.

In my experience, the better quality bikes really only make a difference in terms of ride when you are either riding over long distances or over difficult terrain (such as up a lot of hills). Not sure what Silverwood terrain is like but I suspect its relatively flat paved surfaces (though maybe that isn't the case). Based on their fuel savings, they are riding less than 50 miles a week which with multiple shifts and presumably multiple people per shift isn't very much. I doubt the quality of the Walmart bikes would make much of a difference in terms of ride experience. Adjusting the seat to the right height would probably have a bigger impact. Depending on how often they need to replace the bikes, they may be better off buying better bikes that will last longer.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:23 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Jeff, have you ridden a steel bike built in the last 5-10 years? I have four bikes, two steel, two aluminum and I much prefer steel to aluminum. The ride is much smoother and I can loose more weight than I can save by going with aluminum. It's also repairable where aluminum is not as I've learned after being hit by a car while riding my aluminum framed bike.

All that said. I agree that aluminum is a perfectly fine choice for a park cop and every bicycle cop bike I've seen are in fact aluminum.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 1:27 PM

Jeff said:
You're still not pointing me to the people who have experienced frame failures. I'm sure they exist, but apparently not in the quantity that makes it an invalid choice.

Perhaps it doesn't appear to be a major concern because there's a big Venn overlap between hardcore cyclists, cyclists who chose aluminum frames, and cyclists who replace or upgrade their frames frequently? I really don't know.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 3:35 PM
Jeff's avatar

I tried a steel bike a few years ago. If was the only one in the shop. I didn't like it. I could feel the weight difference. And mind you, this was a bike with decent components, not some disposable Walmart piece of crap.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 5:01 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

I guess that's why we test ride bikes before buying them.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 5:09 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

I was impressed by all the recycling bins in the park. I think there was one next to nearly all (if not evey) trash can I saw.


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Thursday, September 1, 2011 5:40 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

Aluminum framed bikes are the best.

Aluminum framed bikes suck.


Billy
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Thursday, September 1, 2011 7:15 PM

My Mountain Bike is Aluminum and 10 years old, I ride it very hard. Have never had an issue!


-Brent Kneebush

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