Posted by: COSI | August 15, 2008

Look Ma! No Hands!

Look Ma! No Hands!

Look Ma! No Hands!

You might have noticed the picture of me on COSI’s unicycle (from what we know, the only science center unicycle high wire ride you can take in the country). It was funny…when our PR Manager sheepishly suggested that I go out on it as a great photo op for the COSI feature in the recent Columbus CEO magazine, I think she was surprised that I jumped at the chance.

Sure, I’d gotten myself through college in part by painting houses, and in Pittsburgh that often meant reaching some peak from a 40-foot ladder in that vertically dominated topography. In addition, my engineering and physics background had me comfortable as well.

Every day guests congregate in our high main lobby to watch a family member or even a stranger navigate this 17 foot high transit in the air, watching what you can watch on the video here:

So how is it that we are so confident of sending our guests out there above the crowds (and putting COSI’s President, namely me, out there for a looong time to get the right photo)? Simple Physics!

As you can see in the video, there is a large round structure hanging from the unicycle. That contains a large counter-weight, ensuring that there is more weight hanging underneath your unicycle seat than above it. The only way you could flip the bike is if you became the heavy end, meaning you would have to weigh more than 500 pounds. To guarantee your safety we have an upper weight limit of 250 pounds. The height requirement is to make sure kids can fully reach the peddles. (And don’t forget you need completely closed shoes!) While the cable is strong enough to hold a tank, it does have a little bit of flex, so with your weight and the counterweight you will make a hill for yourself. This means you will be pedaling uphill to get back – pumping not only your weight up to the platform, but that counterweight below you!

And to be just a little extra safe, we have you harnessed in with a locked harness that I’m told is similar to that securing pilots.

I love to hear our team members say after they’ve engaged our guests in some neat demonstration or activity, “There is no magic at COSI, just neat science!” So remember that when a family member suggests that you hop on that unicycle, the laws of physics have you covered!

Go for it!

BTW-you should also know that our rides are regulated just as amusement park rides and tested out every day for safety before we open 😉


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