Just For Fun

09
May

2017

World’s most harrowing (exhilarating) commute?



Six families continue to rely on a makeshift 800m long zipline to save 2 hours of travel time. At top speeds of 90km/h and at heights of 230m, this commute is certainly not for the faint of heart!

23
Sep

2015

Love in the sky: Riding a gondola into a life of connubial bliss

fasfa

Forgive our shortness of breath. We always get a little hypoxic at weddings.

Critics of cable car technology as public transport often deride it, so to speak, as ‘romantic’ and ‘pie in the sky’ — to which we retort:  what’s wrong with romance,  and can we make that wedding cake in the sky instead?

The brother of a friend was recently married 1,900 metres above sea level in the French Alps. Yes, that’s him in the photo. Transportation to the venue was provided courtesy of the Télécabine du Prarion, an especially romantic gondola which departs from Les Houches, near Chamonix. The entire wedding party rode the gondola up to the Prarion plateau and, from there, hiked to a charming nearby hotel.

Speaking of charming and hiking, invitations to the bridesmaids included a hearty carrier bag for their good shoes because, at altitude, the going can get a bit rough.

In this case, we agree that there is something rather romantic about cable cars as public transportation, but we aren’t the only ones. Nor are we though the only ones to find romance in public transportation at all. Consider the impossibly beautiful works of art that are subway stations in Russia and Sweden. Or google San Francisco cable car images if you happen to have an hour to kill.

Next stop: bliss!

Next stop: a lifetime of connubial bliss! (Photo from ski-leshouches.com)

Indeed, we can think of no greater compliment to gondolas than to call them romantic cake in the sky. After all, have you ever known anyone to get a public bus to drive them and their guests to their wedding?*

Get me to the bullwheel on time.

Get me to the bullwheel on time.

(*That was meant to be a rhetorical question. However, if you answered ‘yes’ are they still together?)

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16
Sep

2015

Don’t Look Down!


Need I say more?

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29
Jul

2015

Please Don’t Try This At Home

Recently we ran an opinion piece about private gondolas, asking whether they may be a sign of things to come. But nothing prepared for us this precarious looking “trenino” or little train in Vernazza, Italy. Essentially it’s a mini-monorail and it turns out they’re not uncommon here.

Vernazza is one of the “Cinque Terre”, five towns of exceptional beauty on the eastern edge of the Italian Riviera, reachable only by path, boat or train. Despite the remoteness and difficulty of access, the place is teeming with tourists year-round.

Becoming prosperous without a network of roads demands a certain entrepreneurial and self-starting spirit, which this contraption exemplifies. The trenino’s track stretches several hundred metres from high above the town, down the almost sheer cliff-cum-hill to the edge of town. It terminates just beyond this engine with its single seat, possibly lifted from some ‘80s airport, welded behind the jury-rigged cargo bin.

Locals use trenini primarily for transporting goods and equipment, most especially grapes and hay, up and down their terraced vineyards and gardens. Very occasionally it is used for transporting people — when there is no other means of access to a given spot.

Correction – August 3, 2015
We originally thought this may be an “unsafe” transport device on first glance but thanks to BC and all commenters we realized that this is untrue. Trenini, or Monoracks, are not unique to this area and are neither homemade nor jury-rigged, but number over 650 around the world. They are also safe and the ’seats can be fitted with a protective hood’. So we still say you should leave it to the professionals — and still salute the entrepreneurial spirit of those who recognize business ideas where others only see perilous slopes.

Cinque Terre is beautiful but not easily accessible. Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, and the locals here are, by necessity, inventive. Image by Steve Bochenek.

Cinque Terre is beautiful but not easily accessible. Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, and the locals here are, by necessity, inventive. Image by Steve Bochenek.

The steep hills between towns in the Cinque Terre are almost sheer. Image by Steve Bochenek.

The steep hills between towns in the Cinque Terre are almost sheer. Image by Steve Bochenek.

On the way into Vernazza, the steep hiking trail is temporarily flanked by a lone steel rail with jagged teeth underneath, which the trenino’s engine grips on a climb. Image by Steve Bochenek.

On the way into Vernazza, the steep hiking trail is temporarily flanked by a lone steel rail with jagged teeth underneath, which the trenino’s engine grips on a climb. Image by Steve Bochenek.

The “base station”, complete with jury-rigged cargo holder in front of a lone seat, possibly appropriated from a defunct carnival ride, rests just above Vernazza. Image by Steve Bochenek.

The “base station”, complete with jury-rigged cargo holder in front of a lone seat, possibly appropriated from a defunct carnival ride, rests just above Vernazza. Image by Steve Bochenek.

Being 2-dimensional, photographs rarely convey steepness very well. But trust us: this track was steep. With no seatbelt to secure the rider, we wonder if anyone ever tumbled out backwards on an especially vertical slope. Image by Steve Bochenek.

Being 2-dimensional, photographs rarely convey steepness very well. But trust us: this track was steep. With no seatbelt to secure the rider, we wonder if anyone ever tumbled out backwards on an especially vertical slope. Image by Steve Bochenek.

15
Apr

2015

Metal Cable to My Cable Car

Proving once again that cable cars are the most romantic transport technology in the world (link 1, link 2, link 3)… 😉

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01
Apr

2015

Next Gen Alpine Coaster

Apparently blazing down a ground level alpine coaster is totally passé now — these days, it’s all about the new Alpine Biga Coaster.

Alpine Biga Coaster by Sunkids.

Happy April Fools! At least that’s we think… 😉

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16
Mar

2015

Queuing for Trains, Airplanes, Gondolas… or Really Anything Else in Life

A video depicting a chaotic “queuing” scene has gone viral today after a tourist filmed herself waiting in line at a Korean airport. In turn, this has sparked some intensely emotional and comical debates on Reddit and the rest of the interwebs.

To provide a contrast to that thread, the online community immediately started posting photos of queuing culture in other parts of the world — with an emphasis on train queuing etiquette. Here are some of the examples found online:

Japan

Singapore

Thailand

India

Philippines

Houston, USA




Note: To avoid any transit technology wars, some may perceive the above picture as a shot against light rail. It isn’t, rather it is an observation on how some people decide to perceive transit in general in North American cities. 

Note 2: To ensure we don’t spark any meaningless technological debates on the blog, below is another example of train queuing in the USA (plus a picture of passengers lining up for the Ngong Ping 360 in Hong Kong). 


San Jose, USA

Hong Kong

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