As I find myself in Denver, Colorado for a camping trip, I had to squeeze in a visit to a classic park known as Lakeside before the camping. Lakeside Amusement Park opened in 1908, so this park is over 100 years old, and still maintains an atmosphere from an older time. The major ride at Lakeside is Cyclone, which opened thirty-two years after the grand opening, and maintains a generally smooth ride given that this coaster is seventy-four years old.
Cyclone utilizes manual brakes, where the employees operate them by pulling them to slow the train when it is in the station. Most coasters these days are operated by complex computer operated machines, so it is interesting to see how primitive Cyclone's braking system was compared to today's scream machines.
Here are the riders returning from their ride. The trains are very vintage, and by today's standards, the restraint system would be considered incredibly minimalist. Riders strap in with a piece of fabric and a carabiner - it doesn't really keep you in tight, but it just makes the ride more fun. I'm talking out-of-your-seat airtime, and at one point, you probably lift a foot out of your seat. It really makes you exchange the I-don't-think-this-could-possibly-be-safe glance at the other person you are riding with - it's one crazy ride!
Wild Chipmunk's trains seat one or two riders, and have no restraint device - that was something I was not used to at all! The ride definitely doesn't seem completely safe - that just makes it a little more fun, though. There is one point where the track travels under another track segment and if you raised your arms, they would definitely touch the supports. At least the ride operators in the station tell you to not raise your arms - after riding I can tell why. Also, I was told to be cautious about the headrest. I gently leaned back to see what the ride operator meant by that, and the solid metal headrest came in contact with the back of my head. Without the ride operator's warnings, I would have probably come off with cut-up hands from the supports and an injured head. It's a bit scary to think about.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Lakeside experience. Lakeside offers a variety from the big parks with roaring coasters that dominate the midways. The park generally had a more casual and laid-back feel, which I really enjoyed, and found it to be a completely different theme park experience. I was put back in a time where the regulations for rides were lower, and where the rides were more wild experiences, of course meaning more fun.
You can look forward to a trip report from Denver's Elitch Gardens coming soon as the second part of my Colorado trip.
Coasters are my passion. It's what I do, it's who I am.