By Dian Hasan | September 5, 2009
It’s clear that the Kiwis have a knack for packaging adrenaline into a travel commodity that strikes a chord with adrenaline-junkies from across the world. A useful reminder that they did invent the modern bungy jumping activity. And if this were the mother of all extreme activities, everything else are mere offsprings. PS: the original idea was most probably inspired by the island tribes of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu, South Pacific, whose coming-of-age ceremony for boys entering teenage-hood was jumping off a man-made tree-like wooden structure with mere vines strapped to their ankles. This was their way of demonstrating bravado and courage of entering a man’s world.
And although the tools of the trade may be different, and the setting is more varied – among which bridges seem to be leading the popularity, the main theme of “looking-fear-in-the-eye”, remains the same.
New Zealand entrepreneur, AJ Hackett, is considered as the pioneer of modern bungee, named after the Kiwi slang for rubber rope.
And New Zealand continues to push the envelope, inventing and re-inventing new ways for adventure-seekers to part with their money, in the promise of a few minutes (or even seconds) of “rush” that says with you long after you disembark from the ride. The latest is SCHWEEB, a pedal-powered individual monorail!
The technology of the Shweeb is remarkably simple – the only infrastructure required is a network of interconnected single rails. A number of pods are hung from this these lines, which are powered by the people sitting inside them. In principle, these pods are no different than recumbent bicycles – they can achieve close to 25 mph, are comfortable to use, and can be used by nearly anyone.
Shweeb is a World’s first and New Zealand’s newest adventure activity. You pedal it yourself and tt a given speed you are using around half the energy of a racing bike and 1/3rd of a mountain bike. You race against friends or the clock, 1 to 4 people can Shweeb at any one time and you need to be at least 1.4m tall. The company abides by its “green and sustainable business charter” for NZ and any offshore locations.
The Shweeb Racing Circuit can be found at Agroventures Adventure Park, Rotorua, New Zealand.