The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bumper Cars: Best Family Rides Around!

Amusement parks are filled with many mind-blowing, complex, and sometimes terrifying rides that show off humanity's firm grasp of engineering and the laws of physics. There is one coaster that will ram you over 400 feet straight up and straight down again, experiencing 0 g at the apex of the ride. However, I contend, that the very best ride in any established amusement park is ... the bumper car ride! Yes, bumper cars are the best. No other ride allows you to turn family and friends into targets. No other ride allows you to ram another rider and send them skittering into a multicar pileup without threat of injury or lawsuit. For parents who spend way too much time ferrying their kids from one place to another and untold hours in traffic going to and coming home from work, no other ride is quite so satisfying. Ramming other drivers out of your way without consequences to suffer ... ahhh, now that's entertainment!

There are, however, strategies to make the bumper car ride truly satisfying. Here they are, from the beginning to end of the ride:

  1. Never ride the bumper car ride alone. You need people you know to go with you as no target is quite so satisfying to collide with as a loved one or close friend.
  2. You need to pick a car that is not in a pack, not part of a multi-car pile up, and not shoved into a corner by a hapless young rider who could not figure out the steering (the last is unlikely as attentive bumper car workers will usually pull such cars out of the corners).
  3. Make sure you take note of the positions of family or friends relative to your car before the ride starts (it is not good to have a family member or friend in the car right behind you ... you won't do much maneuvering in that scenario).
  4. Follow all safety rules getting into the car (they are rudimentary but important).
  5. When the ride starts, first give your car a first boost (these cars are electric now and you push the pedal or button on the floor all the way to the floor) and let the steering wheel spin to straighten the guide wheel out and ensure you are moving forward and not at some bizzare angle.
  6. Maneuver around the traffic and wait for your chance, picking up speed and looking for your targets ... um ... loved ones I mean.
  7. Steer clear of multicar pile ups or you will spend most of the rest of your ride in this traffic clot.
  8. Pick your target by proximity, angle of approach, and possibility of a clear shot.
  9. If you maneuver your car well and are patient, golden moments will occur when a clear lane appears between you and your target. Scoot through quickly and ram 'em!
  10. Repeat this process throughout the ride, making sure from time to time you make a target of yourself for family or friends to ram ... that way they will be willing to ride the course with you again.
A word of warning: bumper cars transform people, especially adults. I watched one mild-mannered father settle his daughter carefully into the car with him. While she smiled obliviously, dad suddenly let out an evil chuckle (a real bwa ha ha laugh) as his fingers wrapped around the steering wheel and flexed appreciatively. He was a maniac on the course that day. Yes, bumper cars change people.

If you think I'm making too much of bumper cars, check out this article:

You'll see.

Strange fact: In 2008, United States Patent 7367599 was issued for an inflatable bumper car. Check it out at:

Happy driving!

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