SkyCycle – Japan’s Sluggish Yet Terrifying Pedal-Powered Roller Coaster

Most roller coasters rely on speed, tight turns and steep slopes to get riders’ adrenaline levels up, but SkyCycle, a pedal-powered coaster ride in the Japanese city of Okayama is proof that roller coasters can be even more terrifying at low speeds.

Located on a greenery-covered hill at the Washuzan Highland amusement park in Okayama, SkyCycle is probably the world’s slowest roller coaster ride. That’s because it’s pedal-powered so it goes as fast as the rider can pedal. It doesn’t have any steep slopes or spectacular drops either, but it still manages to get your heart racing by constantly conveying an uneasy sense of danger and uncertainty. It may look like a quaint ride for people who are too scared to go on conventional roller coasters, but once you get on one of those flimsy carts and realize there’s nothing but a loose safety belt keeping you from falling to your doom, your pulse goes up instantly.

Photo: Seasonal-Japan

SkyCycle carts are nothing but flimsy-looking side by side tandem bikes attached to a metal rail at about 50 feet above ground. And if you’re brave enough to get on one by yourself, you may feel it banking toward your side, which isn’t exactly reassuring. Strong winds can be terrifying as well, considering there are no safety rails or anything else to keep you from falling, other than a simple safety belt.


This unusual amusement park ride went viral online a couple of years ago, thanks to a video shot in a time when the metallic pillars holding the SkyCycle track in place was in desperate need of a paint job. They looked rusty, and even though you could tell the damage was only superficial, it wasn’t exactly the most reassuring sight for riders. They look a lot better nowadays, but the ride itself is still terrifying.


A ride of the SkyCycle lasts about three minutes, more or less, but it can feel like a lifetime. If you can take your eyes off the metal rail as you approach the end of the track you will be treated to one of the most amazing views in Okayama,  featuring the stunning islands in the Seto Inland Sea and the Great Seto Bridge.


So if fast and twisting roller coaster no longer pose any challenge you you, maybe try a really slow one? You can find the SkyCycle ride at the Washuzan Highland amusement park in Okayama, Japan.

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