I gain a lot of inspiration from my 8 year old son, Henry. His dream is to design and build roller coasters when he grows up. As I researched ways I could help him learn more about roller coasters now, I stumbled across the fascinating story of John Ivers.
John Ivers built a roller coaster in his backyard, which he affectionately named â€œThe Blue Flashâ€ in 2002. Made of scrap metal, this 180 foot long roller coaster comes complete with a loop, a 20 foot high lift with motor and a seat he found in an old van. The starting ramp is built over the roof of his barn. The only previous engineering experience he had was as an auto mechanic.
If you are ever driving southbound on Highway 41 in Bruceville, Indiana, you might just see his roller coaster from the side of the road. According to John, if you knock on the front door and ask nicely, he might even let you ride it. Beware though; there is a certain part of the coaster that has a reputation of snapping peopleâ€™s necks back. John assures everyone that this rickety looking coaster is â€œperfectly safeâ€.
When asked why he decided to build such a contraption, he simply said, â€œI was tired of waiting in long lines at amusement parks.â€ He goes on to explain that this is not a â€œwussy rideâ€ which explains why every picture I found on the internet of people riding it look like they are staring death in the face.
All this excitement led John to take on another endeavor in 2006, you guessed it, the construction of a second roller coaster he named Blue Two. Blue Two is modeled after some other famous roller coasters in the U.S. (like the Mindbender from Six Flags right here in Georgia).
Sit in an upright and stable position in your desk chair. Plant your feet firmly on the floor and take a ride on The Blue Flash with John in this video below.