The craziest forms of transport

1 Comment

For a blog that’s about travel I’ve realised that we haven’t really talked too much about the myriad of different modes of transport we have available these days. I’ve spoken a little about cars, spaceships and implied some about planes. However I think I’d like to talk about (and show) some of the lesser known (and wackier) methods of transport that we can choose from. I’m probably stretching my luck, but maybe Holiday Extras will one day send me off to try a few out.

The Jetpack has been a kind of Holy Grail for science fiction enthusiasts, military types and those with no sense of personal safety. It’s gone through an incredible amount of iterations since its conception. The Germans first tried, without success, to use jetpacks during World War 2. The US military has written them off as unusable and prefers helicopters. However there does remain a scene of hardcore enthusiasts, and in 2008 Yves Rossy became the first man to fly over the English Channel using a jetpack.

Once the stuff of science fiction could it be that the jetpack is finally here? Probably not, heat is an issue (Rossy wears a flame retardant suit) as well as the distinctly un-aerodynamic properties of the human body. They have some use in space where the microgravity means that minimal amounts of thrust are needed, and I imagine that the jetpack is something that is going to remain in the hands of astronauts.

Some of the craziest modes of transport are the most low tech. The bicycle has been around for a long time and has spawned a number of offshoots. For a long time I thought that the unicycle was the wackiest of bike variants. While usually the domain of those crazy types who just love being “different” I think that the unicycle has met its match in my next nomination. The monowheel.

The monowheel is a single wheeled (surprise) bike, usually motorised, that doesn’t seem to provide the rider with any benefit whatsoever over a regular bike. They look uncomfortable, dangerous and difficult to ride. However, they do look ridiculous and so therefore earn their place in this hall of fame. If you’re having trouble picturing the monowheel, then here’s a video. Be warned, the crash at the end is excruciating to watch.

Last on this list is something decidedly less high-tech. I’ll show you the video first.

The ostrich. Probably the last animal I would ever want to ride. Look how the guy is clinging on for dear life as the giant bird tries to run away from him. I had a friend who lived near an ostrich farm and when we walked up to the fence they’d come over to have a look at us. They strike me as an animal that’s constantly pissed off. Something it’s probably best not to go near, let alone try and mount. Still, it looks quite funny so they make this inglorious list.

And that’s that. It’s the end of the day so I’ve run out of time to write more. Any other suggestions for wacky rides just let me know in the comments.


Airport world records

1 Comment

Biggest, smallest, oldest, highest, lowest. The Guinness World Records have fascinated us for decades. From the bizarre to the surreal to the amazing they seem, at least to me, to tap into that innate human curiosity. Sometimes you feel you just have to know who is the person that can put the most clothes pegs on their face at once. Stupid records aside, most are genuinely interesting. For this post I thought I’d have a look at a few with regards to airports round the world.

The highest airport in the world is Quamdo Bangda airport in Tibet. It’s located 4,334 metres above sea level and its runway 14/32 is the longest publicly used in the world, at 5,500m. The low air density at such a high altitude makes take off and landing more difficult than usual. Although I think that flying to other airports must be pretty easy, just glide down!

The highest airport in the world

The highest airport in the world at Quamdo Bangda

The most remote airport in the world is on Easter Island, 2603km from the nearest airport in the Gambier Islands. Matavari International splits the island and apparently almost separates the mountain of Rano Kau from the rest of the tiny landmass.

Mataveri International, the most remote airport in the world

Mataveri International, the most remote airport in the world

It’s a place I’ve always had a keen interest in visiting, and the knowledge that I’d be in literally the most remote spot on the planet kind of adds to the mystique. Perhaps one day I’ll visit and get some photos first hand.

The oldest airport in the world is College Park airport in Prince Georges County, Maryland USA. Established in 1909 after a visit from aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright the airport has been the home of many flying firsts. Notably in 1909 when Frederic Humphreys became the first military pilot to solo in a government aeroplane.

I dug around a little (OK I admit, I looked at Wikipedia) and the title of world’s busiest airport seems to be shared around a bit. The Hartsfield-Jackson Atalanta International airport in Atalanta, Georgia USA has the highest number of passenger a year, and London Heathrow has the largest number of international passengers. I guess I’d attribue that to the much larger amount of internal flight traffic across the USA compared to the UK.

After all these though, I think this is probably my favourite. The video speaks for itself, and the Princess Juliana International airport takes my award for “most insane airport”.

The reason they come in so close is that the runway at the airport is incredibly short. I can’t think that it’s too relaxing on the beach there, and a little bit noisy. Still, if you’re a planespotter I guess it’s ideal.

So that’s just a few world record breaking airports. I’ll probably expand on this post in a few weeks and add in some more records. Posting that YouTube video has given me some ideas, so I might try and find some crazy/wacky airport footage. We shall see.