January 10, 2012
Zip Chicago is committed to your safety. Through rigorous design and numerous successful zip experiences to date, you can be assured a safe and worry free experience. Our tour is regularly inspected and our staff is trained with your safety as our top priority.
One Cable and No Hand Braking!
If engineered and maintained, single cable ziplines operate safer than 2 line cable systems. Here at Zip Chicago, we prefer to install single Zipline cables. That said, we also use a half inch cable, not the thinner cable as on most tours. So our "system" is engineered by professional engineers with 26,600 pound cable! And in some cases double cables have caused problems. Another issue is that usually with double cables, you as the guest are required to hand brake. We don't have our guests hand brake!
You may find it interesting to know that our parent company EBL has installed some 30 projects in the United States since 2002, all single cables, up to a half mile long, with over some 4 million zip experiences and have had no problems with breaking cables or dropped guests! Yes, this is a good thing :) You can think of it this way, if you have your kids go swimming, are water wings on their arms safer that one USCG approved life jacket to prevent drowning? At EBL, for example, we are the licensed life jacket and there is no need to wear two jackets to be any safer.
Behind the scenes…
EBL has been purposeful with our design and selection of harness systems, including your safety lanyards, helmet, pulley, and the training curriculum that the guides receive. Our methods have been proven sound by experience, destructive testing of our product line and professionally reviewed and installed to licensed Professional Engineer specifications. When you participate on an EBL canopy tour, thousands of hours behind the scenes have been devoted to keeping your experience safe. We are committed to safer operations and continually work within the adventure industry to bring new technologies online to enhance your experiences.
In addition to your safety, we are committed to being "green" by implementing minimum-impact practices from construction site pathways, geographical considerations for pathways such as erosion and ground compaction, to arborist approved tree trimming and construction designs of our engineered platforms. When you are standing on a platform, 65 feet off the ground, you want to know the craftsmanship is top notch. If it is an EBL course, it is.
Next time you research a canopy tour for your vacation, ask if it is an EBL tour. This is your assurance of a quality tour experience.
When you travel to an EBL tour, you can expect the following to be generally true at each of our locations. Be prepared to experience some regional differences as no two tours are alike.
1. In most cases the person can be a minor if their parent or guardian is present with them on the trip and can sign the minor's waiver form.
2. The minor (in most cases) is at least 60 pounds, has a level of maturity that would allow them to follow directions while high off the ground.
3. Has a fair to good level of focus. There will be times of rest and relaxation on the tours while at height. During this time, information can be gained about the local area and interaction with other tour participants.
4. Able to reach the various safety clip in points. All of the time the zip line / canopy tour guides will handle the safety clip in point, but it helps if the participant is able to climb around and reach hand holds and cables during the tour if necessary.
5. Type of harness: Not all harnesses are designed for smaller children. The harnesses will fit most sizes and can easily accommodate our operational weight range of 60 - 250 pounds. The harness breaking strength is roughly 7,000 pounds.
The zip lines themselves can be very long and designed to operate within a minimum and maximum weight range. The lightest weight range course that I am aware of is about 54 pounds. This is our tour in Kauai, Hawaii.
Lastly, keep in mind that not all zip line tours are the same. You will have canopy / tree top tours and you will have what we coined "Zero Elevation" tours. While a canopy zip line tour is just that, in the trees amongst the canopy, "Zero Elevation" tours start and finish at ground level. These tours are designed to zip you over natural features, off cliffs, and/or down stream beds.
Some Safety Tips!
Ladies (and Gentlemen!), braid and tuck your longer hair inside your helmet or shirt. This helps keep your hair from getting caught in the pulley during your rides. So, any piece of hair, clothing, necklace, jacket hood draw string, or other items should be secured and kept away from the moving parts of the pulley.
Don't grab the cable!
On the U.S. tours we have installed, the systems use a passive breaking system, thus, no hand braking is required. This means that you don't have to manage your own speed and are safer by the design of the tour. Your trained guides will attach you to the pulley (19,000 pounds) at just about an arm's reach away from the cable. One could still reach the cable, but you have no need, so just keep your hands off the cable and enjoy the ride. EBL does not promote the practice of hand braking by participants.
Stay upright! No upside down zipping please!
Hanging upside down creates safety concerns for the tour guides and the riders. One, it puts your feet over your head and you run the risk of passing out. Forces on the body shift and you increase the opportunity for injury and increase the chance for a fouled pulley. Think about hanging up side down about 10 minutes while a guide comes out to assist you down. Also, outside of a full body harness, no manufacture that we are aware of endorses a seat harness to be used while upside down. Overall, it is just considered very poor practice and should be avoided.
What about Eat and Drinks!
You should eat and drink something about two hours before the tour but allow yourself 30 minutes without food or water just before the tour. You don't want to show up to a 2-3 hour tour and get hungry along the way. It is also hard to zip around with a loose water bottle in your hands. Good tours will have water station breaks incorporated within the tour itself. If you have a big meal just minutes before the tour, you may feel bloated and uncomfortable as you digest your most recent meal. If you have low blood sugar, pack some candy or an energy bar for some fast energy during your trip.
Can I bring my Camera?
Everyone wants to remember their trip. If you bring a camera, also bring the protective case and a means to secure it to your person while you have your hands busy holding onto your safety tethers. Dropping your $300 digital camera is never fun and often, you may not be in a position to recover it. If you do bring a digital camera, download all the other pictures from your trip to your laptop or Internet source before your tour. That way if you loose your camera, you don't also loose all your other vacation photos as well. Another tip would be to bring multiple memory cards for your camera. Then you could just swap out memory cards and protect other vacation photos.
Happy Zipping !!!