History - All Lit Up!
As I spent time with the Wheel I became irritated by the lighting, which at best was dodgy at worse really bad. Quietly at first, I did repairs and soon I rewired all the principal fittings. Management knew but couldn’t understand my motivation. It was a matter of pride. If a tube was out I was hacked off. I “borrowed” spares from other rides and the storeroom and before long it was fully lit. The fittings were so old I couldn’t sustain the magic (basically every 3 nights at least one fitting would fail-it was Man Vs Machine stuff).
I did mange to take a photo of it all working for one night! - ->
At the end of this first season I finished and
went back to my day job of being a student at Portsmouth poly.
A year passed and the wheel had new seats, they didn’t fit at first (special modifications were made) but eventually they did. A big improvement too. Metallic colours and built in fibreglass. The old metal ones had a problem, you could see the ground through them. I came back to do my second season on the ride invigorated. The park management had calculated it was a good idea to put me back on it.
Hopefully this proved a valid idea.
During my second season the park was incredibly busy at times and the weather was very hot. This was not an ideal mix for the Wheel as the drive rope (which runs around the perimeter and provides connection to the Motor) was greased and when it got hot, the viscosity of the grease would change, the grease would then gradually become less rigid and the rope would slip. I was faced at times with a wheel slowly rotating in the wrong direction and the drive rope going in the other direction.One thing to remember about Big Wheels is they must be operated in a balanced condition (opposite cars loaded or pairs of cars) with the rope as greasy as it was you only had to be “one fatty” out of balance for disaster and embarrassment to ensue! It did on August bank holiday, with a big queue I got it badly wrong and had to unload and reload. Not ideal when busy with a queue. Still, they kept coming.
© Richard A. Ryan 20.
The wheel at night
The new fibreglass seats