It has been observed that one should never doubt the courage of the French; after all, it was they who discovered snails were edible.
Jean Yves Blondeau has carried on this fine tradition of French fearlessness by strapping wheels to every surface of his body and throwing himself down hills at irresponsible speeds.
As a longboarder, I can respect this. I’ve often wished for full body armour, but had never thought to attach wheels to the whole thing; it not only does away with the need for a board, but turns you into the board.
Blondeau developed the first version of his ‘Buggy Rollin’ suit in 1994 while studying at France’s famed Olivier de Serres design school in Paris. The theme of his graduating project was “systems that underline the sensations caused by the displacement of the human center of gravity in relation to support points in order to move into space”. Strapping wheels to your entire body must spring to mind immediately, naturally.
Nearly two years of research, development, and patent application followed before the prototype ‘Buggy Rollin’ suit was ready. Donning the suit, Blondeau becomes Rollerman and looks like nothing so much as Iron Man on a limited budget. But don’t be fooled, the sheer maneuverability possible from having 31 wheels placed all over his body means Rollerman can skate in pretty much any position imaginable.
Blondeau is continually refining his design and there have been 6 versions of the ‘Buggy Rollin’ suit since the prototype. These updates to the suit continually increase the speed and maneuverability of the suit to incredible levels. In addition to the stunning maneuverability, Rollerman can attain top speeds of up to 96 km/h!
In fact, Rollerman challenged a 600 CC motorcycle to a downhill race for a Japanese game show and won! I shudder to think how much of his time and money Blondeau must spend changing bearings and I can only imagine how much cracks in the pavement must shake and rattle his whole body as the suit hits them.
But Rollerman is French, and therefore fearless, taking on paved environs both urban and rural. Not even the long, narrow roads of the Swiss Alps are a match for Rollerman!
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