Ask RideMan

Welcome and an Introduction

Greetings! Welcome to “Ask RideMan,” a new feature here at PointBuzz.

I'm Dave Althoff, known in the forums here, as you’re probably aware, as “RideMan”. I’ve been participating in the Cedar Point forums on this site almost since the beginning. I’ve been visiting Cedar Point longer than I can remember; I believe I’ve traced my first visit to 1972, and my parents took me to Cedar Point every summer.

I first became interested in amusement rides as machinery, as examples of engineering. For the past 20+ years, I’ve studied amusement rides formally and informally, and I have taken that study a little more seriously than I probably should: I’ve attended industry safety seminars, and actually passed a nationally accredited inspection test. More recently, I joined ASTM International and I am now an active participant on Committee F24 on Amusement Rides and Devices. Now, Walt and Jeff have asked me to produce this feature for PointBuzz. I’ve been answering questions on the forums for years, so this seems a pretty natural idea.

The concept is simple enough: if you have questions, I’ll try to answer them. In an effort to make this as productive and interesting as possible, I’d like to start by sharing some ideas and information. Not ‘ground rules’ per se, but rather some basic facts that might inform your questions.

  • I do not work, nor have I ever worked, for Cedar Point, or for that matter for any park.
  • I do have access to some interesting information sources. I'm a big believer in giving credit where it’s due, so I’ll credit any sources who allow it, but respect the privacy of those who can’t or won’t.
  • I do not know any of the park’s secrets. If I did, they wouldn't be secrets, now would they?
  • I study ride design, equipment and operations, and related to that, design and operational standards and safety, so I expect most of the questions and answers in this feature will be weighted towards those areas. But all questions are fair game. I’ll try to answer or to get answers to anything I can.
  • I am not an engineer, although I like to think that I think like one.
  • Please remember that this is a Cedar Point site. When selecting questions and composing answers, I’ll be keeping that in mind.

So if you have a question you would like me to address, please send me a private message here on PointBuzz, or send an email to Let’s see how this goes. I’m already working on the first article, where we’ll take a look at some of the more interesting things being done in the park with very strong magnets.

Dave Althoff

Dave Althoff, Jr.

Dave Althoff is a multimedia specialist, systems engineer and amusement industry consultant from Columbus, Ohio. Dave is a member of ASTM International and the National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials (NAARSO) and is an NAARSO Certified Amusement Ride Safety Inspector Level I (Basic). He has consulted on amusement ride design projects and ride operation controls and is listed as a co-inventor on United States Patent #7,905,789, “Specialized Restraint Systems for Amusement Rides.”

Have a question? Ask RideMan!

“Ask RideMan” is a PointBuzz feature where Dave Althoff answers your questions about the inner workings of rides and roller coasters.

Have a question you'd like to see answered? Email Dave at