Air Barrier Installation
John Marley, Cycle Scene Magazine
Published: April 13, 2004
This article first appeared in Cycle Scene Magazine. It is reprinted with permission.
Work started at 7:00am for the Air Barrier installation crew. The truck that hauled in the collapsed barriers had already been around the track, dropping them off where they will be erected. There were barriers here from Airfence Safety Systems and two versions from Alpina.
Rolled up and packaged in a protective bag for efficient transportation, the crew first opens and unrolls the barrier. Dragged in to position near the wall, the inflation process begins. The barriers are actually five different air bladders assembled in a manner of a front wall, rear wall and three interior 'pillows' attached vertically between the front and rear walls. The outside cover holds the system together and has vent holes in the top to allow the air trapped between the inflated sections to escape at a controlled rate when the barrier is impacted.
A standard leaf blower is used with a Gatorade bottle attached to the hose that matches up with the air inlet. The front bladder is blown up first, then the back. The three interior 'pillows' are inflated, and the section is ready to be stood up.
Just enough air to fill each bladder is blown in, the object being to fill it without bursting it. The cap is then attached and the crew checks for leaks.
In some areas, the barrier is blown up and then picked up 90 degrees to go against the wall or fence. The inflated barrier is now ready to be attached to the previously installed one to make a continuous wall. Straps at each end accomplish this. They are tied at the top and bottom and cinched together. Finally, the inflated barriers are tied to the wall or fence that the barrier is erected to shield the riders from. At the front, there is a skirt that contacts the ground to help prevent the bike or rider from going under the barrier.
The crew at Road Atlanta consisted of the men and women that would also be the Cornerworkers for the weekend's races. The work is hard and a little grubby with some of the crew having to get down and dirty to complete the installation process.
After the races are over, the same crew takes them down, rolls them up and places them in the bags in which they are packaged. Then the truck comes by and picks them up for transport to the next racing venue.
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