A zip-line is a method of transportation for people and goods which may also used in a recreational capacity. Zip-lines are created by stringing a very strong cable between two points, and attaching a pulley to the cable. To use the zip-line, people grab onto or snap onto the pulley and launch themselves, traveling rapidly across the line to the other side. It is also possible to clip buckets or baskets onto the pulley for various goods.
You may also see a zip-line referred to as a death slide, aerial runway, or flying fox, among many other things, and it is also spelled in some regions without the hyphen, as zipline. The size and scope of zip-lines around the world varies widely, from simple backyard zip-lines which are designed to be safe enough for children to very high, long professional ziplines used in locations where other methods of transport are not practical.
In some regions of the world, people use a zip-line to get across a river, canyon, or section of forest. In this instance, the zip-line is typically quite high up, to prevent snags, and it may be very long. These zip-lines are useful for people who live in remote regions, as well as researchers and outdoor adventurers. In places like the rainforest, in addition to being used for transport, such zip-lines may also create a tourist attraction, as it can be quite enjoyable to whiz across the forest at high speed, catching the sights. Ropes courses and orienteering challenges often have zip-lines as well, of varying lengths and heights.
Due to safety concerns, people are usually encouraged to wear harnesses and helmets when using a zip-line, to reduce the risk of falling and to protect them if they do fall. Many companies manufacture specialized pulleys and harnesses for zip-lines with safety in mind. Some of these systems have built-in brakes, for stopping at the other end of the zip-line; in other instances people may rely on very thick gloves or stoppers in the zip-line itself.
Using a zip-line can be quite exciting, especially if it is long, as people can built up quite a head of steam, traveling very rapidly along the zip-line. Because zip-lines come in an array of lengths and heights, it is possible for people of all ages to enjoy zip-lines, from young children who might prefer a short, low, backyard zip-line to experienced adventurers who want something a bit more exciting.