Going to a large amusement park full of roller coasters was rare when I was little. Though I do remember going to country fairs quite a lot to ride those tinier rides. The ones that arrived the day before on a truck and looked like they’d been hot glued together just for the occasion. As kids, we assumed they were just fine, and didn’t realize we’d stepped onto the very definition of a thrill ride. Bumper cars (or Dodgems) were always fun back then, because it was like getting to drive a real car. Granted, you were taught that wrecking your car into another unsuspecting soul’s vehicle was great fun, which I now realize is a rather strange and questionable first driving lesson. Here we have a 1955 Gebr Ihle Jhle Bruchsal Bumper Car, long before my time, but just so cool that I had to doodlewash it! I’m in a limited palette phase again, so for this I chose just 3 colors: Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Rust, and Ultramarine Blue.

The peculiar thing about bumper cars is that you’re not really moving very fast. If you were, there would be whiplash and lawsuits to contend with, so instead, you’ll find yourself toddling along at slightly more than 3 miles per hour (5km). This is roughly the average human walking speed, so one supposes it’s not dissimilar to a group of people stumbling through a crowded bar. The key difference is that you get to sit down the entire time, won’t get strange looks if you start screaming, and are less likely to end the evening in a pool of sick. The entire experience is ludicrous, to be sure, but like many silly things it’s also great fun. Though it’s been years since I’ve climbed into one of these things, I can still remember the sound of sparks flying, the gentle thuds, and the squeaky sound of rubber.

I haven’t ridden in one for years, and wonder if it would be as fun as it my memories make it out to be. It’s the thrill of doing something a little naughty that makes it so enjoyable. Getting permission to drive like a maniac is rather fun and something I’ve longed to do in morning traffic just to ease the frustration. Sometimes, I wish life could be so carefree and blameless. That every little bump along the way was met with such giddy enthusiasm. Someone gets in your way and you simply affect a determined face and go around them. Or if you get stuck, then someone comes along and helps you get out of the scrape. Real life is seldom this convenient, but it does make me think that life would be pretty grand if it was nothing more than riding in bumper cars.

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About the Doodlewash

M. Graham Watercolors: Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Rust and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal.
 Day 20 #WorldWatercolorGroup Riding in Bumper Cars Retro European
Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

26 replies on “Riding In Bumper Cars

  1. We took our grands to the local summer fair this summer, where the kids rode bumper cars about five times. i weary of real traffic about five feet out of my driveway, but the kids could have around the rink several mores times. your painting is a gorgeous bit of nostalgia.

    i’m going to have to limit all comments on all blogs for the next month or so, but i’ll be viewing and admiring as much as ever.

    in advance, may you and phillipe enjoy every bit of paris.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a cool car, I love the limited palette. Great memories, the fair arriving in town, the music, smells, screaming, people on load speakers, it was such a crowd pull, I loved all the rides back then, rickety old things! I last went to a fair about 10 years ago, and felt so ill after the waltzer, so I never made it onto the dodgems, -eek home I went .
    My mum always said when we were kids, ‘ you don’t tolerate these rides as you get older’ I thought she was kidding as she sat watching us, instead of joining in with the fun. I guess mum was right after all. I did notice the lack of goldfish available in clear plastic bags on this said visit, I guess animal rights eventually stopped the torture to the poor orange fish….or maybe people just didn’t want them? Who knows? But you can’t beat candy floss 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bumpercars, yes sure sitting next to one of my children because she was a very little girl and some other older children were bumping too hard. They had fun in doing this and once I I asked the boy from the shop if hè would to sit or stand on the bumpercar to accompagnier my daughter.
    She loved this riding so much and then the boy from the shop saw the smile on her little face and hè stayed for a while with her and so we got many rides for free! Isn’t that great?

    As great as your gorgeous watercolor bumper car, super plus your Doodlewash story, great!

    Are you already high up flying in the clouds or above, on your way to the city of light in France?
    We have also a city of light, called Eindhoven, the city of ‘Philips’ the lamp factory, perhaps you have heard of it?

    See forwards to a Doodlewash from France Charlie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Margriet!! 😃💕That’s fabulous that she got free rides. How cool! Sounds like a perfectly wonderful experience! And I have lots of Philips lights! Hehe…a fabulous brand. But I’m not yet to the city of light…I’ll leave tomorrow and won’t arrive until it’s already Friday morning there. Jet lagged but happy to be back!


  4. Yes!! You could probably foretell my [over-]reaction to this one… a stunning doodlewash Dodgem, and what a beautiful model it is too; rather nicer than the 80s and 90s ones I was broken in with. They are still as fun today as they ever were, I can assure you.😉 I quickly adopted the strategy of singling people out and going after them for the duration. I am evil.

    We have the (awful) Pleasure Beach here, but It’s a highlight when the Easter fair comes to the town centre, on those rickety trailers like you mention (even if the dodgem rides there seem to be over in the blink of an eye). All the whirling rides with their gaudy lights and loud music, the sound of people having fun… scream if you want to go faster! Remember though, no bumping!😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a lovely post Charlie, and a delightful painting to go with it – if only we could just hop in a bumper car whenever we hit a stressful moment, I think they’re great as stressbusters, your mood just automatically improves when you’ve had a crazy spin in one of these things 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Those dodgems had me going! I too loved the sound of crackling electricity and rubber as we bumped along, often screaming and cackling like some demented witch. But it was such fun! ✔ Often I’d go around a few times. Fantastic doodle, monsieur!

    Liked by 1 person

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