This ‘unrideable’ bike shows how cycling actually works

An entertaining and informative explanation of steering and balance.

by Matt de Neef

Ask the average cyclist to explain the physics of riding a bike and they’ll almost certainly come up short. I know I would.

When most of us learn to ride a bike as a kid, we aren’t given a detailed breakdown of the physics principles that allow us to stay upright – we’re just shown how to keep our balance. From there, our knowledge of how cycling works is mostly intuitive rather than knowledge-based.

Which is why this video from the Veritasium YouTube channel is interesting. It breaks down the physics of bike handling, using an ‘unrideable’ bike to illustrate a key point: that to turn in one direction, you must first steer in the opposite direction.

As the folks in the video find out, if you stop a bike from steering in one direction, preventing that initial movement, you simply can’t turn the bike in the direction you want to go.

Have a watch of the video. It’s entertaining, informative, and well put together. Thanks to VeloClub member Eugene Chan for putting it on our radar!

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