The first time it’s magic – how did I stay up? Then we take it for granted, though it is the key to a lifetime’s fun, as well as being very useful. I was about six years of age when I first learned to ride a bike. I can remember the exhilaration as I discovered my Dad had stopped supporting me from behind and I was on my own. There must be few people who cannot ride a bike and the first time is surely amongst one of life’s seminal moments?
It seems counterintuitive but sure enough you stay upright and with the push of the pedals move forwards. The gyroscopic effect of rotating wheels and the relationship between the contact point of the front wheel and steering axis (“trail”) are known to be fundamental in providing stability but, though always suspected, we now know that mass distribution also plays a critical role too i.e. the rider – well they would wouldn’t they?
The feeling of forward movement on two wheels is always beguiling and even after nearly 60-years cycling I keep going back for more.
To be continued ……………………………….