Scientists still can’t say for sure. The question has preoccupied mathematicians and physicists since the 1890s. Here’s what we do know.
By design, a bicycle wants to stay upright: If you hop off a bike while it’s in motion, it will continue to roll along on two wheels, as if by magic. As it slows, the front wheel will turn in the direction it’s falling, in a last-ditch effort to keep it upright. There’s complex interaction among multiple design elements that allows this to happen.
In 2011, a team of researchers from the Netherlands and the US published a paper in Science, explaining that the gyroscopic action of the front wheel, the bike’s trail, and the mass of the front assembly all play roles in a bicycle’s stability.
Trail refers to the distance between the bike’s steering axis imagine a straight line that goes through your bike’s steerer tube to the ground and the point where the front tire contacts the ground. The longer the trail, the more stable the bike. The spinning front wheel, meanwhile, acts as a gyroscope, which means its angular momentum resists efforts to push it off balance.
But when the aforementioned researchers built a special bike that virtually eliminated both trail and the gyroscopic effect, the bike still stayed upright, suggesting that there are other factors involved. For example, the mass of the bike’s steering assembly, including the bar, fork, stem, and headset, will guide the bike toward the direction of a fall, which can allow it to correct. Why this happens is not perfectly understood, but it’s essential to a bicycle’s stability.
How Long Should I Pull At The Front Of A Pace Line?
Everyone likes to be a hero, but wearing yourself out by pulling for too long often means being unceremoniously spit out the back. “Get into a rhythm with a paceline where the front rider pulls for only a minute or two,” says Nadia Sullivan, a senior coach with FasCat Coaching. If you can’t stay at the front for a full minute without slowing down, don’t be shy about taking a shorter pull. Make sure to keep the speed constant when you get to the front-surging ahead can cause gaps in the paceline. As the group speeds up, riders typically take shorter pulls at the front because the effort is greater
What’s The Fastest Someone Has Ridden Under Their Own Power?
The International Human- Powered Vehicle Associa-tion keeps tabs on the world’s fastest human efforts. It reports that on September 17, 2016, aerospace engi¬neer and AeroVelo cofounder Todd Reichert pedaled a fully enclosed, aerodynamic speed- bike a record 89.59mph in Bat¬tle Mountain, Nevada. Shaped like a missile, the AeroVelo Eta sped along on two wheels, propelled by a giant chainring and Reichert’s legs-just like the bicycles we know and love, but much, much faster.
Why Do Cyclists Love High Socks So Much?
Show up to a group ride and you’ll find socks in every color, with lengths extending to mid-calf and beyond. “I think tall socks are best for racing, because they protect the ankle,” says Alison Tet- rick of Cylance Pro Cycling. “But let’s be honest, they just look better.” A larger canvas means more space to express your personal style and mood. “Do I need a pop of color today?” says Tetrick. “Or do I need to stay black, serious, and race ready?” Don Powell, the founder of Panache Cyclewear in Boulder, Col¬orado, prefers high socks because they remind him of the wrapping on racehorses’ legs. “It makes me think of speed,” he says.
When it comes to sock height, how tall is too tall? Some riders have begun embracing knee-high socks, which can offer protection for your legs while mountain biking or extra compression, but may not be ideal for hot days. Maybe it’s time for the short, white socks cycling great Fausto Coppi wore in the 1940s and ’50s to make a comeback