Physics 101: You think you know what makes a bike stay up? Do you really?

How bikes stay up
Screen capture Youtube

Bikes are super efficient, super fun, super healthy... But how they operate is also super mysterious to most people. I think we all have a kind of intuitive feel for what makes a bike stay up when it's moving, but for most of us, it's probably mostly a 'recipe' to keep the bike up rather than a real understanding of the physics involved (ie. need to go a certain speed, can't turn too fast or lean to far on either side, etc).

Henry Reich of Minute Physics, a Youtube channel dedicated to physics-related educational videos, created a great short video about what's actually involved with keeping a bike up. It's probably a little more complex than most people think, but it's fascinating, and watching it gave me a better understanding of how bikes work. Check it out!

That last part about various, very different bikes all working despite steering in the back or having different centers of gravity over the wheels, etc, is particularly fascinating. It reminds me of this great video about the evolution of the bicycle:

We also covered another fun video that helps explain how bikes work (by making the handlebars work backwards, making it impossible to ride!). Enjoy:

Via Youtube

Physics 101: You think you know what makes a bike stay up? Do you really?
Figuring out exactly what's going on is very hard, but we have a pretty good idea of what variables are most important.

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