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From: (Jobst Brandt)
Subject: Re: new bike or new wheels?
Date: 9 May 2000 20:43:33 GMT

Terry Morse writes:

>> I have not seen a single person, that can ride no hands backwards
>> (on the fixed gear bikes used), while riding backwards on the back
>> wheel only no hands is not that difficult at all.  So I wonder how
>> much gyroscopic forces have to do with balancing the bicycle.

> I doubt that anyone could ever ride backwards with no hands.  When
> ridden backwards, a normal bicycle's steering is inherently
> unstable.  Any small error in steering is amplified quickly into a
> large error, and down goes the rider.

If you get a chance to see the silent film "Joe E Brown at the Six Day
Races" in which he does all the stunts you ever imagined, including
riding forward and backward.  In the stunt riding world championships,
riders balance on their shoulder against the head tube, rear wheel
strait up in the air and propel themselves around the stage "dialing
a number with one finger in the front spokes" so to speak.  Forwards
and backwards has no more meaning in this level of skill.  If it has a
wheel, it can be ridden.  The concept of designing a bicycle that
can't be ridden is nullified by these artists.

> Ever notice how slowly one can ride a bicycle without falling over?
> The gyroscopic forces at these speeds are miniscule.

It's even smaller on a roller blade skate that is balanced in similar
manner and yet smaller on an ice skate.

Jobst Brandt      <>

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