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Why is it easy to balance of a moving bicycle, but impossible on a stationary one?

Why is it easy (after you have learnt) to balance of a moving bicycle, but impossible on a stationary bicycle?
John Green from West Yorkshire (Age 45-54)

Why can balance be maintained at very very low speed on a bicycle but not when the bike is stationary? What force is acting on the rider to prevent him falling sideways at extremely low speed?
Ken Day from Nottinghamshire (Age: 55+)

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One Response

  1. Two reasons.

    At a reasonable speed there is the gyroscopic effect of the wheels – it requires a force to tilt them over.

    Second, if you are moving you can steer and get the bike under the centre of gravity – just as you would move your feet if you received a nudge out of your balanced state. Imagine having your shoe laces tied together and someone giving you a little push!

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