Your bike is simply more complex than you realize

Your bike is simply more complex than you realize


One thing I love about bikes and the riding of them is their complex simplicity.

You know – on the one hand you love to simply head out into the world on your bike, just you and nature as you silently, monotonously, turn the pedals and retreat within yourself. Simple.

On the other hand, the physical and emotional processes that happen while performing the above act are more complicated than anyone will (likely) ever know. Complex.

The bike itself contains the same mystery. The current design has been around since the bicycle made it’s first appearance many moons ago. Many of it’s mechanical parts are on display for all to see, and the one’s that aren’t (like bearings), are still pretty easy to wrap your mind around. It’s genius is in it’s simplicity.

However, most people are probably not even aware that they don’t actually possess a true understanding of how a bike works.

From NPR’s Cosmos and Culture series, Tania Lombrozo suggests as much in the article, “What you really know about bicycles“:

It turns out the science of bicycles — “bicycle dynamics” — is surprisingly complex and only partially understood… We know that pushing the pedals makes the wheels turn, for example, but we mistakenly assume that we therefore know something about how and why.

And this brings us to the video below. Clearly all these things were understood by those who first created bicycles, and it makes you appreciate the thought and care that went (and still does go) into making an object of such power and potential seem so easy to grasp. So intuitive. Even ordinary, in a way.

Just another reason why I love bikes.


Header image: source