Friday, April 15, 2011

What keeps a bike upright?

It's rare that bicycles feature in the Cornell Chronicle, but today there is an article about interesting research by Cornell prof Andy Ruina on what prevents bikes from falling over. The main finding is that conventional theories of self-stability -- the gyroscopic effect of the spinning wheels and trail of the front wheel -- are not the main factors in keeping a bike stable. Ruina and his collaborators have constructed a bike (well, it doesn't look exactly like a bike) that has no gyroscopic effect and no trail -- but still stays upright on its own. Fascinating stuff with potential practical implications for bicycle design.

There's also a video explaining the research, and here's a the pre-print of the article which will be published in Science.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

January to March Summary

Due to my injury there is not much to summarize here. I've just started to get back on the bike and in March I logged 170 km, all on Wolfgang. I lost some kilometers in January, before I broke my wrist and lost the bike computer, but that probably wasn't that many. I'll be back with happier news at the end of April!

Winter(pokal) is over

The Winter Trophy is over. Due to my broken wrist I ended up with only 182 points, putting me on place 1826 out of 2414 participants. I think the Winterpokal is a great motivational tool for getting you on the bike and I'll join again next year -- then hopefully without any further injuries.