TEDxDelft 2012 | Arend Schwab – Why bicycles do not fall over

Normally when you ride your bicycle you simply just hop on it and you are on your way to your destination. But have you ever considered asking yourself, how does the bicycle work? How does a bicycle balance on its own? What keeps the bicycle upright?  Bicycle don’t do tricks

Arend Schwab inspired combination of bicycle and science has leaded him to better understand bicycle. He has opened a few question for those of us who ever thought, a bike is just a bike. Arend Schwab is a professor in theoretical and applied mechanics at the Delft University of Technology at the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Who has given academic talks related to his area of expertise in various universities all over the world. However, the concept of TED is relatively new to him.

He gave us a simple explanation by trying to balance a pencil on one hand. Whatever side you tilt your pencil, it will tilt to that side. Similar thing happens with the a bike. Same goes with a bicycle, there’s a bigger chance you can balance on your bicycle when you ride, rather than try and hold your balance while resting on your bicycle. The jared at the front wheel of the bicycle, is what helps you balance well. So, this theory takes us back to the pencil study, when you are riding you bicycle and you need to lean to the left hand side, well, the bicycle is design for you to curve to the left hand side.  Also, for elderly people, they are the ones that need help better balancing on their bicycle, perhaps, that is something that requires further study.

Inspired by the great Fritz Noether, Felix Klein and Arnold Sommerfield, nothing much has changed since the safety bicycles where designed in the 1890s. Fast-forwarding to 2012, we are pretty much riding the same bicycle. That means, it’s a perfect machine, so why want to change and spend time to try and create something new? Well, there is a lot of international interest for Dutch bicycle, such as in California.

Today there is better equipment, technology has advanced and so that helps the studies go that further. From curiosity Arend hopes to continue experiment further together with his students to create a better bicycle for people to have an even better experience on their Bicycle.