What could possibly be so mysterious about riding a bicycle? I did learn how to ride one, with a little help from my grandpa Thaddeus, when I was about 5 years old. It would seem there are not many things less mysterious than riding a bicycle. Well, apperently, as of the 28th of July 2016, the science of cycling still remains largely mysterious, even to scientists themselves.
This mystery has a name — BICYCLE SELF-STABILITY.
It may be hard to believe, but this mystery may have also something to do with quantum antigravity.
According to the prestigious scientific journal Nature (23 December 2015), the problem of riding bicycle nearly broke mathematics! And Jim Papadopoulos has spent a lifetime pondering the math of bikes in motion, starting as a young engineer with the Bicycle Research Project at Cornell University in the early ’80s.
How does a bike moving forward without a rider stay upright?
Scientists have grappled with this question for about a century! Even when struck from its side, it will correct its course and regain stability.
If this bicycle mystery may also be due to the gyroscopic effect, then we need to ask: What exactly explains the gyroscopic effect itself. Is the gyroscopic effect self-explanatory? Is it obvious? Well, if you think about it, some of the most difficult things to explain are the obvious ones, like for example time, or space.
What keeps the spinning gyroscope from falling under the force of gravity while it is rotating (precessing) horizontally?
If we answer the above question, then it may also contribute to the understanding of:
What keeps a rolling riderless bike upright?
Both questions sound similar in essence. Aren’t bike’s wheels simply two gyroscopes? Therefore, my answers is that ANTIGRAVITY also plays its role in it.
In the excellent video below, a very stable and self-balancing bike is presented with a claim that the gyroscopic effect was eliminated due to two factors, one of them being an alleged canceling of both wheels’ angular momenta. If this were to be true, then it would seem to follow that bikes lacking angular momenta should be more stable, as if the gyroscopic effect were supposed to be an obstacle to stability.
However, skibikes have no wheels and still stay upright while having no angular momentum! Well, I think we can safely assume that this particular skibike “mystery” happens to be self-explanatory.
From a certain point of view, we may say that in the case of the bike from the video its wheels angular momenta were cancelled. In my opinion, however, if its angular momenta were to be really physically cancelled (nonexistent), then the antigravity effect could not contribute to the stability, like it does in the case of a horizontally spinning gyroscope, whereas in this case stability is actually increased.
Of course, this increase of stability could not be attributed to any increase of angular momenta. It can only stem from the fact that bike’s double counter-spinning wheels have their angular momenta pointing in opposite directions, which happens to greatly add to its stability.
Mathematically speaking, their sum is zero (cancelled), but physically speaking, we still have two opposing forces. Just because their mathematical sum is zero, it does not follow that they are physically nonexistent there. That is the reason why the antigravity effect, acting on these double counter-spinning wheels’ angular momenta, actually increases bike’s stability.
Additionally, we need to also distinguish two configurations of double counter-spinning wheels. The one that “cancels” angular momenta more effectively is when both wheels share the same axis of spin. In the configuration of the bike from the video, its counter-spinning wheels do not share the same axis of spin.
In the video, the experiment, naturally, is correct, but this one particular explanation of it is not. Watch this excellent, amazing video: