Most people go through their daily routines unaware of the forces that exist to make even the simplest chores possible to finish. There are hidden forces, energies, and interactions that are invisible to the naked eye but are necessary to human life and our existence. The study of matter and energy, and the interactions between them is called physics. Physics can explain how most of the universe works and even how I ride my bike at the beach. Although riding a bike is the most efficient way to travel I was unaware of the forces I need to overcome and the energy required to get from point A to point B.
In the following paragraphs I will explain the different types of forces and energies that allow me to get to my final destination quickly and safely. A bicycle was at one point the epitome of modern moving conveyance. The invention of the wheel allowed this. Previously, everyone had to walk everywhere they had to go. In the rain, sleet and snow, walking was the main mode of getting from “here” to “there”. The bicycle has taken different forms. There have been tricycles, a bike with three wheels, and a unicycle, which was used in circuses that had a rider on one wheel.
When I first learned how to ride a bike, I fell a lot. Since I was so young, I didn’t have the strength to move the wheels with enough force to keep them going. This is an example of how gravity plays a role in riding a bicycle. Gravity is the force that makes objects fall to the ground (“Forces of Machines 110”). In order to keep from falling while riding a bicycle, I would have to peddle with enough force in order to stay on the bike. The speed of my bike coupled with gravity produces a gyroscope effect. A gyroscope acts as an anti-gravity effect (“Propelled by pedals”).
When you ride a bike, you are defying gravity. Energy plays a very important role when riding a bicycle. In order for a bike to move there must be energy. There are two types of energy; potential and kinetic. When I am on my bike at the top of the hill I have potential energy. Potential energy is defined as “the energy an object has because of its position or location, or, more simply, it is the energy of position” (Shipman, Wilson, & Todd 81). As soon as I start to ride down the hill my potential energy turns into kinetic energy.
Kinetic energy is defined as “the energy an object possesses because of its motion, or, simply stated, it is the energy of motion” (Shipman, Wilson, & Todd 79). Without friction we would just be sliding all over place. A bike has a brake system which when engaged causes friction, allowing me to stop. The faster I go, the more friction is needed in order for my bicycle to come to a complete stop. According to Newton’s first law of motion, “objects in motion tend to stay in motion, unless acted on by an outside force” (qtd. y Martin). If there was no friction, then I would continue riding until I hit a wall, a car, a person, a park bench, a body of water, etc. During the braking process, the friction caused produces heat that could in effect, puncture the tire. All bicycle riders should use caution when increasing speed as this could lead to dangerous consequences. Similar to a car that has an engine which powers it to move, so does a bicycle. That engine is me, or more simply, the power of man. In order to make your bike move, force is necessary.
Force is defined as “a vector quantity capable of producing motion or a change in motion – that is, a change in velocity or an acceleration” (Shipman, Wilson, & Todd 48). To generate force to move my bike I must create it by using the muscles in my legs. The movement of me pushing the pedals allows my bike to move. Another example of force is that of squeezing the handle bar brake with my hand (“Propelled by pedals”). A bike with multiple speed settings requires different amounts of force to generate movement. If a bicycle is in a low speed setting then more force is needed to get the bicycle moving.
Riding a bicycle is important because it has so many positive results. For instance, riding a bicycle can save a person a good chunk of change on gas and maintenance since the current hike in gas prices has made people like me resort to riding a bicycle. I also have a, what people may refer to as, a “weight problem” and I have noticed that riding a bicycle is great for your health. I’m just kidding about the weight problem. The health benefits are tremendous, especially for those with diabetes and other weight related problems.
Bicycles are also eco-friendly modes of transportation as they do not emit noxious and poisonous exhaust into the environment. Those tree-huggers love bicycles and so do I. Kids and adults around the world enjoy the benefits of riding bicycles. You can ride them at the beach, in the mountains, around your neighborhood, almost everywhere for entertainment. Bicycles provide public transportation in some parts of the world. You can make a business out of this. If a tourist needs a ride somewhere, then you could easily bike them to where they need to go.
Bicycles fit into spots that most motor vehicles cannot. The physics of riding a bicycle entails many different properties. Moving the bicycle works as an anti-gravity property. The faster you go, better you can balance yourself on the bike. In order to go fast, you must produce the energy to get to where you want to go. The human body produces this energy in the form of force using the muscles in your legs. Riding a bicycle has many advantages including health benefits, preserving the environment and saving money on gas.