Think about a bolt that is done up really, really tightly.
To undo it you need a spanner, which is a lever that grips the head of the bolt. Do you use a short spanner, or a long one?
With a long spanner, of course, because you get more leverage and it’s easier to unscrew the bolt. Although your hand travels a greater distance than with a short spanner, it actually takes less effort, and you have more ‘time’ to control the operation.
These factors are important; as a general principle in the physics of leverage, it’s easier, and you have more control, if you use a longer lever to help manoeuvre something and, in this instance, the ‘something’ I’ll be referring to is your centre-of-gravity whilst riding a bicycle.
To balance and steer, in very simple terms, you use a lever, in the shape of your bicycle between saddle and ground, to control your centre-of-gravity.
Experts claim that your centre-of-gravity is a separate entity from your bicycle’s centre-of-gravity, thus much expert advice suggests that you have to continually relate one to the other in order to control your riding. To me, this makes no sense whatsoever; when you’re riding your bike you have one combined centre-of-gravity.
The point where the rear wheel touches the ground represents the bolt (fulcrum), and your bum, aided by your upper body, is like your hand on the spanner turning that bolt.
There is, in fact, a range of factors coming into play here; nevertheless, any bicycle with a high centre-of-gravity gives you a longer lever to manoeuvre it about, helping you to steer and maintain balance.
But won’t this make my bike unstable?
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