Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in A...
Jyrobike: the easy way to learn to ride07 June 2014, by Alexandra Gowling
As everyone who has learnt to cycle knows, the transition between training wheels and a real bike can be a nerve-wracking and wobbly one.
What if there was a bike that didn’t fall over every time a child lost his or her balance? Well, the Jyrobike aims to offer just that: a bicycle that keeps its balance thanks to gyroscopic precession.
A stable children’s bike
Jyrobike is built on the idea that the higher the speed a bicycle travels at, the greater its stability.
The team behind the project discovered that if a flat, spinning disc is placed inside the front wheel of a bicycle, the resulting gyroscopic force automatically balances the bike.
The mechanism is called a Control Hub: a battery-powered, rechargeable and motor-driven device that intelligently drives a flywheel at high RPMs.
It provides the same kind of stabilising force that keeps helicopters in the air, boats stable at sea and spaceships stable in orbit.
It is thus able to simulate the stability of high speed while travelling at very slow speeds; exactly the point when learner riders need the most assistance.
"The principle of gyroscopic precession dictates that counteracting the handlebar movement that follows any lean action will in turn generate a counter force to that of gravity and correct the lean to restore the bike upright," they say.
Easier for all children
According to their estimates, on a Jyrobike a child can learn to ride a bicycle in less than 30 days, much faster than other methods such as balance bikes or training wheels.
The designers also aren’t looking just to help able-bodied children; the design offers the possibility for people with mobility, balance and vision challenges to ride a bicycle in a safe and relaxed way.
The Jyrobike campaign on Kickstarter still has several weeks to run, so there is time to pledge support to get the project off the ground. You could even get your own gyroscope as a reward!