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Sep242009

« Gyrobike! »

Coverage of Interbike 2009 hadn't really grabbed my attention until a tweet from Carlton Reid showed me the light. Family bike people, I humbly bring to your attention the future of cycling - the Gyrobike:

This bike kicks the tzatziki out of training wheelsActually, as delicious as this bike looks, the Gyrobike is actually a front wheel with a internal, rechargeable battery-powered freewheel that uses the magic (or physics, if you will) of gyroscopic precession to stabilize a bike at low speeds. 

The Real GyroWheelWho would benefit? Well, just about any child learning to ride, which is why their first models will be in 12" and 16" gyrowheels, compatible with most young kids' bikes. And if the children are our future, then this is the future of cycling. 

Sure you could get a run-bike, or just take the pedals off, but this, this was invented by 4 Dartmouth engineering students (it's the Pilobolus of bike accessory companies). It's an invention. It's patented. Sure, the road to cycling is littered with inventions (the Wallaby Kids harness, anyone?), but this Gyrobike actually seems clever. Nerdy bike parents are kicking themselves right about now because they didn't think of it on that last trip to the Science Museum. 

It offers 3 levels of assist, and since it adds the most stability at low speeds, it seems perfect for early wobbly rides. If I understand the physics correctly (a huge if), it might not hamper learning the way training wheels can (training wheels are felt to be the devil's wheels in some bike circles since they teach you the wrong way to steer out of a fall). And for children with balance difficulties or other disabilities, a gyrobike could be a way to ride independently with more inconspicuous assistance. Actually, I shouldn't knock the Wallaby Kids harness, since it would be handy to have in an adaptive cycling/skating context as well.

Anyway, I'm dorky enough to get well excited about something like this long before I actually get to test it out. They're available online this December for under $100. Watch these videos while you wait:

And in case that Robert Palmer soundtrack has you insufficiently stoked, consider this. The eventual adult GyroWheel will enable the car-free among us to fulfill a 3-year old dream - yes, people, with a GyroBike, you will finally be able to Ghost Ride the Whip on your preferred mode of transportation:

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Reader Comments (7)

so it's finally coming out, eh? i've been waiting for this for almost two years now, since i first read about it somewhere, back before i got milo his skuut, so maybe it's been more than two years since he got that for his 4th birthday and he's a couple months past 6 now! maybe by the time calvin's ready to start rolling on two wheels, we'll be in luck! :)

September 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjj

Wow. I love it. Simple concept, but powerful.

September 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBikejuju

I saw it at the show. it was pretty cool. My daughter thought it was amazing and couldn't stop giggling at it.

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCosmo

a friend of mine knows one of the people behind this ( the Dartmouth Business school portion) and told me about it last spring. I am waiting for one. I think my daughter who I feel certain is like me and has a long way to go before riding a two wheeler ( age 6) would need one to ditch the training wheels and feel confident like her peers.

September 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMamavee

Glad you guys think it looks cool too. I've been thinking more about the teaching good habits vs bad, and I can't quite make up my mind without playing with one. What do you think?

As for the obscure Pilobolus reference above (my favorite dance troupe, founded by 4 Dartmouth grads in the 70s) ... guess what? One of those Pilobolus founders happens to be the dad of the Gyrobike person I've been emailing. Craaaazy.

September 28, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

Hi,
This is nice post.Nowadays,the bike uses new-aged technologies for more light experience.These bikes will work well with children.

October 2, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhomeopathie

Wow, what's with the French homeopathy comment spam this week? And on my site - I mean, I took some spam just last week, carved off a 1mm cube, diluted it ten-fold, shook it all up, and repeated the process 10 more times, and drank that sh*t up! I thought for sure I'd be immune. But thanks for commenting. I'm all for more light experience too.

October 3, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

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