Is There a Right Way to Ride a Bike?

bikefallThe video clip below in this post is from Smarter Every Day, created by Destin Sandlin.  It  was viewed by over 8,000,000 people, and is one of the most fascinating videos I have ever seen.

Sandlin’s conclusion about the amazing bicycle experiment got me thinking.

Are the patterns of balance and timing that allow us to ride a bike learned… or are they an inherent part of the way our brain was wired from creation? Continue reading to watch this amazing clip and let me know what you think about the conclusion.

[youtube id=”MFzDaBzBlL0″]

Sandlin’s conclusion is that we learn to ride a bike a certain way and then become fixated on that method to the extant that we are almost helpless to learn a new way to ride.  His conclusions imply that it might be good for us to examine our habits and life patterns to see if we are so locked into doing things one way that we are resistant and even incapable of change.

That idea is something we should certainly consider. Are we so addicted to “We’ve always done it this way” that we are blind to other ways of thinking or new ways of doing something?


What if we are created to instinctively keep our balance by turning a bike in the direction we want to go, leaning in that direction to keep our balance etc. What if the new bike is designed to operate contrary to natural physical laws of balance. In that case, the lesson to be learned would be this:

Although building and riding a “backwards” bike may be fascinating, it would be a waste of time to learn a new and more difficult way to ride when all along we were wired to do it the “right” from the beginning.

I really liked this post but I would love to see Sandlin conduct another experiment that might help me solve the dilemma. Why not teach two young children who have never ridden a bicycle to ride two different kinds of bicycles?

One child would learn to ride for the first time on a “normal” bike and the other would learn to ride on Destin’s “crazy, backwards” bike.

My (unproven) assumption is that the child with the “crazy” bike would have a more difficult time. Why? Because those algorithms and elements of balance are natural to the way we are wired and the “crazy” bike operates contrary to those natural elements.

I am fascinated to hear what you think.

Either way it is good to examine our lives to see if indeed we are stuck in a rut and might need to examine alternative ways of doing things. But it also good to be sure we are not wasting time and energy fighting the natural and “right” way of doing things.

I will read every comment. I want to know what you think. [reminder]