Bicycle Wheel

The angular momentum of the turning bicycle wheels makes them act like gyroscopes to stabilize the bicycle. This gyroscopic action also helps to turn the bicycle.

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Turning a Bicycle

A bicycle held straght up will go straight, stabilized by the gyroscopic action of the bicycle wheels. If the rider leans left, a torque will be produced which causes a counterclockwise precession of the bicycle wheel, turning the bicycle to the left.
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If you lean left, you turn left

A rider leaning left will produce a torque which will cause the bicycle wheel to precess counterclockwise as seen from above, turning the bicycle left. The angular momentum of the bicycle wheels is to the left. The torque produced by leaning is to the rear of the bicycle, as may be seen from the right-hand rule. This gives a rearward change in the angular momentum vector, turning the bicycle left.


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