children's legs are like electric motors

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Geraint Jones, Jun 26, 2003.

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  1. Claim heard in the LBS this morning: children's bikes don't need any gearings because their legs are
    like electric motors, they are self-limiting and will spin at whatever speed is necessary. Mind you,
    this was from the boss, justifying not ordering any three-speed equipped children's bikes. Can it be
    true? Is this why I used to be able to get up silly hills on an under-equipped bike when it were all
    trees round there?
     
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  2. Henry Braun

    Henry Braun Guest

    > Claim heard in the LBS this morning: children's bikes don't need any gearings because their legs
    > are like electric motors, they are self-limiting and will spin at whatever speed is necessary.
    > Mind you, this was from the boss, justifying not ordering any three-speed equipped children's
    > bikes. Can it be true? Is this why I used to be able to get up silly hills on an under-equipped
    > bike when it were all trees round there?

    Is there not an oscillator somewhere in the brain which regulates alternating movements? So you have
    a range of discrete natural rhythms and it's very hard to walk in between two of the natural paces.
    I don't remember it being any easier to keep up with my parents on hills when I was little, and they
    were walking somewhere between my hike and my trot, than it later became to keep down with them at
    somewhere between my stroll and my dawdle.

    Of course children tend to do things by sprinting and then recovering, which might make finding
    exactly the right gear less necessary; and they don't tend to want to travel long distances on their
    bikes even to get to silly hills. Have you watched ducklings trying to keep up with their mother's
    hull speed?
     
  3. Andy Dingley

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On Thu, 26 Jun 2003 12:14:32 +0000 (UTC), [email protected] (Geraint
    Jones) wrote:

    >Claim heard in the LBS this morning: children's bikes don't need any gearings because their legs
    >are like electric motors, they are self-limiting and will spin at whatever speed is necessary.

    Children are smaller, so the natural frequency of their legs is much higher. OTOH, they're also
    probably riding smaller wheels, so the difference is reduced.

    But he's talking rubbish. The same factor that makes children faster spinners also makes them more
    dependent on a low ratio for hill climbing. They still need the gears, just maybe not the same
    final ratio.
     
  4. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "Geraint Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Claim heard in the LBS this morning: children's bikes don't need any gearings because their legs
    > are like electric motors, they are self-limiting and will spin at whatever speed is necessary.

    Sounds like Complete Bollocks to me. The real reason for not carrying geared kids' bikes I suspect
    is that they grow so fast very few parents would be willing to pay the extra.

    I also believe that childrens' greater tolerance for a wide range of cadence is at least partly due
    to their not putting in the same level of effort. I regularly ride at 100% of my leg power capacity,
    but I don't think my children do. Especially not up Long Hills on the triplet...

    --
    Guy
    ===

    WARNING: may contain traces of irony. Contents may settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.com
     
  5. Daren Austin

    Daren Austin Guest

    Andy Dingley <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > On Thu, 26 Jun 2003 12:14:32 +0000 (UTC), [email protected] (Geraint
    > Jones) wrote:
    >
    > >Claim heard in the LBS this morning: children's bikes don't need any gearings because their legs
    > >are like electric motors, they are self-limiting and will spin at whatever speed is necessary.
    >
    > Children are smaller, so the natural frequency of their legs is much higher. OTOH, they're also
    > probably riding smaller wheels, so the difference is reduced.
    >
    > But he's talking rubbish. The same factor that makes children faster spinners also makes them more
    > dependent on a low ratio for hill climbing. They still need the gears, just maybe not the same
    > final ratio.

    Seconded,

    Thomas rides a 16" bike and is good for about 12 miles (he's nearly
    6). He spins out at about 12-13mph, as the bike is geared for about 6-7mph.

    On the kiddyback tandem with cranks of the same length he spins with me at about 85-95 with no
    problems and we regularly spin to about 35mph downhill. Childrens legs are more flexible than adults
    and adjust to differences in chainline/Q factor much more readily.

    His next bike will have 5speeds and I expect range to increase accordingly. I think a 3speed would
    have been too much for him to handle at 4 but now he is older he could use the gears and would
    know how to.

    The move to 16" wheels is at an age where they don't really know what gears are for.

    IMHO the three essentials for a kid are a speedo (with as few functions as possible), gloves and a
    helmet. A thunderbird horn is a nice touch and the tandem has two :)

    Kind regards,

    Daren

    PS you'll be amazed how far they ride just pottering up and down the street.
     
  6. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Geraint Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Claim heard in the LBS this morning: children's bikes don't need any gearings because their legs
    > are like electric motors,

    'e be right, 'e be. Just shove 500 volts across 'em and watch 'em go. Use one of them fancy
    invertulators to control the cadence if you be a rich barrstard.

    Pete
     
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