Monday, November 15, 2010

Thank God for Gravity

I was feeling bike withdrawals yesterday because I hadn't ridden my bike in over a week due to the cold weather and my wimpiness. I decided to take my bike on the bus out to Golden for church and then ride my bike back. It was very refreshing. Just like eating a pumpkin pie when it's been a year since the last time you had one.

Usually I don't think about a whole lot when I ride my bike, but this time I was feeling incredibly contemplative. For whatever reason I started thinking about a world without gravity and how different riding a bike would be in this world.

Imagine this floaty world and a flat plane that you needed to get across, say to go to the grocery store. Suppose you had some sort of bike railroad that kept your wheels attached to a rail so you wouldn't float off. It would be very weird.

You would start to pedal, but every time you pushed down your body would move up a lot and your bike wouldn't go forward as well. You need something to push against and on Earth we have gravity to push against to push our pedals.

It would be much more natural to get clipless pedals and do a lot more pulling than pushing like we do these days. Cyclists would develop different muscles. Their quads wouldn't be quite so epic and whatever the muscle that operates the hamstring is would be much more epic.

Crashes would be a bit less devastating. You wouldn't ever fall to the ground, but if you flew off your bike and headed towards a wall or other hard object, it would be just as painful as running into a wall with gravity.

It saddens me to think about this because it just doesn't seem very intuitive for a gravitiless world to have bicycles. I don't think the bike ever would have ever been discovered if we had no gravity. Technological natural selection probably would have never gotten to the point of making a bicycle. Any form of bicycle would have likely evolved to a completely different machine, not resembling a bicycle in a world with gravity.

Perhaps there would be an equally fun and useful machine in this gravitiless world, but for now thank God for gravity because it means we can ride bikes.


  1. Could the universe exist without gravity?

  2. Yes it could. It would just be expanding a lot faster, planets would be much smaller and wouldn't orbit anything, well maybe they would using EM forces. Most importantly, humans probably wouldn't exist...or any life for that matter because nothing would create enough heat to sustain life. At least this is my educated guess.