If you've ever taught a tot to ride a bike then you'll know that once they get up to speed they're usually fine, at least so far as balance goes. Get those wheels spinning and the gyroscopic effect is working to keep the bike upright. But at slow speeds – and that's where we all started – it's much harder to stay upright.
Enter the Gyrobike training wheel. It's a neat invention, one of those why-didn't-I-think-of-that innovations that's so obvious once someone else has done the hard work of imagining it. The wheel is effectively two wheels: a standard bike wheel that rolls along the road, and a flywheel that's housed inside it. The flywheel can spin independently of the main wheel, so it can be rotating quickly – creating lots of stabilising gyroscopic force – even when your child is pottering along.
Gyrobike promo vid (featuring the young Bradley Wiggins?)
It's a simple and elegant aid to bike training and a much more intuitive way to make a bike more stable than stabilisers. "Gyrowheel not only keeps the bike from falling over, it also teaches correct riding technique.", say the makers. "Gyrowheel senses unbalanced biking and re-centers the bike under the rider’s weight when the bike starts to wobble". We're not quite sure what that means – the Gyrowheel doesn't 'sense' anything – but effectively what they're saying is that the Gyrowheel responds to imbalance in the way a normal bike would: by resisting it, rather than moving the balance point to a stabilising wheel.
The wheels are still in pre production and the Gyrobike website says they'll be available in the US from 1 December. It's not just for the kids either; larger versions are planned too for adult learners.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.