Why is it that when you are taking a corner on your
bicycle that you lean into the corner as opposed to staying upright?
To make a turn requires a force toward the center of the circle: to the
inside. Like all objects, your body and the bicycle "want" to continue in a
straight line. This is called inertia. Without a push into the corner,
your will not be forced to turn. You will continue moving forward.
The only part of the bicycle that gets pushed sideways is the bottom of the
wheels (by the road). Without leaning, only the wheels are pushed into the
corner. The effect would be similar to the wheels being kicked out from
under you. By leaning, you compensate for this effect. You "fall" into the
corner at the same rate that the wheels are pulled into the corner. This
prevents you from continuing straight forward while the wheels of the
bicycle are pulled to the side.
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Update: June 2012