The dynamics of the bicycle poses a number of demands on the cyclist:
- If you want to stay upright, you must make speed.
- If you want to take a corner, you must make your bicycle lean; not too much, because then you fall over, but also not too little, because then you will not make it through the turn.
- The faster you cycle, the more you must countersteer to make your bicycle lean.
We can all learn this. And once we are good at it, then we are also no longer conscious of how we are doing it.
In the following, it will be explained how our brain succeeds in keeping us upright. “Staying upright” is often denoted as “keeping balance”, and here we use both expressions as synonyms. In the following, we first describe the parts of our brain that play a role in this proces: the motor cortex, the sensory organs, and the cerebellum (our “little brain”). The cerebellum plays a central role in keeping us upright: the cerebellum is a regulator that adjusts the motor cortex on the basis of sensory information, and it also ensures that this process becomes automatised. Finally, cycling is something you must learn and relearn, and you don’t do this by reading a booklet but by practicing.