A Moment of Inertia or (Das Flächenträgheitsmoment [!])

A local example of an area moment of inertiaI had an engineering moment while picking up Number One Son from school today. There has been some good weather here for the past couple of days and I have been using the bike a lot more to run some errands around town. So, it being a nice sunny day, I picked up LittleN from her Peuterspeelzaal on my bike and headed on over to my son’s school. There is a small gate to the school just off of the bike path where the bicyclers can enter and leave. Just past that and inside the school grounds there is a sharp turn bounded with small fence alongside the path. I made the turn with my bike but caught the back wheel of my kiddie-kart on the bend of this fence. The bike and cart stopped, I didn’t. And inertia, being a property of matter, openly revealed itself. I had to walk the bike and kids home. Alas, I’ve been eyeing a new Batavus bike for a while now to replace my current bike but didn’t want to spend the money yet. And I don’t want to spend the money to get a new rim when I am going to get a new bike. Dutch bikes are nothing like American ones. They are much nicer for one, but they are also more expensive. The Dutch expect quite a bit from their bikes because they are not seen as toys and are ridden everywhere. I’ve seen a construction worker riding one to a work site with one hand holding on to a 20 gallon tree which rested on a side peg. It is extremely common to see children sitting front and back of a parent (in their own seat – kiddie karts like mine almost signal you as non-Dutch; not quite, but almost) with groceries in saddle bags. When we lived in Den Haag I saw quite a few ride in rain with one hand holding an umbrella in front – mostly older people though. When it is time for the Dutch to leave en masse on their summer holidays bikes are always brought along. Little Dutch kids are on bikes at like age two. At LittleN’s preschool the little bike with training wheels is the most fought over object when the kids are outside playing.

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