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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Le Vélo Bleu (the blue bike)

La bicyclette bleueWhen I was picking up LittleN from her peuterspeelzaal (a Dutch pre-school) I saw her riding her tricycle up to another little girl. LittleN wanted to ride the blue and white bicycle with training wheels that this other little girl was on. MissN, the teacher, walked up to facilitate the exchange. LittleN was talking to the little girl in English, saying that she, LittleN, wanted to “share” her tricycle for the blue bike. MissN, who is Dutch, was speaking to the other little girl in French, the language of the second girl. The switch was made peaceably and LittleN was happy riding around for a few minutes before we walked home. When we had to put the bicycle up LittleN did not want to get off of it and wanted to ride it into the hallway where all of the tricycles are stored. Everybody was happy on the way home until LittleN picked up a stick that was covered with dog poop.

I’m a bike rider!

LittleN rode her bike today. In passing, I mentioned to LittleE about getting the bike out but LittleN was the one who got excited. She ran upstairs to get some socks, she put them on all herself, got her shoes boots and jacket on and was waiting buy the front door before I could even find my shoes. So we went out back and got the bike out of our little cobwebby shed. As soon as the door was open she went inside looking for her helmet. First she wanted to wear her helmet over her coat’s hood. It took a little persuading but the hood came down and the helmet went on. LittleE was just looking out of the window at us. All he wanted to do was just to play inside with Legos all day long. (Tomorrow though, will be different for him – it’s his turn on the bike.) Anyway, I lifted LittleN onto the bike and she got very excited about being on it. She couldn’t see where she was going or steer the bike because all she wanted to do was look at her feet pedaling the bike. As we were going down the block she was saying things like, “Look at me, I’m pedaling!” , or, “Is this LittleE’s Bike?”, or, “I’m a bike rider!”, or, “I want to show LittleI (who lives down the street) my bike.” She was so proud herself when we got home she wanted me to call Mommy so she could tell her what she did. I was proud of her too!