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Paging Sherlock Holmes!

The Puzzler


RAY: Here’s the answer. When Nigel saw Sir Richard riding down the road at a high rate of speed, sitting straight up on his bicycle the way he always rode, he said that he saw Sir Richard jerk the handlebars to the left, and, as such, make a left-hand turn...


TOM: And crash.


RAY: Well, everyone who rides a bicycle knows, that's not the way you turn a bicycle. In fact, what makes the bicycle stable is the gyroscopic action of the wheels. And, in fact, the way you make lefts and rights is by leaning the bicycle and changing the center of gravity.


TOM: Oh, that was...for the...sitting upright as he...oh. As he always did.


RAY: Sitting upright, OK? So, he didn't lean into the turn. If you're riding at a high rate of speed and you don't lean, but in fact, you decide to make a turn by turning the handlebars  to the left, the bike goes to the right. Now, my brother, being the incredulous type, decided to try this whilst on vacation on Cape Cod this summer and he spent three rather unhappy days at Cape Cod Hospital recovering from his injuries. It's true. I'm not sure I know all the scientific principles involved, but the gyroscope wants to keep the bike going straight.


TOM: And so it goes the other way.


RAY: And so it corrects. If you try to make a left-hand turn by turning the wheel, it corrects and actually makes the bike turn to the right. So Nigel couldn't have seen Sir Richard turn the handlebars to the left and exit the road. Who’s our winner?


TOM: It's Cheryl Cleveland from Lowell, Mass. Congratulations, Cheryl!


[ Car Talk Puzzler ]

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