From temporary to permanent, friction results in various problems for riders. But how is friction harmful when riding a bike? We tried to explain more simply. Give it a read!
You all have faced friction while riding your bike. And you must have been annoyed, right? But know what friction is sometimes helpful for tire grips, braking system, and safety concerns.
But hold on. Yes, friction is important but not always helpful. How? It prevents from going speedy and damages the tires and other parts as well. Besides, it has many demerits as well. So this article is about the negative sides of friction. Read to the end if you want to know, “how is friction harmful when riding a bike.”
What is Friction?
Before we directly head on to the harmful sides of friction, first, we need to know what friction actually is!
Friction is a type of negative force. Negative force means friction decreases the value, power, or amount of force. For friction to occur, the prerequisite is to have a collision between two or more bodies.
So when two bodies collide, there’s heat generation. And an opposing force acts that slows down the bodies.
For example, when we try to slide our pen from one point to another point on our table, we see an opposing force or negative force. This opposing force acts on that body to slow it down. This is friction.
So you might ask, how are cycling and friction connected? The answer is, when we ride our bikes, the tires or wheels get in contact with the road. So there arise frictional forces between them. Yes, it has both good and bad sides. We’ll get to that point in the latter part.
How is Friction Harmful when Riding a Bike?
So you’re clear about friction, right? Yes, we too hate physics but trust me, it was the most effective method to explain friction.
Till now, we’ve mentioned a couple of reasons for friction or maybe more. But there are many other examples of the harmful effects of friction.
Not all friction forces are permanent. There are a few that can be prevented as well. So without any further ado, let’s head into the main part.
1. In off-roads or Rough Terrains
In off-road and rough terrains, the frictional force is more than normal. When you’re driving on an inclined surface or a rough area, you need to pedal hard. The reason behind this is the frictional force.
Due to this frictional force, we need to work extra hard and fitness. So that’s why many people don’t want to go cycling in hilly areas.
Alongside off-roads or hilly areas, the biking experience also changes due to weather. If you’re cycling in a windy area, you’ll face a force. This force is felt while going against the wind. So you need to pedal harder than to accelerate on a windy road.
2. Resistance of air
Let’s admit. We all have faced it. Even not while cycling, we had faced air resistance when we ran a marathon in our school days. This air resistance or friction.
While cycling, even on a smooth road, we feel air resistance. The faster we go, the more friction we face. No matter what bicycle your use, you’ll experience this.
Sometimes, you see professional riders get in the crouch position or make them as compact as possible while going fast. The reason being, they minimize the overall area so that they get less air resistance.
Remember one thing, your bike’s not the only thing that will experience air resistance. Your body will take too. So try to change the position and crouch while going at high speed to prevent air resistance or friction.
3. Draws out Repairing money
Friction not only reduces your speed but also damages some parts of your bike as well. If any part of your bike gets friction force for a prolonged time, it can get damaged.
Mainly the tires experience more friction when riding a bike. They collide with the street or roads and get damaged. As they get damaged, the braking system gets damaged too. So it becomes dangerous to ride these bikes.
So you need to repair your bike often. Other than the wheels, the bearings and chain wheels also get damaged by friction. The bike chains also get damaged as they remain in continuous touch with other parts while riding the bike.
As friction damages these parts and tools, so you need to repair them. And you’ll need to spend bucks to do so. As it draws money from your pocket, so now you know how is friction harmful when riding a bike, right?
4. Damages bike tires
We already told that the bike wheels are the first things affected by friction while riding a bike. While your tire moves to take your bike forward, they encounter friction with the road.
If you look closely, there is some threading on the bike tires. These threading are used for gripping. But when you use that tire for months, the threading gets flattened due to friction.
This causes two main problems. One is you need to change the tires. For which you’ll need to spend money. Another reason is, the grips won’t work like before. So if you apply the brake on your bike, the tires won’t grip, and you can face accidents.
For different bikes, there are different tires as well. Knobbly tires are used in mountain bikes to trap dirt and get a good trip. Whereas smooth tires with good friction are used on road bikes.
So be very careful while choosing the bike tires. The wrong choice of tires can certainly be costly!
5. Friction Pulls you backward
Cycling is exhausting. No matter how much fun it can be, only the riders know what they have to endure while riding the bikes. And friction makes the whole process a lot more difficult.
When you’re riding a bike and going in the forward direction, the friction force opposes it. You and your bike both encounters friction. So you’ll need extra energy and power to keep moving forward.
Now try to think of this scenario as if you’re riding in an incline hilly area. The inclined surface is already bringing you down due to gravitational force. And now adds the extra friction. So here, you’ve to outscore both the gravitational and frictional force to go forward.
The fast you go, the more frictional force works on your body. And if your tire has low pressure, then it encounters more friction. Flat tires or low-pressure tires have more surface area than a full-pressured one. So as more area gets in contact with the road, the friction force acts more.
So the way to prevent this scenario is simple. Although we cannot prevent friction fully, there are some ways to minimize it.
- Always keep your tire pressure up to the mark. This will allow less part of the tire to get in contact with the surface. As a result, it’ll experience less frictional force.
- Always carry your tire pumper and pressure gauge with you when you’re going for a long tour. If the pressure on the tires reduces, check that with the pressure gauge. And then use the pumpers to pump the tires.
6. For electric-Powered Bikes
Till now, we’ve only pointed out the harmful sides of pedal-assisted bikes only. Friction has harmful effects not only on the pedals but also on the electrical ones as well.
The electric bikes are rolled out in the market to get rid of the exhausting riding experiences. So instead of the pedals, there are batteries that produce the power to move the bike forward.
But friction plays its nasty game here as well. Yes, the electric bikes have batteries. But it doesn’t mean they don’t get affected by the frictional force. Some bikes even have both pedals and electric batteries. And they use the electric bikes exceptionally when riding on a hill or inclined area.
Riding on an inclined surface needs more battery power. The battery works extra hard to produce the desired power to keep the bike going. But when friction works on it, the battery has to produce extra power to overcome friction.
Producing more power needs extra effort. The battery gets overheat, and sometimes they get damaged. And the reason behind this is friction. Friction causes the motor to wear out in a quick time. So you need to repair them.
7. Affect the Rider
We all care about the bike parts and items that get affected by friction. But we overlook the fact that it also affects the rider as well.
As you already know, riding in a windy or inclined area needs more power. So we need to pedal faster than normal. This phenomenon leads to certain muscle injuries.
Riding faster has many effects like inflammation, muscle tear, sores, etc. Some people even have faced many deadly injuries as well.
Friction is a necessary evil. Friction has some positive sides as well. Due to friction, the bike tries can grip the roads, and the brakes work to stop your bike. They even save the riders from falling sometimes as well.
No matter what the positive sides friction has, you can’t deny and overlook the negatives. So how is friction harmful when riding a bike? Well, you already know them now!