Most of us recall the first day they learned how to ride a bike as if it were yesterday. In fact, for many people, riding a bicycle is viewed as a rite of passage from being a ‘little’ child to a ‘big’ person. Although it seems an easy task, what most of us do not realize is the manner in which the art of riding a bike is so complex and multifaceted. The process involves communication and interaction of various body parts to propel ourselves, continuously swaying forth and back with our legs on a pair of thin wheels. We simultaneously navigate motion while attempting to evade a wide range of obstacles. Riding a bike entails using not only physiological human processes, but also primary sensory abilities and vestibular and visual capacities, as seen below.
I need my feet to pedal the bicycle. In order to keep the bicycle moving, I need to pedal it. To do this, I require using my two feet. They have to interact together as well as with the brain to enhance motion and movement. Feet are next to the legs, which are next to the trunk. The part of the brain known as the primary motor cortex is the mainly used segment in enhancing motor functioning. This part produces neural compulsions, which are vital in the regulation and execution of movement. The primary motor cortex transmits signals in the body’s midline. These signals activate the skeletal muscles located on both the right and left parts of the body, also referred to as the right and left hemispheres. These hemispheres control their distinct sides of the body, thus enabling the foot to peddle.
I need my hands to control the handlebars and brakes. To ride a bicycle, I require the use of my hands. Their main use is to hold the brakes, if need be, and to hold the handlebars that control the direction. The fingers are connected to the hand, which is connected to the arm. In order to enhance and regulate the movement of the fingers and hands in controlling handlebars to give direction, they require larger presentations of the primary and secondary motor cortex than the legs. The role of the primary and secondary motor cortex, just as in feet, is to send signals from the brain to the required body parts to stimulate motion. The secondary motor cortex consists of the supplementary motor area. The main role of this part of the brain is to plan and coordinate the movements of the two hands, and in turn, it enables one to control and handle brakes successfully while riding a bike.
I need my spine for faster transmission of signals to enhance the intended activity. For my brain to communicate with other body parts during bike riding processes, I need to use my spine. The spinal cord contains the grey and white matter. The white matter of the spine contains nerve fibers that travel all through the spine. The white coloration is because the fibers are insulated with a substance known as myelin, which is essential for the quick conduction of signals from various parts of the body, including the legs and hands. While nerve fibers from the hands end in the cervical level, which is higher up in the backbone, those from the legs end on the lumbar vertebrae levels. The quick transfer of signals enhanced by myelin is essential for continuous movements in bike riding processes.
I need my ear to balance. Having equilibrium helps one to stay vertical when standing. To strike a balance between the body and the bike, various signals in the intellect have to interact, ranging from the sensory system all the way to the inner ear. This is what is referred to as the vestibular system. The inner ear is a vital segment that controls balance when riding a bike. It comprises of tri-semicircular passages that contain sensors and fluid. The main role of these two components is to determine the rational balance of the head movement when riding bicycles and doing other activities such as running. The semicircular passages are located at dissimilar angles and are directly proportional to each other. Their main role is to determine the balance of different kinds of movement, side-to-side and up-down, among others. The canals have sensory fur-like cells that are stimulated by the motion of the fluid contained in the inner ear. The hairy cells send nerve compulsions to the brain through the acoustic nerve, ensuring one stays balanced when riding a bike.
I need memory to remember skills learned, my location, and direction. Have we ever wondered why we do not forget the skills learned during bike riding processes? Memory is a very important part that helps store information and retrieval as well as experience. I require my memory to remember the direction of the place I intend to go and to retrace my way back. To do this, I require two parts of the brain: the hippocampus and thalamus. The hippocampus is the brain’s temporal part that helps me travel around without forgetting where I came from. On the other hand, thalamus helps in sending signals from the brain to the intended parts of the body, it also helps me to stay awake and alert during the processes of riding a bike.