High Wire Bicycle

Background

Description:

The High Wire Bicycle rests precariously on a guide wire suspended across an open expanse of the California Science Center's grand atrium. As visitors mount the bicycle for a "ride," they peer down to the floor approximately 43 feet below. The bicycle trip starts with the visitor riding backward out of a controlled loading area. They ride approximately 36 feet across the atrium and return to the platform.

Scientific relevance:

The High Wire Bicycle is an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to experience the law of "center of gravity" in dramatic fashion. They will learn firsthand that any force causing the system to tip will be offset by the force of gravity acting on an attached counterweight.

Fun factor:

The bicycle, held in place by a large counterweight, allows visitors to test their "nerves of steel" as they pedal across the wire.

Safety features:

As the bicycle tips, the straight bar from which the counterweight is suspended swings upwards. Gravity pulls the counterweight back towards the ground causing the bar to correct the bike and put it in a vertical, stable position on top of the cable. The High Wire Bicycle is fitted with many safety features, including a seat harness and safety net. Visitors riding the bicycle must be a minimum of 42 inches tall and weigh no more than 250 pounds.

Location:

Mark Taper Foundation Sky Court, third level, under the main building atrium. This area is adjacent to the IMAX Theater exit.