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The MYSTERY of the LEFT BIKE PEDAL


Hey, everyone. Peter Kaltreider here with Sixthreezero Bicycles.Today we're going to discuss the mysteries of the left pedal. Stay tuned.


All right everybody, like I said like I promised you in the intro, we're going to delve into the mysteries of the enigmatic left pedal. Just got you, this is a right pedal. See, but how do I know which is my right pedal and which is my left pedal and why is it important?

I'm going to tell you right now, I'm going to give you all the facts quickly and then we'll delve into some of the pretty cool things about the left pedal that is interesting and you may not care about it or not but anyway, the left pedal, we can find out because it has a little sticker that says L on it and the right pedal has a sticker that has R on it. If these fall off, the axles, some people also call these spindles. I want to get terminology out of the way because there will be some bike aficionados who want to argue about the difference between axle, spindle, and shaft. Way beyond the scope.

But these are also stamped with L and R. So you don't get them mixed up and it's very important because the left pedal has reverse threads. Instead of going in righty-tidy like the right pedal, it's lefty-tidy. So, you turn counter clockwise. Now, another interesting thing is what side of the bike is the left side? So, unlike a boat, which has starboard and port to help you remember whether you're facing fore or aft and you don't get mixed up, the bike doesn't have that, except that we can differentiate it by drive side or non-drive side or the side with the chain and the side without the chain. So when you're sitting on the bike, the left side is on your left and the right side's on your right or you can think of it as the drive side is the right side and the non-drive side is the left side.


All right, now let's do some closeups here, and then we'll get into some of the paradoxes and mysteries of why the left pedal is reverse shredded. Also, a topic of hot debate and conversation amongst, well, not the engineers that make the bikes but people who like to talk about things on the internet. Here's the left pedal. The left pedal has usually a sticker that will say L on it. Also, has a little arrow denoting that counter-clockwise tightening motion or here on the end of the axle or spindle or shaft, depending on what you want to call it. Also, depending on whether you're in the automotive industry or the bicycle industry, or in the machining world, it has a little L on it.

The right pedal has an R on it. Now, why is the left pedal left threaded?


It's obvious, as most people know so it doesn't become unscrewed. Now it's interesting and I don't know why, because it's just pedals. We're just talking about left and right pedals not left and right politics but people get extremely passionate about this subject because some people think that the right pedal should actually be left hand threaded or some people think that both should just be right hand threaded because for instance, on wheels, the lug nuts are right-handed on all of them. However, that didn't used to be. I encourage you to go on Wikipedia and just type in lug nut and check it out. It's a very interesting thing because they talk about a phenomenon called a procession and I learned about this from Sheldon Brown. You can find all sorts of stuff about bikes from Sheldon Brown but he says that the main reason is the procession. And if you go on to the Wikipedia lug nut article, you'll find out that they also talk about the procession and I'll get into that in just a second.


However, so back before around World War II or so and I've witnessed this self in a World War II Army Jeep, the lug nuts on the left wheels used to be reversely threaded. So you'd have to turn left to tighten it or right to loosen it. But then later on about World War II or thereafter, a little bit after that, they started to make tapered lug nuts. So, that canceled out the procession effect. Now, procession is a hard thing to wrap your mind around, and what it is, Sheldon Brown... One second, let me get a little pen and I'll do a little Sheldon Brown demonstration. Let me see. Now this will work. The screwdriver here. Says that when you're rotating an object like this when it's in this orbit, we'll call this the orbit, it's actually inside here, inside my right hand here. It's actually rotating in the opposite direction of the orbit. Now this is the way we pedal, however, the pedal's really going this way in space and so inside of my hand, you probably can't see but if you do this for yourself, you'll see that it's unwinding.


Anyway, a lot of people disagree with that concept but this design's been around for about a hundred years or so. And it probably came about because the left pedals were falling off. That's conjecture. I don't think anyone's really sure if left pedals were falling off or not. Another piece of law that Sheldon Brown mentions is that it was actually the Wright brothers who invented the left-hand thread. I haven't seen any evidence for that but I think it really adds to the enigma of the left pedal. So thank you very much. I hope that was helpful. Just remember lefty tidy. All right. Thanks for watching. I really hope that was helpful. If you need any more help, please don't hesitate to contact us at 310-982-2877 or theteam@sixthreezero.com. Sixthreezero is spelled out S-I-X-T-H-R-E-E-Z-E-R-O. Also, subscribe to our channel and remember, it's your journey, your experience, enjoy the ride.

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