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The Backwards Brain Bicycle

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The Backwards Brain Bicycle

Smarter Every Day,

5 min read
5 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Learning how to ride a bike is easy. Unlearning how to ride a bike? Not so much.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Innovative
  • Engaging


Riding a bike is child’s play, right? Yet when engineer Destin Sandlin decided to unlearn that skill, he discovered deep layers of complexity involved in performing this seemingly mundane action. In this quirky video, Sandlin documents his experiences in coming to understand the intricacies of neural pathways and entrenched habits. getAbstract recommends his mind-bending investigation to those who wish to rethink their own stubborn cognitive biases.


The maxim “it’s just like riding a bike”refers to an easy task that once learned is impossible to forget. But as engineer Destin Sandlin learned to his chagrin, this designation is a misnomer. Sandlin’s friend, a welder, built a “backwards bike” – one that turned left when steered right, and vice versa – and dared Sandlin to cycle it. On the surface, this didn’t seem like that much of a challenge, so Sandlin hopped on. He quickly realized that, despite having learned to cycle as a kid, he couldn’t ride this modified bike. His thinking about cycling was deeply ingrained. Even though he knew how the backwards bike operated, he lacked the understanding...

About the Speaker

Engineer Destin Sandlin is the host of educational video series Smarter Every Day.

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