Talk:backpedal

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Currently there is a section "Etymology" that only contains "back +‎ pedal"! How informative, in explaining the entry "back-pedal"! Seriously tho, any unicyclist these days has a very different concept of backpedal. This is more in line with the conception of early bicycle riders (in which the pedals were hard-geared to the wheels), unlike modern bikes (where backpedalling either disengages the gearing or triggers a brake) the wheels of the first bikes would not have been able to roll forward without the pedals also turning forward. Consequently, backpedalling is the name of the technique of travelling/pedalling forwards while applying a reverse pressure on the pedals (trying to slow the rate of rotation), and this is very distinct and dramatic to the rider (with the sensation of the pedals driving your legs involuntarily up and down like a puppet on a string, sometimes accelerating faster and faster), especially since on such cycles this is frequently the best or only means of slowing yourself (on a downhill or if approaching an obstacle). So backpedalling can mean either a subtle attempt to ease off slightly the velocity (without changing course entirely), or a desperate vain attempt to reverse course whilst being nonetheless carried forward by your earlier momentum. This feeling seems much better in line with the metaphorical meanings of the term. (By contrast, if the term came from modern bicycles it would merely suggest an idle movement with no consequence on the journey, or from bmx bicycles there is no continuous backpedallING just the pulling of an emergency brake and noisily screeching to a complete halt. These do not correspond with the actual metaphorical meaning.) cesiumfrog 124.168.202.14 01:05, 30 May 2010 (UTC)