On the bicycle transformation and the filament equation: Results and conjectures

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The paper concerns a simple model of bicycle kinematics: a bicycle is represented by an oriented segment of constant length in n-dimensional space that can move in such a way that the velocity of its rear end is aligned with the segment (the rear wheel is fixed on the bicycle frame). Starting with a closed trajectory of the rear end, one obtains the two respective trajectories of the front end, corresponding to the opposite directions of motion. These two curves are said to be in the bicycle correspondence. Conjecturally, this correspondence is completely integrable; we present a number of results substantiating this conjecture. In dimension three, the bicycle correspondence is the Bäcklund transformation for the filament equation; we discuss bi-Hamiltonian features of the bicycle correspondence and its integrals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geometry and Physics
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mathematical Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Geometry and Topology


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