How to Use a Measuring Wheel

A measuring wheel.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 20-30
What You'll Need
Measuring stick or metric tape measure
Piece of chalk or wrapping tape
Graph paper

Calculating distance using the circular motion of a measuring wheel is a traditional measurement technique. With the outdated vehicles, the odometer was in fact a kinetic wheel in the engine transmission that turned as the vehicle moved forward. When the wheels spin, a specific range is traveled for every 360-degree revolution. The bigger the wheel, the greater range is traveled for each 360-degree turn. Consequently, when you scale the exterior of the wheel or the circular perimeter, it is possible to calculate the number of revolutions of the wheel so that you can determine the distance traveled.

Step 1 - Draw a Table

Take a graph paper and draw a table with two rows for the Number of Revolutions and Distance Traveled (in centimeters). Draw columns for the number of revolutions made by the wheel.

Step 2 - Place the Tape on the Floor

Pull out the measuring tape and keep it on the floor by using heavy weights. This will enable you to utilize the measuring tape to calculate the wheel's circular perimeter.

Step 3 - Mark a Line

Draw a line on the front wheel of the bicycle. You should use this line to represent a single 360 turn of the wheel.

Step 4 - Position the Bike

Place the bike next to the measuring tape so that the line on the front wheel is in the same line as the start of the measuring tape. This should be referenced as the beginning point for your distance measurement.

Step 5 - Measure the Reference Distance

Move the bike next to the measuring tape until the line is once more in the same line as the measuring tape. This should be the reference range derived from the circular perimeter of the front wheel. Jot down this measurement on a piece of paper.

Step 6 - Measure the Distance Traveled

Move the bicycle between the two main points you would like to measure. Any distance can be measured in this way. Put a tiny tag on the ground using chalk or wrapping tape. Arrange the bike such that the valve tube on the leading wheel is accurately aligned with the tag on the ground.

Move the bike forward, making sure that its front tire makes one full 360 degrees turn. This means that the valve tube on the wheel will turn exactly one time. Tag the spot and calculate the range to the first decimal (in centimeters) between this tag and the tag where you commenced. Write down the range on the graph paper table below.

Next, calculate the length completed for two, three, four, and five cycles to finish the table. Calculate the number of cycles the line on the bicycle tire makes and multiply this figure by the dimension of the wheel's perimeter. You will have obtained the range traveled.