Free Ride

  • Free Ride

    Grade: 6th to 8th, High School

    This applet allows you to vary the gear ratio of a bike in order to alter the distance that it will travel. The distance traveled by a half-pedal is determined by the ratio of gears. Vary the gear ratio of a bike in various scenarios in order to capture five flags on a given course! Can you complete all of the courses?




    • The objective of Free Ride is to capture flags using the least number of pedals on various paths.
    • Players must use precision to determine the distance that a bike will travel using various gear ratios.


    • In Free Ride mode, you can play with the gears and get a feel for the applet. Then, when you are ready you can choose a route or select a random route to play capture the flag.
    • If you Choose Route or select Random Route, five flags will be placed on the course. Your goal is to land exactly on the locations of those five flags.

    How to Use

    • Choose a new front and back gear to change the gear ratio.
    • Click the pedal above the front gear to make the bike move forward. Click the pedal below the front gear to make the bike move backward.
    • Change the gear ratios to travel different distances.


    1.    How many different gear ratios are possible? How do you know?


    2.    Determine the distance that the bike will travel three different gear ratios.


    3.    Use the information you have gathered so far to play Free Ride. What do you notice?


    4.    Develop a table or spreadsheet that will help you play and win any route of Choose Route or Random Route.


    Solution Guide


    Objectives and Standards

    NCTM Standards and Expectations
    • 6-8
    • High School (9-12)
    • Number and Operations