I was walking on our treadmill today and wondering why it has such a big-ass motor on it. What does a motor really add to a treadmill, anyway? Besides a hundred pounds?
Shouldn’t the act of walking or running on the tread be enough to simulate a walk or a run? Do you ever see stationary bikes with motors on them? No, you don’t, because the pedaling is what makes things move.
It seems all a motor does is enforce a certain pace. When you run on the road, you don’t do that with a pace car riding right behind you, threatening to run you over if you don’t keep pace. You can speed up or slow down as it suits you. So why use a motor to set a rigid pace when on the real road this doesn’t happen?
I don’t see why a treadmill couldn’t simply have a tread on a low-friction set of rollers and perhaps an odometer to tell the user her speed. It sure would be a hell of a lot easier getting it up and down stairs!