Can someone explain to me how a gyroscope works non-mathematically?
Imagine you start rotating a disc that is in a vertical position. (Like a wheel on a car or bicycle) Let's say the top of the disc starts to fall to the left. Before it can move any more than a tiny bit the disc has rotated and the top of the disc is now the bottom. The disc still wants to move in the direction it started to move in, to the left, but since it is now on the bottom it counteracts the movement it did at the top and balances the whole thing out.
Does that make sense?
(I hope that's right. Someone correct me if I'm wrong)
Not particularly. Reaction forces that generate the stability are owing to transverse accelerations in the rim that peak at locations in-line with the precession axis. When turning a bicycle wheel that precession axis is roughly vertical. A fairly good description of gyro physics that has some maths included is here
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