Cycling Science …

I have been amusing myself by dipping into Cycling Science a neat little book by Max Glaskin, published by Ivy Press. It’s pitched at the interested reader but you don’t need a science degree to read it and the style is quite light …

There are hundreds of parts on a bicycle … Without doubt the most important part is the frame, often described as the heart of the bicycle by people whose grasp of anatomy should disqualify them from medical practice.

Yes, it’s the skeleton, of course.

Chapter 5 is on aerodynamics, such an important part of cycling that it repays any cyclist handsomely for the trouble of reading it. And it contains this welcome boost to my ego …

The graphic concerns the part that aerodynamics played in Chris Boardman’s one hour record (56.375 km or 35.03 miles) set in 1996. At this scale reading the print is a bit difficult but don’t hold that against the book. It is nicely illustrated. The gist of it is that Boardman adopted the superman position and reaped the benefits of reduced drag . Each line above that indicates how far he would have traveled in other positions. On a sit up and beg bike like my mountain bike (top line) he would have covered a mere 14.893 km. Well Mr Boardman you’re not superman at all – I can cover 25 km.

Returning to reality I suspect that Boardman could beat me on an icecream seller’s tricycle and that the calculations are a little astray in this particular figure.

A good addition to any cycling tragic’s library.

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