Posts Tagged ‘David Gordon Wilson’

Bicycling Science

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

I recently received a copy of the book Bicycling Science  by David Gordon Wilson, et al., and can’t get enough of the nerd infested scientific studies.  This book is amazing.   It details everything from the history of bicycle bicycling_science mechanics, to aerodynamics, to drivetrain efficiency, to the materials of construction - and all with intensely brain spinning detail.  If you have any nerd-like tendencies at all check it out!

Some fun facts:

  • According to studies in the late 1980s, bicycles built with backwards pedaled drivetrain use leg muscle groups more efficiently and produce higher power outputs.
  • Elliptical, instead of round, chainrings have been experimented with as early as the 1930s.  However the most popular non-round chainrings, Shimano Biopace, are not elliptical or circular.  The major and minor axis of an ellipse are at an angle of 90 degrees, while Shimano Biopace chainrings were built with the axes at varying degrees depending on the position of the ring.
  • The first bicycles (called velocipides) did not have pedals, or the ability to steer.
  • The invention of bicycles has led to the growth of many industries:
    • mass production and use of ball bearings
    • production and use of steel tubes
    • mass production and use of pneumatic tires
    • good-roads movement
    • Harley and Davidson (bicycle racers)
    • the Wright brothers (bicycle manufacturers)

Preview it for free!

Check out a pretty hefty free preview of Bicycling Science at Google Books here.  If you like what you see, buy your own copy and get ready for 500 pages of the coolest math and physics equations you’ve ever seen!