Course Details

940: The Physics of Cycling

July 12, 13, 14
9:45 AM - 11:15 AM

In this course we will explore the basic principles of physics as they apply to cycling. This will lead to formulas that one can use to calculate the power that must be provided by a biker to overcome the forces due to aerodynamic drag, gravity, and rolling resistance. These formulas also provide insight into the following questions: Why is a recreational biker’s speed limited to about 20 mph on a flat road? Why does it require less effort to follow another biker than to ride alone at the same speed? Why can I go faster on a road bike than a hybrid bike? The level of mathematics in this course is high school algebra. This study group has a high class size capacity.

Class Type: Lecture and Discussion

Class Format: Online

Hours of Reading: No reading

Study Group Leader(s):

John Johnson

John Johnson is a retired Mechanical Engineer. He worked for 33 years in the nuclear power industry. He took up biking after retiring in 2007. He has ridden RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) 12 times. Now most days you can find him on the Capital Crescent, Mount Vernon, and W&OD trails.