Cover image for Bicycling science
Bicycling science
Wilson, David Gordon, 1928-
Personal Author:
Third edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
viii, 477 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Rev. ed. of: Bicycling science / Frank Rowland Whitt. 2nd ed. c1982.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TL410 .W546 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The bicycle is almost unique among human-powered machines in that it uses human muscles in a near-optimum way. This new edition of the bible of bicycle builders and bicyclists provides just about everything you could want to know about the history of bicycles, how human beings propel them, what makes them go faster and what keeps them from going even faster. The scientific and engineering information is of interest not only to designers and builders of bicycles and other human-powered vehicles but also to competitive cyclists, bicycle commuters and recreational cyclists. The third edition begins with a brief history of bicycles and bicycling that demolishes many widespread myths. human-powered transportation, including the ultimate human-powered vehicle, in which a supine rider in a streamlined enclosure steers by looking at a television screen connected to a small camera in the nose, reaching speeds of around 80 miles per hour. It contains completely new chapters on aerodynamics, unusual human-powered machines for use on land and in water and air, human physiology and the future of bicycling. This edition also provides updated information on rolling drag, transmission of power from rider to wheels, braking, heat management, steering and stability, power and speed and materials. It contains many new illustrations.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
I Human Power
1 A short history of bicyclingp. 3
2 Human power generationp. 37
3 Thermal effects on power production (how bicyclists keep cool)p. 109
II Some Bicycle Physics
4 Power and speedp. 123
5 Bicycle aerodynamicsp. 173
6 Rolling: tires and bearingsp. 207
7 Brakingp. 237
8 Steering and balancingp. 263
9 Mechanics and mechanisms: power transmissionp. 311
10 Materials and stressesp. 353
III Human-Powered Vehicles And Machines
11 Unusual human-powered machinesp. 399
12 Human-powered vehicles in the futurep. 431
Appendixp. 457
Timelinep. 465
Indexp. 473