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Cycling Science: How Rider and Machine Work Together Hardcover – November 15, 2012

3.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“For Cycling Science: How Rider and Machine Work Together, British cyclist and journalist Max Glaskin mined hundreds of scientific studies and academic papers for findings that he explains in accessible language. The book is organized around a series of questions and answers framed to educate professional and recreational riders as well as the scientifically curious. The questions range from the practical (What is the most efficient bike design?) to the speculative (Why might plasma be the future of bike materials?). Each answer is accompanied by a terrific set of infographics.”
(Boston Globe)

“This book explores everything from the aerodynamics of bicycle helmets to reaction times to finding the perfect bicycle frame, drawing on studies from disciplines such as physics, brain science, and biology. Its accessible format and broad range of topics make it well suited to satisfy the curiosity of the casual recreational rider, or even the hard-core cycling enthusiast.”
(Globe and Mail)

“Max Glaskin’s Cycling Science straddles the space between popular accounts typically found in cycling enthusiast magazines and the more academic treatments of David Gordon Wilson or Edmund Burke. It’s a fairly large gap, but Glaskin spans it ably. Approaching its subject from the standpoints of both rider and machine, the book covers all the basics of human performance and how a two-wheeled conveyance converts that into the world’s most efficient transportation system. Illustrations are perhaps the book’s greatest strength: Prior to the back matter of notes, glossary and index, not a spread goes by without at least one.”
(David Schoonmaker American Scientist)

“Usually, coffee-table books are for browsing and display. Here is an exception. This book has enough content to get the attention of readers—from those interested in bicycling as a mode of transportation to those who work out on bicycles to professional racers. . . . The excellent illustrations facilitate understanding of the operation of this least polluting of all mechanical systems of transportation. In six chapters, the author covers an enormous amount of material related to the materials, design, manufacture, and physics of the bicycle. There is nothing that is missing or out of place. . . . Highly recommended.”
(N. Sadanand, Central Connecticut State University Choice)

“Max Glaskin presents his ideas in a straightforward, user-friendly, and consistently informative and entertaining way. . . . Reading this book, be it from cover-to-cover or dipping into it as the mood takes you, can only enhance the experience of cycling, in whatever form you may take it.”
(Cycling Shorts)

"Cycling Science by Max Glaskin guides readers through a wide variety of topics, from tyre rolling resistance and the difference between yield strength and ultimate strength, to the importance of aerodynamics and any impact that shaved legs have on speed."—Bikebiz.com
(Bikebiz.com)

2013 Outstanding Academic Title
(Choice magazine)

About the Author

Max Glaskin is an award-winning science and technology journalist with a special interest in cycling. He has contributed to a vast range of publications, including New Scientist, Reader’s Digest, and the Sunday Times.

 

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; First Edition edition (November 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226924130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226924137
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #696,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. It is full of interesting facts,graphs and illustrations that explain the evolution of bicycles and bicycle riders. I think I'll be a more competent rider in the future as a result. I can recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Depending on how deep your interest is in the science of cycling (or how geeky you are about cycling), this book is either just enough or it's a tease. Topics covered include the basics of aerodynamics (bike, rider, and clothing), other sources of resistance (primarily weight and friction), materials, cornering, and power generation. There's a section of the effects of doping and other kinds of "blood boosting", but it's placed within the bigger context of how biological factors like heart rate, breathing, and even skin temperature affect performance.

It's a beautiful book. Each topic and subtopic is covered quickly, in a two page spread. One page is mostly text, explaining concepts and major points to be taken away by the reader. The remainder of the page and the following page are taken up by infographics, backing up major points and providing greater depth as well as visual impact. In fact, I think the infographics are the real meat of the book -- I often found the text itself a little scant and found much more to be gained by pushing deeper into the graphics.

One graphic I found especially interesting appears at the end of the book, presenting the relative performance effects of a wide array of changes you could make as a rider, to yourself and to your equipment. For a novice, clearly the biggest bang for the buck is in training, although improvements in the aerodynamics of your riding position and your equipment are huge, especially in comparison to the advantages to be gained by reducing either the bike's weight or your own -- a nice counter to bike weight fetishism.

There is a lot here to appeal to in the standard things that cycling geeks love to debate -- wheel weight vs. wheel aerodynamics, ideal pedaling cadences, frame tube shapes, etc.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The main attractions of this book are two - the author's ability to explain potentially difficult technical detail with clarity and interest, and the illustrations of what he is saying. These illustrations are both colourful and well laid out. But the author's text make the book compelling for those riders like me who normally just get on the machine and hope it goes, without thinking any further. Now I am thinking a bit further! The whole thing is like the book of a TV series that hasn't yet been made but perhaps should be.
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By M. Evans on January 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written...easy to digest and meaningful reviews of most current literature and a good amount of historical information (put in one place). IMO there is a question about the pedaling technique recommended (pulling up) that is contrary to scientific studies and in my experience is the most effective. Otherwise, I would consider this book a "great coffee table" book for the cycling enthusiast! Well done!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Science? Maybe. But pretty light science, for sure. Not sure who the audience is for this book. People attracted by the online description probably already know 80% of what's in here. I expected more, and more interesting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good basic description of cycling principles, but little practical info. It has a few factual errors in the history, such as incorrectly attributing the parallelogram derailler to Campagnolo and says Simplex copied it for cyclotourists, when in fact it was the other way around. It all but ignores the French cyclotouring contributions to bicycle development. If you are just getting into bicycle technology, it is a good primer, but if you have been reading magazines and books for a few years, it offers little new information.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maybe I was expecting some really new information in this book but I didn't really get it with this book. While it has some interesting topics and the format makes it an easy read and reference it didn't provide anything I hadn't read before. I guess the benefit would be having it all in one book. I think I went through the areas of interest in one evening (couple of hours) and I don't know that I'll be going back to it. I gave it 3 stars because it would be a good book for someone new to the sport looking for an overview of the topics presented.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a fascinating book that easily explains the mechanics, the physics, and the machine-rider relationship between a person and their bike! I use it as a reference book to better understand how I can ride mere efficiently therefore faster. A great gift for the enthusiastic beginner or seasoned road/mountain biker. You will not be disappointed!

dwc
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