Bicycle Science

Illustration from (Borrell, 2016) in Science

Illustration from (Borrell, 2016) in Science

Bear Mountain State Park is a morning's bike ride from NYC.

Bear Mountain State Park is a morning's bike ride from NYC.

As some of you may know, when I'm not working on my doctoral research in quantitative ecology, I'm likely out riding my bike. I have enjoyed two wheeled transportation since I was young--occasionally competing in races and once biking across the USA with Bike & Build--though most often these days, I'm commuting through the streets of NYC. I also follow professional cycling, and with the 103rd edition of the Tour de France underway, I thought it appropriate to post a Science article that highlights the work of Jim Papadopoulos of Northeastern University. His recent work tackles a foundational, yet contentious, question: What are the physical forces that keep a bike upright. Jim and colleagues have published equations that elucidate the physics behind bike riding. They followed-up this theoretical work with experiments that demonstrate the many variables in a bicycle's design that contribute to its stability. They're currently working on novel bike designs that take advantage of the many modifications that may contribute to an even smoother ride.